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Fire District wins backing for variances

Department turning Gore Road facility into vehicle repair center

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 8:01 a.m. CDT

The Morris Fire Protection District was granted two variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals for its new building, which will be used as a repair center for district vehicles.

The ZBA met Wednesday and approved a side-yard variance and a lot width variance for a Manufacturing-1 zone.

The fire district purchased the old truck testing facility on Gore Road. It will be used for the district's repair center to work on its vehicles and, in the distant future, to add a training structure on the property, said Chief Tracey Steffes.

The fire district will be asking for the less-than-one-acre lot to be annexed into the city for water and sewer services. When it does, it will be asking for M-1 zoning, said attorney for the district Christopher Dearth of Hynds, Rooks, Yohnka & Bzdill.

The district is using the existing facility. The possible future training tower would be concrete and will not be used for live fire training. It will be used for practicing the use of ladders and hoses, said Steffes .

"The fire district wants to be a good neighbor," he said.

The fire district has already started improving the building by putting in about $40,000 worth of work, said Steffes, including the replacement of doors, updating the building, cleaning it, and adding signage.

Also in the future, the district could come back to the city to build an addition on to the structure, making it longer, if there is an increased need.

To prepare for this possibility, the district asked the ZBA for a lot width variance of 30 feet. In M-1, a 150-foot lot width is required and the lot is 120 feet. This was approved.

For M-1, a side-yard setback of 15 feet is required and a two-foot variance was granted for the district's lot, which has a setback of 13 feet.

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