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Colfax plan commission has no objection to twin home proposal

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — Members of the Colfax Plan Commission say they have no objection to a contractor moving forward with a proposal to build a twin home on Iverson Road.

Dave Rufledt, a contractor from Bloomer, and Krag Blomberg, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Affiliates out of Eau Claire, spoke to the Colfax Plan Commission at the May 6 meeting to outline the proposal for a twin home.

Although a twin home and a duplex could be the exact same building, under the twin home concept, each side is owned separately, just as if the house were built on separate lots, Blomberg said.

The only part of the building owned jointly is the roof, and at the time the twin home units are sold, the homeowners sign an agreement about who pays for what when it is time to replace the roof, he said.

A twin home concept is similar to a condominium, except that condominium units generally have a homeowners’ association that sets up rules, such as acceptable colors for paint or siding, and collects assessments for exterior maintenance, such as replacing the roof, Blomberg said.

The lot on Iverson Road where Rufledt is proposing to build the twin home is between existing property owned by the Eides at 605 Iverson Road and the Toycens at 609 Iverson Road, he said.

Part of the proposal involves separating out the edges of the property on either side and selling them to the existing property owners, Rufledt said.

The twin home would be built on what remains in the center portion of the lot, he said.

Mike Buchner, plan commission member, wondered if the twin home would be built on a slab or whether the structure would have a basement, considering that the lot is located in the floodplain.

The original plan was to build the twin home on a slab, but the lot is situated in such a way that a walk-out basement would work well, Blomberg said.

If someone wanted to buy one or both sides of the twin home and wanted a basement, the plan would include a basement, he said.

“I would like to do a basement the way the lots sits,” Rufledt said.

The proposed twin home would be 46 feet wide by 70 feet long, and the remaining footage on the lot would be 134 feet, he said.

The lot would need a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) to bring it out of the floodplain, Blomberg noted.

LOMAs are issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to indicate that a property originally considered to be in the floodplain is not actually in the floodplain after being resurveyed, or after the property has been raised out of the floodplain by bringing in fill material.

Mortgaged properties located in a floodplain are required to have flood insurance if the federal government regulates the mortgage lender.

Zoning

Since the twin home would be two separate homes, the zoning would need to be changed to R6, said Patrick Beilfuss of Cedar Corporation.

Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, estimated that the rezone would take approximately six weeks to allow time for publication in the newspaper and to hold a public hearing.

Rufledt said he was hoping to start construction around August 1 and to have the twin home completed by the end of the year.

Scott Gunnufson, village president and chair of the plan commission, wondered if Beilfuss could see any problems with the idea of building a twin home.

The lot is located in a single-family residential neighborhood, and a twin home probably would not be an issue with the neighbors, Beilfuss said.

“If it was an eight-plex, the neighbors maybe would have a different response,” he said.

Plan commission members agreed that more housing is needed in Colfax and also agreed that they have no objection to Rufledt moving forward with his plan to build a twin home.

In addition to Gunnufson and Buchner, the plan commission includes Nancy Hainstock, Dave Hovre, Beverly Schauer, Gary Stene and Jason Johnson.

Johnson was absent from the meeting.

Government cooperation

In other business, the Colfax Plan Commission discussed the intergovernmental cooperation portion of the village’s comprehensive plan.

The plan commission has been working on updating the comprehensive plan since last year.

State law requires that Smart Growth comprehensive plans be updated once every ten years, and the Colfax Village Board contracted with Cedar Corporation for assistance on updating the comprehensive plan.

Colfax does not have any existing conflicts with surrounding governmental bodies, but the comprehensive plan should include a section about conflict resolution and calling a joint meeting to discuss a conflict, Beilfuss said.

Stene suggested that it would be a good idea to hold meetings with the Town of Colfax twice a year to discuss plans for development.

People in the Town of Colfax “might have the feeling that the village is trying to grab land,” he said.

“The more understanding you have, the better it is,” Stene said.

Joint meetings also would help for future transportation planning, Beilfuss said.

Representatives for the township and the village should discuss plans for roads on the border for industrial and residential purposes, he said.

“Joint meetings would create goodwill and mutual understanding,” Beilfuss said.

Some issues do not stop at the boundary, such as economic development, water resources, watershed management, walking and bike trails and transportation, he said.

The Colfax Plan Commission meets next on June 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the village hall.