Tennis courts, accessory building get nod EL board approves permits

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Tennis courts and vehicle storage buildings were on the plate Tuesday for the Elkhart Lake Village Board.

The board approved a pair of conditional use permits for those in the Turtle Bay area following a public hearing that saw some questions raised.

The requests came from Frank Gurtz for a tennis court with fence and retaining wall at his 440 Imigs Rd. home and from Geoffrey Bray for an accessory building on a lot adjacent to his his Turtle Bay Road residence.

Both permits had been recommended by the Planning Commission, but several neighbors voiced their concerns at the public hearing, either in person or by email.

“I have several concerns regarding pollution, sound and light pollution,” Linda Bunkfeldt-Popp told the board at the public hearing.

She noted that the Bunkfeldt family owns property between the two lots under discussion.

Another member of the family, Rick Bunkfeldt, echoed that concern in an email to the board.

“Today both sound and light pollution are recognized as real problems,” he wrote. “If you should grant a variance, I would hope that you put some kind of time constraints regarding both sound and light pollution.

“Unfortunately our property is located directly between two property owners that will cause the dark quiet nights of relaxation to be transformed into an illuminated source of irritation,” Bunkfeldt concluded.

Another neighbor, Christine Larkin on Elkhart Lake Drive, asked via email whether either structure would be visible either from the lake or County JP.

“We specifically located the building so it will be lower and out of the way so it will not be seen,” from the lake or the highway, Bray assured the board.

He said the only lighting on the building would be lights over the front and side doors and that they would not be on constantly, only when needed to enter or leave the building.

The structure, which will be used to store vehicles and a motor home, will occupy less than one-third of an acre of the six-acre plus parcel, Bray added.

Builder Tim Klieber, representing the Gurtzes, said there will be no lighting on the proposed tennis court, so there would be no light or noise from the court at night. “The tennis court will not be seen from the lake or (County) JP,” he added.

The board, at its regular meeting, approved both conditional use permits, as well as allowing the accessory structure on a parcel with no principal structure for Bray’s building.

Among the conditions was a provision that the permits would be reviewed on an annual basis if the village receives any complaints on either use.

“If we get lots of complaints we can review it,” Village President Alan Rudnick said of the permits. “We routinely do that for all (conditional use permits). If there are no complaints, we automatically renew them.”

He noted that any noise issues that might arise with either permit would also be covered under the village’s noise ordinance.

The Gurtz permit also included a provision that lights can not be added to the tennis court without approval from the Planning Commission and the Village Board.

Trustee Steve Kapellen reported that the Tree Commission is waiting for final results from spraying last year for emerald ash borer in the village.

The board approved a change in the zoning ordinance to allow privacy fences around decks, firepits and other areas without having to be within three feet of the property line, as the ordinance previously required.

Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly and Fire Chief Pat Zorn will look into creating an ordinance establishing a fee for excessive false fire alarms in the village.

Kapellen, reporting for the Joint Emergency Response Committee, said false alarms are becoming increasing more frequent in the village. “There’s been a series of these in a lot of the resorts and, after three or so, we should have a fine of some sort,” he explained.

Reilly noted that, with recent state law impacting local shoreland ordinances, the village will have to look into changing its ordinance in order to comply with the new state rules.

She also announced that the First Responders will be holding their Annual Fish Boil Friday, Sept. 23, at the fire hall.

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