After nearly six months in the draft stage, a zoning ordinance pertaining to vision clearance, fences and accessory structures will move forward. But the ordinance will not include any language, at this point, pertaining to fences in front yards.
The action to move ahead was taken at the Warsaw Plan Commission meeting Monday evening.
Jeremy Skinner, city planner and Tim Dombrosky, assistant city planner, presented an updated draft for approval. The final ordinance will be presented at the May meeting before going on to the common council for approval in June
Skinner stated there are five to six residents who have been patiently waiting for permits relating to accessories and fences. Because of this Skinner recommended the removal of language regarding front yard fences, which has caused extensive discussion. “We can continue to talk about the (front yard) fencing,” stated Skinner.
Dombrosky presented the few changes in the ordinance — no obstruction taller than 3-feet shall be placed within six inches of a public sidewalk, defining an accessory building as that which has an entry of at least standard size or larger and that there be no more than two freestanding accessory buildings per zone lot.
During the discussion Rick Keeven questioned the ordinance did not provide a definition of a fence. It was stated anything under 3 feet would not be considered a fence. The smallest fence height in the industry is 4 feet.
Dombrosky was also asked to get with Jeff Beeler, street department, regarding the distance between a fence and sidewalk. It was believed he was requesting a further distance than 3-feet.
Jeff Grose, board member, noted the ordinance has less restrictive wording and is easier to understand. Dave Baumgartner, board member, asked if the public understands that fencing can be placed on the side of a home regardless of the material. It was noted there is still a perception by many, you cannot have a chain link fence.
The only other business before the commission was a new flood hazard area ordinance. Members were asked to look at the ordinance template for further discussion. Skinner stated after a decade the federal government has updated flood zone maps. It was pointed out in the past there were numerous inconsistencies and some communities did not have data. He also noted the new ordinance defines regulations and is easier to read and understand.
It was stated if the city did not approve the ordinance, residents in flood zone areas would not be eligible for reduced rates in flood insurance. It was also noted the updated maps would not be available until the ordinance was approved.
Skinner stated he has viewed the maps and there were little changes for the city. The most prevalent changes were there were more areas moved out of the flood plain than put in.
Skinner will be going over the ordinance the government provided and personalize it more to the city needs.
The next meeting of the plan commission will be at 7 p.m. May 11.