Rising gas prices boost road work costs for town of Rhine

by Sabrina Nucciarone
Review Correspondent

RHINE - On the heels of a special meeting July 2 and the normally scheduled meeting postponed to July 10 because of the Fourth of July holiday, the Town Board had a full agenda of Planning Commission recommendations, discussions to possibly act on, liquor licenses, information reports and correspondence to cover.

With the price of oil steadily going up, so, too, have the bids for asphalt road work. Accepting open bids, two bids were submitted to re-do Willow Road. Based on a recommendation of the Road Committee, Sheboygan County will be granted the project.

“By the time we did the math, the bids came out very close, within a couple of hundred dollars,” Town Chairman Ron Platz said. “The price on this stuff is going out of sight. We have 44 miles of road in the township. We will steadily fall behind with the increase in cost.”

Last year, the cost of a mile of roadwork was about $120,000. This year, the estimate is well above $200,000.

One of three rezoning requests brought out a community member asking the board to reconsider the land owner’s desire to rezone to A-5 — a move that would allow two dwellings, one on each of two 12-acre parcels.

Larry Eberle, who admitted he was not used to standing at a microphone, shared with the board that he felt dividing the 35.84-acre property of Anthony Landini at W4601 County F, Elkhart Lake, into five-acre parcels would be more beneficial to the goal of selling the property for housing as well as farmland preservation.

“This is not the pioneer days anymore,” Eberle said. Referring to a larger 12-acre parcel that would be adequate to feed a family and a small cadre of livestock, he believed the additional seven acres is opposite of what the town’s smart growth plan intended.

Reading from prepared notes, Eberle quoted statistics. “Farmland perseveration in this town is important. Up to 78 percent in some fashion approve of farmland preservation,” Eberle said.

Having trouble selling smaller parcels, Landini requested the rezoning so the land would be more marketable to buyers.

“We have been pretty much steering people toward 12-acre parcels, not 5-acre parcels. There are no guarantees that any will stay in ag use. My understanding is that these are for residential use. This is a reasonable accommodation on Mr. Landini’s part,” Platz said.

Eberle wanted the board to discuss the request further.

“Five acres is adequate for a house, 12 acres is hardly enough to farm, in which case the additional acreage, other than where a house, garage, and other possible outbuildings exist, the land would not be used agricultural,” Eberle said.

Given Landini’s previous presence before the board and the accommodations he has made, the board voted in favor of rezoning the land as recommended by the Planning Commission.

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