The city of Britt has received two applications for the free-lot program it started last fall.
Mayor Ryan Arndorfer presented the applications for lots in the Sunset Ridge development to the City Council without publicly identifying the applicants Tuesday, May 7, during the council’s regular meeting.
“Because, of course, these are open offers, I won’t release any names, but both of them are offers for two lots with an intent to build a large house and garage in the middle of two lots, similar to what Holloways did on their lots,” he said.
The applications come six months after the City Council unanimously approved the free-lot program that gives interested individuals, who are approved by the city, a free-residential lot if they agree to build a house on it within a year.
The city owns 18 residential lots in Sunset Ridge on the northwest side of Britt near the Britt Golf Course.
Arndorfer said the first application, submitted by a couple from Loves Park, Illinois, requests two lots east of Second Place Northwest, where they plan to build at least a 2,400-square-foot house, as required by the subdivision’s covenants, with a two-car garage in the middle of the lots.
“These people are ready to go, ready to start building as soon as they can,” he said.
The second application, submitted by a Britt couple planning to relocate after retiring, requests two lots west of Second Place Northwest, where they would like to build a 2,100- or 2,200-square-foot house with a finished basement, three-car garage and geothermal in the middle of the lots.
The request, however, is 200- or 300-square-feet shy of the subdivision’s living space requirement.
According to the covenants for the city-owned subdivision set more than four years ago, a single-level house on two lot must comprise 2,400 square feet of living space, excluding porches, garages and basements, and a multi-level dwelling must be at least 3,200 square feet.
Councilwoman Stacy Swenson didn’t have an issue with the applicant’s request because it’s still a “good-sized house,” but Councilmen Curt Gast and Chad Luecht disagreed.
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“I’m not suggesting we don’t approve it,” Gast said. “I’m just asking the question, why did we set rules if we’re not going to follow them?”
The City Council in separate 3-0 votes, with Councilmen Paul Verbrugge and Dwight Leerar absent, accepted the applications as long as they follow the covenants.
Arndorfer said if an applicant doesn’t wish to follow a covenant, there’s a process they must follow, including a visit to the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.
The council also agreed the $500 fee for real estate closing paperwork should be the responsibility of the applicant.
The housing covenants for the free-lot program state house construction must be completed within 12 months of application approval.
All site plans must be approved by Mike Boomgarden, city zoning administrator, before construction may begin, Arndorfer said.
If construction of a house has begun but not been completed within a year and good cause exists for the non-completion, the mayor or city clerk may grant an extension.
Applicants are allowed to operate home-based businesses in their residences as long as they comply with city ordinances.
In addition to a family house, an attached garage and a small storage building or an attached garage and a detached garage will be allowed on each lot. However, none of the lots can have a detached garage and a small storage building.