EL rezoning tabled after questions are raised at public hearing

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – A rezoning request that would clear the way for a possible 48-unit apartment complex in the village was tabled by the Village Board Monday.

“There are some questions we need answered before we move to a decision,” Village President Alan Rudnick said following a public hearing on the request from Victory Elkhart LLC.

The delay, Rudnick said, came at the request of Victory Elkhart.

The developer is seeking rezoning of the five acre parcel between Lincoln Street and Moraine Drive just to the east of Anchor Lanes from single-family to multi-family.

Both former Village President Peter Menne and former Police Chief Randy Boeldt raised concerns about the proposed development at the public hearing.

“Make sure this is going to work for the community,” Menne told the trustees.

“You’ve got to ask the tough questions or the village is left with a bunch of empty buildings,” Menne said. He admonished the board to ask the developers, “Where is your guarantee, how are you going to back this up?”

“I have concerns if big apartment buildings are going up against our single-family residences,” Boeldt, who lives on Kettleview Court, stated. He added that he was concerned about who would manage the buildings once they are constructed.

“Without us knowing what’s going there, I’m not comfortable,” Boeldt added, noting that there was no layout for the development showing where the buildings would go presented at the hearing.

“The graphics and drawings were meant to be conceptual. The purpose was to show (the development) in concept, not in detail,” Lola Roeh, representing Victory Elkhart, responded.

“There is a real need for apartment living in this community,” Roeh told the board. “There is really a lack of good apartment living. A lot of people have expressed an interest in that. It is an expressed need and a researched need.”

Rudnick read a letter from Ann Buechel Haack, superintendent of the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School District, supporting the rezoning and the apartment complex proposal.

In her letter, Buechel Haack noted that the district hears from many families who find it difficult to find affordable housing in the village, forcing some to locate outside of the village and sometimes the school district.

“We had some great comments and appreciate everybody participating,” in the public hearing, Rudnick said after it was closed.

The board approved a request from Christina Meyers to plant flowers in the parkway in front of her home at 51 S. West St.

The Public Works Committee recommended approving the request, with chairman Michael Wolf saying the village would put together an agreement with Meyers for the plantings similar to what is in place elsewhere in the village.

“Flowers is what we have approved in other places, with plantings, as opposed to pavers or hard structures,” Trustee Pam Garton commented.

The committee also discussed naming the short street between East Rhine Street and Lake Street that runs in front of the Pledge Allegiance statue.

Wolf noted that the street does not have an official name and the Police Department has an issue with how to fill out tickets for people parked there illegally as far as listing an address.

“We’re going to look into what we have to do to name a street when it’s not a new street,” Wolf told his colleagues on the board.

Trustee Lynn Shovan said she would like to see the board take another look at the issue of sandwich signs in front of businesses.

Garton said she would like to see the board discuss the issue of lake and boat safety again once the summer season is over.

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