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Residents sound off on Mitchell man's request to swap residential home for carpet business

Jack Earl, a local business owner, is seeking to tear down his 715 S. Rowley St. house to build a warehouse and showroom for his carpet business.

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Shown here is the house, located at 715 S. Rowley St., that Jack Earl is seeking to tear down to construct a 32 by 60 foot building, which would serve as a showroom and warehouse for his local carpet business. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

A Mitchell resident’s plan to build a new warehouse and showroom for his carpet business has come up against some opposition from some nearby residents who worry it will “drive down property values.”

Jack Earl, owner of Oh My Carpet, plans to tear down his 715 S. Rowley St. home and construct a new building that he says will serve as a combination of a showroom and warehouse for his carpet business. However, a pair of nearby residents are strongly opposed to the plan largely due to the claim that the business will also cause an increase in traffic and eat away at the residential feel of the neighborhood.

“Why should this man get to rezone this residential property for his needs when there are plenty of commercial lots available? Everything else around there is residential, and that business building will drive down property values,” said Carl Knock, whose ex-wife resides in a home near Earl’s property, located at 713 S. Rowley St.

As part of the plan, Earl said he would construct a 32- by 60-foot structure for the showroom and warehouse building.

For Earl to build the warehouse on the property that’s zoned in an R3 residential district, he’s requesting to rezone the lot to a highway business district. While the Mitchell City Council approved the first reading of the rezoning request during the Oct. 4 meeting, the building plan would have to be approved before it can be constructed.

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“I just simply want to put a building there for business that will be about two-thirds warehouse and about a third showroom,” Earl said during the Oct. 4 council meeting. “The building will fit in the property nicely.”

Mayor Bob Everson said Earl’s property is contiguous to a highway business district, meaning it’s adjacent to Earl’s 715 S. Rowley St. home despite the residential homes surrounding the lot. Since the highway business district is adjacent to Earl’s property, Everson said it would not be considered spot zoning, which occurs when a property that’s completely surrounded by the same zoning district is changed to a different zoning district.

The Planning and Zoning Commission wasn’t on board with rezoning the property to highway business during the Sept. 13 meeting, as the board voted to deny the request 5-1. Commission member Kevin Genzlinger was concerned the rezoning request would “encroach on the residential” area.

As a longtime resident in the area, Marlyce Knock wrote in her letter disapproving of Earl’s plan that the plan is “not safe for kids” since the residential area “already sees enough traffic” with M&H gas station nearby.

Knock also noted Earl’s proposed building for the carpet business would take away from the residential neighborhood feel.

“We want our neighborhood to be about the families that live there and those that have lived there for many years,” Marlyce Knock wrote in her letter to the city.

Boyd Reimnitz, who owns several properties nearby the area where Earl is seeking to build, was the lone nearby resident who submitted a letter approving of Earl’s plan.

In response to the concerns the business will cause an increase in traffic, Earl said “there’s not going to be a lot of activity” at the building.

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“Most of my sales go from the people’s business or homes I do work for, so there’s not going to be a lot of activity,” Earl said.

Related Topics: BOB EVERSON
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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