Following discussion on both Nov. 19, during a public hearing, and again on Nov. 22, The City of Dayton decided to grant a variance to the building code to Brett Hyde and his wife, Katie.

The Hydes tore down two derelict homes on a piece of property they hope to split, building a new home on one of the lots at 364 & 354 South HWY 36. Four of the five parties involved were at the public hearing.

The Hydes hope to subdivide the 1.5 acre lot into a one-acre lot and a half-acre lot. Normally the variance and subsequent meetings wouldn’t need to happen since the lots in question had a preexisting house on each lot already; any new construction could be grandfathered into existence. However the new structures would have to be built in the exact footprint of the old homes. Because the Hydes hope to build a new home on the 364 lot that is further back from the road than the old original house was the variance is needed. Without the variance the frontage for the second property, 354, would cost them over $100,000.

“I am absolutely, 100%, against having a home in my backyard,” said Richard Morriss, who owns the property in front of the 354 South address. His primary reason it is that new construction could potentially cut off his view of the mountains west of his property. When Councilwoman Lane Telford asked if the old structure cut off his view or was otherwise an eyesore he said it wasn’t. He, like several others in the room, would rather their nearest neighbors be five miles or more away, they said. Hyde offered to talk to Morriss to iron out some sort of private agreement.

Former Councilman Zon Alder implored the council to deny the variance as well, citing the requirements for a variance in the city’s own code. The council can provide the variance if all six of the following conditions are met satisfactorily. Condition One: The need for a variance results from physical limitations unique to the lot or parcel. Condition Two: Failure to approve the variance will result in undue hardship because no reasonable conforming use of the lot or parcel is possible otherwise. Condition Three: The alleged hardship has not been created by the actions of the owner. Condition Four: The variance will not create problems for the other preexisting properties. Condition Five: The variance provides the minimum relief from the ordinance’s requirements. Condition Six: Additional conditions may be attached to the variance as needed.

Alder’s argument hinged on the term “reasonable conforming use” meaning that the variance has to be necessary for the property to be used to its fullest, or else it is a luxury and should be denied. Alder ives on the other side of town from the properties in question so whether the variance is approved or not, his property value won’t be touched.

About the only green light this variance got that night was from the Twin Lakes Canal Company. Their representative, Justin Roberts, said that so long as the new homes don’t encroach on the canal bank, which goes out 75 feet from the center of the canal, they’re okay with their construction.

Due to an unexpected scheduling conflict Councilman Stacy Moser was unable to give his opinion until a second meeting was held on Friday, Nov. 22. At that time, Stacy expressed the dilemma facing the council that the Hydes could have skipped all of this and built houses where they used to be.

At the Friday meeting Carol Holliday, Jill and Alan Taylor, and Christie Thompson all came in support of the variance. Thompson thanked the Hydes for tearing down the old houses.

The council’s ultimate decision was to conditionally grant the variance for the frontage if the second water hook up, which is not feasibly usable, cannot be moved. Councilwoman Lain Telford assured the Hydes that the city will begin looking for a way to move the second water hookup to another property immediately. This will require a change to the city’s water code which will require several months, at least one public hearing and a visit with the city attorney to accomplish.

The Hydes were slightly rueful about the water hookup moving, because the code not allowing it to move is what drove them to apply for the variance in the first place. They hoped to build their new home once the frost had cleared from the ground this March. Although that may not happen they were happy to have a decision.

In other matters, the city has approved a five percent rate increase in the base water rate effective New Years Day.

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