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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Driveways, Fences Can Be On Property Lines In Grover

Issue Date: August 16, 2017

Much of the discussion at the Grover Town Board meeting on Monday, Aug. 14 centered around complaints from Tamara Beeman that her neighbor on Bridge Road wants to move a 16X80-foot mobile home onto his non-conforming 3/4-acre lot and has built his driveway on the lot line, just six feet from the propane tank on her lot of the same size.

The meeting was moved into the large meeting hall instead of the regular board room due to the number of neighbors who had come to support her arguments.

She said a previous owner"s request for a variance to move a mobile home onto the property was turned down some time ago. That owner was told he could sell it, but not live on it, Beeman said.

She said the location for the proposed mobile home would be just 30 feet from her house, too close for comfort, and declared, "I don"t want to reach out a window and borrow a cup of sugar." She also complained that the neighbor is not easy to live with, and constantly runs his ATV around the perimeter of his lot. Other neighbors said the person in question treats her badly.

She asked if he needed a permit for the driveway that he had just graveled, and if he had applied for a permit for the proposed trailer.

Supervisor Kim Kittredge, who also serves as the town"s building inspector and zoning administrator, said driveways can go right on the property line, but structures and other additions, including the propane tank, must be at least 20 feet away.

She said she has been dealing with the issues raised by Beeman. The neighbor had received a permit for the small shed he built on the property, but has not applied for a mobile home permit. Before he could receive one, he would need to show proof of a septic permit from the county, and would need to have a well.

Kittredge said there seemed to be some confusion over the variance that had been refused for the previous lot owner. If an existing non-conforming structure is destroyed by fire or other natural disaster, as had been the case here, the owner has the right under "grandfather" provisions to rebuild on the same footprint, provided the rebuilding is done within a year. In the case Beeman and several of her neighbors referred to, more than a year had passed, and his application for a variance did not go through. He had wanted to put the replacement mobile home less than the 83 feet from the center line of the road.

Under the existing ordinance, structures must be at least 83 feet from the center line, and 20 feet from property lines. When he moved the old trailer out after it burned he failed to replace it within the 1-year time frame and his right to put it in the old location was gone.

As to the non-conforming lot sizes, Kittredge explained to Beeman that her lot and the one next door were created at the same time. Any new land divisions require minimum lot sizes of two acres and at least 200 feet of road frontage, but any lots created before 2007 are grandfathered. Owners must meet setback rules, but the lots are usable. "We can"t deny somebody the right to build on their property," Kittredge declared. She said he will need to comply with all rules, and there is some question if there is room for the mound system that might be required.

She repeated there has been no application for a permit to move in a trailer, and advised Beeman, "If you see a trailer go in there, let me know."

One of the neighbors said years ago the ground on the lot in question was contaminated with oil, and wondered if the owner could get a well or a sanitary permit, and wondered if his own water would be affected if that property owner drilled a well. Kittredge said she cannot stop him from digging a hole to try to find water.

She repeated that he cannot get a building permit until he gets a sanitary permit, "and I can almost guarantee that it will be for a mound system." However, she repeated, "You cannot make someone"s personal property unusable."

She commented that the property had been for sale for a long time before the present owner bought it, ""I wish one of you had bought it."

"I would"If someone gave me the money," Beeman replied. She said the yard light installed by the neighbor shines directly at her house,and Kittredge said that is not allowed and she will talk to him about redirecting it. "As to the propane tank, I know you don"t want to hear this, but it should be 20 feet from your property line too." Beeman said the tank was there when she bought the property. She was concerned with the driveway so close a vehicle could slip on the ice, hit the tank and blow up her house.

"He could have 40 acres and still put a driveway right there," Kittredge said. She said fences or driveways can be right on the property line, but anything else must be at least 20 feet from it.

Asked what they could do if the trailer was put in without a permit, both Kittredge and Town Chair Wayne Staidl said the town can have it removed. Staidl added even if he built a house, they could have it removed. Any trailers coming into the town must have been built in 1977 or newer, and must have a shingled roof.

On other matters, Clerk/Treasurer Lisa Witak reported the state"s population estimate for Grover placed the total number of residents at 1,805, with 1,416 of them of legal voting age.

A reclamation plan for a non metallic mine (gravel pit) had been filed by B&D Dairies, and a public hearing may be scheduled.

Kittredge reported during the past month she had received one request for a new home building permit and one request for a fire number.

The board had received a thank you letter from a resident of Leslie Road for putting in the 45 mile per hour speed limit, which had been done at the board"s July meeting. That brought comments from all over the room that they too would appreciate 45 mph speed limits.

Town employee LeRoy Spitzmacher reported a "gully washer" had again damaged Bridge Road and the corner with Townline and Riverview roads.

Spitzmacher said he had patched the blacktop on Kasal Lane and someone had added gravel , "but it won"t stay."

Holly Schoenfeld, who babysits, has asked for a "Children at Play" sign on her road.

There was damage to Homestead Road from a recent accident in which a vehicle went off the road, and all the recent rain has made the problem worse. It was suggested that Spitzmacher should put a load of gravel there.

There also was another washout on Prestine Road, where a new 18" culvert was recently put in, but the water comes down the road instead of going through the culvert. Board members agreed Spitzmacher should seek advice from Marinette County Highway Department on possible solutions.

Gordon Klimek commented the Grover/Porterfield Fire Department could soon change its name to "Fire Department and Tree Removal." He said so far this year they have had 80 calls to remove fallen trees, not counting the 30 calls in a single day.

The chassis for the new fire truck built by Freightliner is now complete, and the firefighting vehicle is now being assembled. It should be ready to go in January, Klimek said. The frame on an older truck broke recently, so the new truck is needed more than ever.

There had been hopes of putting a bulk fuel tank on the town hall/fire department property, but that will not happen. Staidl said the town hall property is too close to the creek, so the fuel tank cannot be put there. They will leave it where it is now, and hope to get one mounted on a truck in the near future.

Three culverts of Red School Road will be replaced. Staidl said they do not need DNR or Corps of Engineers permits as long as the replacement culverts are the same diameter and length as the ones they replace. Since all three are over 36 inches they will apply for bridge aid next year to pay for them.

Spitzmacher mentioned several other culverts that are failing, and was advised to temporarily fill in spots on roads that have sunk because of culvert collapse.

Road work planned for this year includes one mile of chip seal on Red School Road and two miles of reconstruction on Townline Road, with the cost to be split 50/50 with the Town of Pound.

There was brief discussion on how much is left in the road maintenance budget, and what other jobs could be done this year. Witak cautioned the town"s snow plowing budget is already $30,000 over spent and winter hasn"t come yet. She felt they can realistically do about two additional miles of road improvements.

After some discussion the board, at the suggestion of Supervisor Brad Wyss, agreed to try out crack filling and chip sealing on one mile of Hartwig Road from County B to Red School Road. Wyss said the road gets a good mix of farm and regular vehicle traffic, so it will be a good test. Scott Construction, which had submitted the low bid for the work, will be hired. Wyss said any money left over once winter is done should be rolled over into road improvement work next year.

After brief discussion, and with the understanding that it is a flexible plan that can change as needed the board approved a 5-year road work plan. Staidl said as conditions require, some roads will be added in future years, and other projects on the list will be moved to the back burner.

The board agreed to buy flag holders for the five veterans graves in the town"s May"s Corner cemetery for $45 each, and each year hereafter there will be a total $10 donation for five flags to fill them. The Legion will put the flags out, but the holders will remain the property of the Town of Grover. Witak said the town cannot purchase flags or flag holders for the St. John"s Church cemetery since it is owned by the church, not the town.

After some discussion the board agreed to hire Ayres & Associates to draw up plans for reconstruction of the Town Hall Road Bridge in 2018 for their quoted price of $10,000. The work is to include options and cost estimates and work on obtaining the necessary permits from the DNR and the Army Corps of Engineers, plus topographic survey and four alternatives to be analyzed. Construction is planned for 2019.

The board greed to retain its policy of having the town pay for everything involved in maintaining driveways when roads are reconstructed, except that if a culvert needs to be replaced, that is at the expense of the property owner. Where roads are raised by adding gravel the town will deliver one load of gravel for driveways into farm fields, with the gravel to be spread by the driveway owner.

Water is coming across a driveway from the shoulder of Prestine Road where a culvert was recently replaced. Advice will be sought from Marinette County, and recommendations will be put on the agenda for the board"s September meeting. If an emergency develops there, however, work is to be done with agreement from Staidl, Wyss and the county advisor.

Because the person who requested a provision for ATVs on town roads was not present, the town took no action. The resident apparently wanted permission to travel from his home to the trail. Townline Road is the only one on which ATVs are currently permitted. Staidl said if they do agree to limited use of ATVs on roads they should require them to stay on the pavement, and set a 25 mile per hour speed limit.

Without taking formal action, board members agreed not to get involved with a drainage issue for properties on Schroeder Lane. "I don"t think it"s a public issue and I don"t want it to become a public issue," Wyss commented. Kittredge said there had been a meeting with the DNR. The problem seems to result from blockage on an adjoining property, and does not involve town action.

During time for public comment at the start of the meeting Klimek presented photos of several obscured fire number signs and asked what is being done about updating them. Kittredge said she has been working on the problem, "but apparently I need to work harder." She said when members of the town crew see fire numbers badly blocked by weeds and brush they do weed around them, but they do not go out looking for them. She expressed hope property owners will help keep the signs visible.


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