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Buildings in Gilman downtown need to be up to code for public safety

Although Gilman’s Main Street is home to many businesses, there are also some residences that have moved in when a business vacates a building. That’s a concern for resident/business owner Steve Bornheimer, as he is concerned that the chimney on one of the residence buildings is not up to code. Bornheimer brought up the matter Jan. 11, during the monthly Gilman Village Board meeting.

Jane DeStaercke, village president, said she had spoken to the village building inspector and a letter can be sent to the residences, but wanted to see what the rest of the board wanted to do, as the decision involves multiple buildings on Main Street.

Village trustee/business owner Dee Bornheimer says the couple did contact the two other individuals in question and informed them that they may need a Conditional Use Permit to live in the commercial district, but that they shouldn’t have an issue getting approval, since their buildings are up to code. It’s the one place the Bornheimers are most concerned over, for safety reasons.

“We have a problem with sparks coming out of his chimney…it’s not safe for him, it’s not safe for other buildings,” said D. Bornheimer.

Candice Grunseth, village clerk, said she is not sure permits are required to live in a commercial building, after a business moves out.

“We probably need clarification,” said Grunseth. Members agreed to send the letter out immediately, so the residents have the 30 days to respond/address the issue before any further action is taken and to give time to gather more information on the village ordinance.

They also discussed the fire protection charge for the village lots with a dwelling on them, which was brought up by resident/business owner Darrell Romig. Romig thinks every parcel should pay, per equalized aid. Previously, the charge was called a “hydrant fee,” but was changed with the recent adoption of updated rates. In doing so, the village found that some properties were not being charged, that should be.

Grunseth said she agrees that everyone should be charged the way Romig suggested, but that it is set by the Public Service Commission (PSC). DeStaercke said she believes there might be a way to redistribute the charge throughout the village, but that the fee would remain the same, per the PSC.

“It would make sense to do it equalized,” said Grunseth.

An emergency operations plan also needs to be put in place, such as listing access to buildings in the event of a natural disaster, who is in charge, etc.

“That’s got to be different, we can’t just adopt the county’s?” asked trustee Russell Baker.

Grunseth said Gilman needs their own plan, put in writing.

The board did approve Resolution 2022-13, setting the Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) fees from Bob Christensen. At the last meeting, Christensen had requested the village pass his fee schedule, so it matched with the other municipalities he services. Baker asked if they could get some comparisons, but UDC inspectors are hard to find.

“He just wants to make it universal,” said DeStaercke, of the UDC fees.

Also taken care of during the meeting, was to appoint Liz Schmitt as the new Parks Committee citizen member.

Prior to the regular meeting, a village caucus was held, where members of the public nominated who they feel should run in the spring election to serve the village. DeStaercke was the lone nominee for the incumbent position of president, while seven others were nominated to be on the ballot for trustee: Russell Baker (incumbent), Dave Bishop, S. Bornheimer, Scott Copenhaver, Mark Person (incumbent), Bob Preston and Greg Steinbach (incumbent).

However, Steinbach declined his nomination.