Garage project dispute continues on Elkhart Lake

Sabrina Nacciarone Review Correspondent

RHINE - The Town Rhine board continues to discuss issues involving a disputed building project on Elkhart Lake.

Tuesday, Mike Dombrynio told the board that a neighbor’s building project at W6650 E. Shoreland Rd. was turning his own new home construction into a nightmare.

The most important point he said involves the safety of his children.

First, there was the permit to proceed and subsequent code violation of a garage repair by Dan and Jean Waibel that turned into what the board at a previous monthly meeting determined a rebuild and larger footprint.

Now, he said there’s another code violation which states that the grade of a slope can’t be changed without an approved variance.

Dombrynio said the gradual slope of the landscape is now a sheer drop of more than nine feet, which presents a danger to his two young children on his side of the property should they (ever) play in the vicinity.

In addition Dombrynio reminded the board there are the issues of the trespassing of construction workers and landscapers using his property when working on the Waibel site; what he said was the use of a recording device by the Waibel’s builder to record the building inspector without his knowledge; and, subsequent “tactics of bullying and entrapment of the town building inspector.”

As part of his final comment, Dombrynio wants the board to deny final occupancy to the Waibels until all issues are addressed to meet municipal code and in such a way that is conducive to acceptable professional business practices in the community.

Respecting the legal situation the Waibel’s build has put the board in, Dombrynio said his experience been the opposite. “The builder’s job is to build to the code and then seek a final inspection from the building inspector,” Dombrynio said.

The board went into closed session to consider the legal issues involved. (Decisions will be reported when made available.)

In addition to the town’s attorney being present for that closed session, Atty. Paul Dirkse was also able to explain what types of donations a town government could give a local entity.

Though it may be considered more financial support or to subsidize, “a town can make, among several categories, donations to help fund, among them a park, parade, or fireworks, where everyone can use or attend,” he said.

Donating the requested $1,500 would not have been out of the question necessarily as Dirkse indicated that the definition could be broad as to what a civic organization is defined as. However, if there was any doubt, it would have to be up to the board to decide. Without a definitive answer whether or not a high school music program constitutes a civic organization, it is “safer to say no, otherwise, where do they stop?” Dirkse said.

Julia Sutcliffe, and other members of the Elkhart Lake Educational Foundation, were on hand to hear that the purpose of the donation requested did not seem clear to the board that it met the qualifications.

“I would argue that it is a civic-minded sort of request,” Sutcliffe said. She did remind the board that the student band performs at national holiday civic functions, even as recently as Veterans Day, and the money Jodi Voss of the Elkhart Lake – Glenbeulah School District raises is going to repair and replace broken instruments and for uniforms that are upward of 40 years old.

“I think it’s a very worthy cause, but there is more to think about,” Chairman Ron Platz said.

Platz did review that there are four school districts that have students residing in Town of Rhine. Though it could “open up the floodgates” of donation requests, and though helping to alleviate some of the strain of fundraising for the music program needs, a motion was made by the newest supervisor, Larry Eberle, seconded, and passed not to grant the donation request to the Elkhart Lake Education Foundation.

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