ST. CLOUD -- Several empty lots in west St. Cloud could eventually be developed into a commercial development.

During Monday night's meeting, the city council approved rezoning 11 residential lots to a Planned Unit Development to allow for commercial development. The lots are in the southwest quadrant of Veterans Drive and County Road 134 intersection. Five of the properties are along the Sauk River and are considered not buildable lots due to flooding.

During the public hearing, three people who live in that neighborhood spoke out against the rezoning. Ron Theisen says the roads in that area are already too busy.

Come see the congestion that we already have even in the summertime, then you can fully understand the reason why we think this is not a flyable project.

Kate Hanson of Granite City Real Estate is representing the property owner. She says they believe their plan is consistent with the character of the surrounding properties.

The potential development could include between 10,000 and 11,000 square feet of restaurant, retail, or office space.

The property itself is a transition area and with a PUD you still would have input on the development itself, even as overflow parking everyone identifies that it's not residential.

Community Development Director Matt Glaesman says this is just a preliminary development plan and is not very detailed at this time. He says the city council will have a chance to vote again in the future on any specific plans for that property.

Councilmember Mike Conway says by allowing the PUD change it will give the neighbors some say in what happens in the future.

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