After a lengthy review process and a public hearing, the Rushford Council has approved a request by Terry Hubbard to construct a shed on his 44587 Oakview Loop property. Hubbard has maintained that due to the location of the residence on his property, existing and secondary drainfield areas, and stormwater flow he is limited on where he can construct a shed and sought a variance to construct it.
The proposed shed is 30-feet by 30-feet, with 10-foot sidewalls, one 16×8 overhead door, one walk-through door, and six windows. Hubbard is conforming to subdivision covenant by siding it in wainscotting and opting for colors that match his home. He maintained he cannot build a smaller shed due to need, that the shed cannot be attached to his home due to setbacks and best construction practices, including settling.
The variance was initially denied, but Planning and Zoning Committee met and a motion to proceed was later approved. The council had until July 7 to make a decision.
“I have a mixed feeling of sorts. Is there a need for a variance when there are options that may have permitted it without a variance,” said Mayor Gordon Johnson. “We don’t do a lot of variances. If you look back at history, it’s hard to do. The discussion we’re going to have tonight will decide if it moves forward with a positive swing or if we go back to the drawing board.”
Councilor Dennis Overland questioned City Attorney Tom Manion on whether the issuance of a variance indicates the building is non-conforming and whether or not the structure could later be added onto. Manion indicated non-conforming relates to use, not the building, and that overall footprint changes to the structure cannot be made after construction.
Overland offered several suggestions for constructing the building including locating it east of Hubbard’s home, northwest of the home, and reducing the size. Hubbard maintained that east of the home does not provide enough room with the existing easement and would shed water onto a neighbor’s property, that north of the home would require an additional driveway to the property, and that the size is not able to be reduced due to need. “We’re talking more money and I’m not getting the size building I need.” He added that he’s talked to all adjacent property owners and they had no complaints with his final plans. A public hearing was held and no issues or opposition was brought forth by neighbors.
“I’ve compromised a lot on what I want and I’ve been getting the run around long enough,” said Hubbard. “You can laugh, but I’m just going to hand it to the attorney pretty soon and he can just deal with it. You’re strongholding my property. Every one of my neighbors signed that petition and none of them are complaining about it.”
“No to you,” responded Overland. “We can only go on facts.”
“I’m not here to argue. I’m here to get an answer or to find out if I need to call my attorney,” added Hubbard.
After further examination of maps and plans, it was determined the building should be positioned east of Hubbard’s driveway, with the door facing Highway 43, 80 feet from the center of Oakview Loop.
“There has to be practical difficulties and it cannot alter the essential character of the locality,” noted Overland.
Councilor Chad Rasmussen made a motion to approve the variance and Councilor Mike Ebner seconded the motion. “But I’m going to tell you this, I have reservations on this because of your attitude and how you pushed this on us,” cautioned Ebner. “You think you think you can do whatever you want there. I want Pettit to keep an eye on it. It has to meet requirements and needs to be measured before its built.”
“I agree 100% with Mike,” added Rasmussen. “The only reason I made a motion to approve is that I believe if he owns the property, he should be able to build. Being pushed on and threatened by a lawyer was a horrible way to present it to the council. It’s unprofessional.”
After calling for a vote, the decision stood two in favor and two opposed (Overland and Rich Smith), with Mayor Johnson needing to cast the deciding vote.
“It’s a tough spot guys,” sighed Johnson.
“Whatever is decided, we’re all going to be behind it,” said Overland. “It’s nothing personal.
“When you leave, it’s a decision made by the council,” added Rasmussen. Johnson voted in favor of the variance. The building cannot deviate from what was determined and all measurements will be verified with stakes prior to construction.
In other news, the city’s found itself, like many others combating the rough spring conditions, lacking road rock. According to Johnson, the contract indicated it would be delivered by June 15. However, there is no significant amount of rock to be had. The concern is that if a significant amount of rock is laid now, it will go in the ditches before it’s served its purpose. “I don’t know if anyone is going to get rock. The quarries don’t have it.”
Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck suggested spot spreading take place on bad locations and the city hold off on putting it down elsewhere. “Next year, we look at putting some teeth behind the delivery date,” he added. Several roads have bad spots, but for the most part frost boils have gone. Still, rain is hindering maintaining roads. The council opted to leave the matter to Scheck’s judgement.
“I’ll get it taken care of and go from there. If it’s not soon enough, we’re just not going to do it this year,” concluded Scheck.
A complaint by an AcenTek technician regarding speeding on the eastern, paved portion of Ridgeview Road was also discussed. “He said it’s just a matter of time before someone gets hit,” warned Clerk Mary Miner. There are no posted speed signs in the area. Speed bumps were quickly ruled out due to the frequent agricultural equipment on the roadway. One clearly seen cause of speeding, according to Ebner who lives near and walks the area, is school students now using the mainly gravel Ridgeview Road as a shortcut from Highway 30 west of Rushford to Highway 43 north of the city en route to the new school site.
It was determined that 30 mph speed signs would be ordered and posted at the east end of the road, by St. Joseph’s Cemetery, and one just after the Rush Creek bridge where the pavement begins.
The council also approved a request by south Rushford resident Jonas Sublett to park his Fastenal “bobtail” semi at the south Rushford park. The semi will be parked on the west corner of the parking lot area, facing east. For added awareness and safety reassurance, Sublett will place cones around the semi and chalk the wheels, despite there being air brakes. No part of the semi will obstruct the street and it won’t be idling when not in use.
“Worst case, we’ll try it out. If there gets to be issues, it can change, but I don’t see that there’d be any issues,” said Johnson.
“I’d rather have it parked there than on the street,” added Rasmussen.
Next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, August 6, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.