Tuesday, December 28, 2004

27 December 2004 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

27 December 2004 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

I was not present at this meeting. The following is a condensed summary of the meeting decisions.

1. Primary approval for Jeff and Jerry Tucker for a 2-lot replat of Little Cedar Ridge, Phase 2 on 2.629 residential acres One Mile Rd. in Miller Township was APPROVED with a condition on providing a drainage easement for the adjoining LMH sewer treatment facility.

2. Primary approval for a 3-lot major division of land for Hapanowicz Estates (7 acres of Residential land on North Dearborn Road in Logan Township) for Steve and Carol Hapanowicz with Dennis Kraus presenting. This was APPROVED with the condition that the Gilley property had to have a driveway permit prior to secondary approval on the subdivision.

3. Primary approval for a 7-lot major division of 17.8 acres of Residential land on Salt Fork Rd. in Miller Township presented by Carol Morman for owners Robert and Gary Althoff was APPROVED as presented. Six lots had shared driveways and the seventh had direct access.

Working meetings for ordinance revisions were set for the 3rd Wednesday of each month. The first one is Jan 19th at 7PM in the regular meeting room at the Adm. Bldg. ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS FOR THE MASTER PLAN will be notified by mail of this schedule and encouraged to sign up and or attend meetings of particular interest or for which they have particular expertise. Other citizens or appropriate personnel will also be encouraged to give input. The first meeting will focus on sanitary sewers.

Travis Miller also presented some draft forms for utilities, schools, etc. as requested by the plan commission at their last working session. Plan Commission members have until the 19th to review them and suggest changes if needed.

Plan Commission members will be signing up for separate committees to work on ordinance changes in small groups also. Topics are: AG zone standards and Residential zone subclassifications, Cul-de-sac street requirements, Sewer treatment, Road standards, and Lot frontages and direct access requirements.

Staff is reviewing minor ordinance language changes and clarifications, as well.

Meeting adjourned by 9:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Submitted from information from the Planning and Zoning Office
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Objection to Debt Service Tax Rate increase

The following was delivered by Karen Loveland and Marjorie Mortenson to Tom Book At South Dearborn Community School Corporation, Monday, December 20, 2004 at approximately 4:00 pm. It contained 11 signatures and addresses: Karen Loveland, Marjorie Mortenson, Sherry Tice, Mary Trog, Robin Rohe, Ricky W. Beach, Lisa M. Jarman, Susan Page, Andy Wake, C. Jay Beyer and Ruth Pfister.

In accordance with Indiana Code Section 5 (b) of Chapter Six, we the undersigned are filing an objection petition to South Dearborn Community School Corporations Request to raise the Debt Service Tax Rate From .4018 to .4669.

Tuesday December 7, 2004 South Dearborn was represented by City Securities Corporation who sold $42,390,000 in bonds. Currently over 20 Million in bids have been awarded for the Aurora Building Project. The Middle School is $356,597 over cost estimates advertised at 1028 hearing. The Middle School Conversion to an Elementary is $1,217,956 over cost estimates advertised at 1028 hearing. The High School bids currently awarded are over 8 million under cost estimates advertised at 1028 hearing.

If the bond issue fell short of construction needs, that shortfall should be made up through a reduction in capital project costs, rather than an increase in debt service tax rates.

Name Address of Real Property

1. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

2. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

3. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

Printed: ________________________ ________________________________________

Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

4. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

Printed: ________________________ ________________________________________

Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

5. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

Printed: ________________________ ________________________________________

Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

6. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

Printed: ________________________ ________________________________________

Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

7. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

Printed: ________________________ ________________________________________

Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

(For more background on this topic)

Open Letter rebuttal : October 29,2004 letter by Ralph Thompson, "The Suburbanization of Dearborn County"

Dearborn County Regional Sewer District
215B West High St.
Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025
(812) 532-3223

December 20, 2004

Re: The Dearborn County Regional Sewer District (“District”)

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter addresses various statements by Mr. Ralph E. Thompson, Jr. as published in The Register on Thursday, November 11, 2004. Ralph Thompson in this article entitled “Suburbanization of the County Coming” makes several false statements regarding the District. This letter will set the record straight regarding the true events so that residents are truly and correctly informed.

1. Throughout the article, Ralph Thompson states that the District is about helping developers and real estate agents get rich at the expense of County residents. This statement is not true. As District Board Members have repeatedly indicated, the District is not about development. The District is about public health and safety. Testing has been performed in the District area by both the Health Department of Dearborn County and the District. These test results indicate that the District is a public health hazard and that hazard is not limited to High Ridge Estates. There are test results indicating raw sewage throughout the District boundaries. The area within the District needs immediate attention. Therefore, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”) established the District by its Order. IDEM did not create the District for development. IDEM charged the District with providing sewer service to properties in the District. Therefore, the District is obligated and required to provide sewer services to all property owners – whether they are developers or not. The Dearborn County Plan Commission gives approval for subdivision developments. The District does not. If the District is economically capable of providing service to a property owner, whether that property owner is a developer or not, then IDEM requires that the District provide service.

2. Ralph Thompson also states that the “board indicted [sic] it would stop all development . . .” This statement is not true. The Board cannot stop subdivision development. Only the Dearborn County Plan Commission has authority to limit subdivision development. The District Board has indicated, in its public meetings, that the District Board will require developers to contribute to the cost of the sewer system such that residents’ costs are decreased.

3. Ralph Thompson also wrote that the District Board was in “a rush to sign a contract to provide sewer service to developer Ralph MeierJohan, Ameritek Custom Homes, Cincinnati.” Again, this statement is not true. The Board was not in a rush to sign a contract with Ameritek. After long deliberations and negotiations with Ameritek, the Board signed a favorable contract with Ameritek. In the contract, the Board refuses to provide immediate service to Gabbard Estates until the District is prepared to take on the subdivision users. The contract requires the developer, Ameritek, to pay for a lift station and various sewer lines to service a particular area of the District. The Board believes that this contract will economically benefit all residents of the District by decreasing costs of construction of the entire sewer project. Ameritek agreed to pay for lines running from Aurora to Gabbard Estates and this will save the District significant money and it will benefit residents beyond Gabbard Estates. The District has authority to approve the design and construction of a large chunk of the sewer system under this contract and the developer pays for this, which will benefit all residents in the District. It is better for the developer to pay for the lines servicing the entire District than for the residents to pay for them.

4. Ralph Thompson, in his article, implies that real estate agent Brett Fehrman has a conflict of interest by sitting on the District Board. This is not true. The District Board has opinion letters from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and the Dearborn County Prosecutor stating that a real estate agent dealing in the District area lacks a conflict of interest and may sit on the District Board. These opinion letters have been discussed in prior public meetings of the District Board. If Ralph Thompson had attended these public meetings, then he would be aware of these facts.

5. Ralph Thompson writes that the District will be $2 million over budget and will bill residents of the District $70 to $75 a month. This statement is misleading. The District Board has discussed at its last several meetings decreasing the cost of the project by $2 million and arriving at a monthly bill to users of approximately $60 per month. The District has repeatedly indicated its intent to bill District users approximately $60 per month and the District Board intends to limit the monthly cost to $60, plus the cost of water.

6. Ralph Thompson also writes that the “residents of the District are being forced to pay for the very development they may not want.” This statement is inaccurate. If residents of the District do not want the development of subdivisions in the District, then those residents should voice objections to the government body which approves or denies subdivision development – the Plan Commission. The District is, and remains, neutral with respect to subdivision development. However, the District must provide sewer service to each and every property owner in the District including subdivision owners as long as it is economically feasible. The District cannot legally deny sewer service because it is against development. In that event, the District would be in violation of IDEM’s Order.

7. Ralph Thompson writes “Our “real estate agent” commissioner . . . is working to help developers and real estate agents get rich at the expense of County residents.” This statement is a misrepresentation. Ralph Thompson frequently refers to Commissioner Vera Benning, who has and does work as a real estate agent. Vera does not sit on the District Board. Vera does not vote, and has not voted, on any issues before the District Board. Vera was not in a position to “help” developers. Again, the fact that a Commissioner is a real estate agent is not in and of itself a conflict of interest.

8. Ralph Thompson writes “There are four more sewer districts in planning.” This statement is untrue. The Board has not discussed any other additions to the District along Indiana 1, Indiana 350, Indiana 48, or in New Alsace.

Ralph Thompson writes in his letter that he is an engineer. As an engineer, Ralph Thompson requested in a public meeting to perform engineering work for the District’s initial planning phase. His services were not retained. One imagines whether Ralph Thompson’s negative, misleading and/or false statements are fueled by this rejection.

The District Board agrees on one point with Ralph Thompson, however. The District encourages public involvement and public attendance at meetings of the District Board. These meetings are open to the public as required by law and generally are scheduled two times a month – the first Tuesday evening and the third Tuesday evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. As the Board recalls, Ralph Thompson has attended only one meeting. If he had attended more of these public meetings, he might have been better informed of the true facts and events involving the District.

Very truly yours,

Dearborn County Regional Sewer District Board of Directors

(Provided by Michael Hankins)

Monday, December 20, 2004

20 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

20 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present- Karen Shell, President, and Dan Batta. Absent: Vera Benning
Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Lisa Lehner, Attorney, and Lorie Howard, Administrator.

This was the final meeting of the year.

1. Lifetime Resources- Ellen Davis- gave an update on owner occupied rehab grants for ages 55 and up, disabled, making less than $36,000 for a single homeowner. They also have enough money for 43 home loans assistance for first time homeowners. 10 people have completed their course and 5 are closing on homes by the end of 2004.

2. Lorie Howard presented the following items:
SIRPC item on release of liens was tabled till 2005 when a representative can come to explain the issues.
Commissioners approved the 2004-2005 encumbrance list.
Knueven Food Service was approved for the vending machines.

3. Mike Davis- Transportation- reported on hwy progress on White’s Hill- where they are having some problems getting a legible design to O’Mara for part of the work, causing delay in the project.
Staff is preparing a 2005 plan for the new board of commissioners.
All bids for asphalt, culverts, etc were approved except for a fuel bid that was far higher than the rest.
Commissioners voted to approve the berming project with O’Mara with Lisa Lehner to see final contract and not to exceed $75,000. 147 account is to be tapped for this project. They will be berming primary roads only.

4. Lisa Lehner- Attorney went over the Local Aid agreement with Bill Black (Emergency Management) He will be checking on liability issues compensation and death benefits clause, and FEMA section on reimbursed expenses. They will review his findings before finalizing the interlocal agreement with Ohio and KY.
The Fair Housing agreement was revised per instructions from last meeting and approved by commissioners tonight.
Commissioners deferred the legislative services agreement with Lewis and Kappes until 2005. This is the LOBBYIST AGREEMENT. [Note: there has been no public reporting of these services in the past year- it would seem that the county is paying for something, but no one seems to be able to verify that they are doing anything for us really.]
There are several lawsuits pending in the county- some are just class action suits, others are suits where the county is named as a matter of course. Lisa Lehner did mention that local attorneys- Ewbank and Kramer- have two suits pending against the county.

5. Auditor: Minutes were approved for both November meetings, even though Karen Shell was absent for one. Commissioners did it because, there was no other was to close out the year; the new commissioners couldn’t vote on a meeting they weren’t part of.
Claims approved.

6.Public Comment: Ralph Thompson presented commissioners with information on perpetual pavement design.
He thanked them both for their services and wished them good lick for next year.
Lastly he presented research on the minutes and background regarding Old Pruss Road and the issues on the proposed Rump Road off Grelle road. [Note: See meetings previous where the Rumps and Burkes are requesting this entire gravel road to be accepted for county maintenance, rather than just the 100 feet that the county took in 2002. Heather Benning Rump is Vera Benning’s daughter.]

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, December 09, 2004

8 December 2004 Plan Commission Working Session Sets 2005 Initiatives

8 December 2004 Plan Commission Working Session Sets 2005 Initiatives

Members present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Rick Pope, Nick Held, Mike Hall, Jane Ohlmansiek, Tarry Feiss, Dan Batta. Absent: Roger Woodfill and Patrick de Maynadier. (Dennis Kraus, Jr. who will replace Roger Woodfill in January was also present, as was Jeff Hughes who will be D-1 Commissioner) [NOTE: Jeff Hughes indicated that he was interested in being the commissioner rep to the plan commission.]
Arnie McGill, Att’y, Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer, and Travis Miller, Planning Director, were also present.
Citizens present: Tom Kent and Chris Mueller

The session took a little over three hours to discuss various issues over the past year including:

1. Forms for utilities, EMS, fire protection, and school districts to fill out regarding new development applications that will produce REAL information that the plan commission and developers can depend upon as accurate. Plan Commission will meet with these groups first to determine their needs and input. (Previously the commission is getting form letters which don’t state the impact on the school building projects or classroom size nor do they state when the sewage lines will actually exist to service certain developments.)
2. Zoning districts which need to be clarified and further divided into the subcategories indicated by the master plan committee.
3. Research cul de sac lengths and numbers of houses on them.
4. Clearly defined policies on septic, sewers, and whether or not the county will entertain possible experimental sewer plants or systems.
5. Road deficiency data which need to be updated and policies on development relating to this.
6. Driveway spacing and lot frontage requirements.
7. Developing a thoroughfare plan.
8. Working with the current land use map which was devised for the master plan and setting overlays of sewers, roadways, topography, soil types, etc. to guide future planning. (Board members had issues with drawing lines on maps that actually rezoned properties without the owner’s approvals- as a property rights issue) [NOTE: The current land use map is different from the current ZONING maps. Some properties are Zoned R and are functioning as Ag, for example. A current land use map tells the plan commission what is really happening in an area as opposed to what the old whole county rezone from early 1980 predicted.]

The plan commission added an extra working session each month for the 1st quarter and quarterly extra meetings thereafter to work on accomplishing these goals. They want to get factual data for the basis of their policies. Committees will be set up for each issue and consist of NO MORE THAN FOUR PC members, to avoid having a quorum at unpublicized committee meetings. The advisory board members for the master plan will be kept updated on the progress of these meetings and some members may be solicited to work on some of these committees. Consultants will be sought on a small scale to gather some of the data needed for some of this background, particularly with respect to roads (design and LOS, etc.), infrastructure, economic and tax bases models, cultural and environmental resource inventories, etc. Staff will obtain some of the data accessible within the county system.

Other items of information passed out at this meeting:
1. The master plan- hot off the presses.
2. St. Leon and West Harrison status with respect to ordinance assistance and permitting issues.
3. US 50 Corridor Planning status.
4. A change in the application deadlines for public hearings that will add about 2 weeks to the application procedure. The surveyors (Hall and Kraus) and Tom Kent were asked about this as well and seemed to think it would give them a better chance at approval. It allows for the tech review to occur BEFORE they submit an application for a hearing and thus gives the applicant time to address the tech review comments before applying.
A detailed memo was also passed out.

Meeting adjourned at 10:15 PM
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, December 06, 2004

6 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

6 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Dan Batta, Acting Chairman, Karen Shell, and Vera Benning. Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Lisa Lehner, Attorney, and Lorie Howard, Administrator.

1. Bill Ewbank-Veterans Service – reported briefly that the hospital has agreed to schedule veteran’s tests at times more appropriate to the hours they can be driven to their appointments.

2. Bill Black- Emergency Management - reported that he is working on a draft copy of the tri-sate agreement and that OKI was getting survey results to them soon. They received a $34,483 Homeland security Grant for the Sheriff’s dept. on fingerprinting equipment. He also presented a $8184 HAZMAT contract.

3. Mary Burris –CASA – Received approval on the CASA proposed grant distributions.

4. Mike Davis – Transportation – Gave the road slip lists to the commissioners- same as what he gave Council. Commissioners approved $76,960 and a potential $11,970 for guardrail out of the 147 account.
White’s Hill – road bed is cut in, slipping bank is shored up. They are putting gravel in and hope that they’ll get 2 days of no-rain to pave. In spring they will finish the culvert at the top f the hill. Sewer lines are protested.
Phase 2 paving is proceeding. Rohe Paving has had some slow down due to rainy weather. Still need to do North Hogan from SR48 to Hogan Hill, Shangri La sub’n, Probst Road outside Wilmington and the street by Hogan Fire Dept.
Line striping is waiting on weather also.
Three sets of subdivision roads were accepted by commissioners into the county maintenance lists: 350 ft of Piper’s Landing, 694 feet on two road in Deer Trails off Priest Rd. (Reids Lane and Curtis Court), and 1720.18 ft. of Fox Chase Sub’n.
Documentation and plats etc. will be completed and recorded per Mark Seiler.
Highway maintenance is proceeding in all districts with ditching to keep water off roads this winter. Bridge crew is trying to get the West Laughery Bridge in. Bills are being paid out for the year, and they are working on next year’s road plan with the new commissioners and Vera Benning. There will probably be more maintenance than paving next year.

5. Travis Miller- Planning and ZoningHousing Assessment Study was presented by Scott Burgins. (100 pages with a 9-page summary). He recommends starting a Housing Council to keep the plan alive and updated. Info of interest:
1990-2000 there was 19 % growth in Dearborn County- twice the state average and 12th fastest growing county in the state. Surveyed houses for sale in Dearborn County: $184,000 was the average price. 30% of homes are under $150,000. 5% are under $100,000. Average rent in the county was $508/month.
Realtors and developers reported that lots used to go for $15-20,000 and now are priced in the $40-60,000 range.
Travis Miller (Planning director) and Ellen Davis (Lifetime Resources) were a big help on the study.
Suggestions included starting a splash project to keep interest high- such as THE YEAR OF THE HOUSE. Also suggested a Housing University to bring community services together rather than duplicating them. Example: Combining the Home Ownership Classes by the Extension Office and Lifetime Resources.
A Landlord Expo- to improve the conditions of rental housing.
The Fair Housing Ordinance was approved as required by the IFA. Enforcement will occur via the Ind. Civil Rights Commission, as referred by the CEO of the Commissioners (who may delegate Lorie Howard as the contact locally)
Travis Miller also presented the Comprehensive Plan copy to the commissioners
- hot off the presses.
Vera Benning was concerned about checking out the criteria of the proposed board appointments before appointing anyone to the Plan Commission. No more than 3 members can be of any one party. [Note: Currently of 5 slots there are 2 Republicans (Feiss and de Maynadier), 1 Democrat (Hall), and one Independent (Rick Pope), with one seat open.]
Commissioners reappointed Rick Pope to the Plan Commission for 4 years. Benning noted that Pope had served well in the past and Shell concurred.
Karen Shell motioned and Vera Benning would not 2nd Jane Ohlmansiek as the replacement for Dave Schmidtgoesling’s seat on the Plan commission. Batta 2nded it and Ohlmansiek was approved with Vera Benning voting Nay.
They will have to find a citizen to fill and empty citizen spot on the BZA. Ohlmansiek is slated to be on BOTH boards.

6. Lorie Howard- County Administrator
Mike Kraemer of Pinnacle presented the renewal proposals for employee health plans. United of Omaha was approved to help with keeping outlining claims in line.
Brett Dodd of RQAW gave a presentation of the jail and courthouse space needs. See the notes under the previous Council meeting in November- it was the same presentation. They have done some further work on the juvenile center’s needs also with Judge Humphrey and Lorie Patton and Steve Bradley.
Contracts (3 year) for fire and EMS with the city of Harrison were approved unanimously. It was noted by Lorie Howard that the per diem costs would be more expensive in the long run as they do 4-500 runs a year for the county. Benning stated that she’d checked with Council and was in agreement with this.
Bids were opened for annual services and the appointed and elected officials of the dept’s were approved to award the contracts as they see fit.
Bidders were: Ritzner (sp?) Oil Co, Newpoint Stone, Rohe Paving, Laughery Valley Fuel, O’ Mara Paving, St. Regis Culverts, Troy Gas, Midwest gravel, CSC (Corp. services Co), CPI Pipe, Beyers Pharmacy, GFS Food Service, Ellenbee Leggett, Knueven Food Service, and Diamond Prescriptions.
The lobbyist contract will be reviewed for next meeting.
Dearborn County Hospital Board invited all the commissioners (present and new) to their Jan 26th dinner meeting in the Ohio Room.
OKI was approved to do the air quality performance study for $5500 of which 20% is the county match for $1100. It was noted that Greendale and Lawrenceburg are expected to contribute part of the $1100.
MPO Boundaries were approved to include all of Dearborn County. They commissioners approved sending a draft letter to INDOT noting this boundary inclusion. Lisa Lehner noted that at the meeting where this was decided the following were present: Tom Steidel ( L-bg City Manager), Jim West ( Econ. Dev. Director), Scott Fortner (Dillsboro Manager), and Doug Hedrick (Greendale Mayor). Neither Aurora nor St. Leon sent a representative.

Lorie Howard found spaces for the new surveyor and his deputy in back of the hwy. Dept. The GIS tech will go to Kin’s desk in hwy and Kin will move one desk up closer to Denise’s desk.
Lorie Howard was approved to start advertising again for the county engineer. She is to use her judgment on advertising costs.

7. Lisa Lehner- Att’y - was covered under various departments

8. Cary Pickens – Auditor- presented claims and minutes.

9. Public Comment- Sheriff Lusby reported the overcrowding at the jail- see Council notes in November for more on this. He also received approval to manage his own employee’s vacation and sick time.

Lusby thanked the outgoing commissioners for their services and said it had been a pleasure working with them.
Cliff Eibeck- citizen- also thanked the outgoing commissioners- Karen Shell and Dan Batta.

Meeting adjourned at 12:10 PM

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

23 November 2004 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

23 November 2004 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes
Present: Charlie Fehrman, Chairman, Aaron Negangard, Tom Cheek, Bill Ullrich, Bo Lansing, and Dennis Kraus. Absent: Mark Mitter (on vacation) Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Vera Benning, County Commissioner, and Phil Weaver, Treasurer.

1. Travis Miller- Planning Director- requested an additional $2500 of the $6000 left tabled from April’s $12,000 request to finish out the year on legal fees. Ullrich motioned, Cheek 2nd. All ayes, APPROVED.
Miller also requested council’s blessing to enter into the previously discussed OKI contract to provide $9100 of GIS services at OKI’s cost.
Council had granted $51,000 in the budget for the match to the total $205,000 grant that will be decided in early December. If the grant is approved this $9100 will come form the grant dollars, if not it comes from the $51,000. Miller anticipates the grant being approved.
Per Cary Pickens- in 1998 the commissioners approved an ordinance where each dept. is it’s own purchasing agent, so Travis can do this anyway. Fehrman appreciated Travis coming in and sharing the info anyway- like a “a breath of fresh air.”
Vera Benning didn’t want there to be a contract that the new commissioners didn’t review. [NOTE: Fox and Hughes were in the audience observing this meeting. They raised no objections.]
Kraus didn’t want to disrespect the commissioners. Fehrman asked Vera if she was offended. She said no as long as it wouldn’t come back to haunt the commissioners. Cheek reiterated that this was not intended in any way to disrespect commissioners. Ullrich motioned and Cheek 2nd. 4 ayes. 2 nays (Negangard and Kraus) Approved. Negangard stated his nay was because he didn’t believe a vote was even needed.
Travis Miller advised Council that he’d advertise and in January he was requesting a fee schedule change in his office to cover printing fees for the master plan ($60 each or free on the internet) and a deposit of $20 for signs on properties requesting public hearings at the Plan Commission or BZA.

2. Youth Services Fund aka the County Benevolent Fund.
Marilyn Bauer of Dearborn Highland Arts Council requested a ONE TIME grant of $1000 to help fund scholarships to the Children’s Youth Choir ($60 each tuition), until they could get on the cycle with the DC Foundation grants.
She also requested $1000 for supplies for the arts classes for children.
Cheek motioned and Negangard 2nd All ayes. Approved.

Phil Kenton of the Panther’s Homeschooler Basketball team- 28-30 kids- needed a one-time grant of $1000 to help with uniforms. Negangard motioned and Cheek 2nd. All ayes. Approved.

Ruth Ann Batta
did not appear- her request was not heard.

3. Brett Dodd and Joe Mrak of RQAW gave a 30-minute presentation on the jail expansion and space study. (25-year study) They looked at each area in 3-4 ways to build a consensus of the needs. The juvenile center is still being analyzed- they didn’t have a full idea yet of their space needs.
Part projected population at 89,000 in 2029; they thought a more conservative estimate would be 64,000. [NOTE: in 1870 the census of Dearborn County was 24,100. In 2000 it is about 48,000.]
RQAW used 4 counties to compare our needs. Bartholomew, Grant, Morgan, and Warrick. If these counties did not add judges, they were surviving on extra staff, magistrates, and senior judges.
Space needs- projected as 137,000 sq ft. Currently we have 84,000. Our current 311 parking spaces are adequate!
They presented several options for space reallocations and included the Shumway/Fortune Mgmt Building.
In the jail there are about 200 beds (double bunked) with 26 jailers. With the new arrangements 200 beds would require just 16 jailers. (Projecting needs of 400 beds for 2029) Bartholomew County has 2 courts and 203 staffers. We need 3 courts and 250 staffers. 80% of jail is double bunked now. Women are not.

4. Sally Blankenship- Prosecutor- requested $13, 015.27 from the 4D account to pay to make a $7,000 part time clerk into a full timer. She has all covered except for the insurance. She said she’d find that in another account. Kraus motioned and Ullrich 2nd. All ayes. Negangard abstained (he’s ass’t prosecutor). Chair voted to get 5 ayes for a salary change. Approved.

5. Loans Discussion:
Randy Hillenbrand brought one of the Welfare Dept’s main creditors (Gibson from WITES (sp?) program for Residential and Family Services) who is owed about $400,000 currently. Currently Welfare Dept. is in the hole to the tune of $1.2 million again.
Tax collections are creating problems. Charlie will pursue 3 options: an extension of the UCB loan, the bond bank, or the 197 account, which requires 7 votes from council to spend. If they have to use 197, they will schedule an emergency meeting in December.
Solid Waste loan – BJ Ault was not present. $150,000 was to be paid back 2 months ago. (It was due whenever 03 taxes were collected)
The solid waste att’y’s contract had it for 04 collection. Apparently Batta signed the Solid Waste att’ys contract as pres of the Solid Waste Board, but that contract was NOT the one used for the final decision. They used Lisa Lehner’s version) [NOTE: Vera Benning stated that she had nothing to do with this, etc. etc. etc.] I mentioned at this point that when they entered into that agreement I had asked BJ after the meeting if it was with or without interest. She said it was WITHOUT interest. I wanted them to know that BJ Ault probably had a different understanding of the agreement than the one they were stating tonight. Kraus motioned and Negangard 2nd to call the note in as specified in the contract. All ayes. Approved. [NOTE: Council thinks this means $150,000 plus interest.]

6. Mike Davis- Hwy Director- found that the state budget cut $212,814.27 from the MVHA funds. In order to make that up they will use money from the $800,000 left in the bituminous account per Cary Pickens. Cheek motioned and Lansing 2nd to use $213,000 from the 147 account to finish out ’04. All ayes. Approved.
They also need $77,000 to improve 5 slips from the 147 account. Cheek motioned and Kraus 2nd to approve IF THE COMMISSIONER’S ARE OK WITH IT. All ayes. Approved.

7. 911 needed $25,000. (for what???) Cheek motioned and Ullrich 2nd All ayes approved.

8. Bill Black- Emergency Mgmt Director- gave a presentation on the 800 system. There will be 4 transmitters in the county. One will be built by the hwy garage on US 50. the other 3 will be co-located. All to be complete by March.
Lawrenceburg (Tom Steidel met with them) officially committed to helping as much as possible but wants token buy-ins by each entity involved. Dollar amounts not decided on that yet. In theory it will be a grant loan program so that nothing will be paid back till “06. Rough figure for the county is $700,000, not counting dispatch. Black stated that $200,000 in grant money is committed already. A couple years ago L-bg agreed to pay the county for dispatch services and nothing has been paid to us yet!!!
It takes 6 months to get equipment from Motorola. Ohio County is doing this system also and covering it for 300,000 (smaller county). Surrounding counties are all going to the 800 system.
Ullrich motioned and Cheek 2nd that the county commits to be an active participant in the 800 system for the good of law enforcement and EMS. All ayes. Approved. [NOTE: Charlie Fehrman voted on this also]

9. Dave Lusby- Sheriff- updated Council on the crowded conditions of the jail. We took 16 to Richmond to temporarily house them at $35/day. Four women were in a padded cell over the weekend also. Judges and prosecutor are working to alleviate the problem.

10. Courts needed $20,000 for a public defender. Council called Judge Witte to see if that was the figure. (Apparently less was advertised in county general). Used contingency fund so there was NO NEED TO ADVETISE this request. Lansing motioned and Cheek 2nd. All ayes Approved. Ullrich motioned and Cheek 2nd to deny it from county general.

11. Coroner- $5,000 for autopsies. Negangard motioned, Lansing 2nd All ayes. Approved.
Commissioners $6700 for workers comp. Ullrich motioned and Kraus 2nd. All ayes. Approved.
Chamber of Commerce $25,000 contract signed by all of Council also. (Commissioners already signed.

12. Crowe Cizek making ANOTHER effort to collect money ($29,000) from the county on their cancelled consultant work. Their total would then come to $46,000. They were charging $56,000 originally and RQAW is doing work for $23,000 per Fehrman. [NOTE: Background history- RQAW was going to charge approximately $46,000 and REBATE THE STUDY MONEY, if they got the contract to do the engineering also. Commissioners allowed Lorie Howard to put it out to bid with no rebates and got the figure to the current $23,000.]
Council is NOT going to pay this additional request because the last time they paid them was to be the final payment.
13. Charlie will be negotiating for the County Extension Office rental space with Aurora in January.
Sound system was fixed by Cary and Lorie and the headsets work, so we are now ADA accessible
again. There were still some issues at Plan Commission Monday night- but that may be due to 7 mics for 9 members and also the distance factor with all the plats on the front desks.
Software patch suggested by Gayle Pennington and hardware to cut down posting time for taxes will be installed for the treasurer to the tune of $11,000. $5,000 of this is hardware expense that would be needed anyway. The $6,000 is “extra” to speed things up. Auditor’s budget will pay for this. Cheek motioned and Kraus 2nd All ayes. Approved.

14. Vera Benning presented the 2 contracts for EMS services ($73,000) and fire services ($10,000) with Harrison to cover portions of Northeastern Dearborn County. She stated that Tracy McIntosh and Dino Schmaltz were upset that Harrison was getting all this money. She wanted to go with a per diem fee. Charlie stated that he “didn’t have a dog in this hunt.” He also stated that Bright had been offered the money and they refused to do the coverage. $80,000 –100,000 is budgeted for the EMS services in each of the townships. The $73,000 figure was in line. Trustee covers the fire portion. The three-year contract she was worried about has a 30-day notice cancellation clause, so Council had NO PROBLEM with the COMMISSIONERS entering into it. Negangard stated that it was “entirely up to the commissioners to decide this.” Vera and Charlie are both going to notify Lorie of this “decision.”
The IRS assessed a penalty because the taxes on over $100,000 of payroll were not paid the same day as required by law. Longevity put this figure over the $100,000 limit last month. Penalty is $2000. Negangard motioned and Ullrich 2nd to pay it. All ayes. Approved.
Penalty on the fuel taxes was worked out per Cary Pickens.
Minutes signed.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

22 November 2004 Dearborn County Plan Commission Notes

22 November 2004 Dearborn County Plan Commission Notes
Present: Rick Pope, Acting Chair, Mike Hall, Patrick deMaynadier, Tarry Feiss, Roger Woodfill, Dan Batta, and Nick Held.
Absent: Mark Mitter (on vacation) Also Present: Arnie McGill, Attorney, Travis Miller, Planning Director, and Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer.

Old Business to be Re-opened:
122 lot Stonebrook subdivision on 132.882 acres on Residentially zoned land on US 50 in Washington Township. Owner Gabbard Estates/ Ralph Meierjohan of Ameritek. Jeff Talker, PE, presented for the owner.
Public speaking: Kathy Holscher Dobbs, Ron Seaver, Jeff Wachnach (sp?), Sharon Benham, Ralph Thompson, and Dan Lyons. Issues centered on sewer availability, problems with Aurora Sewers and IDEM, County district not being up an running yet, drainage and environmental issues, property value considerations, rural character of adjoining properties, Case # 2004-1410-W Stacy Tucker investigator for IDEM on Aurora Sewage violations, potential sewer ban, master plan issues, issue of who gets first dibs on the sewer lines- the NEW development or the properties that are already in trouble.
Plan commission board discussed the need for a 2nd entrance onto US50, sewer commitments, bonding the plans, emergency access as a 2nd entrance so that INDOT will agree. (At this point Roger Woodfill asked for Jeff Talker’s PE license #102-00256. He was disturbed with INDOT’s Mark Brunner’s response to the entrances along US 50.)
Roger Woodfill made a motion to deny the subdivision that failed for lack of a 2nd.
Patrick deMaynadier motioned to give primary approval explicitly stating that no construction begins without IDEM approval of Aurora or the DCSD. There are to be no package plants. There is to be an emergency access to US 50 through Lot 121, geotech analysis, reduce the lots to 25 on Morgan’s Run cul de sac, granted a variance for Brookside circle and Fawn Hill Court, relocate basin #4 to the south, provide access easements to all detention basins, provide a bufferyard A to all lots on US 50, and no lots along US 50 can have direct access to US 50- they have to access through the subdivision street. Dan Batta 2nded. All ayes, except Roger Woodfill Nay.

New Business:
1. Terrill Acres- 2-lot subdivision, Manchester Township on 4.005 acres zoned Ag. Jeff Stenger presented for owner Michael Terrill. Lot is to be for family- mother moving next to daughter.
Public speaking: Lawrence Schuh who thought they needed to acres for septic there and didn’t understand why they couldn’t access Collier Ridge rather than SR 48.
Dan Batta motioned to approve with access to Collier Ridge Rod across from the driveway for lot B and a variance for a small lot in Ag to be used for residential resale and the access to a collector road. Septic approval is required prior to final plat. Roger Woodfill 2nd. All ayes- Passed.

2. Farm View Acres – 4-lot subdivision on Texas Gas Road in Clay Township on 19.834 acres zoned Ag
Owner Randall Le Duc – Archie Crouch presenting.
No public spoke on this.
Plan commission was concerned with the configuration of the lots and the size being less than 5 acres on 2 lots in Ag district. Archie Crouch stated they would do a 50-foot strip access to the lots even though it will be a shared driveway and not an actual road.
Dan Batta motioned to grant approval combining lots 1 and 2, combining driveways, granting an access easement to Geyers, and granting a variance on the frontage of one of the created lots.
Roger Woodfill 2nd. All ayes- Passed

3. Golf Green Manor- replat for a 6-lot subdivision on 19.834 acres an Ag zoned land in Miller Township on Fairway Drive. Owner: Ralph Weis.
Roger Woodfill abstained and left the room.
Weiss stated this was primarily for tax purposes to separate the buildings, though the easements and access were quite convoluted.
Neighbors speaking: Ralph Hoffman, John King, and Sammy Gutzwiller. Issues with garbage pick/up, rats, maintenance, and lack of buffering were discussed. Fears that a new driveway and another building were going in also were brought up.
Patrick de Maynadier motioned to approve with restrictions that no access road would be built on lots 94 or 99, that 95 is a non buildable lot, flag lot variance, and provide documentation of a permanent easement for 94 an 95 across 98 and 99 to Fairway drive.
Nick Held 2nd. 3 ayes and 2 nays. Motion failed. No other motion was made so the application is effectively DENIED.


4. Blossom Hill 142-lot subdivision Phase 1 on 101.87 acres in R zoned land in Miller Township. Owner Don Brandt and Ed Pope, Landhill Development. Applicant Joe Farrugia- Classics Properties.
Rick Pope Abstained and went to the hall (his father is Ed Pope)
Dan Batta was acting chair for this application.
This application has 141 single-family lots and a 24.14-acre condo site for future development plus a daycare and pool. Daycare and condo are to go to BZA if this single-family plat is approved. All of this is on the 101.87 acres with one access to Stateline Road and on a 3,550 ft cul de sac!
Traffic study wasn’t in packets and applicant provided an ABBREVIATED STUDY for the meeting. There is to be a HOA and architectural standards to control home types in the $180-300,000 range.
Public speaking: Sheila and Dennis Merk via fax letter, Sammy Gutzwiller, Judith Niemeyer, Debbie McQueen, Linda Mitchell, Jim Maupin, and Kelly ?? (The sound system was troublesome for several in the audience)
Issues discussed: VRUC lawsuit with Greendale alleging that Greendale is in their applied for territory from Stephens Rd North. (Sugar Ridge development), (Sammy Gutzwiller also stated that as a realtor she was not against this development), others wanted a fence around the lake, larger lots, child care center issues that close to Stateline, transportation figures were deemed inaccurate and inadequate, Stateline Rd has LOS E and is failing, it is only 18 ft wide and should be 20 ft. wide, single access road is unsafe, bordered on several sides by working farms, ridge runoff and erosion problems for farm land below, liability exposure with kids and farms, perimeter should have security fence, approximately 75 petitions presented and reminded of the nearly 1000 signatures they had at the last presentation of Blossom Hill several years ago, when TWO commissioners (Vera Benning and John Kyle) overturned the recommendation of the plan commission and rezoned this to R. School issues and stats on crowding of classrooms and scores decreasing, sports programs and aides being eliminated. Mr. Farruggia’s 19 lawsuits in the past 15 years in Hamilton County were submitted as evidence of the kind of business he runs (former partner (Ryan) in 2002 suit stated things like breach of contract and fiduciary issues with payments. (Batta questioned whether pending lawsuits should be considered, but the board decided to allow it)
Fire and EMS services were also discussed. Expenses to the taxpayer seemed to be a big issue and lack of services as the community stretches its budget to cover more and more residents.
After MUCH discussion from the plan commission, Roger Woodfill motioned to deny the application because of the cul de sac length violation of Section 305N, the density being too great for the infrastructure, the drawing had several errors in it on adjoiners, and there was no firm commitment from anyone on sewage.
All Ayes. Application DENIED.

Working session set up for December 8th at 7 PM, Christmas dinner December 10 at 7 PM. Annual Report to be presented to them this month.
Travis Miller asked their opinion on his requested letter to Strand Engineering, Inc. on the SR1 SR48 Connector. Many board members were unaware of the meeting last week on this for comments. Batta stated they were backing into it without a US 50 Corridor study, Hall stated it goes nowhere and doesn’t solve the problems; Woodfill said it shouldn’t be unlimited access. Other issues were that INDOT had road dollars left on the table and Strand wanted to spend them rather than send them back to the state and feds. (Lawrenceburg signed off to release the money under their name) Board recommended that Travis word his letter even stronger in its criticism.

Meeting adjourned at 12:20 AM


November 2004
Sign and mail to Strand Engineering, Inc. 629 Washington St. Columbus, IN 47201 Phone: 812-372-9911 or email Leslie Trobaugh at leslie.trobaugh@sieco.strand.com

We oppose the SR1- SR48 Connector project for the following reasons:

1. The second crossing of Tanners Creek is not suited to the traffic patterns of the populated areas of the county. It ends nearly 2 miles from the hospital.

2. System connectivity in the county already exists between 275, 50, 1, and 48. We have several collector roads that are being improved and widened by the county. (Pribble Road, Kaiser, and Yorkridge) Use these existing county connector alignments that are not as steep as what this connector goes through.

3. The alternative route for local and through traffic that wants to avoid US 50 is already causing a bottleneck at the 275 Belleview interchange in Greendale, where this starts.
This project could potentially increase congestion near 275 and 50 rather than decrease it. Not studying that interchange as part of the project seems very shortsighted and counterproductive. Plus it increases traffic pollution at this point.

4. This road costs almost $6 million/mile and will likely be more expensive than that before it is finished. There are better ways to spend tax money such as adding bridges across Tanners Creek and creating frontage roads along US 50.

5. This is a contrived plan. It doesn’t fulfill its stated purpose and in fact will further damage the existing road infrastructure at its two endpoints. Just because taxpayer money has been set aside doesn’t mean it should be wasted on a study that is being pushed by consultants and not the local jurisdiction.

6. The only accesses to US 50 on one end are Scenic and Wilson Creek Rd. They are already deficient and any extra traffic will be costly to the county. Wilson Creek has several road slips in constant need of repair and Scenic is not even two lanes, with a windy hill accessing Wilson Creek to US 50.

7. This plan violates the land use plan in the county and destroys the character of the land (flood plain, steep, unstable hillside, productive farm land, ancient Indian burial ground) and communities it cuts through. There are very few farm properties left in our county that are intact under original family ownership. These represent some of the most stable residents of the community.

8. This plan is so poorly researched that it has mismarked roads, missing homes, and missed large ponds. It totally neglects the costs to improve the infrastructure that actually tie it in to its stated connector goals. (I-275 and US50)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

8 Million Dollar South Dearborn Loan

Hidden in the legal ad’s I found a story that should have been front-page news. South Dearborn Community School Corporation is borrowing over eight million dollars to meet operating expenses. This will include $2,141,135 for the debt service fund. Great, money is being borrowed to pay back borrowed money.

This new debt could cost South Dearborn tax payers $260,524 to $521,048. This is the equivalent of five to ten full-time teachers or four to eight new school busses. The cost of this debt is not likely to result in higher taxes. It does result in unacceptable levels of student service.

The financial situation in Dearborn County is out of control. 2003 taxes were collected this summer and watching the legal ad’s, I haven’t found evidence the schools have been paid.

Today is November 11. Yesterday was the typical day for the last tax collection for 2004 property taxes, and we have yet to receive the bill. Do we expect it the week before Christmas or next July? Meanwhile, South Dearborn is borrowing money it anticipates paying back with 2005 tax receipts. When will 2005 tax bills be sent? Will it be February 2006? These fiscal practices are not acceptable. I believe these practices are the result of unqualified individuals having stewardship over financial matters in our community.

Major changes must happen at all levels of Indiana Government. The offices of Treasurer, Auditor and Assessor are not appropriate for elected personnel. Nor are the offices of Surveyor, Coroner, Attorney General, Prosecutor, Judge, Superintendent of Public Education, or Sheriff. These offices ought to be appointed by the executive branch and approved by the legislative branch at each level of government.

At every level of government, including the School Corporation, treasurers and auditors must be certified public accountants with the appropriate college degree. Every appointed official must have the appropriate credentials.

Protecting taxpayers necessitates better oversight in spending. Schools, hospitals, prisons, roads and etc. must meet the needs of those they are intended to serve. As attractive as local control sounds, local boards are often not appropriately qualified and bad decisions are made. For example, the state board of education must be involved in school finance and building projects. After qualified individuals in the Department of Education approve projects and budgets, it is then appropriate to send them back to the local level for approval.

The Department of Local Government Finance ought to be eliminated. Currently, local officials tend to transfer their accountability to that department. How often do we hear “the tax board said we have to spend this much money for capital projects”?

Speaking of capital projects, the definition of capital is “Wealth or property that is invested to produce more wealth.” Salaries generally do not belong in any capital project fund, nor do insurance policies. Capital Projects provide new building and equipment. Normal maintenance of existing property is not an investment of capital.

Our family finances are constantly squeezed by higher health care, food, fuel, utility and tax costs, while we are anticipating a ten percent reduction in wages. I hope individuals in government will have the courage and selflessness to fight for Indiana Citizens. Indiana does need a new constitution. Common sense must be exercised and the needs of the people must prevail. Please stop wasting our money.

Karen Loveland

Economic Development and Schools

There has been a lot of talk about economic development lately. Politicians are promising jobs for our county and state. I don’t know how much any one politician can do for the economy. I believe it takes more than good infrastructure and low taxes to attract employers to any community.

Employers look for excellent schools when they choose a new location. They look at cold hard statistics. They want high graduation rates and SAT scores that are above national average. While Dearborn County schools certainly have pockets of excellence, our high schools are performing too close to average to make Dearborn County attractive to many employers.

Currently our three county school corporations serve over eighty-seven hundred children. Lawrenceburg serves nearly 1500 students, South Dearborn High School serves over 3000 students and East Central High School serves over 4200 students. Unfortunately, Dearborn County’s best graduation rate in 2003 was less than 92% and this is below state average.

Over the last two decades much research has been done on how school size relates to academic achievement and social outcomes. Smaller schools often enjoy higher graduation rates, higher attendance rates, higher academic achievement, and fewer behavior problems. The researchers have found small is not enough, but small is essential. The ideal size for an elementary school is 300-400 students. High schools of 400-800 students are best for secondary students. Additionally, recent trends favor grade configurations of 6-8 and 5-8 for middle schools.

Lawrenceburg High School is the only appropriately sized secondary school in the county. But the elementary school feeding into Lawrenceburg has been too large. Recently, that school has been split into a primary and an elementary school. While this is an improvement, it is still too easy for students to fall through the cracks when there are over 100 students in each grade level of the school.

The only appropriately sized elementary schools in our county are Manchester, Moores Hill and Dillsboro. Aurora, North Dearborn, Sunman and Bright are all too large. Some have argued that it isn’t the size of the school that matters, it’s the number of students in the classroom. Unfortunately, there are far too many classes with 25 students and more in this county. Elementary class size should be 15-16 without an aide and with an aide class size shouldn’t exceed 20. Secondary teachers should not be assigned more than 100 students. And teachers should be planning in teams.

Administrators often claim they can not hire more teachers because prime time only applies to grades k-3. Prime time grants are intended to keep student teacher ratios between 15 and 18 students. No state law prohibits schools from attaining these ratios in higher grades. There simply are not grants to help schools with the expense.

Schools set their priorities when they set their budgets. The Department of Local Government Finance approves the budgets and the tax rates, but local boards have the option to determine whether their priorities are facilities or student services. Once the corporations have acquired debt for building projects, tax rates must be set to pay that debt off. This is true even if they choose to use lease rental agreements to finance these projects.

Currently, Sunman Dearborn and South Dearborn have huge building projects planned. Together they will spend over 80 million dollars on building additions and renovations. Most of this money will be spent on their secondary campuses. Both districts will have improved facilities, but it is unrealistic to expect any academic or social improvement.

South Dearborn High School serves three communities with elementary schools that are ten miles or further from the main campus. East Central High School serves two communities with elementary schools that are more than eleven miles from their main campus. Dearborn County high school students are served by a Vocational School that is over twenty miles from the schools.

Dearborn County’s 2850 high school students would be better served with five, rather than three high schools. And ample opportunity for vocational education should be available in each of these schools. Additionally, an equal number of 5-8 or 6-8 grade configured middle schools would be better for our students than the current and planned two grade configured intermediate and middle schools/junior high schools. These smaller schools do not require three or four principals. A principal and appropriate guidance councilors are needed in each building. A high school and its sister middle school should share an activity director. Janitorial costs can be reduced if current staffs are split and assigned to new schools and students are hired at minimum wage to complete the staff.

South Dearborn’s elementary attendance boundaries can be gradually realigned to achieve four appropriately sized elementary schools. Sunman Dearborn really ought to be building two new elementary schools in appropriate locations and it would be beneficial for S-D to work with Lawrenceburg Schools to draw more appropriate attendance areas.

There has been talk about creating one Dearborn County School District. While school and community leaders should be looking at how the schools can work together for the good of Dearborn County, further school consolidation will create more problems than it can ever solve. The three districts should be looking closely at appropriately changing attendance boundaries and sharing vocational programs. Further collaboration in the adoption of calendars, graduation standards, grading scales, teacher improvement plans and special education services would be beneficial.

At a recent athletic event a mother from Batesville commented “Indiana schools have buildingitis. I’ve lived enough places to know children can get a good education in old buildings.”

Last spring a local board member stated with regards to the hiring of an architect, “you can always erase a line, but you can’t erase a building.” I pray our school boards soon begin erasing some lines.

Bricks and Mortar are necessary, but they aren’t enough. Small neighborhood schools, low student teacher ratios, team planning, high standards, teaching to mastery, promotion of healthy habits, character education, quality arts and activity programs, inclusion rather than selection, and a commitment to help every child succeed regardless of their home environment are all essential elements of excellent schools. Excellent schools will bring economic prosperity to our community.

Karen Loveland

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

15 November 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

15 November 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Dan Batta, Acting Chairman, and Vera Benning. Absent: Karen Shell, recovering from surgery.
Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Lorie Howard, County Administrator, and Lisa Lehner, Attorney.

1. Dan Batta announced that the commissioners had a special meeting prior to this one in which they supported Lawrenceburg trustee Tony Gilb’s actions regarding a decision on Poor Relief. No other details were given.

2. Lorie Howard- County Administrator, presented several items below and all were approved:
Employee Handbook and Personnel Policy approved for January 1 effective date.
Annual Chamber Contract for $25,000 to be used for research for EDI or for Redevelopment Commission itself. [NOTE: Does this mean the EDI contribution from the county comes from somewhere else in the budget?]
HRA- Health Reimbursement Arrangement between med Ben and the County was signed.
Commissioners decided to send separate written comments on the SR48-SR1 Connector to SIECO/Strand because Benning did not want to send a board statement.
Lorie will review the contract for repairs in the courthouse dome and Eric Hartman is approved to sign it after her review. Two quotes were from McCool for $5896 and Flannery for $4775.
The 2005 Bids will be open from now to November 29th. Stephanie Disbro contacted all the people to let them know to submit annual bids for commissary, vending, prescriptions for jail, gasoline, fuel, culvert pipes, and asphalt, etc.
The 2005 Holiday schedule was approved so that the judges could set their court calendars.

3. Transportation Department- Mike Davis presented several roads fro review to be included in the county maintenance lists.
Because of the controversy on this issue, detailed comments are below:
Heather Benning Rump and residents of Pruss Road and surrounding properties were present under two items listed as approval to abandon Pruss Road and Approval to Accept Rump Road. During the discussion, no one knew how this item got listed on the agenda and Heather Benning Rump stated that she had put it on the agenda. Neighbors in the audience had copies of a June 2004 letter from Mark Seiler, which stated in part that there was to be some consideration of abandoning Old Pruss Road and removing it from the maintenance lists. Mike Davis presented that he didn’t want to ABANDON it- just remove it from the maintenance list. He said that because of the condition of Old Pruss the county had put in a new access road and accepted the first 100 ft. of that road. (Mark Seiler is on his honeymoon per Davis said Mark is the expert on this) The survey and ROW acquisition is not completed on this new road yet. Per Vera Benning - there is a RUMP LANE in Dillsboro with a brown sign- so it is a private lane. (Therefore they could name the county road Rump Road and not be in conflict)
Vera Benning clearly stated that at this meeting she wanted to make it perfectly clear that her brother in law Dean Benning and daughter Heather Rump and son-in-law Devin Rump were involved and that she herself won’t realize any personal benefit from this, and that the people of the county elected her to make decisions like this.
She acknowledged all her neighbors there- Gray, Pruss, Burke etc. She stated that Old Pruss Road didn’t even have a nameplate on it and hadn’t been maintained for the past 20 years. [NOTE: Vera Benning has been commissioner for the past 6 years of that 20-year span]
People noted that you can’t vacate the old Pruss road or people would be landlocked. Lisa Lehner clarified that Davis only wanted to take in the first 100 ft. of the new road for the county as ROW. Vera Benning wanted them to transfer the maintenance from the Old Pruss Road to this new road.
Claude Burke
- Taking the first 100 ft in to the county has no relevance for us- the fire dept. still can’t get back there.
Dan Batta- we have 100 roads like this in the county. We have to do what is fair and equitable for the county. It is not fiscally sound to arbitrarily take in the maintenance of new roads.
Claude Burke- we are not worried about other roads. I have spent $8,000 of my own money trying to maintain this road.
Terry Pruss- presented the June 2004 letter from Mark Seiler. Pruss owns property on both sides of Pruss Road. States that now it’s a playground for beer, shooting, 4 wheelers. He offered to gate it off.
Bob Gray- Doesn’t want Old Pruss abandoned but he uses the new road to access his property.
Dan Batta- suggested that the county look at it comprehensively through planning and zoning.
Another neighbor who doesn’t live there- just owns land- asked why abandon a road that’s been there all along.
Greg Davies- gave a comprehensive overview of the road issues from 1982 on. He owns the farm north of Burkes. Told of the new bridge going in around 1982 and that his father and Mr. Burke did a lot of calling over the years to get gravel etc on that road. They walked the road with Hon, the county eng, and the adm. at the time and took 3-4 years to get an answer- but still nothing was done.
From 1995-2002 they kept going to different engineers and we sat down with the engineer in 2002 [NOTE: Rich Shelley was Hwy Director- not an engineer] They put together a price of $60-80,000 to put Old Pruss Road together again. They decided it would be easier to do a new road than Old Pruss.
Dan Batta stated that this was good and all news to the board.
Vera Benning indicated that this was not news to her and that she was at this meeting and decision.
Greg Davies
stated that he has no preference to which road is chosen to maintain.
Vera Benning asked Dean Benning if he had anything to say. He stated that it was better to use the new road rather than Pruss Road because of the curve and the hill.
Heather Benning Rump stated to questions regarding how this item ended up on the agenda without all the paperwork, that she had put it there. [Note: Normally commissioners are in charge of their agenda]
Vera Benning also asked Jay Droege to come up and say something. He stated that he was there to see if the survey had been completed. He also stated that he didn’t know how you could take one road away unless you replaced it with another.
Vera Benning said that Jeff Stenger was there doing the survey because he was stung by a bee and had to get first aid at her house. She seemed sure that the survey was for the whole road and not the first 100 feet only. [NOTE: The county apparently hadn’t paid Stenger and so the survey had not been turned in. Stenger was not county surveyor at this time- so his work should have been contractual.]
Vera Benning
stated that 100 feet gets Benhams covered but the people in the back get nothing.
Bob Gray stated that he had 120 acres in the back and he (and the three owners) would like to be able to do something with it.
Terry Pruss likes the new road better because it eliminates the hill.
Vera Benning motioned to table this until January. This motion failed for lack of a 2nd.
Chris Mueller
- suggested that they consider applying to Planning and Zoning in the meantime so that the road could be legally accepted.
Vera Benning stated that she couldn’t remember my name but that she remembered reading somewhere that I’d been researching and attending meetings for about 9 years. She thanked me for instructing Dan Batta and stated further that they had legal Council.
Chris Mueller
- stated that it was a suggestion only and that they should check with Lisa Lehner but that it seemed to be a shame to make the people wait till January before anything is pursued.
The neighbors on Pruss Road were worried about notification of meetings, and some stated that it would be cheaper to fix Old Pruss Road. Planning and Zoning notifies adjoining landowners and also posts signs.
In framing the results, Lorie Howard stated that some people want the old road, some want the new road, and some aren’t sure. She thought that defining the alternatives and what their lengths and costs would be would be the best approach.
Commissioners made NO DECISION about how to continue at this point.
Fox Chase, Deer Run, and Piper Landing were all tabled. Vera Benning wants to see what Planning and Zoning has on them first.
Mike Davis asked to go to Council to request money to fix some more road slips in house. Cary Pickens strongly stated that the well is dry- there is no money- the county is using it to make up the shortfall from taxes. He went on to say there would only be 4 Council meetings next year because there are no extras. [NOTE: If there is no money for basic repairs, how can the county council be considering a jail expansion?]
Vera Benning
would not approve going to council. Dan Batta stated they would discuss it further at their Thursday Adm. Focus meeting.
Lorie Howard was approved to sign off on contract changes on Whites Hill after review. They hope to finish up by thanksgiving.
Phase 2 paving is proceeding toward completion.

4. Lisa Lehner -County Attorney- nothing new

5. Cary Pickens -Auditor presented claims and minutes

6. Vera Benning- conferred with Lisa to see if she could present the fact that she had spent county dollars and had two employees spend county time (Lorie Howard and Mike Davis) going out to each of Vera’s daughter’s and son’s driveways to prove that the county had not paved them. Benning said she did this because of a rumor that was circulating. Davis and Howard reported that the county had paved none of Vera's family's driveways.
[NOTE: County activists heard this rumor and checked it out 2 weeks ago FOR FREE. It was clear to us that the rumor, as is often the case, got distorted in the telling. Apparently, the issue that was originally reported to commissioners was not about paving, but that an actual gravel “driveway” of about a half mile was created to access 38 acres of land that Devin and Heather Benning Rump had (have) purchased from Mr. Burke. This new roadway which neighbors in the area reportedly refer to as “Vera’s Road” has a proposed name on county paperwork of Burke-Benning Road, but on the agenda tonight showed up as Rump Road. On old maps of the county as far back as 1870 Pruss Road shows up as a connector road and looks like it is one of the main roads in that area. It runs along Droege Creek. The county needs to look at Pruss Road from both a cost and functional viewpoint for the landowners and anyone else who uses it. Perhaps the new road should join Pruss at a more functional point and basically be a re-routing of the lower end of that road.]

Meeting adjourned at 9:20 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

1 November 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

1 November 2004 Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Dan Batta, Acting Chairman, Karen Shell, and Vera Benning. Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Lorie Howard, Administrator, and Lisa Lehner, Attorney.

Register Publications reporter was not present at this meeting.

I apologize for the delay in posting these notes- I took some family time after our son’s wedding last weekend.

1. Jim West- Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative Director- came to introduce himself to the commissioners. He gave no presentation and stated he had no information to share yet.

2. Bill Ewbank- Veteran’s Officer- reported that they have enough drivers to accommodate 4 days per week now. He also announced that on November 11th at 11 AM the Aurora VFW would host the service at the Veteran’s Memorial. It would be followed by a free lunch at their meeting hall on 2nd St. in Aurora.

3. Bill Black- Emergency Management- passed out the blank release forms for any group wishing to pick up the hoses that PSEG donated. He reminded the commissioners that they need to fill out their surveys for Tri-State Emergency Management so that they can assess needs in our area.
Road closing for emergencies and weather are now being determined by the Transportation Director, Bill Black, and the Sheriff. They are standardizing the media notification for this to coordinate with tri-state.
800 radio system is proceeding with good feedback from Lawrenceburg on the possibility of bond bank funding.

4. Sandy Leptak- Health Dept. Requested the reappointment of two board members. Gerald Miller and Dr. Harban S Gill were reappointed to the board.

5. Mike Davis- Transportation Director stepped aside to allow Mark Seiler to present today. Mark read the written report. They want to get a list of roads prepared for widening and paving next year. Jeff last name ?? and Terry Crouch from THE SURVEY COMPANY, the engineering company doing the oversight for the White’s Hill Road project, presented the current status of the project along with some changes necessitated by the discovery of sewer laterals and lines in places other than described on St. Leon sewer documents. They are going to relocate part of the road to avoid the sewer line altogether near the retaining walls. This may decrease the size of the retaining wall. They plan to install a 48- inch culvert inside a mixed culvert (a structure with a mixture of pipe and a 72 “ concrete box.) They intend to fill the gaps to secure the inserted pipe. They estimate a $25-40,000 change order on this. They intend to continue to do the engineering study to remove the hump on the hill as well. The Survey Company will help Lorie Howard and Mike Davis negotiate with O’Mara to present three packages on these changes.
Commissioners voted to authorize the design changes and negotiations with O’Mara.
Piper Landing (first 350 feet only- the rest is private) and Fox Chase Subdivision roads requested to be taken in to road inventory. Taken under advisement by Commissioners.
Deer Trails Subdivision from 1996 requested that two roads of about 400 feet each be accepted. Taken under advisement by commissioners.
Old Pruss Road replacement off Grelle Road which was completed in July 2002 under Rich Shelley and the county highway department without the authorization of at least two commissioners was presented.
(Vera Benning was in charge). County minutes indicate that they accepted the first 100 ft. of road but not the rest. Several large culverts were installed and the road was graveled at a materials cost of about $30,000. Labor was provided by the Hwy. Dept. The new road has not had a name assigned to it. Right of way was never acquired, Jeff Stenger, county surveyor did not get paid, so the survey was not turned in. Claude Burke signed a paper with Rich Shelley to get the culverts done. [ NOTE: In 2002 Jay Droege, an adjoining landowner, was in dispute with the county over this road. He insisted that the road was actually built on parts of his land.]
Devin Rump also presented that he had recently purchased 38 acres from Claude Burke and stated, “Me and my wife want to build a house back there.” [NOTE: Rump’s wife is Heather Benning, Vera’s daughter] He went on to talk about his neighbor, Esther, giving them some easement to get to the land he bought. [NOTE: Esther is Esther Benning, Vera’s mother –in-law.]
Batta asked how they could transfer land without an official improved road to the property. It was determined that he had a 50 foot access through his original flag lot that he owned prior to the additional land purchase.
The commissioners were advised about the Droege claim on the ROW issue.
Mark Seiler sates that commissioners should consider: abandoning the old Pruss Road and the inaccessible 1980 bridge, get a survey to resolve the ROW issues, and name the new road to accept it.
Commissioners took this under advisement and requested a Planning Commission report also.
[NOTE: It appears that this new road was created for the benefit of Commissioner Benning’s relatives. Claude Burke no longer lives there, he has moved to the eastern side of the county.]

6. Lorie Howard- County Administratorpresented the amendment to the Health Benefit Plan which was approved for the Wellness Program.
The annual chamber of commerce contract regarding the Redevelopment Commission was tabled to determine how this was supposed to work in relation to the Economic Development Initiative.
Commissioners remembered Bill Ritzmann saying that the county didn’t have to contribute anything extra because their $25,000 was already covered in this contract with the Redevelopment Commission. (There is also a $50,000 fee from the Tourism Bureau to redevelopment and an $18,00 fee from Tourism to the Chamber.) Lisa Lehner thought that the $25,000 was for other projects that Redevelopment might have.
The employee handbook is still in need of some input and Lorie is redoing the section on the appointing authority to keep the commissioners working together. This was a direct result of an issue in the hwy dept. where the director refused an action and it still happened. They are now having both the director and a foreman have to sign before a disciplinary action occurs. They might have Lorie Howard sign off on it also after she has reviewed it. Benning said that the Board of Commissioners is doing this now. The other commissioners indicted that this was temporary, until they could get the handbook revised.
Jewell DuBonis, one of the county lobbyists, is meeting county officials and cities too at the Chamber of Commerce on Nov 4th at 1 PM to discuss new legislation regarding 5000 new slot machines in various parts of the state.
Lorie Howard will be facilitating the annual bids for sheriff and hwy depts.
She was also directed to contact Al Werner regarding his desire to retire.

7. Lisa Lehner- County Attorney- Commissioners signed off on the Hardintown Street vacations from last month.

8. Cary Pickens- Auditor – claims and minutes were signed.

9. Dan Batta- suggested a series of improvements in policy regarding agendas and meeting organization. He particularly thought there should be a deadline to be on the agenda so that materials could be in commissioners hands in enough time to review for the meeting. He also mentioned that commissioners should have details under their names- particularly if they bring anyone in requesting a decision. He cited the problem of bringing in a room full of people to lobby the board without telling the other commissioners it was coming up. Vera Benning took issue with this citing the Outer Loop (SR 101 Corridor) group that she said Batta brought in. [NOTE: That group was brought in by the original activists fighting the path of that road in the county.]

10. Vera Benning - wants information at each meeting regarding exactly how much money is available in each fund from the auditor. Cary Pickens stated that he’s not managing the hwy budget, etc. Vera stated that the commissioners are blind to knowing what they have to spend. Cited was the $25,000 approved for the Chamber for example. Vera also wants the State Board of Accounts report on how we are running our “business.”

Meeting adjourned at 11:25 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Suburbanization of Dearborn County

Citizens of Dearborn County Beware! The suburbanization of the County is coming and you will pay for it.

Over a year ago, our “Realtor” Commissioner stood in front of a group of citizens of her district and the proposed sewer district and repeatedly stated the sewer district was not about development. Even when questioned about the Gabbard estate, she reiterated is was not about development. The sewer district was to “help?’ the citizens.

Early this year the newly appointed board of the Dearborn County Sewer District also indicated it was not about development. They even indicted they would stop all development until the sewer system was in place. The system was to be designed for the approximately 300 homes in that part of the district, with a 20 percent (60 homes) growth allowance for the expected expansion in the next twenty years.

The current planning from the District indicates it is $2,000,000 over budget and will cost the residents of the District approximately $70 to $75 a month.

Monday night, at the Dearborn County Plan Commission meeting, the first phase of the Stonebrook Subdivision on the old Gabbard estate was all but approved. It seems the Dearborn County Sewer District Board with the help of Lisa Lehner, Dearborn County Attorney, and Vera Benning, Special Consultant to the Board, are all but tripping over themselves in their rush to sign a contract to provide sewer service to the developer, Ralph Meierjohan, Ameritek Custom Homes, Cincinnati, OH.

The first phase of the subdivision will include about 120 homes, or twice the total spare capacity of the system. The remainder of the estate was allegedly not yet in planning for development. However, the developer in addition to the notation for future development on the remainder of the estate, is acquiring the adjoining Conaway estate. This will not only add 43 acres, but also provide access to both Huesman and Mt. Tabor Roads for additional entrances to the subdivision. This could easily double or triple the number of houses to be added.

The Realtor for the Conaway estate is Bret Fehrman, Fehrman Realty (see his signs on the property) and Bret was allegedly instrumental in the sale of the Gabbard estate. By the way, Mr. Fehrman is a member of the very sewer district board that is rushing to contract with the developer to provide the public sewer service needed to develop the property.

Impact fees were proposed to the Board to have the developers pay for a substantial cost of development, especially since the District was not about development. This proposal was tabled by the Board.

In the Planning meeting, the Plan Commission obtained from the school district an approximate cost of $27,000 just for school bus service to the subdivision. Since there are no mechanisms for impact fees, there is no way to cover any of this cost. The $27,000 does not include the cost of educating an average 2.3 students per house (at approximately $5,500 per year) expected to populate the subdivision. Nor, does it include the cost to provide building space for the additional 275 students added by just the first phase. Nor, fire, police and EMS service.

The developer will initially build the roads, but, once they are turned over to the County, the County will have to pay to maintain them. Plus, there is the increased costs for utility providers. Didn’t Aurora Utilities just increase the monthly water bill to pay for a new water tower near the high school, to among other things help supply water to the new loads in that direction?

If you think the new residents of the subdivision will pay enough taxes to cover all these expenses, guess again. The proposed house cost mentioned at the meeting Monday night was around $180,000. The real estate taxes for such houses will not even cover the cost to educate one student for a year, much less all the real costs of supporting the subdivision. Other taxpayers will have to make up the difference or services will have to be reduced.

Several candidates for County Council have pointed out in their campaigns, the negative impact of residential development in the County and the need for Industrial development to balance the tax burden. What we are seeing is more of this negative.

The citizens of the District are being forced to pay for the very development they may not want. They will also be forced to suffer all the negative aspects of the development, such as, overcrowded schools, stretched school budgets, stretched highway maintenance budgets, the increased traffic on US 50 (phase I will add approximately 250 autos a day), increased runoff from hard surfaces, urbanization of rural neighborhoods and increased utility costs. One neighbor of the new subdivision stated in the Monday meeting, that they had moved from Greendale to obtain the rural setting, where they just finished building a new home. Now, they will soon have a subdivision at the back of their property, bringing noise and light pollution and destruction of the ecology to a beautiful rural area.

Our government has misled us about “not about development” from the beginning. Our “Realtor” Commissioner is not serving the citizens of her District or the County. She is working to help the Developers and Realtors get rich at the expense of the citizens of the County.

She is already openly boasting, that in January, when Mr. Fox and Mr. Hughes are elected (Candidates supported by the developers and supporting “property owners rights), she will control the County. She plans to repeal the newly enacted Master Plan for the County and continue to foster the development of the County, just as she has been doing, at the expense of the citizens of Dearborn County. Apparently “property owners rights” means the right of large property owners to sell for the highest price to any developer in total disregard for their neighbors and in addition, have their neighbors help pay for the development they may not want.

In addition to the sewer district along US 50, there are four more sewer districts in planning. They are along highways from the Aurora/ Lawrenceburg area outward, State Route 1, Highway 350, Highway 48 and around the New Alsace area. There are four more opportunities for our “Realtor” Commissioner to have the citizens of the County pay for the Developers and Realtors to get rich.

The only way to change this, is to let your voice be heard. Vote for responsible Commissioners. Write and call your Commissioners and State Congressmen. Tell them what you want. Tell them you want a recall law to be able to stop out of control public officials. Tell them to control development and impose impact fees. Get involved in the process, or just sit back and let the Developers and Realtors get rich at your expense and turn rural Dearborn County into another congested Hamilton County, Butler County, Warren County.

Ralph E. Thompson, Jr., PE, CPE, NSPE

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

25 October Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

25 October 2004 County Plan Commission Notes

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Mike Hall, Dan Batta, Roger Woodfill, Nick Held, Patrick de Maynadier. Absent: Rick Pope and Tarry Feiss. The ninth member resigned last month due to family responsibilities. Arnie McGill Att’y and Travis Miller, Plan Director, also present.

Denise Freitag from Register Publications also covered this 5 hour and 15 minute meeting. See the paper in coming weeks for more details.

The Master Plan that was passed becomes effective November 15th after public notices have been placed for the prescribed legal time.

There were numerous requests (4) throughout the evening to “speak up” because the sound system does not work. (Mitter suggested to the crowd that they write their commissioners to fix it. Batta suggested that the Council fund it. Mitter said if he’d request it, then Mitter would vote to fund it.)

1. 7:10 PM Zone Change for 33 acres in Logan Township from Ag to PUD (Planned Unit Development) for parts of The Farm Golf Course (Lonnie Steele) and property across Mt. Pleasant owned by Dave Rohe. Proposed to have 100+ condos on the Rohe side. The restaurant at The Farm is apparently considered to be in violation because it operates after hours for the golf course. [NOTE: If the restaurant is an accessory use to the permitted use on the property, than it might be considered legal. If there were a driving range or putting area that operated after dark during the remaining hours that the restaurant/clubhouse was open, would that “legalize” the operations?]
Presenter was Nicole Daily and Mark Rosenberger of Bayer Becker Engineers.
Only one citizen (Greg Huffman- a builder) spoke for the public citing road issues and problems if golf carts cross the road to the condos. He felt there was too high a density for the area and roadway.
After discussion Roger Woodfill motioned to send and unfavorable and Patrick de Maynadier 2nded citing poor fit for the neighborhood character, lack of a unified theme for the PUD, burden on the transportation system, lack of vegetation proposed to balance the high density uses, and no transportation study.
MOTION FAILED – only 4 votes.
Mike Hall motioned to table for 60 days to give the applicant a chance to address the issues. Patrick de Maynadier 2nded. Motion to Table Passed.

2. 8:25 PM – Primary approval for a 9-lot commercial subdivision on 141.46 acres in Aurora Industrial Park on Randall Avenue- Phase II. Carol Morman presented for Monfort Supply Company (Rack)
Only one citizen (Kirk Busse) expressed concern for watershed to his property. He also wanted to be sure this was NOT residential.
Patrick de Maynadier motioned and Mike Hall 2nd to grant approval with a variance for cul de sac length, requiring all tech review concerns on #1 and #3 be accomplished, plus all the staff comments required. They included the understanding that this was to have Aurora sewers and NOT any alternative systems. Passed with Roger Woodfill voting NAY- he wanted the Road to have a connection to Cole Lane- the cul de sac was far too long in his opinion.

3. 9:00 PM Primary approval for 122- lot subdivision Washington Township on 132.882 acres– Stonebrook Subdivision for Ralph Meierjohan of Ameritek Homes, and Gabbard Estates, LLC. There were numerous staff report recommendations and tech review and transportation issues on this plan. Archie Crouch- The Survey Company- presented. He addressed some of the concerns. Of note was a good design plan for the divided streets at the front entrance showing two lanes out and one lane into the development.
Ralph Meierjohan stated that they had a contract with the DEARBORN COUNTY SEWER DISTRICT signed this morning. [NOTE: Though the sewer board at their last working meeting had a clear intent to accomplish this, it is a concern that working meetings of the Sewer District are being used to make major decisions of this type where few members of the public are likely to attend.]
Buffers that were shown were not enforceable, i.e. the owners of the lots could tear them down if they chose. Homes in the $180,000 range were to be stick built and sidewalks were planned. No restrictive covenants were set yet.
Public speakers: Dan Brooks, Jerry Benham, Kathy Holscher-Dobbs, and Ralph Thompson cited US 50 traffic concerns and access issues from the divided hwy as well as the entrance just below the rise in the road. The were concerned that the sewers were not “real” as the sewer district is more than two years from build out and the Aurora Sewers are involved in compliance issues with IDEM. The increased financial wealth of this subdivision is likely to affect the low-income grants that the sewer district is seeking to pay for itself. Tax increases and increased load on the school district were mentioned. This changes the tenor of the area- largely Ag and large lot homes now. Ecological issues and stormwater run-off as well as light pollution were brought up. It appeared to the citizens that they were paying for this development and not the developer himself, in terms of taxes, decreased quality of life, and school issues.
Patrick de Maynadier motioned and Roger Woodfill 2nded to table pending review of transportation issues #1, issue #3 required in section 242 of the code for INDOT approval to access US50, review of the newly submitted plat to check for compliance, geotech analysis, and a review of the sewer issues, and a 2nd entrance onto US 50. All Ayes to Table for 60 days.

4. 10:25 PM - Zone change from Ag to Residential for single family development of 101.208 acres in Kelso Township on Dog Ridge Road. Randy Maxwell of Maxwell Properties IV presented. He began with a quip that he was nervous about presenting, but then he saw how many people were here to support him… (Laughter) Approximately 40 citizens were present and 13 spoke in opposition to the plans.
Randy Maxwell gave a PowerPoint presentation of the plan in relation to the 5 criteria required by law to approve a zone change. The plan also had some variances for side lots and distances between homes that was of major concern to the staff and board. This plan contains 30% green space and a high-density subdivision enclosed. Though the lots are single family, the effect is similar to a condo development with only 10 ft between homes. Curbs, gutters, sidewalks are present as were amenities such as a playground and a pool and pool house. Maxwell stated that the density was necessary in order to pay for the amenities. [NOTE: The density is probably also necessary in order to pay for the property. When landowners put large price tags on their land, they are, in effect, inviting the highest density uses or commercial uses into that area. They are also precluding the land ever being sold to neighboring farmers.]
Public speakers: Kevin Hahn (sp?), Mark Hall, Jackie Kraus, Debbie Stenger, Gordon Kurtz, Karen Rudisell, Chris Schumacher, Dennis Wuestefeld, Jeanette Kraus, Steve Berman (sp?), Steve Eisele, Gerald Schneider, and Joe Seidel. Two other speakers declined, saying their issues had already been covered.
For 45 minutes the discussion from the public cited: Dog Ridge not being wide enough and the road base was poor- it won’t take heavy trucks. Water pressure is not very good now, and this will make it worse. Density issues- way out of character- max out there now is 1-3 acre lots.
Increased taxes because of the burden on the schools and roads. “We are supposed to give up our rural character so Mr. Maxwell can take…” This is not a Residential area, it is a rural area. We only have a small rural volunteer fire dept. If you let this development in, then can each neighbor do it? Is there enough sewer for everyone? Homes are too close together- fire safety issues. Figures don’t add up. How can we triple the population but only increase road stress by 9%? Maxwell tried to buy 80 more acres, so it won’t stop with just this. Many accidents at Schuman and SR1. Wanted to retire to the peaceful rural area and now see bulldozers and noise, and increased traffic coming at them. School track and crosscountry uses the road to train- dangerous to add all these cars. Cut the density. School has areas to swim and a sports complex, why build it in the subdivision? Where are these kids going to play with tiny lots? Long history of community traditions and a country setting here. This will light the fire that ruins that. We need to preserve the integrity of Ag land. We need orderly development of our community. Ecological issues. This special zoning will increase property values and taxes for us. Crime will go up, like in Bright. Small lots equal high turnover and transient people. Maxwell should use his resources and creativity to produce a plan that the community would like. Can’t we have 1-acre Ag lots? Storm water issues. Once this gets changed, the area will change forever. It’s just a matter of when.
Mitter answered several questions and explained some of the issues about preserving land by clustering and that the density figures were based on the entire plot, not just the developed sections. There was no attempt to mislead- that is standard practice.
Board discussed the issues. Roger Woodfill motioned and Patrick de Maynadier 2nd to give an UNFAVORABLE recommendation at this time to the commissioners because of the variances, density issues in contrast to the current character, property values. All Ayes for Unfavorable recommendation.
Patrick de Maynadier stated that this is the area of the county that the master plan committee discussed in regards to pace and place, and that this decision does not preclude something coming in the future. Roger Woodfill noted that there was noting this dense for miles from this area. It was out of place in this location.

Midnight: Administrative issues: PC calendar of meetings, Full page ad for master plan committee thank you (celebration of end of plan work), fee schedule for 2005, master plan copy costs $73 per plan. Can get it free on Internet and also $10 for a CD. Signs for the zone changes are going to have deposits from applicants, they will get it back when they are returned. $18/ sign.
Checking into a way to honor long time board members when they leave.

Meeting adjourned. 12:15 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township