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Planning and zoning committee denies property variance

By Sue Sitter - | Jul 17, 2021

The City of Rugby Planning and Zoning Committee denied a variance request for a residential fence at their regular meeting the evening of July 12 at city hall.

Duane Veach presented his request to build an eight-foot high fence around his backyard to the committee. City ordinances place the height limit for residential fencing at six feet.

Veach asked the committee for the variance because he contended his neighbor, Steve Brossart, had added height to his backyard with the addition of fill dirt. The dirt raised the ground level, making the fence between their properties lower and making it easier for Brossart to see in Veach’s yard.

Committee member Wayne Schmaltz told Veach the extra soil had been placed on the property for water and sewer lines.

After hearing Veach tell the committee there had been “animosity” between him and Brossart, Committee Chair Wayne Trottier asked Veach if he would consider settling the matter in civil court. Trottier pointed out that his own neighbor’s property was elevated higher than Trottier’s, but there were no problems between the two.

Trottier added he had never seen any ordinances pertaining to the elevation of residential properties.

Veach indicated he didn’t think civil action was necessary.

Committee member Dave Anderson asked if fence variances had ever gone before the planning and zoning committee.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Mayor Sue Steinke said.

“I think from our standpoint, we would have to deny the variance,” Anderson said, citing the variance would set a precedent.

The committee cast unanimous “aye” votes to deny the variance.

No other business was on the committee’s agenda. The committee meets the second Monday of each month, depending on their agenda.

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