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board of adjustment

City development notes: Dahl appeases neighbors; McNally moves on YWCA apartments; senior-living facility approved

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Winona City Hall

After months of criticism and negotiation, the neighbors next to the new Dahl Automotive facility along Hwy. 61 in Winona are starting to come to terms with the development.

Andrew Dahl — the owner of Dahl Automotive — was unanimously granted a variance to a setback requirement Wednesday by the city’s Board of Adjustment, though most of the nearly hour-long conversation on the topic mostly revolved around ongoing concerns. By the end, some of the loudest opponents were satisfied with the outcome.

The variance was approved to remove a 50-foot setback buffer from Dahl’s commercial property and instead allow a parking lot right up to the property line of two residential properties that Dahl owns — right next to the adjoining neighborhood.

The variance included a number of conditions, including requiring the business to build a berm with a fence, preserve three trees, switch to LED lighting, and turn off as many lights during the night as possible.

Homeowners Carol and Todd Bell, who own the house that faces the new facility, have been at nearly every meeting concerning Dahl and have spoken against it.

Along with other neighbors, they were concerned about light pollution, water runoff, and a visual barrier to shield the neighborhood. But after being assured their concerns were being addressed, the Bells — though not happy about the development — were satisfied.

“We think this is a great compromise,” Carol Bell said.

Others agreed.

“I had a pretty lengthy statement that I was going to read off,” Norman Kostuck said during a public hearing Wednesday.

He held up two pieces of paper filled with wording — Kostuck had passionately opposed the project during previous meetings. But when he spoke, it wasn’t from his written speech.

“I gotta commend Andrew for being a good neighbor,” Kostuck said as he turned from the podium to look at Dahl. “I want to publicly thank Andrew for coming through.”

McNally threatens to back out of YWCA development

Winona developer and building owner Dave McNally wants kitchen stoves for the proposed 44 apartments he plans to build in the former YWCA building — and might walk away from the project if he can’t get them.

McNally brought a request to the board of adjustment asking that he be allowed a variance for setbacks that would allow him to build full apartments with kitchens, rather than just sleeping units. With the current setbacks, McNally would have freedom to build as many sleeping units, but there couldn’t be kitchens involved.

The board approved the setbacks on a split vote, with board members Laura Priem and Marsha Neff voting against.

When the question came up about how many sleeping rooms he would legally be able to put in the building if the variance wasn’t approved, and the board considering tabling the issue, McNally said he wouldn’t wait and instead would just move on with sleeping units if the topic was tabled.

“If that’s what’s going to (delay) this, I’m going to say I won’t come back,” McNally said. “If it’s your wisdom not to put stoves in my kitchens, I’ll do it.”

McNally said he believes the proposal was the best for him and the city. It would give young professionals and college students more upscale housing, he said, and if the variance was approved he would include a parking lot even though the city’s ordinance wouldn’t require it.

A few board members motioned for approval, saying they’d rather see full-scale apartments there rather than a unforeseeable number of sleeping units filled, likely, with college students.

“I’d rather have his plan than 100 students in the building,” board member David Kouba said. “His proposal is the best of the worst.”

Senior living facility approved

A proposed 15-unit senior living facility at the corner of Franklin and Broadway moved forward after the board of adjustment unanimously approved a variance allowing for seven fewer parking spots than city ordinance requires.

The agreement came on the condition that the proposed three-story facility be only for seniors and have a majority of its parking underneath the building as the facility’s first floor.

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