Rhine concerned about neighboring gravel pit

by Sabrina Nucciarone
Review Correspondent

RHINE — Along with others that attended the Town Board August meeting in solidarity with the issue, resident Joel Clark of Millhome Road addressed the supervisors to voice displeasure at the possible expansion of Aggrecon, a gravel pit that is located in the town of Schleswig, Manitowoc County.

“The expansion abuts the county line. If they are permitted to continue, it will have an effect on myself and my neighbors. That pit will be 270 feet from my front step. My property value will plummet,” Clark said.

Though the business is not in town of Rhine or Sheboygan County, and therefore not in the jurisdiction of either, Clark said he is working to address the issue with the town of Schleswig. There are physical and online petitions which many people have signed opposing the expansion.

With knowledge that the issue had been tabled in Manitowoc County because there was a special meeting called for Aug. 1 by the town of Schleswig to hear comments from residents, Chairman Ron Platz said the town of Rhine received a flyer from the town of Schleswig with notification of that meeting regarding the issue.

Platz said he has received numerous phone calls and emails opposing the project because of the environmental concerns, noise, home value impact and traffic the expansion would cause.

“Jurisdiction points are well taken. My perspective is we should look at it and add it to the agenda for next month,” Platz said.

Differing from the way town of Rhine grants variances through Planning Commission recommendations, the town of Schleswig refers changes in planning ordinances to the Board of Adjustment of Manitowoc County. It will ultimately be the county that grants variance in zoning.

After conferring with other town clerks at a recent conference, Lexann Hoogstra, town of Rhine clerk/treasurer, went over several fees that Rhine has generously kept low - none so low as the Town Hall rental fee.

Most users of the hall clean up after use, but it is those who do not that generated discussion to raise the fees to not create a deficit should the hall and/or the grounds need professional cleaning.

“The hall was not in very good shape when they left,” Platz said, of a group that recently rented the facilities.

In the discussion on increasing the rental fee and increasing the deposit, “Al, you mopped the floor, what do you think,” Platz said, humorously, to Supervisor Al Feld.

“Whatever we charge, we should consider that cleaning is covered,” Platz said.

“If we have to use the cleaning service, what we take in should cover clean up if someone doesn’t do it,” Hoogstra said.

After some discussion, as of January 2019, renting the town hall or the outdoor shelter will be $90 each, both rented at the same time to the same party is $160, and the cleaning fee deposit will be $90 each space, separately.

Additional fees that will change will be open records information requests, dumping tag replacement, special assessment letters for title companies and dog tag late fees,

The cost of building permits have remained the same since 2015. Representatives from Safebuilt attended the meeting to review with the board a needed increase to cover the cost of services needed and the cost of provision.

“The difference is about $12,000,” Steve Gage of Safebuilt said. To continue as is would mean operating in the red, he added.

Open to negotiating with Safebuilt the fees based on what other local towns are doing and what is best for Rhine, Platz said he would contact Paul Dirkse, legal counsel, to work out new recommended fees and contract language and will contact Safebuilt by October, when ready to go over the information with them.

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