The county zoning board nixed a variance request Thursday that would have allowed construction of a mini-storage unit facility off Continental Drive.
The variance request from Gene Spolar and Cathy Huffer was to build a four-building facility in an area that’s normally zoned only for single-family homes. Spolar and Huffer also wanted to locate the facility 10 feet from the buildings' front and back yards, which is less than the minimum required distances of 20 and 35 feet, respectively.
In addition to its four buildings, the facility would have included wrought-iron fencing along Continental Drive and intermittent spans of 6-foot vinyl fencing throughout the rest of the structure. The applicants also proposed installing gutters and landscaping along Fairmont Street.
According to the zoning board’s staff analysis, the facility was designed to look similar to commercial buildings located one block north on Continental Drive.
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The zoning board’s staff recommended approval of the variances, finding that the facility would not be detrimental to the neighborhood. However, neighbors were of a different opinion.
Planning Director Jon Sesso said a coalition of residents arrived at the meeting to speak out against the storage facility, brandishing a petition of 17 signatures asking the zoning board to not approve the project. The board voted 5-1 to deny the request.
Sesso said Spolar and Huffer made a good case for themselves, but the coalition ultimately swayed the board.
“The board was more persuaded by neighbors who were overwhelmingly opposed to the application,” Sesso said.
Chairman Dave Wing and board members Tyler Shaffer, John Habeger, Dolores Cooney and Julie Jaksha voted against the request. Les Taylor voted in favor of the application.
The Montana Standard was unable to reach Spolar and Huffer by press time Friday.