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Minutes 2011 FEB 1 Plan Commission


02-11-2011

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Minutes 2011 FEB 1 Plan Commission

Minutes of Plan Commission and Town Board Feb. 1, 2011 meeting include:

  • Pledge of allegiance recited. Meeting, called to order at 6:30 pm by Plan Commission (PC) Chairman David LeMahieu, had 3 of 5 members present including John Wiesner and Ryan Van Camp. Dave Ogilvie and Nancy Willenkamp were absent. Also present Clerk Andrew Hogan, Deputy Clerk Lyn M. Neuenfeldt and Staff Planner Jeff Sanders; remaining 6 present indicated support for horse initiatives.
  • Purpose of PC meeting was to continue discussing zoning ordinance revisions and give staff direction.
  • PC verified that public notice of meeting and agenda were posted at www.townofhortonia.org, Town Hall, Fire Hall, Modern Flooring, and notice given on Town’s answering service 779-9780.
  • Wiesner motioned, seconded by Van Camp to approve Commission meeting minutes of January 4th as published, revising Farmland Preservation meeting date from 1st to March 2nd at 7:30pm. Carried.
  • PC reviewed staff report regarding compliance of Land Division / Subdivision ordinance with WI Act 376. In order to meet the statutory requirements of amended §236, Wis. Stats, Sanders recommend 4 minor revisions subject to legal counsel’s review; stated Attorney Carlson reviewed the staff report indicating that such minor revisions did not require public hearing prior to action by PC and Town Board. Wiesner motioned, seconded by Van Camp, to recommend Town Board adopt revisions outlined in staff report. Carried – 3 ayes, 0 nays.
  • PC confirmed objectives for zoning ordinance revision consistent with Hortonia’s Comprehensive Plan. PC approved revision proposals that Sanders presented: low-impact development / storm water management – grass swales and constructed wetlands, smaller lots and homes (800 sq ft) targeting senior living with condominium style ownership, expanded accessory uses in Ag districts to sustain farming including germane commercial & retail uses, site plan review by subcommittee for commercial and industrial districts, passive well monitoring as already implemented in other parts of the state – aprx cost $10k to $15k per well, transitional residential districts maximizing economic value for landowners, consistency with conservation subdivisions, zoning overlays for environmental corridors / critical areas plus STH 15, updated zoning map incorporating new districts and overlays, revised application forms and fee schedules. Sanders indicated that revisions would be crafted giving PC flexibility to choose whether or not to require specific constraints based on unique circumstances; regulatory framework would support PC’s decision and promote consistency.
  • PC approved revision proposals for regulation of PUD (planned unit developments) for new developments seeking mixed residential/commercial uses, signs & billboards, communication towers and exterior lighting to preserve rural, clear view of dark skies. Sanders stressed that these updates would give Commission a good toolset for insuring consistency in review of development proposals – good for Town because regulations would be consistent with maintaining rural character; good for developers because path to approval well defined.
  • Clerk drew PC’s attention to two contentious elements of zoning ordinance: M-H Mobile Home district and front yard regulation. LeMahieu directed staff to preserve intent of front yard regulations while minimizing preexisting non-conformity. Sanders assured PC that revision proposal regarding smaller homes would not subvert intent of Town’s M-H district regulations.
  • Responding to question from Deputy Clerk, Sanders indicated that green building and development were addressed by Comp. Plan, supported by Subdivision regulatory framework and will be included in provisions of zoning ordinance.
  • Responding to question from gallery about grandfathered uses, Sanders indicated use is tied to land, not owner. Preexisting, non-conforming uses can continue when property changes hands, however, if that use is discontinued, it can not be brought back. Example given: if horse was on 3 acre lot prior to change of regulation prohibiting such use, then horse can stay and next parcel owner can also have horse. However, if 2nd parcel owner discontinues that use [for 12 consecutive months] then 2nd owner can not bring horse back onto property; should not advertise it as horse property (even if it still has barn, fencing, etc); 3rd parcel owner can not bring horse onto that property. [minutes of 10/14/2009 have related insight]
  • PC reviewed exhibit (letter) provided by 4 horse enthusiasts present in the gallery. Letter listed 7 revisions to zoning to make ordinance more horse friendly. Sanders highlighted proposed regulatory tools listed in letter that were appropriate for achieving goals; voiced support for PUD provisions; was skeptical about equine overlay districts and other non-traditional use of regulatory instruments; felt park & recreational district could accommodate horse uses, similar to dog parks; advised PC on collateral effects of proposed revisions; focused on off-property affects.
  • PC had reservations citing impact of young, warm-blood stallion considerably different from older, gelding of different breeding even if height/weight were similar. Clerk tasked with locating information on county’s role in regulating breeds and dangerous livestock; tasked with contacting WTA regarding towns with noteworthy horse regulations. Sanders tasked with locating ordinances used by other towns for regulating horses in or near residential districts including survey of minimum lot size and density of animal units used for recreational/hobby animal husbandry.
  • Horse enthusiasts were asked to provide PC & Sanders with data about breeding, impact studies, statistics, sample regulations, other exhibits and evidence supporting their proposed revisions; asked to submit material to clerk. Sanders needs input on impact studies differentiating by breeds & sizes.
  • Responding to LeMahieu’s question on how to balance public health and safety with growth opportunities proposed by horse enthusiasts, Sanders indicated giving careful scrutiny to what already works in other towns and applying that to Hortonia’s unique circumstances; indicated that regulations for guidance and minimum standards could be written for construction of barns, fencing, produce stands, stables, etc.
  • Responding to LeMahieu’s inquiry on exclusivity, Sanders replied PC can choose to have regulation specific to horses, or, use broader language to incorporate additional livestock types as well as non-indigenous and/or exotic animals. LeMahieu directed Sanders to use broader language.
  • Responding to LeMahieu’s question to Horse Enthusiasts about whether they’re trying to get Hortonia on even footing with surrounding towns, or, see unique opportunity for Hortonia, answer from gallery was both, citing current disadvantages evidenced by Mukwa’s minimum lot size of 5 vs. Hortonia’s 7 acres; inferring concentration of local vets, vet clinic, feedmills / coops, tack outlets, farriers, etc – good school district – Hortonia poised for economic boon in horse activity under right regulatory climate as expressed by Jan. 26, 2010 public hearing exhibit on positive economic impact of horse communities. Sanders incited PC to choose goal: whether primary objective is preserving rural character or match preservation with development that is consistent with rural character.
  • Responding to gallery questions, Sanders indicated that a group of landowners could enter into a conservation easement to create horse recreation spaces – no overlay district needed – involves land owner, town, 3rd party – no cost other than paperwork; Clerk tasked with contacting legal counsel to investigate liability issues related to Town. Riding in road right-of-way is not zoning issue; Town Board action required; need input from County on drainage district restrictions. Another option would be a conservation easement next to town road right-of-way. Roads to trails program perhaps an option – successful in OR.
  • Meeting adjourned 8:56pm. Next PC meeting: Wednesday, March 2, 7:30pm; focus will be Working Lands Initiative and changes to Hortonia’s Farmland Preservation component of zoning ordinance.

These minutes are unapproved and subject to final Plan Commission approval. Respectfully submitted, Andrew Hogan, Clerk

Please click the 'Download' button next to the GREEN arrow to download a PDF of the minutes.

Document(s) related to the minutes:
!! CLICK HERE !! for minutes from 1/4/2011 P.C. meeting
!! CLICK HERE !! for current zoning ordinance
!! CLICK HERE !! for zoning overview
!! CLICK HERE !! for staff report on WI Act 376
!! CLICK HERE !! for Exhibit #1 - letter from Horse Enthusiasts
!! CLICK HERE !! for Horse Enthusiasts' Ex.2 from 1/26/2010 public hearing