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Lack of permit halts work on student-built Nevis house

The home to be built by Nevis students on Main via Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority has been put on hold; a stop-work order has been issued by the council pending seven specific conditions being met.

Work on the home began without a permit in September, city officials noting the home was being built eight feet from the roadway. The city requires a 30-foot setback.

The HRA requested a variance, but other conditions surfaced, which the Planning Commission recommended be amended before work continued.

The basement, according to the plans, would have been six inches below the level of the asphalt on the street, according to city zoning administrator Sheila Sharp. The home was being constructed in a low area, raising water runoff concerns.

The house is located at 304 Main West, the two lots to the east being held by the city for snow piling and water runoff purposes.

A public hearing was convened by the Planning Commission last week to address the structure's water issues and setback. A neighbor pointed out the proposed garage location would cause visual interference.

Monday night, council members agreed the variance would be granted when stipulations drafted by the Planning Commission are met.

The conditions include moving the garage to the north to be even with the north foundation wall. A survey will be required to determine the west property line. The basement floor must be raised two feet in height. The foundation exterior must be waterproofed. Interior drain tile to a sump pump is required as well as exterior drain tile at the footings.

The council is also requiring a hold harmless clause between the city and HRA, drafted by the city attorney.

The agreement states the city would not be liable for damage caused by improvements to the lots as a result of water run-off.

Nevis teacher Olaf Netteberg, whose industrial technology class will be building the home, said he and contractor Les Scouton were seeking the best location for the home. The position, which he said is 30 feet from the edge of the asphalt, was chosen because of the sloping lot.

"Everything was done in good faith," he said. "No one's pulling a fast one. It's a great project. The kids are excited."

But it's now running two months behind. The kids, he said, missed September's optimal building weather.

Netteberg said he expects the survey work to be completed in the next couple of weeks, and he hopes to begin work on the house by October's end.