Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Feb. 26, 2001

More apartments, townhomes on the way for Howard Lake

By Lynda Jensen

A few more choices will be added to Howard Lake's residential offerings, as approved by the Howard Lake Council Tuesday.

Development of the former Sand Bar and Grill and the lot where the former Werner Hardware Building used to be should contribute more townhomes and apartments to the area, respectively.

In the Werner location, apartments are planned on the second level above a commercial operation. There is interest in the commercial property, but none yet for the apartments, said developer Mike Deutz.

For now, the city will sell the former Werner building land for $1 to Deutz. The city is paying up-front costs for for site preparation, utility, sidewalk, and other costs. This will be eventually paid back to the city from tax money collected in that location, since it is designated as a Tax Increment Finance district.

The TIF district could generate a great deal of income for the city, since the city will collect tax dollars on it during its 25-year life span. This tax money would normally be shared among the county and school district, but the city will collect all three shares during the TIF district's life span.

It will only take eight years of to pay off the city's investment, said Michelle Hartman, financial TIF consultant.

The city will probably use the income to refurbish other blighted buildings, which is an acceptable use to the government, Hartman said.

The council conducted a hearing before the meeting, passed a resolution about the district during and then had a separate HRA meeting after the council session to jump through government loop holes for TIF districts.

The apartments to be built on the second level will be larger in size, with parking in the back, council members noted.

Jack Peach also attended the meeting to answer questions about his plans for the former Sand Bar.

Peach plans to put rented condominiums in that location, which will be multi-storied residential townhomes along the lakeshore, he said.

Peach wants to change the driveway off of Wright County Road 6, because it's such a busy road, he said.

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