Council OKs variance for planned Family Dollar/ Dollar Tree

Development planned for East College Drive property

MARSHALL — A developer seeking to build a Family Dollar/Dollar Tree store on East College Drive has received city approval to have a smaller side yard and parking lot than required by city ordinances.

The property receiving a variance permit is different from the Dollar General that recently opened on East College Drive, and is located further east, on the 1200 block of College Drive.

Last week, members of the Marshall City Council heard a request for a variance adjustment permit from Iron Horse Development. The new property owner was requesting to have a five-foot side yard rather than the 10 feet the city requires, and 29 parking spaces instead of the required 33 spaces. The property owner wanted to maximize the width of a driveway on the west side of the lot, which would lead to a parking lot in the back.

A property can only receive a variance if there would be practical difficulties enforcing city zoning ordinances on the property. Assistant Planning and Zoning Administrator Ilya Gutman told the council the property needed to meet a three-pronged test to show that there would be practical difficulties enforcing city ordinances. First, the variance would need to be reasonable, he said. The reason for the variance must also be unique to the property, and the variance should not change the character of the area.

City staff thought the variance request didn’t meet all the practical difficulty requirements, Gutman said.

“However, during the Planning Commission meeting, the owner representative presented his point of view, and gave support for meeting all those tests,” Gutman said.

The city Planning Commission recommended granting the variance.

Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes said the owner of one of the adjoining properties had presented the Planning Commission and the city council a letter with questions about the proposed variance, including questions about where runoff would drain from the property.

Levi Bond, of Iron Horse Development, said runoff would go to the north of the property.

“By doing the parking variance, we create more landscaping area in the back. We’re going to probably have just a little detention cell there, to contain all the water in our property, and then it’s going to go to the north into that ditch,” he said.

Bond said the edge of the property’s parking lot pavement would be blended with the parking lot in the adjoining property. However, he said deliveries and customer traffic at the new store would not use the neighboring property’s parking lot.

City council and planning commission member Amanda Schroeder said commission members had fewer concerns about reducing the width of the side yard on the property.

“The side yards are different all up and down East College Drive,” she said.

The developer had also pointed out other properties along East College Drive that do not have the required 10-foot setback, said City Attorney Dennis Simpson.

Council members voted 6-1 in favor of approving the variance, with council member Steven Meister casting the vote against.


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