Sherman addresses land division, zoning ordinance, road repairs

by Rodney Schroeter of The Review staff

SHERMAN—The Town Board addressed a land division request, revisions to its zoning ordinance, and road repairs at its monthly meeting Tuesday, May 5.

The evening started with a public hearing for a request from Donna Schroeter, who requested permission for a rezoning and division of her property on Schroeter Drive. The request was to divide 32 acres, currently zoned A-3 (Agricultural Land Transition), into two 1-acre lots to be rezoned R-2 (Single-Family Residence), one of which will have the existing residence, and the remaining 30 acres kept as A-3.

This requested division had been reviewed by Sherman’s Plan Commission, which unanimously recommended to the board that it be approved.

With no discussion, the public hearing was closed. The regular board meeting was convened, in the course which, the land division was unanimously approved.

Zoning ordinance refinements

Kevin Struck, growth management educator at the Sheboygan UW-Extension, explained to the board that the town’s zoning ordinance needed a few adjustments.

After the Plan Commission and a committee of citizens spent over two years reviewing and revising the ordinance, it was approved and adopted in July 2014. However, Struck told the board, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) had some problems with it.

Most of the changes demanded by DATCP were minor.

One requested change, Struck said, regarded a single-family or two-family residence.

“DATCP’s position is, after Jan. 1, 2014, if it’s a farm residence, it’s a permitted use. If it’s a non-farm residence, it needs a conditional use permit. That puts the town of Sherman, and any town or county, in the position of trying to figure out” which residences are farm or non-farm. Struck said, “It’s a ridiculous situation to be put in.”

Struck said he and Supervisor Patricia Horne had tried to persuade DATCP that the request was not logical, but DATCP would not move on that point.

“I just think it’s impossible to play that game of tracking,” Struck said. His suggestion: Require a conditional use permit for any residence built, henceforth, within the Farmland Preservation Zone. Unlike other conditional uses, it would be a one-time permit with no need for periodic review and renewal, as with other conditional use permits.

Additional suggestions for refinement came from other towns. Struck worked with Sherman for that two-plus year period, as its ordinance and farmland preservation strategy were reworked. He has since presented Sherman’s farmland preservation plan as a possible model, or starting point, to other towns who are starting to review their own such programs.

Struck said that, despite Sherman’s thoroughness in the review process, “There are just some things that you don’t think of. At Sherman, we went over this with a fine-tooth comb, and thought of a lot of stuff, and developed a really good ordinance. And I go to some other towns who ask, ‘Oh, by the way, what about that?’”

Suggestions covered minor issues like differentiating between a majority vote and a super-majority vote, and farmland preservation examples which include land with residences already on them.

A public hearing on the proposed changes to the ordinance has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 7.

The hearing will be followed by the regular board meeting.

Road repairs

“I don’t like banks,” said Bill Beverly during public input, making it clear he was speaking as a citizen and not as chair of the Sherman Plan Commission. “I don’t like to borrow money. I don’t like to see taxpayers borrow money. I’m upset about Abbott Drive, and I understand the problems.”

Beverly referred to Sherman’s annual meeting, where the three citizens present and the board voted to proceed with repairs to roughly four miles of Abbott Drive.

Beverly suggested that problems with Abbott Drive could be solved by people traveling more slowly on that road. He told the board that a road’s level of usage should be considered as well as its condition, when deciding which sections of roads should be maintained.

The town received two bids for chip-sealing and crack-filling several areas of road. The board spent some time reviewing the two bids, factoring in how much the town had budgeted for such repairs. This maintenance work is separate from the work that might be done on Abbott Drive.

The decision of which roads would receive a chip-seal or fly ash pavement seal were complicated by the fact that one company seems to have purchased all available fly ash, used in that process.

The board unanimously decided to have Crack Filling Services, Corp., of Cross Plains do maintenance to several stretches of town road, at a cost of $21,200.

Other town business

Per the Sherman web site, natural materials will be accepted at the transfer station Saturday, May 16. Acceptable materials include brush, grass clippings, leaves, and small branches. This is intended for residential use only.

The town is still looking for residents who are willing to serve on the Board of Appeals. Those interested are asked to contact the town office for further information.

Building permits issued in March and April: Evan Peplin, HVAC; John Rassel, electrical; Jim Bertram, electrical; Vorpahl Farms, free-stall barn; Dave Torrison, new home and HVAC.

The Board of Review is set for Wednesday, May 20, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Sherman’s next board meeting will be Tuesday, June 2.

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