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Proposed Naplate rules draw opposition

Since last year's tornado, much construction has taken place in Naplate. The village board is considering more building codes.
Since last year's tornado, much construction has taken place in Naplate. The village board is considering more building codes.

Naplate leaders are considering more building codes, but at least two residents oppose the changes, saying they contradict the village's values.

The board says it is enacting the changes in light of all the construction since a tornado struck town in February 2017.

On Monday, the Village Board filed the ordinance to make it available for public viewing, which it's required to do under state law. The proposed ordinance would require all new construction to be at least 5 feet off the rear and side yard lines and 15 feet from front yard lines.

It also would bar subdivision lots for selling as town home or duplex lots to more than one owner. Another rule says residential buildings would not be allowed to have more than three individual units in a town home or apartment configuration.

In response to the proposal, local brothers Elijah and Ben Mackenzie are circulating a flier encouraging people to attend the Village Board meeting on Monday, April 2, when trustees may vote on the proposed ordinance.

In the flier, the brothers said the village has "quietly moved" toward enacting the ordinance, removing the ability of property owners to use their land as they wish.

"This is an affront to Naplate values and goes against the very reasons our community is proud to call the village home," the brothers said. "Naplate has a rich history of not becoming like Ottawa or other communities."

They said the late mayor, Jim "Jocko" Rick, who died in February, would never have allowed such an ordinance to pass. The "overbearing and erroneous" rules, they said, would discourage development.

In an interview, Trustee Lloyd Ludwig said the proposed ordinance is in line with other towns.

"We have to be careful that buildings aren't put up improperly or over property lines," Ludwig said. "It's not something we want to do. But it's something we feel we have to do to keep property values where they need to be."

He said residents would always have the ability to seek variances to the regulations.

"We don't want to discourage building here and put any more restrictions on people than we have to," Ludwig said. "We're not trying to make life harder on people."

The Mackenzie brothers disagree with the need for the rules.

"We have buildings of all unique sizes, shapes and uses," the flier said. "The freedom and uniqueness is part of what makes Naplate so special."

In an interview, Elijah Mackenzie said he is trying to get word out about the meeting to as many people as possible.

"We want a packed house," he said.

If you go

What: Naplate Village Board meeting, where the board is expected to discuss and possibly vote on proposed changes to the building code

When: 7 p.m. Monday, April 2

Where: Naplate Village Hall, 2000 W. Ottawa Ave., Naplate

Information: Call village clerk at 815-434-4989

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