Helicopter issues raised at EL board

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Divisions over a proposed helicopter charter service in the village surfaced at Monday’s Village Board meeting.

Trustee Michael Wolf called Village President Alan Rudnick to task for his handling of a contentious Plan Commission meeting last week to consider the conditional use permit request from Marks Asset Group.

Wolf, who has stated his support for the proposal from Ellen Dupuy for the service, to be located at 610 Aero Dr., questioned why Rudnick did not recuse himself from the Planning Commission discussion after he abstained from a vote earlier by the Village Board on rezoning for the Aero Drive property.

“Why would you switch from one meeting to the next,” Wolf asked Rudnick during the trustee report section of Tuesday’s board meeting.

“I was not legally obligated to recuse myself the first time,” Rudnick, who has indicated he is leaning against granting the permit, explained. “I voluntarily chose to do that. I’ve been on the same side all along and I will not be recusing myself.”

Trustee Lynn Shovan asked if Rudnick felt he could be impartial and unbiased running meetings discussing the issue, which is proving divisive.

“I feel I’m as unbiased as you are,” Rudnick responded.

Wolf also criticized Rudnick’s handling of the discussion at the Planning Commission meeting, which the trustee characterized as bantering back and forth between audience members.

“I felt things weren’t handled on an even and fair basis,” Wolf stated. “It’s fine to allow audience participation, we always do that at the Planning Commission, but the commission was no longer part of the conversation.”

Rudnick reported that the commission, at the same meeting, discussed the proposed expansion of The Osthoff resort and a possible tax incremental finance district to support it, solidifying the boundaries of the TIF.

A public hearing on the TIF and Osthoff expansion will be held at the Planning Commission’s Aug. 28 meeting.

The village will officially close Aug. 28 on the purchase of a property on Kettleview Court to create an eastern entrance to June Vollrath Athletic Park, Rudnick reported.

Kapur and Associates will begin work on a design for the new park area, he said. “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do the project this year, but we will take possession of the property.”

The board tabled a revised dog ordinance for the village after Shovan said she had been contacted by a village resident about the limit on the number of dogs that was part of the proposal.

Shovan said the question was about dog fanciers, people who temporarily house rescue animals until they are adopted.

“Is that a licensed thing,” Rudnick asked. “How do you determine who is a dog fancier? Does that open up a can of worms, or a can of dog food?”

“If somebody brought it up, we should look into it,” Trustee Pam Garton stated.

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