Carroll County Board Continues House Rental Discussion
By JOHN HUGGINS | For The Prairie Advocate News
MOUNT CARROLL – The Carroll County board held its regular meeting on Thursday, August 15, 2013 in the county courthouse with all board members except Shawn Picolotti were present.
At the previous meeting, held on August 1, 2013, there was a lengthy discussion concerning house rental within the R1 and Ag Districts.
At that time the board was presented with several options. One option was to leave it as is which would mean that it would not be an acceptable use. Another would make it an acceptable use with restrictions. The third was to make it only permitted with a special use permit.
The board agreed to send to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) making it an allowable use and that they would like to see some modifications to the ordinance to address some health and safety issues.
At this meeting they were presented with an updated version over the draft ordinance that added chapter 712 that they saw at the previous meeting.
Chapter 712 describes restriction to it being an allowable use. It first defines the terms “Bed and Breakfast,” “Guest House,” and “transient residents.”
Next, it states that a license would be required with a fee of $100 which would cover a three year period. It stated a minimum level of insurance that must be carried on the property.
For health and safety reasons, it set restrictions on number of occupants, minimum septic system water requirements, smoke and carbon monoxide requirements, and parking restrictions. These restrictions were formed with the help of the Carroll County Health Department.
It also states that the premises must have “land line” telephone service in case the tenant needed 911 services.
Board member Rod Fritz questioned, “Do we even want to go here? The original issue was, can you rent them out or not. And now, all of a sudden we want to create a big bureaucracy.”
Board member Joe Payette stated, “If the initial reason why we are seeing this is because of people complaining about noise, lewd behavior, or whatever, we have laws for that already. The people need to take the initiative, call the police and make a complaint.”
Payette added, “If it’s a public safety [issue] or we want to be concerned with the safety of these renters, then we need to readdress this. I don’t agree with it. But all of a sudden we want to start regulating a bunch of things to make it even safer; to make sure everyone’s safety is being covered, I’d say that’s born by the property owner in the past. I’m not sure we have to put it to paper.”
Board chairman Kevin Reibel pointed out, “We’ve sent something to the Zoning Board of Appeals that they are going to hear motion and directive from this board at their meeting the first of September. So we will get something back from them that we will either vote on to establish or send back to them for further consideration.”
“What we did send them,” he continued, “is making this an allowable practice.”
“I feel a responsibility to the R1 people,” said board member Ron Preston. “They don’t want it there. They moved there because they weren’t going to have it there. Now we are going to say ‘well, it’s okay?’”
“This has been going on for years,” interjected Payette, “and we haven’t had a public safety issue that we know of. Now, all of a sudden, we want to throw a rule at it to cover our butt, when it’s not necessary.”
Reibel encouraged board members to attend the ZBA meeting. He recommended that they wait and see what the ZBA sends back to the county board as a recommendation.
At the previous meeting the board was presented with a draft change to county ordinance chapter 740 concerning inoperable vehicles. This meeting the proposed ordinance change was on the agenda again.
Ron Preston motioned to approve the ordinance with Gary Imel seconding the motion. Rod Fritz then made a motion to amend the previous motion to include the clause that states the vehicle must be deemed to meet the criteria stated in the ordinance for a period of at least six months. The motion for the amendment passed as did the amended first motion.
It was verified that complaints would initially be handled by the zoning officer.
In Other Business
Heard a presentation about the Workforce Investment Board, and passed a resolution declaring the week of August 25 “Workforce Development Week.”
Heard GIS website should be up and running in September.
Saw the first draft of the 2014 budget.
Received letters from the Carpenters Union and the Teamsters Union demanding negotiations for the new contracts which are up at the end of the year.
Circuit Clerk Sheri Miller praised Diane Bausman, Executive Director of Blackhawk Waterways CVB for her television interview regarding tourism in the county.