August 6, 2014

Council denies variance, updates condemnation ordinance

By Chris Erickson
After four public discussions and a conflicted council, Beulah’s mayor broke the tie this week that denied a variance request to a home builder.
Herner Homes had requested the variance through the city’s planning and zoning board, which had recommended the council deny the application. After moving one step higher, the application was discussed, and tabled, twice before coming back onto Monday night’s agenda. The application specifically requested allowing a variance in density requirements from the usual 30 percent to 34 percent for a structure proposed by Dave Herner.
To get discussion started, Councilors Clyde Schulz and Al Kok motioned to approve the variance. On hand were members of the city’s planning and zoning board. At the prior meeting Kok had requested they be present to hear their perspectives on the topic.
Planning and zoning Chairman Wes Gunsch said the board had made its recommendation because the members didn’t want to create a precedent for future variances. Gunsch said the board had seen a pattern within the past two years of increased variances requests.
“We’re concerned about that,” he said. “This particular property, if it moves from 30 to 34 percent, what happens in the future if they place a garden shed? They’ll have to come back for another variance. That’s our concern. We want progress in the town. Just like everyone else, we want development. But we need to be cautious so we don’t have things happen in this town like our neighbors out to the west have had happen.”

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