Downtown house may be replaced with parking lotA longtime vacant Dickinson home built in 1902 could be replaced with a parking lot and while some say parking is desperately needed, a few residents in the area oppose the proposal.
A longtime vacant Dickinson home built in 1902 could be replaced with a parking lot and while some say parking is desperately needed, a few residents in the area oppose the proposal.
The sprawling home at 444 First St. W near downtown has been vacant for over a decade and with parking becoming an increased concern, Charbonneau Car Center wants to convert the space into an 18-space parking lot.
“Our proposed parking lot is mainly for employee parking,” said DJ Charbonneau of Charbonneau Car Center.
The lot would also be used to temporarily park newly delivered vehicles until they could be serviced.
The lot would have a 4-foot buffer on each end and a 6-foot white vinyl fence would border the west side of the lot.
“We’d put that fence up to make it look better than just cars parked there,” Charbonneau said, adding trees and shrubs were also part of the proposal.
The parking lot is contingent on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approving a special use permit to allow parking within a residential high-density zoning district.
However, the proposal isn’t going over too well with some residents of the neighborhood.
A petition signed by neighbors opposing the parking lot received 11 signatures, several of whom declined comment.
Terry Saville, who lives kitty-corner from the house, said he is opposed to the parking lot for several reasons, according to minutes from a Feb. 17 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
Saville said at meeting the lot could decrease area property values and has concerns about what could possibly happen in the lot after hours, including the possibility of more garbage and kids using it for skateboarding, according to the minutes.
“I can understand their concerns as well, but that ugly house sitting there doesn’t do justice either,” Charbonneau said.
The home has been vacant for quite some time.
“In February of ’92 the water was turned off and then it was vacant since then,” said City Assessor Jan Zent.
Lavonne Keller, who currently owns the home with her husband, Ken, and lives next door to the house, said with some money and time, the home could be beautiful.
“I personally would like to see it redone, but if nobody can do it it’s just deteriorating,” Keller said. “Something needs to be done with it. Period.”
Keller said she showed the home twice on Thursday and has had it up for sale since May.
“I probably showed it 25 to 30 times last summer,” Keller said. “A lot of people are interested, but it’s a lot of money to fix it up.”
Since the parking lot proposal came about, the house has been shown 13 times, Keller said.
Senior Code Enforcement Officer Mel Zent said after inspecting the house, it was found the foundation is crumbling, asbestos fills the boiler and the sewer is cracked open, making it unfeasible to restore the home, according to the meeting minutes.
The true and full value of the 3,074-square-foot home and the land it sits on is $12,600.
The Kellers are asking $70,000.
Charbonneau said his offer on the house is contingent on it becoming a parking lot.
“Do I want it for a parking lot? Absolutely. But if somebody could do something with that house, I’m all for it,” Charbonneau said.
Another public hearing will be held at the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on April 21.