Elmwood variance request appeal pushed back in favor of Planned Unit Development query

WORTHINGTON – A resident of Elmwood Avenue will have to wait a bit longer to find out the results of a variance request for building a garage on his property. The Worthington City Council on Monday, after a lengthy debate, opted to take no action on an appeal of the variance denial.

Last month, the council tabled the appeal after the Planning Commission denied the variance based on the second prong of a three-factor test, stating the landowner’s problem was not unique to the property.

Daryle Albersma lives on Elmwood Avenue, and requested an 8-foot variance to the required 10-foot setback to build an attached garage addition. He could legally build to the back of the property, but does not wish to impede his neighbors’ view of the golf course. His appeal states the hardship is having to park one car on the street, as his current garage is a one-vehicle stall.

According to Assistant City Administrator Jason Brisson, there was a time in the city’s history when ordinances were less restrictive. The lots in question are narrower than would currently be allowed. As the city has grown and changed, zoning has tried to accommodate older parts of the city.

A motion to deny the appeal of the variance failed on a 2-3 vote, yet a motion to approve the variance appeal also failed, this time on a 1-4 vote.

Although the action required at the meeting was to act on the appeal, the council opted to formally request that a planned unit development by brought forward to address an area that is currently zoned R-3, a low-density preservation district.

City staff will look into creation of a planned unit development for the council to review, keeping in mind that the variance appeal has to be acted on within a certain time limit.

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