Thursday, February 17, 2005

Plan Commission Updates County Cul-de-sac Street Requirements

Plan Commission Updates County Cul-de-sac Street Requirements

Dearborn County Plan Commission met for a Working Session Wed. Feb. 16th. Topic for discussion was revisions to the ordinance on cul-de-sac requirements.

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Nick Held, Patrick deMaynadier, Mike Hall, Jeff Hughes, Dennis Kraus, Jr., Jane Ohlmansiek, and Robert Laws (new member). Absent: Tarry Feiss.
Also present: Travis Miller, Planning Director, and Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer, Erin Peterson (Parsons Brinkerhoff traffic study consultant) and John Graf (civil engineer consultant), Susan Pope, Jeff Stenger, Ralph Thompson, Nicole Daily, John Maxwell, and Chris Mueller.

Mark Mitter welcomed newest appointee Bob Laws. Laws introduced himself as living in Moores Hill on the last farm in Dearborn County. Their farm has been in the family for 150 years. He has a BS in Business from IU and works at Pernod-Ricard.

A lively 90- minute discussion on cul de sacs covered several issues including:
Number of units per length of road, fire truck turn around space, the numbers of people potentially affected by an emergency on a closed end street, the increased probability of problems as the number of units increases, utility issues, pipe length and pressure, creation of intersections with adjoining properties, even if the property is not slated for development, other county’s ordinances and topography issues, single family vs. multifamily units and commercial applications, limiting the number of units per entrances to a subdivision, limiting the number of cul-de-sacs off the original cul-de-sac, quality of the road that the entire development is feeding off, where the cul-de-sac begins (point 00), criteria to consider for cul-de-sac variances, when a traffic study should kick in as a requirement and including interior streets and intersections in that traffic study, total connectivity, current lot sizes vs. the required lengths, mitigating interior design characteristics, forcing connectivity as a first choice if topography permits, lots permitted with respect to zones.

Final conclusion was to develop an ordinance change with language reflecting the following key points:
Cul-de- sacs would be determined from the point of last intersection.
Maximum permitted cul-de-sac length would be 1200 ft.
Maximum permitted number of lots per cul-de-sac would be 30.
The total number of lots per entrance would be determined by design and traffic study analysis of anything over 100 lots.
A list of criteria from the cul-de-sac ordinance research concerning variance requests would also be included in the ordinance to create some flexibility and permit creative design around Dearborn County’s topography.

Three important points made in the discussions:
To approve a subdivision, the quality of the road they are feeding onto is one of the most important criteria to consider. (Jane Ohlmansiek)
The ordinance should be a tool to enhance the quality of development, not prohibit it. (John Maxwell)
Safety issues can be met by creative design. To encourage this, there must be a process for variances with criteria to be considered. (General consensus)

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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