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Naplate residents back proposed building code

Homes that were damaged in the February 2017 tornado are shown being rebuilt in Naplate in August 2017. A majority of residents in attendance at Monday's Village Board meeting expressed favor toward new building codes proposed by the village.
Homes that were damaged in the February 2017 tornado are shown being rebuilt in Naplate in August 2017. A majority of residents in attendance at Monday's Village Board meeting expressed favor toward new building codes proposed by the village.

At Monday night’s Naplate Village Board meeting, brothers Ben and Elijah Mackenzie got what they wanted — a “packed house,” but it wasn’t the kind of house they had in mind.

Last week, the brothers started publicizing their opposition to changes proposed for Naplate’s building code, saying the changes would be “overbearing” and discourage development.

As examples of the proposed changes, new construction would have to be at least five feet from back and side yard boundaries and 15 feet from the front boundary. Another change would limit residential buildings to no more than three units in a townhouse or apartment layout.

Another proposal would prohibit subdivision lots from being sold as townhouse or duplex lots to more than one owner.

The Mackenzies wanted to rally opponents to the proposals, but most of the people who attended the board meeting voiced opposition to the Mackenzies, saying the changes would help preserve Naplate as a town of homeowners, with a stake in the community, rather than of apartment dwellers.

Board Trustee Lloyd Ludwig did most of the talking for the board, agreeing with residents who back the changes. A petition was given to the board with the signatures of 75 village property owners who support the changes.

Elijah Mackenzie was asked by a audience member if he lived in Naplate. He replied he paid property taxes in the village. He was asked again if he lived there. He replied, “I’m a stakeholder” in the village. He never said he lives in Naplate.

The board was going to vote on the changes Monday night, but Village Attorney Paul Martin suggested the vote be postponed to Monday, April 23, so as to make sure the public was given enough advance notice of the proposals. The board agreed to reschedule the vote to that date.

In another matter, it was announced water or sewer rates will be going up, because of rising costs. The amount of the rate increase is not yet known.

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