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Rushford Village adopts ordinances, works out comprehensive plan

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2013
Posted in Rushford Village Government

After months of trying to knock down redundant, non-consistent, or unclear language within Ordinance 5, the city has formally adopted changes that it hopes will prevent problems in the future.

Deficiencies in the ordinance were brought forth by city attorney Tom Manion, as well as Christina Peterson, of Yaggy Colby Associates, who is working with the city on a comprehensive plan. Often dubbed “vague” or “unclear” at meetings, Manion has noted that the city needs consistent, clear ordinances in order to stand behind them legally. The changes amount to amending Subsections 1514, fences or walls, vision clearance, as well as amending Subsections 100-1705, which concern the city Planning and Zoning Commission. Also adopted was the resolution for Ordinance 1, animal control.

In regards to Subsections 1700-1705, the Zoning Board has spent a great deal of time working through the current ordinance, replacing, eliminating, or updating portions. Board member Joyce Iverson presented the changes, citing the logic behind them, ensuring a thorough ordinance and proper setup for a comprehensive plan.

“In part of our going through, updating the comp plan, we looked at how our board was established; the process. Working with Mr. Manion, we identified some definitions that needed to be changed to match,” said Iverson.

“We just have to be consistent,” noted Councilor Dennis Overland. “Little things come back to bite us later on. Get it as clear as you can.” While the full ordinance document is available at city hall, the summary resolution will be posted on the city website.

The work on the updated comprehensive plan is also nearing completion. “In development for the future, it’s a tool to help with your vision and street to achieve that vision,” noted Christina Peterson. In the document, 17 community goals are laid out alongside the vision statement and statistical data such as history, demographics, land and water characteristics, public facilities and infrastructure. The most critical piece of the plan, according to Peterson, is land use. Covered in the document are issues and concerns with land use, as well as regulations that pertain to usage.

Following the goals are action steps for each. “It gives the council a big target to look at when planning,” noted Mayor Dale Schwanke. The plan will also assist with ideas, programs, and collaboration.

“It sounds like a very good plan,” added Manion. “When someone challenges it, we can refer back to the plan so it’s not arbitrary. It seems to fit with your goals and where you’re headed.

The city will wait until the next meeting to finalize and approve the plan. The additional time will allow last minute changes discussed and suggested.

“People spent a lot of time on this. Questions were asked, research done. It’s a good document and a good discussion,” said Schwanke. “It really forced us to think a, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ kind of thing.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, December 3, at 7 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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