Adell begins master plan update

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

ADELL — The Plan Commission met prior to the regular Village Board meeting Wednesday, Oct. 11, to begin the process of reviewing the village’s comprehensive plan.

Kevin Struck, growth management educator at the Sheboygan UW-Extension, presented the village with three options for updating:

• A complete review and update;

• An enhanced addendum, where only specific items in need of change would be thoroughly revised;

• A basic addendum, where revisions and/or additions are made to the existing plan as needed.

The commission voted unanimously to pursue the “basic addendum” option. Struck said he would now prepare a draft for the commission to review at the next meeting. He also said if the village somehow was unable to update the plan before May 2018, rezoning could not take place within the village until updates are complete.

Insurance claim denied

Tony Conlin, a claims attorney from Statewide Services, told the board why an insurance claim the town made was denied — twice.

At the previous month’s meeting, Mark Schaller told the board how his vehicle’s transmission suffered an estimated $2,300 of damage when he hit a pothole on Sherman Avenue. Schaller sought reparation from the village.

The village submitted a claim to its insurance company. It was denied. Board members, at the September meeting, could not understand why it was denied and decided to resubmit it. The claim was denied a second time.

At the October meeting, Conlin emphasized that the village had liability insurance. “That means we pay for damages that you, as a municipality, are legally liable for,” Conlin told the board. “Municipalities are entitled to immunities in ways that we, as ordinary citizens, aren’t. It’s called discretional immunity.” Conlin said this is unique to public officials and entities.

“I think this case is a perfect example of that,” Conlin said. He said potholes are a frequent problem in every community. A similar example, he said, would be heaving sidewalks.

In each case, the municipality has to decide which ones get fixed, and when they’ll be fixed. “When we do that, you’re entitled to immunity for those decisions,” Conlin said.

Conlin said the village followed all proper procedures. Someone notified the of the pothole; the village notified the county so they could schedule its repair. As a temporary measure, the village several times filled the pothole with gravel.

Conlin made a distinction where a municipality has to respond immediately—for example, when a power line goes down or a tree falls across a road. Conlin said a pothole, even a sizable one, was not in that category.

“After reviewing the facts, the timeline, what happened here, we simply don’t believe that you as a municipality would be legally liable for it,” Conlin said.

“We did our due diligence, and resubmitted it, and it came back denied a second time,” said Village President Andrew Schmitt. “I’m going to have to side with the insurance company, and my feelings are we should disallow the claim.”

Schaller gave several aspects about the situation from his side, including the large size of the the pothole, the lack of warning signs, the fact that it was filled with water and its depth not evident to drivers, the money he spent towing the car and wages he lost while doing so.

There were several periods of silence during the board’s discussion.

Board members seemed reluctant to do so, but they voted unanimously to disallow the claim.

Other village business

The board discussed planting or taking down trees, based on Trustee James Jentsch’s report from the Streets and Parks Commission.

The board unanimously approved:

* Setting the village Halloween party at the fire house for Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 1:30 p.m., and trick or treating from 3 to 5 p.m. that same day.

* The 2018 budget for the Lakeview Library, to which Adell will pay approximately $2,841.

* The 2018 budget for the Onion River Wastewater Commission.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 8. The night will start with a plan commission meeting at 6:30 p.m., which is estimated to last about an hour.

Following that will be a public hearing on the 2018 village budget, where the public is able to ask questions. The regular board meeting will start shortly thereafter.

Police report for the past month: Five warnings; three complaints investigated (vehicle parked facing the wrong way; assist with fire dept. fundraiser; high school students prevented from toilet papering a friend’s house); 10 property checks; two citations (no seatbelt; parked facing wrong way); no arrests made, traffic accidents investigated, court appearances or warrants.

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