Residential house construction

By Bob Balgemann


Kevin and April Perry requested a special use permit to allow the addition of a mother-in-law apartment to their home on Capron Road in incorporated Boone County.

Staff recommended approval as did the zoning board of appeals (4-0), along with a 5-0 vote of the planning, zoning, and building committee (PZB).

PZB is one of seven standing committees of the county board, and its membership consists of five board members. It voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the request.

There weren’t any objections from the county soil and water conservation district, county Engineer Rich Lundin, the county building department, or the county health department.

The request complied with the six criteria needed in order to obtain a special use permit. No special conditions were recommended by the county planning department.

When the request reached the full county board at its July meeting, the reception generally was positive. Despite some concern of what the 7.57 acres might be used for in the future, the board approved the request unanimously, in a voice vote.

Interim county planner Sherry Griswold explained in a memo to the board that the mother-in-law quarters would have a separate entrance. The additional space also would accommodate weekend visits from a brother, with disabilities, and a partially blind grandfather. Each of them lives elsewhere.

There was some discussion among board members.

Member Cathy Ward said she thought the requested addition was a good idea.

“It opens the door for people to add on to their homes and make room for senior parents, or children, or whatever,” she said. “I believe that’s what this is all about.”

Several had concerns about the future.

“What would prevent the next owner from making this a duplex?” board member Karl Johnson asked. “What’s our protection?”

“There is none,” board Chairman Bob Walberg replied. Any violations of the provisions of the special use “would have to be complaint driven.”

Board member Denny Ellingson said the county already has too many people living in some single-family homes.

“That’s unfair to the other taxpayers in the county,” he said. “I’m just worried that we’re opening it to more of those situations.”

PZB and board member Brad Stark said there was a lot of discussion at the committee level.

“This is allowed by our code,” he said. “It only requires a special use because of a technicality as to how they’re doing it.”

There is recourse in the event of a violation through a complaint being filed with the building department, he said. “Neighbors down the road are going to know to call the building department. Everything is in place for a check and balance,” he said. “I don’t know why we’re over-analyzing this.”

At that point, he called for the question and a vote was taken.


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