Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, May 29, 2000

Zoning for Highway 12 corridor to get another look

By Andrea Vargo

A request for a variance to extend a front porch for Sandra Diers sparked some debate about the older homes on Highway 12 by the Howard Lake City Council Tuesday.

The request brought up questions about the zoning ordinance and how it affects property owners along the Highway 12 corridor.

Many of those homes are old and in need of repair, City Councilman Tom Kutz said.

For example, if a young couple buys one of those older homes and fixes it up as their dream home, he said, that home will be there for a long time.

The zoning ordinance addresses the old homes along Highway 12 and is written so as to eventually.turn that area into a business district.

Each home should be looked at by the council on a case by case basis, said Mayor Gerry Smith.

Planning and zoning sent Diers' request to the council with no recommendation, feeling the council needed to deal with it, since the porch is a non-conforming structure.

Councilman Shelly Reddemann commented on the possibility of the city purchasing some of those old homes as they come up for sale.

Although the council does not want to be in the real estate business, it felt strongly enough about having bare lots available for future business that it voted to pursue possible purchases.

City Administrator Doug Borglund and Reddemann were authorized to negotiate on behalf of the city and put earnest money on a property to hold it on the contingency of approval by the council.

The request by Diers will allow her to extend her porch another three feet to the front and even with the sides of the home.

She told planning and zoning the addition will add to the value and tax base of the home, in addition to improving the looks of the house.

After the public hearing, the council approved the variance. It will look into the zoning ordinance and how it affects the Highway 12 corridor in the future. Some changes may be made, but planning and zoning must deal with it first, Smith said.

P&P Enterprises requested a variance for side yard setbacks on the property that is known as the Brandt lot or 513 9th Street.

The company wants to purchase and move an older home onto the lot and completely refurbish it.

The request is to facilitate the purchase of a house that is in good condition, but may be a little large for the smaller (10,080 square feet) lot. Most lots in the city are 10,500 square feet, said Borglund.

The required setback is 10 feet, and the variance is for an eight-foot setback, he said.

Planning and zoning recommended the approval.

A public hearing for P & P Enterprises brought no public comment, and the council approved the request after hearing from Dave Perry that his company will try to find a home that will conform to the 10-foot setbacks, if it can.

The third public hearing brought no comment from the public. The council approved the conditional use permit and rezoning of the property at 704 Seventh Avenue for Welch Investments to operate an automobile service business.

Only three vehicles may be stored on-site at any one time, according to the permit.

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