Agreement reached by city, landowners on use of property
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
A dispute over non-conforming use of property between the Dickson-DeWulf family and the City of Mt. Pleasant apparently has been resolved.
During its regular meeting Wednesday night, the Mt. Pleasant City Council approved a non-conforming use agreement with the family regarding property on West Clay Street.
The family and city have been at odds for nearly nine months over the definition of non-conforming use of the property. The saga began last winter when Emilie DeWulf, a granddaughter of the late R.S. Dickson, wanted to erect a fence on the property. DeWulf wanted to build the fence so that she could increase the horse population on the property and eventually offer a riding school.
DeWulf was told by city staff that she could not increase the animal population on the land because it would violate the non-conforming use provision in city code. She appealed to both the city council and board of adjustment but was unsuccessful in either appeal.
Nearly all the property in the area is zoned residential with the exception of the DeWulf poperty which is a mixture of agricultural and residential zoning.
The new agreement, City Attorney Patrick Brau told the council identifies non-conforming use and specifics on animal population housed on the land.
“What we’re trying to do is identify what non-conforming use (means) and place certain restriction on what is allowed on previous non-conforming use (of the land),” Brau began. “We are trying to be as specific as possible. We will have a document in the future that defines what uses are allowed under non-conforming use.”
Following are the terms of the agreement.
• Animals and fowl. The following numbers of livestock and fowl are permitted.
• Horses, mules and/or donkeys, not to exceed a total number of 10 at any time, are permitted on lots A and B (the property is divided into four lots). The house is situated on lot C and the barn on lot B.
• Goats and/or sheep, not to exceed a total number of 20 at any time, are permitted on lots A and B.
• Chickens and/or guineas, no roosters, not to exceed a total number of 20 at any time, are permitted to be located north of the existing barn on lot B.
• Cows and/or steers, not to exceed a total number of two at any time, are permitted to be located on lots A and B.
• Row crops are permitted on lots A and C.
• Pasturing of animals is permitted on lots A and B and on those parts of lot C currently in row crops, if the owners elect to convert said crop ground to pasture.
• The existing barn and accessory buildings are permitted to be used for agricultural purposes. Any structure to keep animals or fowl, horse-riding arena or related accessory buildings shall not be located on lot C south of the house or on lot D.
• The owners shall be permitted to ride horses and give private horse-riding lessons anywhere on the property.
• The owners shall be permitted to erect and/or maintain fencing of a design sufficient to confine the owners’ animals and fowl within the property.
• This agreement shall be perpetual, shall run with the land and shall be binding on all of the parties hereto and their successors in interest.