Zoning variance approved for golf clubhouse

The Piatt County board on July 13 cleared the way for the Monticello Golf Association to construct a new clubhouse at the local golf course.

Board members voted 6-0 to approve a variation that will allow the structure to be within 30 feet of the road, less than the zoning ordinance minimum of 50 feet.

County board chairman Randy Keith said the setback is in the ordinance for safety reasons, but felt a heavy tree line eliminates that concern in this case.

“Usually, the reason for the 50 feet is safety,” commented Keith. “But in your case you’d have to knock down some awfully big trees to get to your building, so you’re kind of protected that way.”

Mike Marry, a building committee member for the MGA, said a $140,000 donation got the ball rolling on a new clubhouse. The main reason it will be closer to the lot line is to move restrooms to the ground floor.

“Right now the restrooms are in the basement of the facility,” said Merry. “When we put the restrooms up on the first floor, it puts us closer than that 50 feet to the road.

He added the new clubhouse will also be located closer to the golf course.

Marry spoke to the zoning board of appeals last month as well, explaining that the variance was necessary to complete the goals provided by the $140,000 donation.

“We’ve tried to build a clubhouse for about 10 years. We had an anonymous donor donate $140,000 along with a bunch of deadlines for us to meet to take advantage of his donation,” Marry told the zoning board.

“We’ve laid out tentative marks on the ground. We know 50 feet is too tight, but 30 would not present a problem, and we’d like to stay as far from the road as possible,” Marry said. “Talking with (Zoning Administrator) Keri (Nusbaum), I know there’s a concern that eventually there might need to be some drain tile put in on the side of that road. So, obviously, we don’t want to get the building any closer to Allerton Road than is necessary, but we know we need inside the 50.

“We have raised the money. This is one of the last obstacles that we have to get the project approved. The regular board would vote on the project in July and we’d have to start in early September to meet the criteria of our donor.”

Other zoning issues
The county board also gave its approval to two other zoning issues. Only one, a Unity Township variance allowing Tucker and Megan Beckmier to construct a 40-by-54 foot shed at the back of their lot, received any opposition.

Zoning code requires a 50-foot setback on agriculture-zoned land, so the Beckmiers needed approval since their outbuilding would be about 10 feet from the lot line.

Neighbor Linda Bristol objected, saying it “should be 50 feet away” according to zoning law. Audience member Evan Smith also felt it should be voted down if an adjacent landowner objects.

But board members countered the Beckmier property is surrounded by trees, and that there are no homes near the proposed shed location.

The board voted 6-0 to approve variance.

The other zoning issue also involved an encroachment into a setback. James Soper asked for a variance allowing for a 30-by-40 foot building be about 8 feet inside of the usual 50-foot setback. That variance also received unanimous approval from the board.

Andrew Helregel contributed to this report.



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