WFB Trustee meeting 9/14

Trustees, Village Board, Code, Klode, Trees

The WFB Board of Trustees met Monday night, 9/14/09 .. here's my recap:

  • We passed the special assessments for a giant 2010 sewer project.  In the next year, we'll be fixing some 17,000 feet of main line and resident lateral sewers.

    For definition sake, here's a glossary:  A main runs down the middle of the street.  The laterals that are being replaced are from the main to your curb.  There is another sewer pipe that goes from your curb to your home, and that is NOT being replaced, as it is homeowner property.

    True, the sewer pipe under your yard is probably decades old.   In the past, there may have been a program whereby homeowners could contract with the firm doing the construction to replace both pipes.  Unfortunately, with a project this size, that is not being pursued, as it would severely impact the schedule.
  • Tree Inventory - The DPW will be applying for a DNR grant to defray half the cost of a Village-wide tree inventory as a precursor to possibly treating for the Emerald Ash Borer.  The inventory will identify, measure and evaluate each Village tree.
  • We discussed the "For-Profit" use of Klode Park by exercise groups.  Neighbors have noticed increased park use.  One could imagine these groups should be under the same guidelines as the various WFB sport teams, who schedule the use of the various parks.  Additionally, the park is often used prior to its 6am opening time, which would indeed be problematic for neighbors.
  • The Board eventually passed a code change concerning roof-top HVAC equipment:

This code change proposal was provoked by the Village's immediate need to replace a unit above the WFB Police Department, which has been without A/C for 2-3 weeks.

Currently, rooftop units are allowed for all buildings in the business district.  New language is as follows.  (The italicized words are new.)

(D) Installation of an exterior air conditioning system in the business district, where no rear yard is available, may be made above the roof.  Installation of an exterior air conditioning system may be made on the roof of municipal buildings with approval of the Village Board.  Installation of an exterior air conditioning system may be made on the roof of school district buildings with the approval of the School Board.

Trustee Fehring proposed an amendment that would strike the last sentence, granting school district buildings this new ability, since the phrase would only grant the privilege to WFB's schools, leaving Dominican, St. Monica's, Holy Family out.  (Not to mention the various other institutional buildings.)

Furthermore, this would break new ground, allowing the School Board to have jurisdiction over a part of the building code. 

Fehring's amendment failed, 3-3, with Fehring, Trustee Miller, and myself voting to strike the wording.

This provoked conversation that we should allow it on all institutional buildings, except that under Open Meeting law, we could not do so at the meeting without our intent on the meeting agenda.

It was agreed this same issue would be taken up at next week's meeting, to insert language about institutional buildings, or perhaps allow it for all housing stock.  Clearly, the Village has a menagerie of HVAC code rules that continues to trouble its residents, provoking numerous trips to the Board of Appeals. 

The final vote was 5-1, with myself voting against the code change -- my first dissenting vote.

While I certainly want the Police Department to resume working in a climate controlled environment ASAP, I concur with an audience member (initials RS) who suggested that the Village should abide by the same rules everyone else does, namely, if the Village wants to do something that doesn't conform to code, they should go before the Board of Appeals to plead the case, instead of changing the rules of the game for only themselves.

Instead, not only did the vote change the rules in favor of the Village & District Schools alone, it did so while discriminating against private schools, institutional buildings, not to mention homeowners.  I am hopeful this is rectified next week when we take it up again.

In the other Trustees' defense, I assume many of them voted in favor because of the expediency of getting the Police Department A/C back on. -- Meanwhile, even with the new code, the A/C won't be installed until early to mid-October, when the need for cooling is less.

Standard Disclaimer:  The commentary above does not represent the official position(s) of the Board. The above certainly shouldn't be considered official minutes, which will be eventually published.  This blog entry is your peek into one Village Board meeting from my perspective.

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