A new Minneapolis garage — built a minuscule 2.4 inches too close to the lot line — will be allowed to stand.
The vote by the Minneapolis City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee last week reverses an earlier decision by the Zoning Board of Adjustment that would have required the builder to demolish the garage and move its replacement 2.4 inches farther from the lot line.
It all started when housing contractor Dustin Endres bought a $17,000 house at 4053 11th Ave. S., leveled it and built a new home with a $250,000 price tag. The project included a two-car garage.
After the building inspector signed off on the garage location, the foundation was poured. But when the zoning inspector arrived, it was determined that the garage was only 9.6 inches from the property line instead of the required 12 inches.
Endres was told to apply for a variance. His alternative was to tear down the garage, pull up the concrete foundation and start over. That would cost $15,000, so he applied for a variance.
The Zoning Board listened to city staff and to Endres. They also heard from the adjacent property owner, who complained about drainage.
Endres said he intended to build 12 inches from the lot line but that “human error” caused the concrete form to bow. The Zoning Board, deciding that rules are rules, denied the variance.
The contractor then took his appeal to the City Council where he explained about the mistake, and his intention to follow the rules and noted that the garage drains into the street and not into the yard next door.
He said he could have put the garage on the other end of the lot but he wanted to create a large lawn area so the new property owners “could enjoy the outdoors on a city lot.”
“I’m asking for compassion,” he told City Council members. He also said that the extra expense of demolition “would be a fatal blow to our company.”
There was no debate. City Council President Barb Johnson moved to grant the variance, and the “ayes” prevailed.
Out in the hall, a relieved Endres said, “I had no intention of not following the ordinance. I just wanted a larger yard for people to play in.”