2017-08-06 / Front Page

Village of Chesaning updating ordinance on non-conforming structures

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

VILLAGE OF CHESANING – During the Aug. 1 meeting, the Chesaning Village Council reviewed and discussed the non-conforming structures ordinance provided by the planning commission.

Councilman Matthew Hoover, who sits on the planning commission, asked the council, “How much of a non-conforming building could be destroyed and still be rebuilt, while still remaining non-conforming?”

The planning commission had voted to allow up to 75 percent.

The village council asked administrator Troy Feltman for his recommendations, as well as how to determine whether a structure meets that threshold.

Feltman explained in other jurisdictions, the assessor makes that determination. He also said, “In most communities, you can’t rebuild non-conforming structures. I don’t understand why you would want to allow non-conforming uses.”

Hoover responded, “When a non-conforming structure burns down, at what point do you say it can’t be rebuilt as a non-conforming structure?”

Village president Joseph Sedlar, Jr. said, “If a structure is more than 50 percent destroyed, it’s highly unlikely it’s going to be rebuilt.”

Feltman said, “I don’t want to sound insensitive, but the idea is to bring it into compliance.” He explained that to allow the non-conforming structure to be rebuilt as non-conforming is contrary to what communities are trying to do. He added, “There are two separate legal non-conforming, one is the use, the other is the structure.”

Sedlar said he thinks 75 percent destroyed/burned is too high. He then asked Hoover if the planning commission was unanimous in their recommendation.

Planning commissioner Denise Navarre, who was sitting in the audience, said, “No. I felt we didn’t spend enough time on it. We have a lot of non-conforming houses, additions and businesses in town; especially in old town. A lot of houses are too close to the right-of-way. I thought we should spend more time on it.” She added the ordinance had been 50 percent [of the property destroyed] in the book.

Councilman Mike Navarre, who attended the planning commission meeting, explained planning commission chairman Tim Weisenberger suggested that if a structure was 50 percent destroyed, the owner would rebuild. But if it were 75 percent destroyed, it might be cheaper to build elsewhere.

Councilman Trent Vondrasek said, “I was thinking 50 percent instead of 75 percent of a structure.”

The council agreed and voted to make the change to 50 percent before setting the public hearing for Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

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