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Fire damaged house to be replaced soon

An abandoned and fire damaged house at 1008 East Decatur Avenue in Sunnyside will soon be demolished and replaced with a stick-built house, which will be offered for sale by Carl Kern, who is buying the property from Jesse Hernandez as a re-sale investment.

In a 3-1 vote last night, the City of Sunnyside's Board of Adjustment approved construction of a house without the 400-square foot attached garage called for in a city ordinance.

Terrie Williard, chair of the board, cast the only dissenting vote on the variance that was needed to build the house according to a plan submitted by Kern at last night's meeting.

Commissioners Torchey Cohu, Craig Miller and Chad Werkhoven put their OK to the variance, which allows Kern to construct a 260-square foot attached garage instead.

Although, like Williard, they had some reservations about making an allowance involving a city ordinance that is fairly new, they felt Kern's proposal met the intent of the ordinance.

Werkhoven noted that the purpose of the ordinance, that requires a larger garage, is to make sure there is not only room for a car, but also for storage to prevent property from being cluttered.

"And there is a garage at the back of the property that can be used for storage," Werkhoven said as he presented his reason for approving the requested variance.

The fact that the property is only 46 feet wide also convinced the majority of the board that Kern's house plan should be approved.

"It's the only lot in that block that's 46 feet wide," said Mike Storms, the city's building official, who, along with Jamey Ayling, the city's associate planner, advised approval of the variance.

"If this were being built in a new development, then, no, we wouldn't allow it," said Cohu, "but this is an old neighborhood and it will probably be one of the nicest houses in the area."

No one stepped forward to oppose Kern's plan at the public hearing held at the city's Law and Justice Center, although 65 letters of notification had been sent out to property owners in the immediate area by Pamela J. Sandifer, administrative assistant.

After receiving approval, Kern said he was relieved because the purchase of the house from Hernandez is in the final stage and Kern would have had to see it through even if he hadn't received the variance.

Kern said he tries to build three houses a year for re-sale. His most recent project is a two-story home at South First Street and Spaulding Avenue, which has been sold. Kern said the home he will build at 1008 East Decatur Avenue will be put up for sale as soon as it is completed.

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