Residents speak out on lot controversy

Tensions are high in Bismarck’s Cathedral District after a woman tries to build a house on a 50 by 50 square foot lot.  

What looks like a garden space or someone’s backyard is actually a small vacant lot. And the future of it is upsetting residents in Bismarck’s Cathedral District.

“There might have been houses build on 50 by 50 lots but that was a 100 years ago. I mean the safety factor alone with the pine tree beside that neighbor’s house and everything else. It’s just too small a lot,” said Peter Neigum, Bismarck resident.

Residents are upset that someone is trying to build in the space and decided to voice their opinions the best way they know how by picketing. 

“If it looks historic, we would probably be a lot happier but it will still be a very small house even compared to the other homes in the historic district,” said Mike Leary, a Bismarck resident.

Anne Cleary wants to build a house on a lot that is half the size of the zoning district requirement of 5000 square feet. She’s been trying for years. 

In 2016 she requested three variances for the property. But the requests were denied by the Board of Adjustment. She appealed and was denied by the Bismarck City Commission. Now she is trying again. 

“I did, however, present four different designs to a group of neighbors at a meeting I held two years ago– I allowed them to vote on which style they preferred–In no way, shape or form am I proposing anything obstructive, out of context,” said Cleary.    

This subject will be an item on the Board of Adjustment’s agenda on Thursday.

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