Rhine weighs lakefront lot setback rules

by Sabrina Nucciarone
Review Correspondent

RHINE – The town Planning Commission has been working on the revision of Section 4 of its property setback ordinance and a new part of the code up for approval drew discussion at the December Town Board meeting . not so much about what the sentence contained, but what it didn’t.

The proposed ordinance read that in residential areas, where the lot abuts a lake and the speed limit of the highway road is not more than 25 miles per hour, [new] “structures must be set back a minimum 25 feet from the edge of the hardened road surface.”

The ordinance addressed structures that face the hardened road surface, but not the lot line boundary on either side of the property. This is the issue that Paul Boocher, of Little Elkhart Lake Road, addressed as Ordinance Committee and Comprehensive Planning Committee member. He suggested that wording be included that identifies a 10-foot side yard set-back, so any future building constructed can’t be built right on the lot line.

“It’s not a bad idea to add that to provide a buffer for the neighbors,” Boocher said.

Though the time-frame in question could allow someone to build up to their lot line, board member Frank Zimmerman considered hesitating on the approval of the section until additional wording could include the proposed distance of a side yard setback.

“On the outside chance we would redo this again, to change the ordinance, we’d only have to do it once. I’ve never been in favor of building right on a lot line. We need to address this before we approve it,” Zimmerman said.

The process of making the change is something that takes time.

“The Ordinance Committee should consider it, bring it to the Planning Commission, then bring it to the (town) board, based on the revision of Section 4,” Supervisor Jon Rost said.

“We’ve been working on Section 4 for a while. It may extend out a couple, three months,” Supervisor Todd Purkey said.

So that the revision process could move forward, the board approved the recommendation as written and will visit the additional wording on side yard setback distance when that recommendation is officially presented to the board.

• • •

The reconstruction and aesthetic development of a pond on the property of Brock and Lynn Brownrigg became the topic of discussion for their neighbors, Terri and Michael DeMaster.

Though the size of the pond is less than one acre and not more than 100,000 gallons, Terri DeMaster spoke to the board to request additional information about the project before Town of Rhine approves the project.

“We found some items missing from the application. We would like to address drainage and overflow, and how it will be monitored so there is no overflow onto our property, especially if there is water from the well being used that supplies the water to the pond,” DeMaster said.

In response to the DeMaster’s concerns and to address the board, Brock Brownrigg said he did not have the answers to their questions.

The board became more intrigued about the project, asking about the size of the pond and the role the Department of Natural Resources plays in the development of the pond. Brownrigg said that according to the pond consultant, the project follows the DNR’s regulations however, he did not have a copy of the confirmation of DNR regulations and or approval for the project to present to the board. Brownrigg said he would have to defer to the pond consultant for information and answers per the board’s request.

The board requested proof of the information that would answer their questions, as well as the concerns of the DeMasters, and deferred the approval for the improvement of the existing pond to a future meeting.

• • •

During supervisor remarks, Supervisor Allen Feld indicated that town may be able to save some money by looking at the cost of an industrial compacter for the garbage and or recycling. The town does not receive any monies in return for what it does recycle, but having what it collects trucked out is costing the town money.

“If we can eliminate some of the trucking we stand to save money. We don’t get anything from it but the expense of hauling one dumpster a week. We might be able to look at the return on investment within three years, not eight years,” Feld said.

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