Plan Commission, CRC on clock, sidewalk damage, and rezoning

At the June 19 meeting of the Culver Plan Commission a decision was made to hold a public hearing at the Culver Union Township library to consider adding an A-1 district to the Culver Zoning Ordinance. A great deal of interest in the issue was expressed at a recent town council meeting. Russ Mason, building commissioner, recommended the change. The A-1 designation will replace a portion of the S-1 (Suburban) classification in the ordinance.

During the discussion, Pete Peterson, member, said he felt the that the Animal Production clause was too broad and suggested a Special Use designation be required for dairy production.

Other changes discussed were Day Care provisions. Schools-Private Daycare/Nursery will be removed and that the provision be amended to include Senior/Day Care/ Questions were asked if guide wires and irrigation platforms were considered structures. Mason said he felt these should be classified as equipment and not counted as structures. Also discussed was the required addition of a Knox box to certain structures. A change in Section 5.20, Waste and Debris will be considered.

On a motion by George Duncan seconded by Peterson, a public hearing will be held on July 18 at 7 p.m. at the meeting room in the library.
Ralph Winters, president of the commission, said he wanted to move forward with the update on the Comprehensive Plan, however the Culver Redevelopment Committee has not committed to the full cost of the project. Kathy Clark, LMEC director, said she felt that if the CRC had the money, this would be a project they should fund. Trent Bennett replied that he felt that if the project doesn't cover all the TIF areas, the CRC shouldn't fully cover the cost. Kevin Berger reported that the town council is considering the issue at budget time, but no decision has been made. A motion by Ron Cole seconded by Margaret Dehne to petition the CRC for the money was approved.

Brandy Pohl was present to discuss what requirements were needed for a Day Care facility at the old motorcycle shop on SR 10. Mason noted that the type of Day Care provided had to be considered to determine if a Special Use was needed. After discussion it was determined that the business was a pre-school and did not require a Special Use hearing.

The commission welcomed new members, Jim Faulkner and George Duncan.
The Culver Board of Zoning Appeals reorganized at their June 21st meeting with Dan Adams remaining as chairman. Barbara Winters will be vice-chairman. Brandon Cooper who has acted as secretary to the Culver Plan Commission, CRC, and BZA declined to continue serving as secretary citing his work and other obligations. John Helphrey accepted the nomination as secretary.

The only hearing to be considered was for Richard George, 615 S. Shore Drive to approve a variance for a front yard setback of 10 ft from the required 25 ft. Richard and Beth George were present to discuss their petition. They noted that handicap accessibility was necessary in the downstairs area to accommodate aging parents. George explained that in order to do this, they had to remove the existing screened in porch. He requested permission to screen in an existing deck that is already non-conforming.

All members of the board visited the property to examine the request. Helphrey noted that one part of the deck was already non-conforming. Cooper asked what the hardship was. Part of the consideration of granting a variance is that a hardship be present so that the setbacks required by ordinance can't be met. George explained that it's a huge hardship as the home cannot be moved back to meet current ordinance requirements and a screened porch is necessary on the lake.

Adams said that the home was allowed to be built to the present setbacks prior to the ownership of the Georges. Mason noted that a sunroom could be screened in and it would not increase the non-conformity.

After Findings of Fact, the variance request was put to a vote and approved 3-1, Cooper dissenting.

Culver's Redevelopment Commission met on June 20 with a full agenda. Kathy Clark, former chairman and member of the CRC, was present to discuss the duties required of a Redevelopment Commission. The purpose of the commission is to capture money and use it to gain and enhance commercial business through the TIF (Tax Incremental Funding) funds. Clark also discussed the current TIF districts and requested that the map showing these districts be checked regularly for accuracy. She urged the committee to continue to find ways to improve the quality of life and spend funds accordingly as this will encourage business.

David Schoeff, town manager, has offered to assist in any way towards the CRC goals.

Discussing the condition of the sidewalk from Millers Merry Manor which was damaged recently, Ralph Winters said he did not feel the structural integrity of the sidewalk was damaged and Brandon Cooper noted that it was unfortunate that the sidewalk was damaged but didn't think this was the fault of the contractor. Winters made a motion to pay the contractor seconded by Cooper. The motion passed 3-1, with Winters, Cooper, Jerry Ney voting in favor and Grant Munroe dissenting.

More discussion on the funding of the Downtown Clock was held. Bob Porter, Street Superintendent, stated the funds needed were $7,911 with Verl Shaffer pledging $1,000. Ney asked if there were any private donations made and it was agreed to check with Verl. Winters said he was a little reluctant to use tax payer money for a cosmetic project. Porter noted that a consensus was that most citizens were in favor of the clock but there were no monetary donations. Kevin Berger said that it was important to donate the clock to the town so that it was covered under the town's liability policy. A motion by Ney to approve the cost was seconded by Cooper and approved 4-1.

Tom Kearns, Tree Commission, asked for funding for trees along N. School Street. He noted that a letter was received from Brad Schuldt, school superintendent, approving the placement. A long term plan for Culver calls for 700 trees to be planted, Kearns said.

Berger asked about the funding for the new Comprehensive Plan. The commission asked town manager, Schoef, to investigate qualified firms to determine the cost of the project. The plan would be that the CRC, town council, and plan commission would all be involved in the funding, reviewing and approving the project.