Culver's Pete Trone began his service on Culver's planning and zoning boards for which he was recognized by both the Culver Board of Zoning Appeals (in late November), and the Town Council (in December) 34 years ago.
Trone's father, Donaldson, arrived at Lake Maxinkuckee around 1904 when Donaldson's parents rented the old Norris farm on the east shore of the lake. That first summer, the family came by train and rented a horse and wagon, says Pete. Don Trone was 11 or 12.
"My dad's goal after World War I -- he was in the service in the war -- was to save enough money to buy a place on the lake. So in 1923 he had that opportunity when Mr. (William) Osborn, who was in real estate even then, told him about a place on the east shore on the market for immediate sale."
Many in Culver will recall the presence of Trone's store on the corner of Main and Washington Streets (the site of the Maxinkuckee Environmental Council today), long known as the Menser Building.
Trone's opened at the site in 1949, where it operated until 1978.
Don Trone passed away in 1970, and his wife operated the store for its remaining eight years in his stead.
Young Pete was away at school before entering the military in 1951. He returned to Culver in 1953 and began a long full-time association with the Woodcraft Camp at Culver Academy. A graduate of Culver's summer Naval School, Trone actually began at Woodcraft as a counselor in the summer of 1949. Working year-round in summer admissions, Trone left the school in 1977.
In conversation with area entities such as the Culver Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Academy, the notion of comprehensive planning in the area began to be explored. A group of individuals representing those organizations was appointed to serve on a planning committee, and on June 15, 1959, a comprehensive plan was adopted by the town of Culver, going into effect in January, 1960.
There were a few roadblocks to comprehensive planning in the Culver area, says Trone, mostly from those concerned the plan would deny them the opportunity to continue to use their land or real estate as they had been, including some farmers who worried agricultural use opportunities would be hampered, and developers who might wish to create more subdivisions than allowed.
State legislation gave municipalities on or near a lake the power to enact planning and zoning ordinances to affect their incorporated entities as well as a lake that abutted their corporate limits, Trone explains.
Thus, the town of Culver's zoning ordinances apply to the town and an area within a two-mile radius, plus all of a body of water that abuts the town limits, and a buffer area beyond that. Therefore, if Lake Maxinkuckee extended south beyond the two mile limits, the land could still be included.
Pete Trone was an original member and President of Culver's first Plan Commission. His involvement with the Board of Zoning Appeals began when a member of the Plan Commission was called for to serve on the BZA.
So, with 34 years under his belt, what kept Pete Trone serving on planning and zoning boards in Culver?
"My desire to have development," he replies, "but that it be orderly and logical development."
Trone says the best development has been the onset of what he calls "a professional approach to enforcement of the ordinances, with (Culver Building Inspector) Russ Mason. Russ and the present members of BZA understand the ordinance, and we believe we've applied it correctly and judiciously. There's a greater acceptance of the need for planning by all segments of our society...in most cases we've proven to people that our efforts are worthwhile."
Besides his involvement in planning and zoning, Trone is remembered as an active member (and secretary) of Culver's Chamber of Commerce for many years. He was involved with the Lake Maxinkuckee Association for many years (his father was involved for a quarter-century as secretary of that organization, from its inception). He's served actively on boards with the Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver and the county-wide Wythougan Valley Preservation Council.
Trone plans to "take it easy" from here on out -- and that's a luxury he's more than earned.