Planning Commission recommends variance, sets public hearing

The New Prague Planning Commission had two issues before it at its Wednesday, Sept. 20, meeting. The first, it unanimously recommended a request for a front setback variance for a house along Central Avenue South. The second was to set a public hearing at its October meeting for an ordinance amendment concerning fences.

City Planning Director Ken Ondich explained that the variance was being requested by Fred and Karen Spear. The house is on a corner lot and the couple is proposing two additions, which require the variance. The first addition is to south side of the home and is proposed to be setback at 21 feet from the from the property line. This addition would actually be in line with the existing home. The second addition is to the front entry area to accommodate for an ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) ramp, which is proposed to be setback 17-feet-and-6-inches from front property line. The ramp is to help family and friends of the couple.

Ondich noted the neighborhood is one of the older ones in the city and a mixture of houses. The Spears’ house was built in 1950, predating any zoning ordinances adopted by the city. Only one home in the neighborhood actually meets the city’s 30-foot setback. New Prague City Council representative Amy Jirik asked if the variance is approved would it be included under the city or county’s records. Ondich replied the variance would be in the city’s records and in the property title in Le Sueur County.

The variance will be presented to the city council at its Monday, Oct. 2, meeting.

Fence Ordinance

The commission has been having an ongoing discussion about making changes to its ordinance concerning fences. The discussions have included whether to have a case by case basis to allow variance for fences to exceed the 4-foot tall ordinance or less than 30-feet from the public right of way, whether to allow chain link fences at six feet tall and whether trees or shrubs could be a replacement for fences.

The discussion grew out of a variance request in May for....

To see more on this story pick up the September 28, 2017 print edition of The New Prague Times.