Warsaw’s current zoning ordinance as it pertains to fencing and accessory buildings may be too restrictive, if not altogether unclear. Warsaw City Planner Jeremy Skinner and Assistant Planner Tim Dombrosky brought a proposal to the Warsaw Plan Commission last night that would, they say, give homeowners more leniency.
Together, the men have been going through the city’s zoning ordinance with a fine tooth comb finding “language inconsistencies.” They are also looking at areas that could be changed to allow homeowners options on where fences and accessory buildings can be located, ultimately giving them more use of their yards.
As Dombrosky told the WPC last night, “We see a lot of issues with fences and accessory buildings when issuing permits.” He said the changes he and Skinner are proposing would not only solve those issues, but actually be more practical.
While the changes in some instances would mean trees, shrubs and other objects that cause visual obstructions would likely have to be removed or trimmed, ultimately, some things would no longer require permits, specifically accessory buildings not on a permanent foundation. Also, the size of accessory buildings would change, meaning they would be allowable no larger than 75% of the principle structure or up to 18 feet at the peak.
Although the size of outbuilding brought some discussion, both Skinner and Dombrosky said the current ordinance only has a 3-tier structure that does not really conform to most properties. “It’s a practical issue,” Skinner explained. “The sizes of the accessory buildings are now based on lot size. The more practical way is to use a scale method.”
Placement of accessory buildings would also change if the WPC accepts a final draft next month. In short, such structures would need to be placed behind the principle structure or behind the principle structure of an adjacent structure. The purpose is to prevent neighbors from having to see storage buildings outside their front door.
Further, fences would be capped at a 6 foot maximum height on side and back yards, but fences in front yards would only be allowed to be decorative. No chain link or privacy fences would be permitted in front yards. Dombrosky said the regulations should be made to improve aesthetic value.
With some minor verbiage changes suggested by the WPC members, Dombrosky and Skinner will present the proposed ordinance changes at the next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8.
In one other matter, the WPC was handed the “pre final” draft of the city’s comprehensive plan. Members were asked to read through it and submit their thoughts no later than Aug. 26, when Brad Johnson of Ground Rules Inc. will meet with city planners to make final revisions. Last spring, the city contracted with Ground Rules to complete the $50,750 plan.
The WPC will discuss the plan at its Sept. 8 meeting before it moves to the Warsaw Common Council for further discussion. The Sept. 8 meeting will also be the first of what is to be several public hearings to discuss the comprehensive plan. Citizens may see the plan in its entirety by clicking HERE. Hard copies are also available in the city planning office, located on the second floor of city hall.