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Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals recommends variance for 1004 University Avenue

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals has recommended the Colfax Village Board grant a variance request at 1004 University Avenue for a proposed garage.

Nine nearby property owners were notified of the request, but none of them contacted the clerk’s office or submitted anything in writing to indicate they were opposed to the variance, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at a meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals October 7.

During the public hearing at the October 7 meeting, no one spoke in opposition of the request.

The variance, requested by Jeff and Melissa Prince, would allow an accessory building height up to 17 feet, two feet more than the accessory building maximum height of 15 feet in the village’s zoning code.

Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals asked about the floodplain in the Princes’ backyard and how that would impact the project.

Many of the houses on the south side of University Avenue in Colfax from county Highway M to the intersection of state Highway 170 are in the 18 Mile Creek floodplain.

Homeowners have the option of seeking a Letter of Map Amendment to get their property out of the floodplain.

According to a survey of the Eighteen Mile Creek floodplain in 2012 completed by Ayres Associates, some homes could come out of the floodplain with a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) while others would require hauling in fill before they might qualify.

According to a map provided by Ayres Associates, nine homes and one commercial property could be taken out of the floodplain with a Letter of Map Amendment.

For eight other properties, the first floor elevation is above the floodplain, but the adjacent grade is below the flood elevation and would require hauling in fill to raise the grade above the flood elevation.

Out of the eight properties, three would require so much fill that it would be unlikely the property owners would be able to raise the grade enough,

The floodplain covers a substantial portion of the property between state Highway 40 and Railroad Avenue west of county Highway M to the Colfax Fairgrounds and also covers property on both sides of Highway 40 east of Highway M, including part of Evergreen Cemetery.

Jeff Prince told the Zoning Board of Appeals that the area where he is proposing to build a garage would be leveled off and then raised a couple of inches with fill. Several inches of poured concrete would also raise the structure above the existing grade.

According to the map done by Ayres Associates, the property owned by the Princes is one of the properties that would require fill to obtain a Letter of Map Amendment.

The Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved recommending that the village board grant the variance.

The variance request was expected to be on the agenda for the Colfax Village Board October 12.

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