Bobby & Steve’s: Windom saga continues

After losing a lawsuit against Bobby and Steve's Autoworld, 5801 Nicollet Ave. S. last November, the city of Minneapolis braced itself for a court-ordered damage award. However, City Councilmember Scott Benson (11th Ward) said the Windom business hopes to settle with the city even though it prevailed in court.

Bobby and Steve's owner Paul Warnert sued after the city denied a conditional-use permit application in 2002, needed to add gas pumps, a convenience store, repair shop and a car wash to the facility.

The Council's Zoning and Planning Committee approved the plans, but the full Council reversed that vote after citizens complained it conflicted with lower-intensity uses laid out by the city's Minneapolis Plan.

A Hennepin County judge ruled that more specific zoning code overruled the Minneapolis Plan, forcing the city to move ahead with the plan its Zoning Department had approved.

However, during the fight, Warnert devised another plan that some say better addressed some neighborhood concerns. He wants to go forward with the new plan.

One problem: Benson said the city planners like Warnert's original plan better.

Warnert said the new plan moves development planned for 58th Street onto Nicollet. It also adds a coffee shop and gazebo area near the corner, moves the car wash to the facility's south side and adds four units of rental housing.

Benson said the city's Planning Office prefers the previous plan because it brought the development right up to the street, following the preferred development philosophy. Warnert said the city has some changes it seeks in the plan, and right now he's waiting to see what they want him to do.