Variance for new Bemrich building approved by board

The construction of a new home for Bemrich Electric & Telephone Inc. was advanced Tuesday by the Fort Dodge Board of Adjustment.

Board members voted unanimously to grant a variance that will allow the company’s new building to be 15 feet closer to the front property line than would be usually allowed by city zoning law.

That building on 21st Street between First and Second avenues south would replace the company’s former home at 110 S. 21st St. that was destroyed by a pair of arson fires last summer.

The first fire occurred on June 21. Two Fort Dodge men, Tanner J. King and Gregory P. White, were arrested in connection with it.

The second arson fire was on July 13. So far, no one has been charged with setting that fire.

After the first blaze, the company relocated to temporary quarters near First Avenue South and 21st Street.

Bemrich Electric & Telephone Inc. plans to build a new 7,781 square foot building, according to information presented to the Board of Adjustment. Part of it would be on the site of the destroyed building, but the plans include purchasing additional property to the south of that location.

Two more local government actions are required before the construction plan can be completed. The company is requesting to have some of the property rezoned to office commercial status. It is also asking for a portion of an alley to be vacated. The City Council is expected to take up those requests when it meets on Oct. 28.

Mayor Matt Bemrich is an electrician with the company.