The Milbank City Council and the Milbank Planning and Zoning Commission met in a special joint session on Monday, February 28, to discuss the proposed changes to Ordinance 842. The meeting agenda included a public input segment but no one chose to come forward. The proposed revisions were also made available to the public online, at the Milbank Visitor Center, and at the City of Milbank office prior to the meeting.
Planning and zoning board members include: Chairman, Jason Sackreiter, Jacob Ebsen, Robert Frink, Connie Larson, Sharon Pinkert, and Richard Schmeichel. Mindy Rogers, a member of the Milbank City Council, serves as the council liaison to the planning and zoning board.
In general, Ordinance 842 encompasses nearly 200-pages of municipal laws, including the penalties and consequences for not following it. It regulates things such as land use; building form, placement, size, spacing, parcel area, types of land uses allowed, business categories, etc.
The ordinance currently in use dates back over 20 years to 2001. The main goal of the two-year revision project was to improve outdated language and to remove redundancy and verbose clauses to make it more user-friendly to residents, especially those without legal training. The text was also amended to make use of more graphs and tables to eliminate even more ambiguity.
The revision process, which spanned about two years, was aided by First District Association of Local Governments of Watertown, which provides professional services to local units of government in the region. The cost of the project was about $10,000. Luke Muller from First District attended the meeting to provide clarity regarding some of the intended changes and to answer questions.
It was determined about 35 properties will be rezoned based on their current use to increase uniformity. The owners of those properties will receive written notice.
The council voted 6-0 to approve the first reading of Ordinance 842. If the second reading is approved at the council’s regular meeting on Monday, March 14, the revised ordinance will be published on March 22 and March 29. Ordinance 842 will then become effective on April 18.