City OKs new commercial plat for auction business

Construction equipment could be seen moving during the day last Thursday at the nearly 20-acre site that was platted by the Princeton City Council that evening. This view was taken on the north edge of Princeton looking south into the area platted for use as an outdoor and indoor auction business.

A new plat called West River Run 2nd Addition has been approved for the new auction site of the Wayne Pike Auction Company II, LLC, on the northern edge of Princeton.

Wayne Pike had owned the business for many years. Pike sold the business on January 3 to Mike and Jeff Haehn of Princeton and investors Mitchell Siemers, Don Wangen, and Monica Johnson. Siemers, Wangen and Johnson are employees of the business.

The deal included the group renting the 32 acres still owned by Wayne Pike, where auction sales have been run several times per year, most notably heavy equipment. The arrangement also included an option by the Haehn brothers to buy the land.

But the Haehns decided not to exercise the option, and instead purchased about 50 acres to the south owned by Rick Johnson.

That purchase was set up, pending the city council’s approval of a plat of a 19.61-acre parcel that is part of the 50 acres. The council approved the plat last Thursday evening.

The Haehns plan to construct a building that can hold indoor auctions, and have the auction company’s first heavy equipment auction at the new site this coming Dec. 1. The site is accessed by Baptist Road near the Rum River North exit off Highway 169.

Mike Haehn said the new site will provide more space than the old one for their planned facilities and offer more efficient parking.

“We will continue to run four heavy equipment auctions per year,” he said, and is also hoping to get more into online auctions.

Part of the property was once a city dump site and that will not be developed as part of the auction development. The old dump went through a clean-up process, overseen by Mille Lacs County and the state, and no methane vapors were present, according to the engineering consulting firm, WSB and Associates.

City Administrator Mark Karnowski told the council that he had received communication from Princeton Township that if Baptist Road is damaged at the new auction site that it would be the responsibility of either the city or the property owners to repair it.

City consulting engineer Mike Nielson, with WSB, responded that it shouldn’t be a problem because of the location of the access point into the new auction site.

The city planning commission came up with conditions for the site and approved a variance for the sign height requirement there.

The other two parcels in the 50 acres include a parcel of just under four acres next to the south end of the 19.61-acre parcel, and a parcel of about 19 acres farther south. That last parcel is mostly low ground near the river and not usable for building, Mike Haehn said.