In continuing coverage: a vacant lot is still stirring up controversy. 

The lot is on Mandan Street in Bismarck. There was a public hearing in front of the City’s Board of Adjustment for the second time in three years.

Bismarck business owner Anne Cleary had a new proposal today for her 50×50 lot. But, the motion to consider the lot’s size was denied.

Several neighbors in the historic Cathedral District, where the property lies, came forward as they did in 2016.

Even now, most of the concerns are about the size of the house. Another protestor says the neighbors weren’t given a fair chance to buy the property.

A Bismarck City Planner says size requirements are to be expected.

Planner Jenny Wollmuth explains, “It is common in zoning districts, and it’s kind of to encourage light and air, and set a form for the neighborhood and keeping everything relatively the same.”

Anne Cleary says she was aware that the lot was too small to build on, without a variance, when she bought it. 

Today, she gave a lengthy presentation with several maps. One outlined several other properties that are smaller than the required lot size.

The difference with the other homes is that they were built when the Cathedral District was originally being developed. 

Cleary says she was asking less of the board than in her 2016 appearance.

She shares, “I have lived in Bismarck my whole life and grew up in the Cathedral District, and have spent most of my life there because I did also live in a house there in college. I only mention this explanation because I want you to understand my passion for the core area of Bismarck.”

Cleary will have the opportunity to appeal the Board’s decision in front of the City Commission.