Planning Commission reviews zoning update

NEW ULM – Members of the New Ulm Planning Commission reviewed and discussed the second chapter of the Zoning Ordinance update Tuesday.

Community Development Director Dave Schnobrich said the hour-long, informal meeting would deal with a 78-page document created to identify all decision-making bodies responsible for the review of applications, the general review requirements for all applications, and the specific requirements and review procedures of various application types.

“Remember the City Council is the final authority to enact amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, the text of this chapter and Zoning Map, act as the Board of Adjustment and Appeals and hear, review and make decisions on all applications submitted to the City,” Schnobrich said.

Other decision-making and review bodies listed in the document include the Planning, Park and Recreation and Heritage Preservation commissions; Board of Adjustment and Appeals; and Community Development Department. The bodies will interpret, enforce, administer, track applications and provide recommendations on applications requiring approval by the City Council or other governmental bodies as directed by the City Manager.

Ruth Webster, a city councilor who serves on the Planning Commission, said Community Development will decide when an application is complete. She said applicants can appeal certain decisions. A summary of the roles of decision-making and review bodies was included in the second section of the zoning ordinance.

Schnobrich said applications will not be considered complete until all applicable fees are paid.

Unless otherwise specified in a variance, if a building permit or other required permit has not been secured within six months of the date of the variance approval, the variance shall become invalid.

Permitted time frames don’t change with successive owners. Upon written request, one six-month extension may be granted by the Community Development Department, if the applicant can show good cause, according to Zoning Ordinance.

In the event permit conditions are violated, the City Council has the authority to revoke a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Before the revocation is considered, the City Council will hold at least one public hearing after proper written notice has been issued. After the hearing, the City Council may revoke the CUP by adopting findings of fact showing there has not been substantial compliance with required conditions, according to the ordinance.

The review of the ordinance will continue at a later date.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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