An application to construct a storage addition next to a building on South Rowley Street was narrowly approved Monday by the Planning and Zoning Commission, despite the uncertainty of where property lines are established.

Dustin, Darren and Devon Long’s application to construct a roughly 30-by-60 foot addition that would extend south from the existing 520 S. Rowley St. building was approved in a 3-2 vote during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at City Hall. Dustin Long attended the Monday meeting.

Making up the votes of approval were Commission members Jon Osterloo, Larry Jirsa and Doug Molumby, while Kevin Genzlinger and Mark Vaux represented the two votes to deny recommendation. Absent form the meeting was Chairman Jay Larson and Commission member Craig Fergen.

The storage addition -- which is intended to house a motor-home -- would extend roughly 30 feet from the existing South Rowley Street building. That would put the addition roughly 15 feet from the curb that sits along West Douglas Avenue.

While City Planner Neil Putnam estimated the addition would be about 2 feet from the neighboring property line, it’s not clear where the property line is situated.

“One issue we’ve come across is trying to find where exactly the property line is, and with the snow the pins are hard to find,” Putnam said. “(Long) had it surveyed in 1997, so pins were put in.”

Putnam suggested including a contingency that requests Long to locate the pins in order for the property line to be clearly established. Once the pins are located and the property line is established, the Planning Commission is requiring Long to be at least 2 feet away from the property line.

According to Long, there is approximately 45 feet from the Douglas Avenue curb to the building on the south side. With the setbacks, Long estimates that would put the building addition within the desired 2 feet from the property line. Although there isn't a sidewalk and boulevard situated south of Long's building on Douglas Avenue, the 12 to 13 feet needed for constructing a boulevard and sidewalk in the future is why Long's property line doesn't extend all the way to the curb.

“It will be pretty close, so we need to get out there and find the pin to know exactly if we can go 30 feet or 29 feet,” Dustin Long said. “I’m going to get a metal detector to find them before the upcoming City Council meeting.”

Long said it would be ideal for the addition to extend 30 feet, noting it would allow him to install two door openings on the building.

Commission member Kevin Genzlinger opposed the addition, citing the close proximity of the addition to the property line isn’t enough separation.

“The ordinances are created for protection against this exact situation, and I don’t think 2 feet from the property line is adequate,” Genzlinger said. “I also don’t think the oversize is adequate, and I’m not in favor of this.”

In addition, Genzlinger alluded to the addition being surrounded by a residential neighborhood, noting it doesn’t fit the overall aesthetics of the area.

To fit the motor-home, Long said 16 foot sidewalls would need to be installed, which would make the height of the new storage addition taller than the existing 520 S. Rowley St. building by about 2 feet.

Considering the uncertainty of the property line, Commission member Mark Vaux said he, too, opposes the addition.

“If those property line pins are going to be 6 inches from the addition I can’t support this, but if there further back I can potentially get on board with this,” Vaux said. “At this point, without knowing where the property line is, I’m going to vote no.”

The Mitchell City Council will have the final say in whether the addition receives approval, which will take place at the upcoming Jan. 21 council meeting.