Council hears devel. variance requests
Rezoning, setbacks reviewed at meeting
September 26. 2012 1:49PM
The docket for the Dell Rapids City Council included multiple variance requests last week, as developers planned for setbacks and future building projects.
The first request included a setback change for a lot and tract in the Timber Ridge Addition, near 12th Street and Ripple Creek Road and Dell Rapids Elementary.
The lot was originally intended as a corner lot until 15 acres of land were sold as requested to the school district, effectively taking away its future corner status.
Developer Mark Crisp, on behalf of the Dells Investment Group, asked that the council consider allowing him a variance of five feet from the front property line and 15 feet from the rear, essentially qualifying the lot at its original status, within the confines of corner lot zoning instead of standard lot.
“Nothing changed from the original plan but the neighbors,” Crisp said of the lot, which he intended to develop into a multi-residential four-plex. “If they’re considered a regular lot (…) I can start with a 4.5 foot building.” He said that considering the lot standard would impede his abilities to build much of anything on the lot.
City administrator Justin Weiland said that the plan at one point was for streets to be in place north and south of the lot in question. “Since the original, preliminary plans, things have changed in this area,” he said.
Weiland added that the Planning Commission in Dell Rapids verbally agreed that the variance should be granted. The administrator said that upon recommendation from the South Eastern Council of Governments (SECOG), a group that assisted the city in revamping its zoning ordinances, the city asked that a variance request be submitted due to the lot type change.
The council voted to approve the variance requests, as well as an ordinance to rezone the sites from “Natural Resource Conservation” (NRC) and “Single Family Residential” (R-1) to “Medium Density Residential” (R-3) to allow for the future four-plex.
Crisp said that building on the multi-resident structure could begin as early as this fall. Plans to connect the recently built Ripple Creek Road off of 15th Street to 12th Street could also begin yet this year, the developer said.
“I would really like the infrastructure done,” Crisp said. “It depends on (excavating constractor) Kempf Construction.”
Both replats were approved contingent upon an assurance agreement being put in place.
Variance requested on Fifth Street setback
A variance request from landowner Lee Burgraff also came before the council that night, asking that a setback be altered to allow for a building project.
At the July 16 meeting of the city council, Burgraff asked that a 10-foot rear property line setback be approved at 605 E Fifth Street, for the purposes of constructing a 20-foot by 60-foot commercial storage building.
The council at the time denied the request due to an absence of hardship, a stipulation by which zoning variances are approved.
In order to bring the variance back in front of the council, Burgraff altered the setback request to seven feet, a variance of 13 feet from the zoned 20 feet required for “General Business” (B-2).
The developer cited hardship due to topography and drainage, as well as light disturbance and traffic that would occur if he were to build the structure facing toward neighbors, the only way he said it could be built within the zoning ordinance and still allow room for a vehicle to pass.
“I got to looking at that and said that isn’t right,” said Burgraff, who added the city has a duty to keep a buffer between commercial and residential properties. “Everything about it is an improvement to that neighborhood.”
Dean Larson, a neighbor present for the July meeting, was on-hand at the Sept. 17 session. He suggested the variance be denied and that Burgraff use a fence as a “buffer” between the vehicle traffic and nearby properties.
“Once you grant the variance it’s out of your hands, but once these people start getting flooded, you have no recourse,” Larson said of the flooding he foresees being pushed to the area around the proposed building.
Councilors Craig Lauritzen and Todd Wiebenga both said they’d visited the property in question in the meantime and found the drainage would be better with the setback allowed.
“Looking at the drainage, it makes more sense to do it the way he wants,” Lauritzen said.
Neighbor to the south Leonard Stahl said that he’s never had water in his garage nor excessive water in the lowest part of his lawn due to tile there. “It’s not going to make it any worse,” he said. “I’ve never seen the water go up that far.”
The council approved the variance.