Lake District Zoning Changes Attract Many to Culver Public Hearing

The Culver Town Council opened a public hearing Tuesday night for comments concerning several zoning ordinance changes recommended by the plan commission.

The Lake District, or L1, zoning amendments drew a crowd of residents in that district who spoke out against changes to front and rear yards and side yard setbacks.

One recommended change includes wording that “all side yard setbacks are to be clear of all visual obstructions between the height of 2.5 and 8 feet high with the exception of fences. This pertains to vegetation, HVAC (air conditioning units), landscaping materials, and accessory structures. Vegetation with a minimum mature branch height of 8 feet or higher will be allowed.”

The other recommendation suggests that “within the limits of a required front yard setback area, side and rear yards no fence shall exceed 5 feet in height and shall have a minimum of 50 percent of its surface open to permit visibility. Necessary retaining walls are exempt from the provisions of this requirement.”

Most of the language pertains to new construction or property plans.

Many opposed thought this infringed on private property by regulating trees and other landscaping preferences and privacy from neighbors. Some suggested that these types of issues could be worked out between neighbors.

There were a handful of residents who said they weren’t properly notified of the changes, but Council President Ginny Bess Munroe was quick to note that all work sessions concerning these changes were presented in many public meetings where agendas are posted on many public and social media sites.

After a 90-minute public hearing, the council members voted to exclude the L1 zoning changes from the other changes proposed within the recommended zoning ordinance amendment. They unanimously passed the first reading on the following changes: lowering the required number of parking spaces for general commercial businesses in the C2 district, changing the sign ordinance to allow lighted signs within a certain maximum foot candle, changes to the allowable uses in the Municipal Park district, creating permit requirements and establishing fees for solar power systems, requiring issuance of a building permit and permit fees for roof and shingle replacement, and a general reformatting to follow the zoning ordinance format used by other municipalities in Marshall County.