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Hobart to look at revising conditional uses

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOBART – A change in the village code to comply with state law for the issuing of conditional use permits is prompting a review of where certain types of uses may or may not want to be allowed in certain types of districts.

Village board members have approved a language change for the conditional use process called for in state law related to “substantial evidence” used to determine whether to grant or deny a permit.

As defined, substantial evidence “means facts and information, other than merely personal preferences or speculation, directly pertaining to the requirements and conditions an applicant must meet to obtain a conditional use permit and that reasonable persons would accept in support of a conclusion.”

According to a memo from the Wisconsin Legislative Council, the ramifications of the change in state law include a local unit government being required to grant a conditional use permit if an applicant meets, or agrees to meet, all of the requirements and conditions in the relevant ordinance or imposed by the relevant zoning board.

As a result, a conditional use now on the books in Hobart, such as for manufactured home parks in an R-1 Residential District, cannot be outright prohibited for an applicant meeting all of the requirements and conditions.

At the Wednesday, Jan. 2, board meeting, Trustee Debbie Schumacher made reference to that conditional use and others in the village code, questioning whether the board would want to continue to allow them as they now exist.

“I’m not sure we want to keep some of these conditional uses in these as an option, if we’re not going to be able to deny somebody,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher said she favored going over the list of the village’s current conditional uses in all the districts.

“It doesn’t appear to be a lot of them, but I think there’s some that we really want to look at and say, ‘We’re not ever going to want those in there,’” she said. “You never want the chance of someone saying, ‘Hey, you have to let me, I’ve met everything.’”

Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said he will be presenting the creation of new zoning districts at a future board meeting, noting cemeteries are currently listed as a conditional use in residential districts.

“You didn’t have a zoning district that normally would fit cemeteries,” Kramer said. “Cemeteries aren’t residential. Nobody’s living in it. At least I hope not.”

Kramer said he has a master list of all the zones and their respective permitted, conditional and prohibited uses.

He noted the village would have to go through the public hearing process for the board to make changes to the conditional uses as they now exist.

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