On May 23, 2023, the City of Big Lake Planning Commission held a special meeting to take up the issue of rezoning and approval of a Conditional Use Permit for the redevelopment of a century-old building in the City (see agenda). This story is about how we got to this point and illustrates how Inventure works with our clients to ensure their projects get across the finish line. It will also, hopefully, provide insight into the land use approval process. In a couple of weeks, I will provide an update on the results of the Planning Commission meeting. 

The subject property was one of the original homes in the City of Big Lake. Over the years, the building has had many uses, including a restaurant, a funeral home, and most recently a Montessori school. Additions were added to the building in 2009. The site is currently zoned for residential use, but the City’s Comprehensive Plan guides the future land use for the site to be used for business purposes. This means there is guidance in the City’s Comprehensive Plan to rezone the site from R-5/R-2 to B-1. Our project will convert the building from its former use as a Montessori school to a dermatology clinic, which is listed as a permitted use under the City’s B-1 Zoning Ordinance. 

Early in the process, the Inventure team researched the publicly available Comprehensive Plan and confirmed our proposed project was consistent with the future land use plans of the City. We conducted pre-development meetings with the City Administrator and the City Planner in the early days of the project. We laid out our ideas and made sure they were in line with what the City was looking for. Important for us, as always, is to establish a relationship early in the process with the cities with whom we are working. We explained to the staff that our project required rezoning and a Conditional Use Permit for a reduction in the amount of parking required by the B-1 Zoning Ordinance. 

The Inventure team is always looking to execute great projects that maximize the returns for our investment partners and provide a suitable space to meet the needs of our tenants. In this case, the solution was to reduce the number of parking spaces required by the ordinance since the number of spaces required by the ordinance was more than what was needed by our tenants. By doing this, Inventure can reduce the overall cost of redevelopment, which ultimately results in a lower rent rate for our tenants. 

Having done the important work of research and relationship building early in the life of the project has given Inventure a high level of confidence we will get our rezoning and Conditional Use Permit requests approved. We are also confident our project is a win for the City of Big Lake, a win for our investors, a win for our tenants, and a win for Inventure. Keep an eye on this space for an update on our requests and find out if our project got the approvals we requested. 

John Uphoff
John Uphoff

John Uphoff is a seasoned Development Associate with a decade of invaluable experience in the field. With a Bachelor’s degree in Planning and Community Development from St. Cloud State University, he brings a comprehensive understanding of the intricate dynamics involved in real estate development.

Throughout his career, John has consistently demonstrated success in spearheading and overseeing projects from inception to completion.