County News # 1Marshall County Plan Director Ty Adley presented the Commissioners with the 2020 Annual Report for the Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The Plan Commission members were County Commissioner Stan Klotz who serves as president, James Berger is vice president, Robert Yoder is the commission secretary, County Surveyor Craig Cultice, County Council member Jack Roose, David Hostetler, Dan Voreis, Matt Miller and Terri Barnhart.

Board of Zoning Appeals members were Jeff Gustafson who serves a chairman, Matt Miller vice chairman, Mark Wickizer secretary and James Berger and Jeff Kutch as members.

Adley said, “2020 was a year of great accomplishment for Marshall County both through the Planning Commission and BZA, but also as a whole county.  The department has experienced the new records in permit numbers with a slight decrease in valuation in permits.  In 2020 there were 997 permits issued in comparison to the 947 issued in 2019 and the previous record of 749 in 2018.  The valuation for 2020 was $72,729,400 which is less than the previous record set in 2019 of $73,197,291 but greater that 2018 which was $68,416,914.”  He continued, “Given everything that had occurred during 2020, many residents found ways to continue their investment in Marshall County.  The vast majority of these investments came in the form of new accessory buildings, conventional homes and small commercial buildings.”

Improvement Location Permits (ILP) are required by the County Zoning Ordinance to ensure that structures being built in the county conform to minimum standards.  ILP’s are required for all structures over 120 square feet in area.  They are also required for other types of structures such as pools, communication towers and signs.

In 2020 permit counts were up from 947 in 2019 to 997 in 2020.  The County Plan Director said “The overall trend during the last few years remains upward.  The increase in the number of permits did go up but the valuation of permits decreased from $73,197,291 in 2019 to $72,729,400 in 2020.”

There was a total of 64 cases heard by the County BZA in 2020.  There was a total of 15 special use variance requests, 42 variance of development standard requests, 6 variance of use, and 1 administrative appeal.

The County Plan Commission heard 17 cases last year.  There was a total of 1 vacation, 7 minor plats, 1 site plan review, 1 amend zoning, 4 major subdivisions and 3 ordinance amendments.

In 2020 the County Planning Department has a total of 29 violations cases.  Of the 29, 18 are completed, 4 are with the attorney, 6 have fines and 1 was a warning.  Adley said, “The new tracking system helps assist in the management of the caseload as well as records the historical data much like our building permits, variances and ordinance amendments.”   He continued, “The main violations are waste and debris on property.  Many feel their use of a property does not affect the neighborhood.  We have properties which have been abandoned and are up for tax sale.  We are limited on the legal actions on properties up for tax sale.  It takes years to have structures removed.”

In closing Adley said, “2021 will bring new challenges, opportunities and changes to the Plan Commission.  Staff will look to address a few ordinance amendments both to the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Control Ordinance.  We will also look to capitalize on the funding from county to better manage the existing code cases and well as the new ones that continue to be brought to the attention of the Plan Commission.”