Lodging house wins approval from FD board

A large Fort Dodge house will be converted into temporary living quarters for some of the hundreds of workers expected to come to Webster County this year to build wind turbines.

”There’s a need for this,” Charlene Pederson, the owner of the property at 702 S. 30th St., told the city’s Board of Adjustment Tuesday.

The board gave its approval to the plan by voting to grant permission for Pederson to operate a lodging house in an area designated for light industrial use.

Pederson will be required to provide 20 parking spaces, which is equal to one space for every two tenants. She will also have to comply with the building code and be subject to rental housing inspections.

The proposal envisions up to 40 tenants in the building.

Pederson said about 300 construction workers are expected to come to Webster County.

”All they want is a bed and a shower,” she said.

She added that only men will be allowed to live in the building.

The building is now a single family home. Over the years it has housed a veterinary clinic, beauty shop and motorcycle repair garage in addition to a residence.

Carissa Miller, the associate city planner, said a single family home is a ”non-conforming use” in the light industrial zone. She said deciding if a lodging house is a more appropriate use in that zone was a key issue before the board.

Miller said she believes the lodging house would be a more appropriate use and recommended that the board approve the special exception needed to allow it.

Board President Susan Hayden was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote.

MidAmerican Energy plans to build 109 turbines south of Fort Dodge in what’s called the Lundgren Wind Energy Project.

In other business, the board re-elected Hayden and Steve Hoesel, the board’s vice president, to their leadership roles.

The members also approved revised applications property owners must file if they want a hearing before the board.