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October 22, 2014

Mantorville residents comment against accessory building

During a lengthy public hearing at the October 13, 2014, meeting of the Mantorville City Council, several residents spoke out against a variance to a city ordinance prohibiting an accessory building being built before a house and a conditional use permit to operate a home business in the accessory structure.

Applicants Ann and Mark Torkelson were at the meeting and explained how their business, Trees Turf, & Stone, LLC, could be operated out of a property on residentially zoned land and stay within the conditions of city ordinances and the conditional use permit for the business.

During their busy season – May through November - they make few daily trips in and out of their warehouse now and they would be able to obey the city noise ordinance that requires quiet after 10 p.m. They have one to three seasonal employees.

Jone Trapp lives near the property, which is on County Road 12.

Trapp asked if this really is a home-based business. She was concerned that the 70-foot by 90-foot warehouse would “… alter the essential character of the neighborhood.”

“It looks more like a zoning request,” Trapp said.

City Clerk/Treasurer Cami Reber explained that there are two types of home-based businesses, a home occupation where the business takes place inside the home and there is no evidence outside that it happens at all.

The other kind is a home business where 50 per cent of an accessory structure is used in the business.

Reber explained in a later email exchange that the Torkelsons are aware that only half the building can be used for the home business.

Other neighbors, Mark and Nancy Schmidt also asked, “How is this a home business?”

Neighbor David Berge said he runs a small landscaping business and has his warehouse between Byron and Rochester. He said there is often excess sand, mulch, gravel, or rock that is stored temporarily near this type of business. He also said the beeping on equipment backing up runs late into the night because during the season, landscapers work until dark.

Ann said she understands the noise concerns but she thought most noise would be over at 9 p.m.

The size of the warehouse was also questioned. City ordinance....TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE PURCHASE THE DCI TODAY!

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