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Council approves carriage license

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By Steve Targo

Lake Geneva Regional News

In his April 7 committee report, Bloomfield Township Board Supervisor and Planning and Zoning Committee Chairman Ken Leedle solicited residential input on two upcoming issues that will affect the township.

Leedle said the committee took no action on the creation of a ditching program for the township and a blanket request to rezone residences in the Pell Lake Sanitary District from an unsewered to a sewered zoning classification at its March meeting.

The committee hopes to receive "a lot of input" from residents first before any action takes place on the issues, Leedle said.

In 2000, the township "forced" all new builders to present stormwater drainage impact studies in order to receive building permits, Leedle said.

"This has caused a lot of concern" with builders, Leedle said.

The committee met with engineers firm Crispell-Snyder at its March meeting, Leedle said.

Chairman Ken Monroe said the firm presented three or four options to the board. One of the options involves charging builders a fee per lot, Monroe said. Another option involves charging an annual assessment on township tax bills, he said.

Leedle said Crispell-Snyder had "thrown a cost figure at us that startled us" at the March meeting for one of the options. The firm proposed an option that the township charge $300 for each 20-foot lot that is being built on, he said.

Another option is to charge tax payers through an annual stormwater assessment, Leedle said. Roof and driveway sizes usually are considered in the assessment, he said.

In response to a question from Municipal Court Judge Harold Foreman, Monroe said the drainage plan will affect the entire township. There have been numerous flooding complaints in Pell Lake, Lake Ivanhoe and Nippersink subdivisions, Monroe said.

Leedle said a course of action needs to be taken.

"We need to get the drainage system in operation," Leedle said. "How, I don't know."

Township attorney Steve Wassel asked Pell Lake Sanitary District Commissioner John Derks if the district would consider being involved in the creation of a ditching program.

"In order to have (the program) work, it has to have continuity," Wassel said.

Wassel asked Derks if the district will consider taking part in the creation of a program from the standpoint of preserving water quality. Derks said the request could be discussed at the district's next regular meeting.

Leedle said the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to take no action on a request from the sanitary district to rezone its residences from an unsewered to a sewered zoning classification.

Supervisor and commission member Fran Merkel said the commission wants people to be aware of the request before any action is taken.

Monroe proposed that the request be put on the commission's agenda for its April meeting in order to give residents a chance to speak on the issue.

Residents asked how the change in zoning class will affect standard lot sizes. Supervisor Jim Rockenbach said people should be aware that the change can create substandard lot sizes in the township.

Reconsideration confusion

Amid confusion over how to reconsider a motion, the Bloomfield Township Board denied paying the Pell Lake Sanitary District $3,500 for close confinement equipment.

At a March 6 special meeting, the board unanimously approved a motion by Rockenbach to pay for the equipment.

On April 7, Rockenbach and Wassel discussed how Robert's Rules of Order pertain to the reconsideration of a board action. The board did not discuss why the action was being reconsidered.

Minutes of the March 6 meeting state the district had security concerns that were voiced by sanitary district attorney

The board approved on a 4-1 vote a motion to reconsider the March 6 motion. Rockenbach voted against the motion to reconsider. Monroe and Merkel, Tom Sullivan and Leedle voted in favor of the motion.

The board denied on a 4-1 vote a motion to pay for the equipment. Rockenbach voted in favor of the motion. Monroe, Leedle, Merkel and Sullivan voted against the motion.

A Burlington Township woman will be given about one and a half months to operate a third carriage ride business in downtown Lake Geneva before her license will be reviewed by the City Council.

Field Stone and Farm Carriage and Pony LLC owner and operator Caroline Ausman's license application for 2002-03 received approval on a 7-0 vote of the council following discussion on congestion concerns. Alderman Mac McBride was absent.

When City Clerk Diana Dykstra informed the council the annual license terms run from July 1 to June 30, the aldermen agreed that Field Stone could be given a trial period to operate until all of the city licenses come up for review and approval in July.

Ausman's application states her business is a horse-drawn carriage company that will service downtown Lake Geneva, "specializing in weddings and special events year round." Rides will be provided along commercial and residential streets during the day and evening hours. The business will be located at a carriage stand on Wrigley Drive in front of the Riviera Ballroom; and at local venues for weddings and special events.

The Field Stone license application was tabled by the council March 24 when concerns were voiced about the status of a carriage-ride business operated by Jim Caine. It initially was stated that Caine was selling his business to Ausman; however, Ausman clarified that she was applying for a license for her already established business.

Caine only operated his carriage-ride business on weekends sporadically throughout last summer, and he was considering semi-retiring this year, Ausman said March 24.

Dykstra said she spoke with Caine in Arizona after the last council meeting, and he indicated he will not be selling his business at this time. Caine said he will be operating seven days a week when he returns from Arizona, Dykstra said.

After Dykstra presented her information, Alderman Sheldon Shepstone said Genoa City resident John Arnow also has a carriage license; however, he has never been observed working in the city. Last month it was discussed whether the council should grant two businesses carriage licenses, and there were two licenses already issued at that time, Shepstone said.

Ausman asked the council at Monday's meeting to consider the merits of her license application independent of the future status of Caine's business. Her business will provide service with one carriage for residents and visitors year round, and she has the experience to make sure the carriage does not add to Lake Geneva's already congested streets, Ausman said.

With 10 years of experience operating a horse-drawn carriage on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Ausman said her application merited approval.

Alderman Pete Peterson then made a motion to approve the application, and it was seconded by Alderman Larry Magee.

Magee initially was concerned about another carriage ride business being operated in front of the Riviera, where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic, as well as busses and coaches and other carriages. The council should approve one carriage, and if it causes "too much of a problem, pull the license."

Peterson said Ausman was requesting a license for one carriage and it wouldn't cause any further congestion problems.

Shepstone then presented the Arnow license information. Although he has never been observed in the city, he still holds an active license, "so there are two issued right now," he said.

Peterson said he took exception to Magee's comparison of carriage to busses and coaches.

"A carriage adds a touch of class ... I don't know if a bus adds class in downtown," Peterson said.

The council should approve the license for one carriage, Peterson said. It would be inappropriate to prevent competition by denying Ausman's application, he said.

Dykstra then pointed out that all city licenses will come up for annual review in July. If approved, Ausman's license fee would be prorated for the month and a half that it will be valid, Dykstra said.

City Attorney Mike Rielly then verified that it was within the council's discretion to place conditions on a license, with regard to limiting Ausman to one carriage.

Peterson responded that one of the current license holders only works on Saturdays and Sundays, and the other license holder does not work in the city at all.

Shepstone said it would be appropriate to approve the license for the rest of the current license year, and if the city receives complaints, the council can reconsider the decision in July.

Mayor Charlie Rude said he agreed that Ausman should be given a chance to operate her business until the end of June.

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