Zoning Code | Procedures - Rural Accessory Building Determination

Description: The Plan Commission is authorized to designate certain existing accessory buildings as a “rural accessory building” in those zoning districts listed in Exhibit 7-1 (Land-Use matrix) of the zoning code. If a building is so designated, it is not counted towards the allowable number of accessory buildings permitted on a lot or towards the allowable building square footage permitted on a lot with the approval of the Plan Commission.

Application fee: None

Submittal deadline: The zoning administrator must determine the application is complete and ready for review at least 4 weeks before the Plan Commission meeting, which is typically held the first Monday of the month.

Decision maker(s): Plan Commission

Basis of decision: In making its decision, the Plan Commission shall initially determine whether the building meets at least one of the following criteria:
  1. The building is set apart from other buildings as being distinct, due to its construction technique, construction materials, age, local historic significance, or design.
  2. The building is characteristic of past agricultural practices or rural life, whether presently utilized or not for agricultural practice.
  3. The building is associated with a person of historic significance or with important historical events.
  4. The building represents a notable work of a master builder, designer, or architect who influenced their age.

If the Plan Commission determines that the building meets one of the above criteria, it shall then consider the following factors in making its final decision:
  1. effects of the building on the natural environment,
  2. effects of the building on surrounding properties,
  3. the overall appearance of the building, and
  4. any other factor that relates to the purposes of this chapter as set forth in Section 500.05 of the zoning code or as allowed by state law.

No building shall be designated a rural accessory building if it is not structurally sound to meet minimum safety requirements for the proposed use, as determined by the building inspector, provided that such determination shall not relieve the property owner of any responsibility or liability as to the building and shall not form a basis of liability against the building inspector or any other governmental official or entity.

Review process:
  1. Pre-submittal meeting. Before submitting an application for formal consideration, the applicant or the applicant's agent may meet with the zoning administrator to review applicable regulations and procedures and the proposal.
  2. Submittal of application materials. The applicant shall submit a completed application and other required materials to the zoning administrator along with the application fee as may be established by the Town Board.
  3. Staff review. Within 10 days of receiving the application and other required materials, the zoning administrator shall either place the matter on the agenda for the meeting at which the matter will be considered allowing for proper public notice or make a determination that the application is incomplete and notify the applicant in writing of the deficiencies and that the applicant has 3 months from the date of such determination to resubmit the application or forfeit the application fee, if any. The zoning administrator shall take no further steps to process the application until the deficiencies are remedied. The incomplete application shall be retained as a public record.
  4. Staff report preparation and distribution. The zoning administrator shall prepare a written staff report as described in this division and provide a copy of it to each member of the plan commission and the applicant prior to the meeting at which the matter will be considered. The zoning administrator shall also provide a copy to interested people upon request.
  5. General notice. Consistent with division 2 of article 5, the zoning administrator shall place the matter on the meeting agenda of the plan commission.
  6. Meeting. Allowing for proper notice, the Plan Commission shall consider the application at a regular or special meeting.
  7. Decision. The Plan Commission shall (i) approve the application, (ii) approve the application with conditions, or (iii) deny the application. The Plan Commission may render its decision at the same meeting the matter was initially considered or at a subsequent meeting, but no later than 40 days after the public hearing unless the applicant agrees to an extension of a specified duration.
  8. Preparation of decision notice. Based on the action of the Plan Commission, the zoning administrator shall prepare a decision notice consistent with this division.
  9. Applicant notification. Within a reasonable time following the Plan Commission’s decision, the zoning administrator shall mail the decision notice to the applicant by regular mail.
  10. Acceptance by property owner required. If an approval includes one or more condition of approval, the property owner shall sign the decision notice to acknowledge the imposition of such condition or conditions and return the same to the zoning administrator within 6 months of the decision. Prior to the expiration of the previously specified time period, the property owner may submit a petition to the town clerk requesting an extension and the Town Board may, with cause, extend the period within which the decision notice must be signed. If the signed decision notice is not returned within the initial or extended time period, if any, the decision shall become null and void without any further action by the town. The decision notice shall only become effective when all required signatures have been obtained and the original signature copy is returned to the town clerk.
  11. Public record copy. A duplicate copy of the decision notice shall be retained as a public record.
Note: This process was first established by the 2014 code rewrite.