Council approves ordinance change
By KEVIN BONESKE
Temporary tent structures that have been used for storage won’t be allowed in Rhinelander in the future, even with a permit, following action Monday by the City Council.
Six of the seven council members present backed an ordinance amendment favored by the city’s Planning Commission to delete language that had allowed temporary tent structures in the city for up to 120 days per calendar year with a permit for which there has been no charge. Council member Sherrie Belliveau cast the lone dissenting vote, while Steve Sauer was absent from the meeting.
City fire chief/building inspector Terry Williams, who previously informed the Planning Commission most temporary tent structures in the city were being used for storage during the winter months, had conducted a citywide inspection last summer when he reported about half of the 43 properties with “ordinance issues” had tent structures up without a permit.
The city code defined a tent as “any temporary structure or enclosure, the roof of which and/or one-half or more of the sides of which are constructed of silk, cotton, canvas, fabric, or a similar pliable material.”
Prior to the council deleting the language allowing the temporary structures in residential districts, tents used for storage were required to be placed in the rear one-third of the lot and “adequately secured to the ground.”
When the Planning Commission recommended in May to do away with temporary tent structures in the city, Williams noted the inspection department would no longer be issuing new permits so that none of those structures would be allowed up in the city upon the change taking effect this summer with final approval by the City Council.
Though those who have used temporary tent structures for storage in the city will no longer be able to do so, city administrator Keith Kost urged the commission members not to “jump into something else right away,” such as allowing larger storage sheds that don’t match the architecture of the primary buildings, if they wanted to no longer allow tent structures.
“See how it plays out,” Kost said. “Because you’re then going to put the inspection department in the same position it is now, except we’re calling it a different structure. That doesn’t make any sense.”
The city code now allows storage sheds of up to 10×10 feet. The ordinance change disallowing temporary tent structures takes effect upon publication.
To enforce the ban on temporary structures, Williams said he will be driving around the city and sending letters to those who still have the storage tents in place to remove those structures. He noted having a temporary tent structure in place for storage will constitute an ordinance infraction.