City does not approve variance on former Coca-Cola building

Benjamin Chase of the Plainsman
Posted 9/26/23

Notes from September 25 Huron City Commission meeting

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City does not approve variance on former Coca-Cola building


HURON — While the votes by Huron City Commissioners were to approve a variance for 227 Dakota Ave. N. on Monday night by a margin of three to two, the necessary two-thirds majority was not achieved, meaning that the variance filed by Adam Rathjen was denied at Monday’s Huron City Commission meeting.

Rathjen had applied for a variance to allow for a the building, currently zoned industrial, to allow for a single-family residence. His intention was to build three bedrooms on the upstairs portion of the building as well as one bedroom on the main floor along with window work on the property. He would also utilize part of the property to park a camper and for storage.

Rathjen expressed that he had attempted to lease the building for some time after a previous lessee left the building, and he stated that he only just had a bite on potential use for the building after the variance hearing with the zoning board last week. His intention was to sell his current residence in Huron and live in the building as an owner/occupant.

Sherry McGillvrey and Gary Spicer, both business owners on adjoining properties, spoke to the variance with questions about putting a residential space in the midst of a heavily industrial area along with concerns about the building being sold down the road as a potential multi-family dwelling with children present around a high-traffic corridor.

During the discussion, question on the definition of a “driveway” were referenced, and city attorney Tucker Volesky did express that current city ordinance was not specific about the true width of what can be considered a driveway. This issue came up due to low-profile curb along much of the property in question that may or may not constitute street viable parking.

The vote was called for by Mayor Gary Harrington. Commissioners Bryan Smith and Rich Bragg voted in favor of the variance, along with Mayor Harrington. Commissioners Drew Weinreis and Shawn Harvey voted against the variance.

While the majority was in favor of the variance, it did not reach the two-thirds majority required to pass.

City engineer Brett Runge bought the commission a proposed agreement from DGR Engineering to complete a wastewater flow projection study and design of the Flanery lift station that serves much of the South portion of Huron.

The cost for the study and design is at an hourly rate not to exceed $73,500. This was approved.

The second reading of the 2024 budget was heard and approved. City finance director Paullyn Carey noted that the overall budget of $52,622,628 is an increase of 14% over the 2023 budget.

Commissioners also:
• Accepted the voluntary retirement of Mike Tisland, airport operations maintenance technician, effective Oct. 21.

• Approved the hire of Stacey Andrews for Circulation Desk Manager at Huron Public Library.
• Approved a raffle for Huron Chamber at the Crossroads Event Center Nov. 2-4.
• Approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police Huron Lodge #3A.
• Approved renewal of the joint funding agreement with US Geological Survey for the gaging station on the James River.
• Approved a home occupation permit for Scott and Barb DeSchepper, Schep’s LLC, doing business as Scotty D’s BBQ.

The commission closed the public meeting and entered into executive session regarding contractual items.