• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Council OKs “shouse”

Board of adjustment approves conditional use for shop house

SOLON– It’s a shop. It’s a house.
It’s a “shouse.”
Solon City Council members approved a combination building to be used as a principal residence on Solon’s south side during a Sept. 16 meeting.
The council action backed up a decision by the Board of Adjustment (BOA) on the previous night to allow a conditional use request by Mike Bails for a one-acre corner lot at 1809 Racine Ave.
City Administrator Cami Rasmussen said Bails brought the idea for a combined storage building and living quarters to her a while back.
“It was unusual, didn’t clearly fit into the zoning code,” she said.
Rasmussen consulted with City Engineer Dave Schechinger and City Attorney Kevin Olson regarding the proposal.
“We all agreed that this should go through board of adjustment as a conditional use,” she told council members.
The shop house is targeted for Lot 1 of Brotherton Ridge Part Two, a small subdivision located along the gravel on Racine Avenue south of Solon High School. A final plat for the development was also on the agenda for council members.
Because the lot is located in an R-1 zone, Rasmussen explained, to allow one “shouse” without review or condition would set a precedent opening all R-1 areas to similar structures.
There was also a question of the non-traditional outbuilding style, she added.
The city’s comprehensive plan calls for a more traditional style as well as details Bails’ proposal did not nicely fit, she said.
The BOA reviewed the request at a Sept. 15 meeting and voted to grant the conditional use permit, finding no health and safety issues, she said.
But there were several caveats.
The building’s primary use must be as a residence, and must comply with all R-1 zoning regulations, Rasmussen reported. The structure must also substantially adhere to the concept plan presented with the application and disseminated to council members, she said, although the exterior color will be dark gray.
The intent to build is as a single-family house, she said, and the shouse must be occupied.
With no discussion, council members approved the conditional use permit unanimously.
A single condition was also attached to the motion approving the Brotherton Ridge Part Two final plat on a 5-0 vote earlier in the meeting.
The development made its first appearance before the council in November of 2019 when a preliminary plat and developer’s agreement were approved.
The city will extend water service to the three acre-sized residential lots south of the high school, but each will have individual septic systems because of the need for a lift station to reach the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
The developer’s agreement includes a provision requiring the lots to hook up to city sewer once the surrounding area develops. Existing septic tanks would then have to be removed in accordance with existing requirements.
An existing house on Lot 1 was torn down.
The three lots constitute only a portion of the overall property. Over 10 acres designated as an L-shaped outlot could be developed at a later time.
The only problem was some damage caused by MidAmerican Energy during the installation of a gas line for the subdivision.
According to Rasmussen, a section of asphalt on 5th Street needed to be repaired.
She suggested either withholding building permits or obtaining an escrow as a condition of the final plat’s approval.
Mayor Steve Stange expressed a preference for the escrow, but questioned which party was responsible.
Rasmussen said Bails would have to work with MidAmerican to make sure the street is fixed.
When asked for his opinion, Bails noted, “This is the first I’m hearing of it. I wasn’t aware of this.”
Rasmussen noted she had only been made aware of the damage earlier in the day.
City Attorney Olson indicated an escrow would be cleanest, but Bails couldn’t commit at the meeting.
“I have no idea what the amount of repair is,” he said. If it’s just a section of asphalt, he observed, it shouldn’t be too much.
Bails said he would prefer the city not issue occupancy permits until the repair is complete, citing a pending building permit for one of the lots.
“If I had an amount today and we knew what the escrow was, I could just say yes, but I have no idea what that is,” he noted.
While Stange felt Bails’ offer was fair, Rasmussen indicated it was too wide a window.
“That’s three to four months down the road and that’s not going to work,” she said. “It needs to be repaired before the weather sets in.”
Council member Lynn Morris suggesting tabling the final plat until an escrow amount was determined.
Council member Dan O’Neil leaned in Bails’ favor, noting the damage puts all involved in a tight spot time-wise.
“Is this something you probably could take care of in the next couple weeks?” Stange asked Bails.
“I’ll get on it first thing tomorrow,” Bails pledged.
Stange said the local developer’s promise should hold weight.
Bails was the one to suggest the final solution, noting he would be happy to put a completion date of Nov. 1 on the repair.
The compromise suited Rasmussen.
“I’m just worried if that’s not fixed before snow,” she said, “you’re going to have issues with that street and further repairs needed.”
Bails said he would contact Public Works Director Scott Kleppe and MidAmerican Energy and make the necessary arrangements.
Council members approved the final plat with a Nov. 1 deadline for the repairs to 5th Street.