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Council concerned over setback backsliding

The Wadena City Council approved a variance on a side-lot setback requirement to allow a resident to construct a home closer to an adjoining property than is normally allowed in the city ordinance.

Allen Miller requested the variance to construct a 26-by-60 foot dwelling at 411 Fourth St. NW within five feet of the adjoining property line instead of the required 10-foot setback spelled out in city rules.

Some on the city council expressed reservations about granting a growing number of variances on setbacks -- indicating the setback should either apply to all, or the requirement be changed so everyone has the same opportunity.

"We're doing an awful lot of setback reductions," Mayor Wayne Wolden said. "I don't think 5 feet is sufficient. Maybe our zoning law is wrong. Maybe it should be 5 feet."

Councilman Toby Pierce said he went and looked at the property in question and thinks 5 feet is sufficient. None of Miller's neighbors objected to the variance.

The council approved the variance on a 3-2 vote, with Wolden and Councilwoman Kay Browne dissenting.