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Problems discussed
Alleys, variances topic at Dearborn

by Kathy Crawford
Landmark reporter

Dearborn resident Jamey Hoffman takes the alley beside her home very seriously. Her garage with a foundation extends into the alleyway, and she wants to rebuild it, she told the Dearborn Board of Aldermen at a meeting last week.

At a prior meeting, city attorney Vic Peters told the board that the city owns the alley, but they can abandon it through legal proceedings. Hoffman said she has maintained the one next to her for as long as she can remember.

“I asked the city at the last city hall meeting if they could abandon that road,” said Hoffman. She argued that even if a housing addition were built at the end of the alley, a roadway would need to be built as the entryway.

“I don't have a problem with it,” said Alderman Larry Wilmes. However, he wasn't sure about the legalities, and Peters was not present at the meeting. City clerk Cindy Atkison said that Peters was researching the issue.

Theis said that as long as the new garage was the same size as the current one, there would be no problem with obtaining a building permit due to a grandfather clause. However, if it is even an inch larger, the Hoffman's would need to ask for a variance, which may or may not be approved.

“There are a lot of things in this town that need to be varied,” said Hoffman. “But the people on this board can have things done. And everything is varied and everything is approved.”

Alderman Luke Theis asked for concrete examples of favoritism, and Hoffman delivered.
“It's okay to have a pool in town and not have a fence around it,” she said. “But when (a resident) built a pool, he had to have a fence put around it.”

The aldermen did not disagree with Hoffman, but Wilmes said he didn't know how the city dealt with the pool fences that Hoffman cited. However, he said that the resident Hoffman used as an example lived in the county, not the city, so that would make a difference.

Hoffman asked the city clerk for a building permit application after the meeting.

In other business, the board approved buying a shirt to identify the codes enforcement officer and a notification that he will post on homes. The city will also price the cost of a digital camera to provide the court with photos for cases that go to court.

Karlton Nash, who is on the parks and recreation committee, told the board that the committee is asking the county for a $65,000 grant for the purpose of asphalting the parking lot. He asked the city to match an amount of $15,000, which was approved.


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