Neighbors battle at Mitchell City HallA pair of disputes between neighbors bubbled over during the Mitchell Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Monday at City Hall.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A pair of disputes between neighbors bubbled over during the Mitchell Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Monday at City Hall.
The disputes resulted in commission members recommending rejection of applications for a variance and a conditional use permit.
Larry and Kathy Gebel are seeking a variance to construct a carport at 1118 S. Kimball St. The front-yard setback will not be met, since 30 feet are required under the city code and the Gebels want to provide 22.
Michael Miiller, who lives just north of the Gebels, spoke against the proposed variance.
Miiller said constructing the carport at the proposed site would obstruct his view from his front window and would impede the view for traffic.
“He’s got other options,” he said. The Gebels live on a double lot.
Miiller said the carport could be located between the Gebels’ garage and their home, which would ensure there is no obstructed view.
Larry Gebel said he had not objected in the past when Miiller parked a semi-trailer truck on the street, which he said blocked views.
The neighbors then openly clashed, with Gebel, saying he can’t spend money freely like a farmer, a reference to Miiller’s work.
Miiller then said he almost didn’t attend the meeting because he felt such a clash would take place.
“This is what I was afraid of, a p—- ing match,” he said. Miiller said he also was irritated that his neighbor didn’t approach him and discuss the plan.
“He never came and talked to me about this,” he said. “I had to find out from a third party.”
The commissioners watched the argument for a few minutes before Chairman Don Meyers stepped in and asked the planners to vote on it. No one spoke for several minutes. No motions were made.
Meyers then asked if the request for a variance should die for a lack of a motion, before a motion was finally made to recommend rejecting the request. It passed unanimously.
The second item on the agenda was a virtual repeat.
Bob Plastow is seeking a conditional use permit to operate a home occupation computer business at 808 E. Third Ave., and at first it seemed to be headed for a recommendation for approval, with the commissioners noting that other computer businesses have been launched in garages.
But John and Brenda Weisser, who live at 815 E. Fourth Ave., objected. “It’s zoned residential only,” John Weisser said in a fiery speech. “He built that garage knowing it was for a business.” Weisser, who operates a heating and air conditioning business, said he attempted to open a home business in 1999 and was turned down by the city. Now, he said, there are home businesses popping up all over Mitchell. “These guys are running businesses out of their homes and nobody’s doing anything about it,” Weisser said. Plastow said he hopes the business succeeds and grows and if it does, he may want to hire employees.
Brenda Weisser said that is another concern for her.
“It’s going to get bigger and get more and more employees,” she said. “Where are the employees going to park?”
Plastow, a computer network analyst, would need a separate conditional use permit to add employees to a home business, City Planner Neil Putnam said.
The commission once again sat quietly after the neighbors batted the issues back and forth. Once again, Meyers said he was ready to list the request as defeated for a lack of a motion.
A motion was finally made and the request was recommended for rejection by a unanimous vote.
Both requests will come before the City Council on Monday.
New zoning code
In other business Monday, commissioners received copies of the proposed new zoning code for the city.
City Attorney Randy Stiles and City Planner Neil Putnam have been working on the new code for several months. They presented copies of the 91-page, 14-chapter document to the planners.
Stiles and Putnam reviewed city law, the decisions of the planners and the City Council, policies of other cities, and evolving uses and practices in the city and region to draft a modernized code.
“Hopefully, we made this more readable,” Putnam said.
The code is divided into definitions and jurisdictions, process, administration, standards and enforcement, and districts and uses permitted in them.