WINONA, Minn. – A 340-bed dorm that Winona State University wants to build on Main Street continued its path through the city approval processes. At 71 feet, the building needs a variance from the zoning cap of 25 feet. Also, the building would sit on a narrow strip along Mark Street that requires a 45-foot rear yard setback to the Canadian Pacific railroad mainline. The university wants only a 16-foot setback as an exception. A fundamental issues for the city to decide is whether the dorm would infringe on the character of the neighborhood, which is zoned R-2 as medium-density residential area. Also, the dorm would require that three existing structures be razed – two houses and a privately apartment building that caters to student renters.

Sandwiched tightly. As planned, the dorm would need to be sandwiched closer to streets and the Canadian Pacific mainline than zoning ordinances normally allow. Another issue is occupancy density, which also would exceed R-2 zoning caps.