Uncovered decks to be allowed in city residents’ front yards

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By Correne Martin

Consideration was given by the Prairie du Chien Common Council to allow uncovered decks in front yards of residential zoning districts. Based upon the city’s plan commission recommendation, the council acted Tuesday night, Oct. 17, and decided to move forward with permitting residents to have uncovered decks in their front yards, as long as they meet the front yard setback (15 feet) requirement.

While this is now acceptable in the city, residents should not have such decks projecting into the setback. They are allowed up to three feet from the side and rear property lines, except in corner lot sideyards where they can be no closer than 15 feet from the property line.

This change in city ordinance came about because previous requirements have not been clear, interpreted or enforced consistently. Zoning code, on one hand, prohibited open wood decks in the front of homes and then allowed other similar open structures to actually encroach into the front yard setback by up to five feet. Also, the code failed to define deck, uncovered stairs, patios and landings, thus adding further confusion. A new ordinance amending this zoning code clarifies these changes.

According to the plan commission, much of zoning regulation is focused on preserving neighborhood character, as in this case, and separating conflicting uses.

In other business Tuesday night, the council approved a siding and roofing contract for the La Riviere Park barn. The contract was awarded to Moeck Construction for $22,302.81, with monies available through the La Riviere Park Fund.

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