Planning Commission Work Session July 20, 2023

Arvon Township Planning Commission Work Session

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Call to Order:  6:00 p.m.

Roll Call:  Nancy Strohschein, Chairperson; Linnea Barron, Secretary; Joe Bollech, Board of Review; Bob Janda, Township Board Representative; Robert Lindert, Vice Chairperson; Jay Loman, Board of Review Chair; Donna Preston, Ken Anderson, Zoning Administrator.

Pledge of Allegiance:  Recited

Introductions/Guests:  Jason McCarthy, Bette Gabe

Approval of Agenda:  Robert made a motion to accept the agenda, seconded by Donna.  Motion carried.

Approval of minutes of June 29, 2023 work session:  Robert made a motion to accept the minutes, seconded by Joe.  Motion carried.


I.  Recreation Plan:

A.  The members had all reviewed the recreation plan draft from Jason.  A few minor changes were noted that Jason will take care of.  We will begin the 30-day review with notice in the paper and on-line on August 2, 2023, and a public hearing on September 7, 2023, at the town hall at 6 p.m.

B.  We did not address the comments part of the Recreation Plan Survey.

C.  Nancy sent thank you emails to those interested in becoming part of a recreation committee.

II.  Ordinance Update:

A.  Seasonal versus year-round dwellings.  In order to consolidate definitions which are confusing, Jason suggested we remove the definitions for cabin rental, vacation rental and recreation structure.  The proposed definition reads:  Vacation Rental – A residential dwelling not owner-occupied, which is rented all, or in part, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis for thirty (30) days or less, for transient occupancy and financial gain.

B.  Shipping Containers as Accessory Structures:  A new definition was made and accepted in the amendments a year ago, which reads:  Portable Storage/Shipping Container – Temporary container used for transportation and storage.  A setback of two hundred (200) feet right of way from road.  No right of way on private road, keep structure away twenty (20) feet.  This is to be applied in Farm Forest (FF) and Forest Resource (FR).  Jason has proposed a new definition to read:  Shipping or Cargo Container – A container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling.  Shipping containers range from large reusable steel boxes used for intermodal shipments, to the typical semi-trailer.  This will be reviewed.

C.  Outdoor Wood Boilers and Solar Energy Systems:  No change.

D.  Minimum Lot/Acreage Sizes including Farm & Forest:  More discussion on this.

E.  Tiny Homes, Geodesic Domes, Other New Designs:  As an alternative dwelling unit type, Arvon Township does not address this.  The proposed definitions read: 

Tiny Home – A manufactured or conventionally built structure, 480 square feet in size or less, which may be built on a steel undercarriage with the necessary wheel assembly to be transported to a permanent or semi-permanent site.  The steel undercarriage and/or wheels may be removed when placed on a permanent foundation.

Geodesic Dome – A hemispherical, thin-shell structure (lattice-shell), based on a geodesic polyhedron.  The triangular elements of the dome are structurally rigid and distribute the weight stress throughout the structure.

F.  Mining & Mineral Extraction:  This will be revisited.

G.  Blight.  The proposed new definition for blighted property reads:  Blighted Property – “Blighted Property” means a property that meets any of the following criteria:

1.  The property has been declared a public nuisance in accordance with local housing, building, plumbing, fire, or other related codes or ordinances.

2.  The property is a nuisance because of physical condition or use.

3.  The property is a fire hazard or is otherwise dangerous to the safety of persons or property.

4.  The property has had the utilities, plumbing, heating, or sewerage disconnected, destroyed, removed, or rendered ineffective for a period of one (1) year or more, so that the property is unfit for its intended use.

5.  The property has building code violations posing a severe and immediate health or safety threat and has not been substantially rehabilitated within one (1) year after the receipt of notice to rehabilitate from the appropriate code enforcement agency or final determination of any appeal, whichever is later.

H.  Short-term rentals (STR) and long-term rentals (LTR).  Ken shared some articles in local papers on this and how it is affecting those communities.  Problems include STR limiting the availability of renting a dwelling for the long term causing a housing problem, excessive noise, management of the property.  Some regulations could be an application process with fee, management with contact information, rules posted, or legal legislation.

III.  Next Planning Commission work session on Thursday, August 17, 2023 at 6 p.m.   Next quarterly meeting will be on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 6 p.m.

Adjourn:  Nancy made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Joe.  Motion carried. 

Submitted by Linnea Barron, Secretary