Although the city Planning and Zoning Commission backed a property owner’s plan on Monday to construct a garage next to his downtown Mitchell building, some contingencies were established to attempt to preserve the historic nature of the area.

For Kleve Klingaman to build a 14-by-70 foot garage next to his 117 E. Fourth Ave. building, the Planning Commission unanimously agreed that a portion of the garage must be constructed with brick, rather than the steel that was initially going to be used for the entire garage. The garage will be built on the south side of the building, which is the location of Exit Realty's offices.

Considering Klingaman’s building is deemed historic, the South Dakota Historic Preservation Office may make recommendations on any new work on the property and determine whether it protects the historic nature of the building. City Planner Neil Putnam broke down the recommendations made by historic preservation officials.

“One of the comments is that the garage is not attached to the building. And they would also like to see the front have some type of historic appearance, and not just solid metal,” Putnam said.

Kilngaman, owner of Mitchell’s Exit Realty, said the structure would serve as a garage. Over the past year, Klingaman has been fixing up the entire building to transform it into his home. Now that Klingaman and his family are residing there, he’s moving onto adding a garage.

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“I’ve looked into putting a garage in the basement, but that’s not going to work, but that’s not feasible. I don’t want my cars sitting out in the open down there since there is a lot of vandalism,” Klingaman said. “I figured this is tucked away enough that I could make it work. I renovated the upstairs and pretty much the whole interior. I plan to do the outside as well.”

Commission member Larry Jirsa opposed the metal siding of the garage, noting it “doesn’t fit” for the property. Jirsa was also concerned that allowing the entire garage to be built with steel would set a precedent for other downtown property owners.

As a longtime architect, Jirsa said metal buildings and garages in the downtown area have “screwed” it up and hurt the historic nature of the area.

“Image-wise, the metal just doesn’t fit that property. I think some type of brick or masonry is much more appropriate. There are too many metal buildings downtown, and I personally think metal buildings have kind of screwed downtown up,” Jirsa said. “If we approve metal, then a downtown property like Dr. Lucky’s should be able to put one up next to their building.”

While the Planning Commission collectively agreed to not allow the entire garage to be built with steel, they OK’d the side walls, which Klingaman said would “not be really visible,” to be constructed with steel.

City Building Inspector John Hegg reiterated that the recommendations of the building materials for the garage are solely to meet the historic preservation standards.

“I don’t have any other restrictions on building materials," he said. "Because it is in the historic district, we are doing the best we can to follow the historic preservation office as best we can.”

Dan Boehmer, manager of Ethan Co-Op Lumber Company, is the contractor Klingaman picked to build the shed that would face Lawler Street. He said the garage will be built in a way that allows the area to handle water runoff from the roof during any rain events.