County to harvest farmette opinions

County to harvest farmette opinions

By Shelie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

The Winnebago County Board returned the original Rural Farmette zoning proposal to the Zoning Board of Appeals to hold a supplemental public hearing and obtain views from the township and county farm bureau.

The county has yet to decide when to hold the hearing and must advertise it in a newspaper.

Besides having the chance to acquire input, the hearing will also expedite the process of the board being able to vote on the zoning, Zoning Chairman Rick Pollack said. He stated the hearing will shave off about six months.

“We got the comments from (townships),” Pollack said. “That’s why we voted it down. The townships were unhappy with it. We were unhappy with it. We had requested them to give us input, and they had done that. That’s why we’re sending it back.”

The ZBA will examine AG-2 zoning, which area townships and the Winnebago County Farm Bureau created as an alternative to Rural Farmette zoning.

“The township leaders were challenged to do that by then Zoning Committee Chairman Sue McDonald,” county zoning officer Corby Schmidt said. “They did come forth with the recommendations. They did present that to the Zoning Committee.”

The county proposed five-acre tracts to be located on unsuitable farmland. The proposal would also include eight houses per 40

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acres versus the current statute of one house per 40 acres.

The alternative calls for less acreage and the opportunity to raise livestock instead of merely horses. Although the townships and farm bureau would like to see no change at all, they maintain AG-2 is better than Rural Farmette.

Pete MacKay (R-5) dissaproved of the board’s insistence in granting an additional hearing, and he believes the townships have made their opposition crystal clear. “The public hearing has been held,” he said. “I don’t think we can send it back.”

MacKay believes sending the proposal back will cost taxpayers money and is politically motivated. The board needed 21 members to pass it, and not enough pro-farmette members were present that night. “They didn’t have enough votes to pass it,” he said. “They should have just laid it over.”

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