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

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