Gambles rebuild requires some finagling
(Originally published June 24, 2004 in the Sky-Hi News)
The owners of the Granby Gambles Store have a few regulatory hoops to jump through before they can start to rebuild a similar building on their lot in Granby.
Casey and Rhonda Farrell, the owners of the Gambles store that was demolished by Marv Heemeyer in his bulldozer rampage June 4, want to rebuild in the same footprint on their land on Granby’s main street, Agate Avenue.
But to do so the new building would end up in violation of town zoning laws that have been passed since the original building, now completely gone, was built.
While the old building was “grandfathered” in, meaning it could retain its historic use despite new laws, any new building would end up in violation of town codes. The town wants to work with the Farrells so they can rebuild and get around the new zoning restrictions.
Granby Town Manager Tom Hale reported to the Granby Board of Trustees Tuesday night that when more than 50 percent of a building has been demolished, and when it’s rebuilt, it must conform to all new and current codes.
That puts the proposed Gambles replacement store in trouble in two areas: parking requirements and in total area covered on the lot, or its footprint.
The Gambles Store as it existed did not have enough parking to accommodate current codes. And its footprint exceeds that currently allowed.
But there’s a way around these potential problems.
Hale said the town’s goal is to help people affected by the Heemeyer bulldozer attack in any way possible. Therefore, Hale and Mayor Ted Wang said they wanted to get around those regulatory problems.
“I think we could make the case where this is a problem not created by the property owner. This is an outside hardship,” Hale said.
What Hale and Wang had in mind was allowing the new building to be built by getting it through the town’s zoning variance board. That board can grant exceptions to town codes on a case-by-case basis.
But before a variance could be granted, the official request for the new building that would be like the old one had to be turned down. Which the town did Tuesday.
With that done, the administrative process could be started whereby the case can be heard by the town’s zoning variance board where the town trustees hope an exemption would be allowed for the Farrells for the both parking and the building footprints.
Once the action was taken, members of the board of trustees wondered out loud if there wasn’t more flexibility in the town codes that would allow the town to simply modify its code on an emergency basis rather than going through the variance process.
The board instructed town staff to explore that idea.
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