Commission looks at ordinance changes

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

At its Wednesday, June 24, meeting, the New Prague Planning and Zoning Commission began looking at making changes to zoning ordinances and a re-write of the city's subdivision ordinance.

New Prague City Planner Renee Christianson explained the zoning ordinances are for permitted and conditional uses. In 2002, the city made changes to its business and industrial districts where many permitted uses became conditional uses.

This allowed the commission to become involved in various commercial areas. City staff has looked at the ordinances and felt some conditional uses can be moved back to permitted uses. Staff thought the city's ordinances for building designs, landscaping, parking, signs and others are now sufficient that staff can handle most commercial developments.

Another factor is a 2008 ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It declared a town's zoning ordinance unconstitutional for not listing any permitted uses, which could lead to significant interpretation, favoritism and discrimination.

Christianson said other changes are for definitions. Some are new such as entertainment and amusement facilities and others have been dropped or updated.

New Prague City Council representative Kay Wilcox asked if they wanted to include in heavy manufacturing such items as commercial feedlots and the rendering of fat.

Christianson noted the city can't completely zone out some items.

Planning Director Ken Ondich added such businesses would have to follow certain criteria to be allowed.

Ondich explained the subdivision ordinance was first written in 1986 and amended in 1992. It is a large document that regulates the division or platting of land in the city. Changes are needed for legal reasons and some parts are outdated.

City staff will continue working on the various ordinances and will present updates at future meetings.

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