Board Grants Variances For East End Mobile Home Court
Marinette County Board of Adjustment on Thursday, Dec. 5 reversed a 1999 decision and approved some variances for East End Mobile Home Court on the northeast shore of Lake Noquebay in the Town of Middle Inlet. As a result, owners Dr. Gary and Lisa Kotecki will be able to replace older, narrower mobile homes with the newer ones required by a Middle Inlet town ordinance passed since the original zoning variance refusal.
Marinette County Zoning Administrator John LeFebvre explained at the start of the hearing that some of the Shoreland Zoning requirements have eased since the mobile home courts previous owners were refused a variance in 1999.
The Koteckis explained ownership of the road had also been clarified. He said while working with the town on some culverts they had discovered the town had owned the entirety of Lake Road at least since 1966 when the original mobile home court began. The 1999 variance was sought for only some of the 36 home sites because everyone believed the remainder of the road belonged to the mobile home court and would not be affected.
Also, in the past decade the town had passed an ordinance prohibiting mobile homes more than 10 years old. Most of the older homes in their court are 12 feet wide, a size that hardly any manufacturers produce any more. The newer homes are 14, 16 and 18 feet wide. Because of the increased width, they sought permission to place homes a bit closer together than the ordinance prescribes.
On hand for Thursdays hearing in addition to Dr. and Mrs. Kotecki were Ken Kotecki and the entire Middle Inlet Town Board, including Clerk Chuck Stanek, Town Chair Richard Wade, and Supervisors Roger Leick and Tony Magerowski, all in support of the variance. There was no one opposed, and LeFebvre said the DNR had provided no input for or against.
Zoning Board of Appeals Board members Dan Zeitler and Carl Turkiewicz and alternates Todd Stepien and Wayne Gerondale had toured the mobile home court in the morning with LeFebvre, and all were present for the afternoon session. Member Jim Shea was absent.
The 1 p.m. portion of their meeting opened with election of board officers for new terms. LeFebvre noted Shea was unable to attend, but had indicated he would be willing to again serve as chair should he be elected. Zeitler nominated Turkiewicz. Turkiewicz nominated Shea. Election by paper ballot resulted in a 2/2 split on the first ballot, and a 1/3 decision in favor of Turkiewicz on the second round of voting.
Turkiewicz then nominated Shea for vice chair. There was no other nomination, and a unanimous vote was cast for Shea.
Turkiewicz nominated Zeitler for secretary and again there was no other nominee so election was by unanimous voice vote.
Copies of the 1999 decision were distributed to board members, and LeFebvre said some of the changes in state laws and county ordinances in regulations on non-conforming structures since then allow the variances requested, and provide a basis for reconsideration. He said rules for improvements to non-conforming structures have become more lenient in the last 14 years. Now they can be remodeled and repaired and even added to, they simply cannot be made more non-conforming than they were originally.
The variances requested and granted by unanimous vote were for road setbacks, minimum water frontage per home, and minimum roadway setbacks.
Before the vote, Kotecki explained they want to improve their mobile home court with better and newer homes, particularly on the four sites that were denied variances in 1999 because they are most visible and give a first impression of the entire facility.
Kotecki said he recently replaced the septic/sewage system for the entire park and rearranging the homes would be prohibitively expensive, since new water and sewer connections would be needed. There are currently three vacant sites.
They arent asking for more homes, they just want to upgrade the ones they have, commented Magerowski. He said those upgrades will result in more taxes for the town and Marinette County.
I have lived in that area since that mobile home court was started in the mid 60s, said Stanek. He agreed that being able to put in newer homes will be an aesthetic improvement, and added that while there is not a through road involved, many visitors to the town drive down there just to get a view of the lake, so just to improve the aesthetics of the area would be valuable. Asked by Zeitler if he felt all the homes should be included in the variance request, Stanek responded, Yes, Definitely! Zeitler and Turkiewicz then moved to include them, and eventually vote approving the variances requested was unanimous.
The new units are to be no closer to the road than the existing units, and must occupy basically the same footprint as the units they replace, except that being wider they will be a bit closer together. Some could be 12 feet apart and some 15 feet. Steps and entry ramps no more than six feet wide can extend closer, but not enclosed porches, additions or decks. Lot line setbacks were settled at a previous hearing. Most homes will still be about 25 feet from their neighbor.
Before the vote, Dr. Kotecki explained when he and Lisa bought the mobile home court from Bill and Betty Plucker and her parents, Marge and Jack Rein in 2003 everything was already in place. There was a bar and restaurant, lodge and rental cabins as well as the mobile home park, which was developed in accord with the rules that were in place in 1960. We have not changed, but the things around us have, he commented. The rest was sold off and they kept the mobile home court. He said only two of the 36 homes are closer than 100 feet to the lake.
LeFebvre said he was in favor of the variance, but asked that the ruling allow them to replace current homes with those 14 feet wider, or the next standard size, in case standards change again in the future, and also that the homes be allowed no closer to the road than they are now.
If the park is happy with reduced setbacks, the staff has no objections, he commented.
Letters from four neighbors expressed support for the variance request.
The board agreed forcing compliance with all existing rules would prove an unnecessary hardship, and granting the variance will improve aesthetics, both as viewed from the water and from the road, although most of the homes are screened from the water.
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