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  Monday January 26th, 2015    

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Variances for rental duplexes granted (01/06/2013)
By Emily Buss

The Winona Board of Adjustment unanimously approved two requests from homeowners to turn their properties into duplexes. Charles Heins and Jonathan Duellman were granted permits to renovate their separate properties, both on West Fifth Street, with the intention of renovating the single-family dwellings into duplexes with two units in each.

Heins described his property at 910 West Fifth Street as one in need of repair, and would be best served as a rental duplex. The property, which was originally certified as a single-family dwelling on the first floor only, has been rented out to a single tenant for the past several years, Heins said. But, because the upstairs is in need of major repairs, Heins said, the second floor has not been lived in since 2000.

“It was previously certified as a duplex and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be reinstated,” Heins explained. “There is more than adequate parking in the back and I plan to put concrete paving down.”

Board member Mario Einsman said he approved the plans and board chair Chris Sanchez agreed, saying because of the B-3 zoning, the duplex fits with the comprehensive plan. However, two neighbors disagreed.

“I’m not sure what to think about this, but I know everyone in the neighborhood would love to see a single-family home instead of a duplex,” adjacent property owner Dawn Nelson said. “If a duplex does come in this lot, it will make me wonder if there will never be a family in this home.”

Another neighbor said he would like to see a better plan for parking, as he shares a property line with Heins, and said parking in the area has always been difficult. However, Einsman said legally Heins has adequate off-street parking for his complex and congestion should not be an issue.

“The place is in shambles and needs to be gutted on the inside. The renovations will give the home a brand new floor plan and I think it will give the neighborhood a facelift for sure,” Einsman said.

Heins’ request was approved for a duplex with two bedrooms on each floor. The duplex is certified to house as many as two occupants on the first floor, and two occupants on the second floor, with enough parking spaces for four vehicles.

The second request that came before the board was from Jonathan Duellman who described his property at 871 West Fifth Street as one of four dwellings on his 33,000 square foot land.

The dwelling, located on the front west side of the property, is a single-family, three-bedroom dwelling that Duellman said does not appeal to single families. He said recent trouble with young renters had him reevaluate the property’s use.

“Renters of this property are typically college students, which usually results in a lot of parties,’ Duellman said. “There were a lot of noise complaints, calls from the neighbors, lots of trash, stuff like that. And, I’d like to turn the home into a single bedroom on each floor to try to minimize, actually it should completely eliminate, the noise.”

Currently, parking for the building is certified for five people, but with his application and the change in the layout of the property, Duellman agreed to provide four parking spots.

“It seems like there is a strong need for that type of housing, one bedroom units,” board member Laura Priem said. “That unit could be leased to working adults, couples, or graduate students. I think it would be an improvement.”

The board unanimously approved Duellman’s request for two, one-bedroom units that can either be rented to a single person or a couple. 


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