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Variance request unsettled

After listening to concerns expressed by a neighboring property owner, the Sunnyside City Staff Review Committee opted to continue a hearing on a variance request by Russ Smies.

The committee met during a public hearing on Wednesday morning to take comment on the proposal by Smies to have a setback of three feet rather than five so he could build a 24x26 garage for a house he owns at 645 Hamilton Drive.

One of Smies' neighbors, Ken Sowa, told the committee he felt the request should be denied because of excavation work that Smies has already undertaken.

Sowa provided pictures to the committee to describe what he says is weakening of a stone wall on his property because of earth that Smies has already moved.

Smies, a teacher, was unable to attend the hearing.

In response, the committee decided to gather more testimony and continue the hearing to 10 a.m. next Wednesday at the Law and Justice Center in Sunnyside.

The committee is made up of City Planner Jamey Ayling, Fire Chief Aaron Markham and Building Inspector Mike Storms.

In the past, Smies' request would have been heard by a board of adjustment, which has since been disbanded because of Sunnyside's move next year to a hearing examiner.

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