The Culver Town Council is moving forward with certain updates to its zoning ordinance, but is leaving the Plan Commission with a few questions still to answer.
Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting brought a second and third reading to the ordinance amendment. Under the proposal made by the Culver Plan Commission, several updates and revisions were recommended to definitions and the language surrounding exterior structures.
Town Council President Ginny Bess Munroe read through the language under contention.
“So are we kind of saying if [Building Commissioner] Russ [Mason] or the technical oversight committee thought it was an accessory structure based on usage, then it is?” says Munroe. “Is that going to get us in trouble in court?”
The intention is to develop a technical review committee filled with experts to review development plans prior to being recommended to the Culver Plan Commission for zoning approval. The plans would only then be sent to the Town Council before any construction could begin.
Finalizing a replacement ordinance is expected to take upwards of a year, but Culver has an interest in updating some of the language in its ordinance right away. Not only would it modernize Culver’s zoning ordinance to a small degree, but it would also offer the Town a layer of legal protection should a development issue head to the courts.
Building Commission Russ Mason says if an individual land owner disagrees with the building commissioner’s decision, there are ways to challenge it.
“If they think the decision was incorrect, if he says that this thing, this new thing, whatever it is: a stone bench anchored to a concrete platform is an accessory structure and it’s not listed and the building commissioner says ‘yes it is,’ the person can challenge it with the planning commission,” says Mason.
The Culver Town Council approved the ordinance amendment on second and third reading, but sent the sections about exterior structures back to committee for further review and consideration.
A replacement ordinance is expected at some point in the future.