Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Plan Commission Unanimously Sends Favorable Recommendation for Master Plan

Favorable Recommendation for Master Plan

Plan Commission members present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Mike Hall, Dan Batta, Rick Pope, Tarry Feiss, Nick Held, and Patrick de Maynadier.
Absent: Roger Woodfill and Dave Schmidtgoesling.
Also present: Travis Miller, Planning Director, Arnie, McGill, Attorney, and Karen Rolfes and Cathy Miller, Planning staff.

Last night (30 August 2004) was the final public hearing by the Plan Commission for the County Master Plan. There will be one more public hearing- probably in mid September -that the County Commissioners will hold before making a final decision regarding accepting the plan.

The public hearing was well attended by approximately 20 citizens plus several members of the advisory board and the Plan Commission. Travis Miller gave a thirty-minute overview of the plan and it’s components. There were also handouts on goals, strategies, and guidelines of the plan.

Residents present had several good questions; many of them were more focused on the zoning ordinances rather than the master plan. Board members explained that the master plan gives the guidelines to use when revamping zoning ordinances and also when making planning decisions particularly zone changes.

Some of the public comments are listed below.

Tom Osterman brought up questions on rural character vs. development and economic development and tax base issues.
John Rahe questioned whether anyone thought that SR129 had affected the rural character of Ripley County.
Rick Pope answered: Not yet, but it will.
Jim B ??? (York Township) – asked about when public facilities and infrastructure will actually improve in some areas of the county. He questioned the information regarding 18-34 year olds leaving the county. Many thought that was due to college and first jobs.
Jerry Benham – thought that the document pleases everybody where they are now. He saw a bias towards high-density housing. He wasn’t sure it gave enough direction as to where we should be going- specifically.
Mark Mitter responded that the DCEDI (Economic Development Initiative) would address some of the economic issues. He also noted that in 5 years when the plan is updated we might shift again.
There were comments regarding why the elected officials didn’t DO more.
Dan Batta noted that sometimes it seemed that the more an official does the less chance they have of being re-elected.
Vera Benning wanted to respond to that comment and stated that she was working hard to get economic development and jobs for our kids.
John Rahe thought that the flexibility of the plan was good. He also brought up the fact that federal transportation dollars are being used to rehab houses in Lawrenceburg, and meanwhile the Tanner’s Creek Bridge that needs work doesn’t have funding.
Rick Fox’s remarks were centered on lot size issues and that the rural areas are locked in unless sewage and slope issues are addressed. He noted that land equals equity.
EG McLaughlin- talked about economic development in the incorporated areas. He noticed that lately there has been more cooperation among the governmental entities and that it was something we haven’t really seen before.
I (Chris Mueller) brought up the concept that a flexible plan gives us more freedom to allow for creativity in development, particularly with mixed-use development. One of the biggest problems with development centers on a lack of creativity including a means to blend in with the character of the community.
Eugene Kuebel – talked about the economics of Ag uses and that they produce more while using less in terms of tax dollars. He cited that it takes 4 times as many dollars for business to equal the impact of one dollar of Ag investment.
Laverne Kolb cited the right to farm law and explained it to the group.
Public discussion ended.

Rick Pope motioned and Nick Held 2nded to send a favorable recommendation for the county master plan to the commissioners. All ayes. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 8:40 PM.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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