Members of the Wells County Area Plan Commission Thursday night approved 19 amendments to the county’s land use regulations.
There were some minor changes along the way as Michael Lautzenheiser Jr., executive director of the APC, reviewed the changes with the commission members. In the end, however, the revisions were given a “do pass” recommendation by all 11 of the APC members.
That recommendation will now be taken by Lautzenheiser to the local governments within Wells County that are signed on to the subdivision control and zoning ordinances — Wells County and the municipalities of Bluffton, Ossian, Poneto, Vera Cruz, Uniondale, and Zanesville.
The most significant of the changes, which were introduced at the APC’s October meeting, deal with setback changes and accessory structures.
One proposed change dealt with the way the Board of Zoning Appeals could approve a special exception that would allow a recreational vehicle to remain at a given spot within an RV park indefinitely. The current ordinance says that a one-year special exception to zoning regulations could be granted and that approval must be renewed each year. A proposed change would have removed the every-year approval requirement.
The decision was made, however, to keep the annual review in place until the Bluffton Common Council has had a chance to review it.
The other change to the proposals dealt with how an accessory structure for a vehicle — a garage — must be 20 feet from a front setback line in residential areas. The original proposal was for five feet. It was feared that individuals would park in front of the garage and block sidewalks.
“This is one of the most interactive ordinance amendments that we’ve been through in terms of board interaction and community interaction,” Lautzenheiser said after the final vote was taken. “It is important to our community’s growth.”