/ Articles / Woodruff Town Board holds first reading of amended fire inspection ordinance

Woodruff Town Board holds first reading of amended fire inspection ordinance

July 12, 2019 by Kayla Houp

The Woodruff Town Board approved the first reading of an amendment to Ordinance 286-1 regarding inspections which would reduce the frequency of fire inspections from twice annually to at least once annually at its meeting July 9.

“What this is, we found out last year the 2% dues auditor was around and our inspections were falling a little bit behind,” town chairman Mike Timmons said. “And we’re having discussions and some of the places that you have to go in and inspect on a twice-a-year basis per state statute are minimum-use places.”

According to Timmons, there’s an exception to the rule that permits the town board to authorize an ordinance reducing the frequency of fire inspections to “at least once per calendar year provided the interval between those inspections does not exceed 15 months” in accordance with Wis. SPS-314.01 (13.7) 

Timmons said they’d discussed it amongst the fire department and wanted the amendment to read “at least once” so if an issue were to arise where a building had been inspected, but the place needed attention, they could go back and inspect again if necessary.

“But isn’t there something that if you inspect a property, and you flag issues, then aren’t you obligated to check on them anyway?” town supervisor Ray Christenson asked.

Timmons said yes, they were obligated.

“We walk in today and do the inspection here, everything’s perfect, rubber stamp. I’ll say that this is April, then we have to come back in October to do it again,” Timmons began, using the Woodruff Community Center as an example under the current twice-a-year basis per state statute.

“Why?” town supervisor Corky Sheppard asked.

“Exactly,” Timmons said.

Timmons said now, with the amended ordinance, they could come in once, then again the following year.

“If we come in here in April and it’s a pigsty, and there’s issues, we can come back,” Timmons said. 

The amendment states that, should violations be found, the Woodruff fire inspector “will conduct a follow-up to assure compliance within two calendar months of the violation date.”

Timmons said they had to make a physical appearance at the property and do the paper work in order to be complaint.

“That is what is requested by the fire department,” Timmons said.

Sheppard said since Timmons had read the ordinance, the first reading of the amended ordinance had taken place and motioned to adopt the ordinance.

The motion passed unanimously.

‘Nothing to get excited about’

The board also discussed an update regarding the Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Woodruff. 

According to Timmons, he and the town clerk had received a notice from the North Central Regional Planning Commission stating that every 10 years the town had to update their town plan.

“Our town plan is a whole bunch of numbers and everything else and it’s by statute we have to do this,” Timmons said.

Timmons said, according to the letter, the fee for the basic two-meeting town plan update is only $6,000, and that the town could schedule it over two calendar years and spread the cost over two budgets.

“My personal thought is, looking at things, things have not changed that drastic,” Timmons said. “The census, last I know, isn’t going to happen until 2020. We are way ahead, we can look at this during the budget if we want to think about having them do some of the stuff.”

Timmons said Woodruff’s maps haven’t changed, and that the demographic numbers are “about the only thing that would change.”

“Do we really need them to spend $6,000 to fill in the blanks?” Timmons asked, stating that six grand was a lot of money and he didn’t think much was going to change in the town’s plan.

While ages and population may change, property and use of property wouldn’t, Timmons said.

“It says every 10 years, but there again, there’s nobody out there, the Comprehensive Plan police, gonna give us a fine or a ticket,” Timmons said. “We’re all supposed to have the, two or three years prior to what we all had them anyhow.”

Timmons said the hard part had been done, and it’s the numbers, and until the census is done, the town “wouldn’t have those numbers.”

“More or less just information, and if anybody hears anything, we’ll keep in contact with it and keep it moving forward, but it’s food for thought that’s coming down the pipe,” Timmons said.

“If we forgo this, when does it come up again?” Christenson asked.

“Ten years,” Sheppard said.

“Somewhere between now and that 10 years, they’re gonna keep pushing it,” Timmons said.?

Timmons said the county, as well as each town within the county, had its own comprehensive plan, and the county’s stated it respected the “20-some” towns in the county. 

“There’s a few towns that have the comprehensive plan, and there’s another word, and I’m drawing a total blank right now with the zoning,” Timmons said. “It was quite controversial, back in the day, with this comprehensive plan because everybody thought, if it’s black and white, it can’t be changed. It’s a piece of paper, it can be changed at any time.”

Timmons said it was “nothing to get excited about,” but that he wanted to bring it to the board’s attention.

Other news

The Woodruff Town Board also:

• Approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for John Sharp, applicant, to operate a business refurbishing boat and pontoon interiors.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]

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