Town of GermantownOfficial Website of the Town of Germantown, Juneau County, WI
Planning Commission Meeting
Town of Germantown Town Hall
N7560 17th Avenue
New Lisbon, WI 53950
August 11, 2021
Present: Commission Chair Shannon Armel, Commissioners Keith Korbein, Ken Jax, Mick McCormick, Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Michaele Korbein
Absent: Commissioner Gervase Thompson, Zoning Administrator Dick Martin
Call to Order
Planning Commission meeting was called to order by Chairperson Shannon Armel at the Germantown Town Hall at 5:36 p.m.
Possible approval of meeting minutes.
Mick McCormick made a motion, seconded by Ken Jax, to approve the June 9, 2021 minutes. Motion passed 4-0.
Work session on signs, sign ordinance and sign fees from fee schedule.
-Discussed included Susan and Michaele’s concerns regarding Sign Ordinance and Fee Schedule.
#4 (B) (2) 30 days is too long. 7-10 days more appropriate?
#5 (E) 30 days to remove signs is too long. 7-10 days more appropriate?
Discussion on both sections. Decided to change 30 days to 10 days in both sections as that would work better and would be more consistent with 4(B)(2).
#4 (F) (1) “and provided further that any such sign which has deteriorated to such an extent that the cost of restoration would exceed 35% of the replacement cost.” How will this be enforced? Is proof to the town required? If so, what are the steps to follow to document that? Discussion. We would need a picture of before and after. Burden is on sign owner to show proof. Need a sign officer who will enforce, and then things should start falling in line. If sign is to be restored, and it must go from a non-conforming to a conforming sign. Evidence must be shown to sign officer as proof of costs.
#5 (A) (6) (a) (1) Restrictions for developers with hundreds of lots? Discussion. Pertaining to just the (a) part re: temporary signs, what signs are allowed (a business or a lot), that the exemption on temporary signs is widely abused, by not removing after 30 days. And what’s to say if, after it is removed, another sign goes up in its place for another 30 days? Also, there are signs are on individual lots, plus a big sign near the development’s entrance showing lots for sale. Either have one small sign on a lot or one big sign at the entrance, not both? How to enforce? And, were the big signs even permitted? If not, then those are illegal as they are larger than the allowed size for exempted signs? And, if they are up longer than the 30 days, they are also not temporary signs. Tabled for further discussion.
#5 (A) (6) (a) (2) Each lot in a subdivision could have a 12 sq ft sign in their yard? Also,
#5 (A) (6) (b) Each lot in a subdivision could have an 11 sq ft sign in their yard?
Discussion. Sign sizes in both places were reduced to 6 square feet, to be consistent.
#5 (A) (6) (h) What is definition of a “Yard Sign”? Discussion. A definition in Section 3 will be added: “A temporary sign advertising a rummage sale, anniversary, or other similar affair or function in a residential district.”
#6 (B) (1) What does “at least 10 feet from the street lot line” mean? Discussed, to re-write as follows to clarify: “at least 10 feet from the property lot line adjacent to the street.” and then remove the rest of the sentence, “or one-half the building set-back distance, whichever is less.”
#6 (B) (2) Construction sign removal “no more than 30 days following completion of construction.”
Who is going to monitor this and how? If sign remains longer than 30 days, do they get a letter asking for removal that affords them another 30 days to get that done? I would think businesses will ignore the 30-day requirement, then ignore the second 30 days and get 60 days of advertising for a mass-produced sign that cost them a dime a dozen to make. My opinion is that the sign is appropriate while the work is happening because attention is drawn to the activity. Once that work is completed and workers gone it seems like an eyesore that is left behind. Discussion. Who and how to monitor these? Sign officer shall monitor, during routine drives through the township. Could they be removed as soon as the building inspector issues a certificate of occupancy, so when they job is done the sign is gone? Decision was made to remove the second half of the sentence: “ and not more than thirty (30) days following completion of said construction.
Does there need to be separate rules for the removal of signs for businesses that are not located in the township, i.e. pest control, lawn services, tree cutting, etc.? These types of businesses tend to put signs at random corners. Discussion. They would be considered temporary signs, but they are illegal as they violate setbacks. They would also be considered free-standing signs and subject to placement and permits, but they would be illegal as they were not permitted.
Is there any benefit to having a sign permit last 1 year and renew at a cost every year? Depending on the business, we may not know if it goes out of business but if a bill comes, they would be sure to get that sign down. Discussion. Too much enforcement would cost the Town and would be too large of cost for business owners.
In the case of Pavloski’s whom often move signs, what is procedure in tracking which signs had a permit issued but possibly not for that location. Discussion. They would like to have a number assigned to the sign for that location for which it was applied for and erected. If the owner wants to move it to another location, they will have to re-apply. Wording will be added to: Section 5 (A) (1) “Each sign shall be issued a sign number for a specific property. Sign shall display the sign number at all times.”
There are concerns with keeping the 30 days under Section 5(E) to remedy sign violation/removal -would like to see less, like 14 days max. This was discussed early in the meeting and will be changed to 10 days.
So what happens when a letter is issued and the unpermitted sign is removed, and then another unpermitted sign by the same business pops up again a few weeks or a month later? Do they get another time period in which to remove it? Or, do we remove it and then issue a fine? There needs to be a mechanism for enforcement included in the ordinance and/or fee schedule to cover what will happen if that happens to keep them from having free advertising while getting away with it -something put in the ordinance under Section 5(F) like: Anything beyond a first warning letter/notice will be removal of the sign by the Town plus a fine and removal costs to the violator, along with putting some similar wording into the fee schedule. Discussion. No additional time allowed; the second sign would also be illegal. The suggested wording of a new first sentence to add into Section 5(F)(1) could be changed to and added as such: “Anything beyond the ten (10) days will be cause for removal of the sign by the Town, plus a fine and removal costs to the violator as noted in Section F on Penalties. Also, the Fee Schedule can be changed to “Fine, plus cost of removal” for Town removal of sign.
Also, many, many concerns are with the little wire-frame signs, like for ‘Mosquito Joe’, ‘B&H Paving’, ‘Stump Grinding by Edward’, etc. These are considered ‘Construction Signs’, correct? and they should only be on the property where they did the work for only up to 30 days after? So how do we keep tabs on those? And any on unauthorized property are to be removed and can we do that without sending a letter? Discussion was had earlier this meeting on these illegal signs.
Does an off-premise sign have to advertise for a business that is located in Germantown, or can it be for a business located outside of Germantown? If it can be for both, then for the businesses from out of town that put up the little wire-frame signs: they would have to apply for a regular sign permit to put up their sign? Discussion. Yes, it can advertise for business outside of Germantown. It would be a free-standing sign and would require a permit for up to two signs.
For a ‘yard sign’, these refer to garage sale and yard sale signs? Discussion was had earlier in the meeting, with the creation of a definition.
On the Fee Schedule, the fees reference for ‘Resident’ and for ‘Non-Resident’. Does that mean who applies for the permit? Or does that mean where the sign will be located, and if so shouldn’t it instead say for ‘Resident’ and for ‘Business’? Discussion. The fee schedule was adjusted and is not specific any longer. It was changed last time to: for 0-20sq ft – $50, for over 20 up to 35 sq ft – $100, and for over 35 sq ft – $300 with wording of ‘as determined by conditional use permit.” Also, due to this meeting’s discussion regarding the 10 days instead of 30 days, the fee schedule should change from “No fee charged if Town requires a sign owner to remove a sign” to “If Town requires a sign owner to remove a sign, sign owner has 10 days to remove said sign after notification.”
Work session on Zoning Ordinance Checklists
Previous checklist will no longer work. Since the Zoning Ordinance has been updated, it flows and follows through. So, it will be easiest to just copy the Zoning Ordinance and check off the areas as completed.
Next meeting will be September 8, 2021 at 5:30pm.
Ken Jax made a motion, seconded by Keith Korbein, to adjourn at 7:19pm. Motion carried 4-0.