A local property manager’s plan to build a garage along one of his rental homes in south Mitchell hit a snag on Monday during the city Planning and Zoning Commission meeting due to safety concerns.
Boyd Reimnitz, owner of Mid Dakota Properties, requested to construct a small garage along the east side of one of his rental properties, located at 719 S. Edmunds St., in hopes to resolve the flooding issues that have occurred in the basement of the home. After discussing the potential safety concerns and parking issues that could arise with the proposed garage, the Planning Commission moved to table the request, with the stipulation that Boyd Reimnitz must come up with an alternative plan to quell the flooding woes.
“The reason we want to build a garage there is because the basement apartment has flooded on multiple occasions since we bought the property,” Reimnitz said during Monday’s Planning Commission meeting at City Hall. “It’s a problem for us and the tenant.”
To construct the garage, Reimnitz needed the Planning Commission’s approval for a front-yard variance that’s 7 by 25 feet. However, Commission member Doug Molumby was concerned that vehicles parking in front of the garage would cause “safety issues” and likely obstruct part of the public sidewalk.
“The 7-foot part of the variance doesn’t leave enough room to park a car in front of the garage. If a car is sitting out in front of the garage, it would be covering the sidewalk,” Molumby said, noting the average size of a vehicle ranges from 13 to 15 feet.
Regarding the safety concerns, John Hegg, the city’s building inspector, said the vehicles “backing in and out” of the front side of the garage would be a pain and could get “dicey.”
A nearby property owner’s letter of disapproval submitted by Pam Bathke stated the proposed garage would make for a “limited view to check for individuals walking, running or biking along the sidewalk,” which she added could result in an accident.
Commission Chairman Jay Larson shared similar concerns with the proposed garage, noting he has a “real heartburn” over the 7-foot portion of the front-yard variance due to the potential parking issues that could arise.
“He’s got a real problem out there, but I don’t think the garage is the best solution,” Larson said.
As a suggestion, Molumby asked Reimnitz whether he would explore the possibility of raising the elevation of the concrete where the water is flowing into the home and removing the door that’s used to enter the basement.
While Reimnitz said he’s not opposed to coming up with an alternative plan such as the one Molumby pitched to remedy the flooding issues at the property, he noted the garage is the most ideal solution.
“I’m not going to stomp my feet and run out of here if you don’t approve of the garage. In a perfect world, that is what I’d like,” Reimnitz said. “The flooding comes from the north, south and east. Whatever we do, we will have to build a wall higher on the north side. We just need to do something there.”
Reimnitz noted he planned to add a step along the basement entry way to increase the elevation by 7.5 inches so that it’s level to the sidewalk.
City Attorney Justin Johnson reminded the Planning Commission that they have the option to table the request, which would allow Reimnitz to come back with an alternative option within a month. Johnson said tabling it would help Reimnitz avoid having to wait another six months to present an alternative plan to remedy the flooding, which Reimnitz said he will move forward with.