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Subway setback splits planning and zoning board

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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

A split recommendation on a variance request for a proposed Subway restaurant building will be brought to the Mitchell City Council next week.

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Four of the Mitchell Planning and Zoning Commission’s seven members attended Monday’s meeting at City Hall, which included consideration of a setback variance request from Ken and Mary Jane Giblin for construction of a new building at 802 N. Sanborn Blvd. The Giblins own the Subway restaurant at 501 S. Sanborn and plan to move the current business to the proposed location.

Don Meyers made the motion to recommend approval of the variance and Bernie Schmucker seconded it. Both voted in favor.

Larry Griffith, Doug Molumby and Jay Larson were absent from the meeting.

Members Craig Fergen and Bob Everson voted against the variance.

Everson said the Giblins should find a way to meet the 35-foot setback called for in the city code. The Giblins are asking for a setback of 19 feet, 6 inches from the road.

“That’s city ordinance,” Everson said after the meeting Monday. “It shouldn’t be taken arbitrarily and they need to have a very good reason for needing a variance.”

City Planner Neil Putnam explained every zoning district has setback requirements to avoid fire hazard and obstruction issues and also to make buildings line up for aesthetic reasons.

Everson said the Giblins didn’t have a good reason to receive a variance.

Fergen said the Giblins could adjust the project to make it meet the setback requirements.

“It might take a little legwork on their part, but it looked like they could meet those better,” Fergen said after the meeting.

The split recommendation will go to the City Council, said Putnam, and the council — sitting as the board of adjustment — will make its decision on the variance during its meeting Monday night.

The building is planned to be 73 feet by 36 feet, said Mark White, project manager at Mueller Lumber, about double the size of the current building at 501 S. Sanborn.

If the council approves the variance, the project is expected to begin April 1 and be completed Aug. 1. The new building would be located north of the Salvation Army.

White was unwilling to release a cost estimate yet as he’s “still putting numbers together and because the variance isn’t approved yet.”

The front of the building would face west and have dual entrances, one to the north and one to the south.

The plans include a drive-through window to the east. Members of the commission asked whether the building could be moved back farther. White said it's possible but noted some accommodations for delivery trucks also are needed in the site's layout.

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