Tuesday, March 29, 2005

28 March 2005 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting

28 March 2005 Plan Commission Meeting

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Jeff Hughes, Mike Hall, Tarry Feiss, Jane Ohlmansiek, Nick Held, Bob Laws, and Dennis Kraus, Jr.
Absent: Patrick de Maynadier
Also Present: Arnie McGill, Attorney, Travis Miller, Plan Director, and Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer

An executive session preceded this meeting. Mitter called Richard Schmidt to the podium to explain to him the decision of the executive session. Schmidt’s application for a 74- lot subdivision on White’s Hill was tabled indefinitely on the advice of both the planning attorney and the county attorney, pending the outcome of the lawsuit on that property. The county decided to refund Schmidt’s application fee in full.

1. Old Business- tabled from last meeting- Zone change from Ag to B-1 for operation of a golf course and restaurant (on 2 acres) on Mt. Pleasant Rd in Logan Township. Owner- Lonnie Steele. Jeff Stenger was unable to present for Steele due to being in the hospital.
Only one member of the public spoke- Karen Wolf. Discussion included the illegal operation and the health dept situation with the septic tank issues. She also mentioned hours that were well beyond that of a golf course and live music at the restaurant facility. She further quoted Rick Fox’s comments at a previous public hearing at the commissioners regarding this land and stated she thought he needed to abstain when it came to their board. (She apologized to Kraus for attributing them to him by mistake)
Nicole Daily of Bayer Becker also spoke regarding the sewage and a meeting with St. Leon’s lawyers who were drafting an agreement to bring the sewer down Mt. Pleasant for their condos and the Farm golf course.
Lonnie Steele stated that the golf course would “go away” if no sewage line could be obtained. He stated that he was not given clear direction from the previous director and now was trying to do what he needed to do to get into compliance. He said he would live with whatever the board decided.
Many plan commission members were uncomfortable with a spot B-1 out in the Ag area there, because of what else could go in a B-1. Laws had no problem with a restaurant, but didn’t like the banquet hall idea. They thought about doing an R-DP to limit the zone change to just this requested plan. Mitter informed them that with current staff- there would be enforcement issues with all these R-DP land use certificates.
Feiss motioned and Hughes 2nd to pass this on the commissioners with a FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION with a written commitment on the sewage issues. All Ayes except for Laws- NAY

8 PM

2. New Business- Primary approval for a 124-lot subdivision- Whitewater Point on 208.25 acres of R zoned land on Barber Road in Logan Township. Applicant- John Maxwell Development and Owner- Louis Kremer.
Maxwell stated that he was OK with putting sidewalks on one side of the road. He was in compliance with the R-DP that was approved with the zone change. They had addressed the hwy dept. concerns on widening Barber Road with 18ft on the last part of it. They wanted an approval before they went thru the substantial expense of a geotech analysis of the road construction. They met with Schneider Engineering (the county’s engineering consultant) to be in concert with them on road feasibility. He hadn’t seen the Hillside Trust letter but would answer any questions they had from that.
Public Comment- included a lawyer, an engineer, and a geologist hired by the neighbors.
Robert E Manley
- stated he was an attorney experienced in planning issues, that he taught community planning at UC for 39 years and had extensive experience in hillside developments. He stated this was a potential disaster waiting to happen and it presented geotech and financial challenges. He was shocked that they would even consider preliminary approval without a geotech analysis first. Said it would be a grave mistake to do that and urged the board to not give preliminary approval until after the geotech review. He stated it would price the lots too high and that Schneider’s report was based on faith, because he had no geotech analysis to base it on. He was not sure that the developer understood his financial risks.
Stanley Cohen – Stated he was a civil engineer with years of experience and was registered in the state of IN. In his estimate the lots would go for $60,000 extra apiece due to extensive costs of the road designs. He stated that a slope of 11.9% for 2700 ft with a fall of 320 ft would be dangerous in inclement weather. Subsoil conditions indicate they need to remove 6-9 ft of it, aerate, and compact it to build. The sewage pumping station would be addition expenses on that steep hill. He was most concerned with the uphill side of the road even with a retaining wall and intercepted stormwater.
Gerald Craiger (sp?)- had degrees in geology from KS and UC and was a chief geologist for a firm in coastal CA and also in Cinti for a while. He stated that in his experience this couldn’t be built with any assurance of long-term stability without retaining walls. He based his comments on site viewing, topo, and soils. The retaining walls would have to be at least 7 ft. tall to hold the hill with some as tall as 10-12 ft. He stated these costs would be considerable and would be in addition to Mr. Cohen’s estimate. The soils referenced were Eden Pate and Colluvian (sp?) and he also mentioned the cutting effects of the Whitewater River. He said it is not impossible, but it will be difficult and expensive. The expense would pass to the county ultimately to maintain these.
Jackie Kraus- stated that St. Leon was doing a capacity study in June and they should hold off till they got those results to be sure sewage was adequate. Have we maxed out so no other farmer can develop?
Mitter stated that he had talked to St. Leon Sewer Board and the study is to determine how much to expand.
Joseph Ceese (sp?) –referenced site issues turning from Barber to SR46 because the bridge reduces visibility. He also stated that widening the road would go to the riverside and there would be slippage. He also stated that the steepest road in Cinti is by the Anderson Ferry at 18% and it is VERY STEEP.
Public discussion ended at 9PM
Maxwell responded to several points: The Hillside letter referred to Barber Rd as the sole way out of the subdivision- and he stated there was the Chappelow Ridge exit also. He also stated that when Manley stated they would knock down a hillside and leave a mess for the taxpayers, that they intend to competently engineer this and not leave a mess. There would be no pavement within the 100-year flood plain, though it was close. “We’re civil engineers and contractors by trade- we costed this out.”
Referencing the 2700 ft extensive slope, he noted that there was a leveled out are in the middle of it. NO Homes will be built on the hillside- they are all at the top. He doesn’t think there will be a single house built on piers. He doesn’t plan to build the road diagonally on this hillside now and if they have to build retaining walls- we won’t do the project- it will be too expensive.
Mike Hall asked if they had approached the landowners on Barber Rd to be sure of ROW for road widening. Maxwell said- NO. Hall concerned with the buildings right at the edge of the road.
Hughes was concerned with the steep road.
Kraus, Jr. said that they’d already granted an R-DP with the zone change and if his geotech says no- it won’t happen. We have to put some stock in Maxwell’s professional opinion, even though we have conflicting ones. We need to make it contingent on the studies.
Laws- If it’s too expensive, he’ll stop.
Held- Questioned when geotech occurs? Travis Miller stated it occurs before the improvement phase and wanted to see a geotech done.
Ohlmansiek- “This is so far over my head” I was concerned with the density of the subdivision.
Feiss- He’s been compliant with staff requests. Road will be a concern.
Mitter- No issue with the subdivision. It would be foolish NOT to be concerned with the road. Extensive geotech would inform us. Wanted it to come back to board after geotech if possible.
Hall- They haven’t researched ROW and Travis hadn’t either- so widening Barber was at issue still.
Dorothy White- citizen stated that she owned on Barber Rd and no one had contacted her about ROW.
Don Holtgrief- questioned the density again in that area….
Discussion continued and it took nearly 30 minutes to get a motion.
Kraus motioned and Laws 2nd to give primary approval pending an in-depth geotech study by a county approved engineering firm to be reviewed by tech review board and that Barber and Chappelow Ridge be widened to 20 and 18 ft respectively by the developer. All ayes. Approved.

3. The Board voted to pass a favorable recommendation to the commissioners to repeal the old flood plain ordinance and replace it with FEMA’s new one.

4. Other changes in the ordinance on cul-de-sacs, Article 6 and 2448 on traffic studies will be looked over and decided at the working session on April 20th. The board is considering cul-de sacs to by 1200 ft max with 30 homes, measured from the last intersection. They are also considering having developers pay into a fund when traffic studies are required and the county will hire the traffic study, so that it will be neutral information.

5. There was discussion of hiring a consultant to do a fiscal impact model for different land uses in the county in order to maintain and promote a sustainable community. This will also be decided at the April 20th meeting.
Don Townsend approached Travis with the erosion control ordinance revisions that Jennifer Hughes from Soil and Water had helped with. He wanted to know if they wanted him to draft a letter of support for this effort, which will go to the commissioners in late April or May. To be decided by PC at April 20th meeting after reviewing.
There is a certificate of appreciation they need to give to Dave Schmidtgoesling- hopefully at the April PC meeting.
McGill said there were 30 lawsuits out- mostly enforcement issues.
Application deadlines will be firmer- the board does not want to be reviewing things at the meeting.
Mitter questioned whether he should have let people speak after public discussion was ended, but most seemed to agree that it should be a judgment call.

Meeting adjourned at 11:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Open Letter

To the Dearborn County Sewer Board and all Concerned Citizens of Dearborn County

RE: Rebuttal to the letter Published in the Register on November 11, 2004 “Suburbanization of the County Coming” Placed on the Dearborn County Web Log December 20, 2004.

The Dearborn County Regional Sewer District Board of Directors, as Provided by Michael Hankins, placed a letter on the Dearborn County Web Log allegedly responding to “false statements” in the letter published in the Register.

I will not bother to respond to items 1 thru 8 in the Rebuttal, except to say the following:

Their response in item 5 “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.” proves the statement in the November 11th letter.

The other sewer districts mentioned are of record in the Lawrenceburg Public Library and in the County Administration Building and were mentioned in earlier submissions to this Web Log by members of the sewer board..

I intend to respond specifically to the defamatory personal attack made by “The Board” as follows:

“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 first sentence in the statement is true. I am a Professional Engineer. The remainder of the paragraph is totally false and defamatory.

I have not applied for, asked for, proposed on or offered to do any work for the Dearborn County Commissioners, the Dearborn County Sewer District or the Dearborn County Board of Health, as an individual or as an Engineer. Therefore it is impossible for me to have been rejected for any such work. In fact, Vera Benning suggested that I work for the County, in an open Commissioners’ Meeting in late 2003 in front of the Commissioners. Cary Pickens, Lisa Lehner and many public witnesses. I flatly refused.

I have opposed the Sewer District formation from the first public meeting in early 2003 and had a letter published in the Register in November 2003 (Sewer District Fraught with Problems).opposed to the District.

I raised the issue of the development of the Gabbard Estate in early 2003 and was told repeatedly it was not about development. The development of the Gabbard Estates received primary approval in 2004 due largely to the availability of the Sewer District.

I was asked and volunteered to serve, as a citizen with engineering background on the Advisory Committee for the County Master Plan. I served through the production of the Master Plan. Mr. Travis Miller, The Planning Commission and Planning Board Members can speak to the value of my service as an informed citizen. I provided no engineering services to the Advisory Committee.

It seems the Board and Mr. Hankins are resorting to falsehoods and libel to silence opposition to their actions. Who can surmise what motives or actions they are trying to hide? Are these the kind of people we should have serving in public office (appointed or elected)?

The Bill of Rights in the Constitution provides all Citizens the right of “free speech”. It seems that members of the current government are attempting to ameliorate our right of free speech through libel, lies and now preventing citizens from speaking in the Commissioner’s Meetings. What’s next an attack on freedom of the press?

I have obtained a copy of the “Rebuttal” from the Web Manager and it has been forwarded to my attorney for appropriate action with respect to the Board, its Members, Advisers, etc.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

22 March 2005 County Council Meeting Notes

22 March 2005 County Council Meeting Notes

Present: Charlie Fehrman, Chairman, Mark Mitter, Bill Ullrich, Aaron Negangard, Dennis Kraus, and Tom Cheek. Absent: Bo Lansing.
Also Present: Cary Pickens Absent: Bryan Messmore, County Administrator
County Commissioners Fox and Hughes were also present

1. Dillsboro Civic Club – Dennis Lewis- requested $1000 for the Dillsboro Festival Youth Services. Discussion included the fact that kids have 4 days to be entertained and this is Dillsboro’s 175th anniversary of being founded. It was also noted that Dillsboro’s gaming money share is being used to rehab and upgrade the town’s sewer facilities.
Bill Ullrich motioned and Tom Cheek 2nd to approve $1000 out of the Youth Fund from Gaming revenue. Approved.

2. Dearborn County Medical Contract for Jail- Lusby absent for this.
This contract is already signed with Advanced Medical and in place. So far the savings have been substantial. Commissioners signed this with the caveat that Council had to appropriate the $250,000 to cover it till the end of the year. If Council failed to, the contract could be terminated with 30 days notice.
Discussion: Rick Fox stated he was OK with it. Fehrman said that this group has court proven procedures that keep the liability down. Cheek wanted to see more bids if possible (apparently there are no real contenders in this according to Ullrich). The first month they removed a lot of prescriptions for Tylenol #3 (with codeine) and replaced it with Tylenol at the patient’s expense from the vending machines. Negangard said that private doctors prescribe more to avoid malpractice. [NOTE: the costs associated with malpractice prevention are usually associated with more lab tests, not more prescriptions.]
Negangard motioned and Mitter 2nd to approve $250,000 out of Riverboat Revenue to cover this contract thru 2005. Approved

3. Superior Court- Juror meals- Judge Witte’s court.
Per Negangard- Witte had 7 jury trials in 2005 so far and used up the entire years allotment on jury meals. Cheek motioned and Negangard 2nd to approve 10,000 and 2,000 out of Riverboat revenue for juror meals. Approved.

4. Auditor- Pickens- Accounting of lobbyist’s money –
$48,000 in pass thru account (county general) from the local municipalities to share in lobbyist expenses needed to be approved to spend. $35,000 from Riverboat Revenue needed to be appropriated for the federal lobbyist in Washington DC (Barnes and Thornburgh.)
Discussion: Mitter wanted to know if, in light of what the senate Finance Committee is doing now, was our money being spent well. Fehrman stated that he talks to our lobbyists weekly. He characterized DuBonis as a high-energy communicator (cheerleader) and Bricker as a common sense strategizer (coach). Negangard said now is NOT the time to cut back. Fehrman stated that they were instrumental in getting the Dillsboro sewer grant, US 50 issues, that Nugent and Bischoff found them helpful, that we got a sit-down face-to-face with the governor because of them. Fox stated that he didn’t think we’d get anything done without these people. They also mentioned getting another superior court judge. Mark Neff stated that in Washington they got to see one of Lugar’s key persons (Amy Oberhault sp?) and Brian Fisher, chief of staff for Congressman Pense (sp?). They also got 20-25 minutes with Sodrel and his chief of staff, Tom Washburn. This was all due to Jeff Taylor from Barnes and Thornburgh. The commissioners signed the Barnes and Thornburgh contract contingent on the Council appropriation. [NOTE: It appears that Barnes and Thornburgh were already working for us prior to the appropriation.]
Negangard motioned and Kraus 2nd to approve $48,000 from county general pass thru account to be used for the current lobbyists. They also included $35,000 from Riverboat Revenue for Barnes and Thornburgh, the federal lobbyists. 5 ayes and 1 nay (Tom Cheek- who didn’t want to send any more money to the feds. Passed.

5. Employee severance for Lorie Howard, former cty adm. Amount to be approximately $2,000-2500 to cover COBRA until her new employment health plan kicks in. Charlie Fehrman stated that he’d discussed this with Ewbank, Cty Att’y, who was OK with it, but noted that the commissioners had to request it to be spent. Negangard stated that the commissioners have to decide to cut the check, not council. Mitter stated they could appropriate it and the commissioners could decide later.
Per Fehrman, Vera Benning previously stated that she didn’t want to hire anyone back. [NOTE: What does this have to do with a severance payment?]
Pickens went out to the hall to check with Fox at this point and stated that Fox told him commissioners would not approve the severance or insurance payment. Negangard and Kraus worried that it would set a precedent. Fehrman argued that this was a situation like no others- that this person was let go without cause- and so it was not a precedent. Negangard thought it would encourage the good old boy network. Cheek stated that severance for professional employees would help keep the good old boy network out. Generally employees give county 2 weeks notice. Fehrman stated that without cause you should get two weeks pay. Chris Mueller brought up possible unemployment ratings issues and that severance is often used to prevent that. Also that the commissioners sent two signed contracts to council contingent on their approval and this could be done as a reverse of that. Appropriate money contingent on commissioner’s approval.
Ullrich motioned and Mitter 2nd to appropriate severance pay out of Riverboat Revenue for Lorie Howard pending commissioner approval. 4 ayes 2 nays (Negangard and Kraus) Negangard had wanted to table this but couldn’t get a 2nd. Council has to see if the att’y thinks it’s a legal vote- salary issues require 5 votes, NOT a simple majority. Unknown at this time if this passed or failed.

6. Bill Black, EMA Director- gave an update on the 800 MgHz system. $2.5 million is required for the whole system. It appears that Lawrenceburg is willing to finance $1million of it this year and use the bond bank for a forgivable loan for the remainder. They are waiting on Steidel to get back from vacation to discuss that. Black ordered 52 radios for the system so far. Consensus was to wait to act further on this until specifics are ironed out.

7. Mike Davis- Transportation Director- gave an update on bridge work in the county. Bridge 37 (Stitts Rd sp?), 59 (George St), and 68 (Guilford). He also reported that White’s Hill work is resuming and that they need to advertise for the money to pay for the new bridges to be entered into state rolls. These 16 were found during bridge inventory.

8. Charlie Fehrman is to check with Ewbank concerning the lease on the cty ext. office in Aurora.

9. Cheek motioned and Ullrich 2nd to renew the loan for the Division of Family and Children with UCB. Passed. Now that EG McLaughlin is handling it they required an official action.

10. Tom Cheek asked when taxes would be out. Pickens stated they would be due April 20 and mailed out Good Friday. Pickens was also going thru the cty employee’s list to be sure all their taxes were paid.

11. Charlie Fehrman reported on the Senator Meeks plan to use riverboat revenue to help balance the budget. For our county it means a loss of $5.5 million. Lawrenceburg would lose $21.1 million. Looking at the sheet- it is clear that some gambling boat counties are “favored” and left alone (Lake, LaPorte, and Vanderburgh, and the city of Gary) Fehrman stated it could be summed up in two letters- NV (envy). Pickens was more colorful in his description of Meeks. (“a butt with shoes”)
When they met with the governor, they didn’t get to finish their entire presentation.
Strategy the council wants to implement is a RESPECTFUL letter writing campaign to the senate and house leaders and the governor. (I suggested later that they put a template of this letter on the county website to make it easier)
Jeff Hughes reported that the trip to DC was successful in his estimation and that he noted that Dearborn County got the 2nd most money appropriated in the bill. (Sodrel’s home county got the most)
Fehrman reported: From the gas tax we got $5 million for SR 56v realignment, $250,000 for Tanners Creek Bridge, and $300,000 for US 50 corridor study. INDOT also gets money and we have to get to INDOT to be sure we get our share of that also.
It was noted that at the Washington offices, when their folders were opened up all the paperwork was there and in excellent order thanks to Bryan Messmore and mostly to Travis Miller. Everyone was impressed that they were so well prepared and ahead of time.

12. Mitter stated that at the OKI meeting at PNS last week, of the 192 gov’t entities that OKI works with, Travis Miller stands out as a real gem. They said we are incredibly lucky to have him. They were also impressed with our master plan and how it dovetails with the regional plans.

Meeting adjourned 9:40 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

15 March 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

15 March 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Benning, President, Fox and Hughes.
Also Present: Pickens, Auditor, Messmore, Administrator, and Ewbank, Attorney.
This meeting was videotaped for Benning, as usual.

1. Ellen Baer – wanting a donation for The Waters of Rising Sun was a no show.

2. Mike Davis- Transportation Director:
Fox and Hughes motioned and 2nded to sign the contract with James Baker, P.E. for the George Street bridge work. Approved. State grant is $277,000 and county share is $120,000. Even with a possible start next month the work won’t be completed until Spring 2007 at the earliest.
Hughes and Fox motioned and 2nded to approve INDOT’s request to do the Chappelow Ridge intersection with SR46 to county specs and not state standards. Approved. This is part of the work for a SR46 road slip near that intersection.
NOT on Agenda:
THE SURVEY COMPANY wanted to extend the contract for the White’s Hill design and oversight of the project. $8,000 for design changes and with added oversight it would total $11,000 inclusive. Fox and Hughes motioned and 2nded to extend to $11,000. Approved.
United Engineering Consultants found 14 additional bridge structures- qualified due to the angle the culverts meet the roadway. It costs $350 each ($4500) to get these into the state inventory. 80/20 project so the county share is $900. Hughes and Fox motioned and 2nded to pay to get these into the system. Approved.
Whites’ Hill is settled and O’Mara is set to start working on the retaining wall Thursday- March 17.
Guilford Bridge work began and will continue for about 7 weeks with a light signaling one-way traffic flow to keep the bridge open during repairs.

3. RQAW- Jail Expansion Project- total cost estimate $47 million.
Brett Dodd and Joe Morath presented for RQAW going over basically the same details from last year’s commissioners and Council presentations. The update included a recommended solution and strategy from the steering committee – Option G.
Option G includes the flexibility of handling the Juvenile Center later, puts the expansion in the area between the Annex and the Existing Courthouse, and INCLUDES RENOVATION OF THE COURTHOUSE, [Note: Wasn’t this just finished?], better parking, doing something with water rescue to help their access out, fixing some of the space issues in the Adm Bldg, moving 911 to the existing jail, and an arraignment court in the jail. The Fortune Mgmt Building is eliminated from the plan.
They will sequence the work to eliminate problems.
Commissioners need to get with Bond Counsel and a financial advisor to figure out next step. RQAW wanted the OK to refine the picture more etc. (MORE MONEY)
Fox wanted to take this under advisement to look over the “wish list”. Dodd stressed that there is no wish list- these are essential needs. Fox stated- it will still come down to what we can afford. $47 million is a lot of money.Ewbank asked for RQAW’s project history with the county. Morath detailed 1980’s on with jail construction. He stated that the soil conditions were so poor that they had to use concrete piers 60 ft. down to hold the building.
They worked on security and renovations and the YES Home feasibility study. They have done 60 county jails and kept in touch over the years and knew we needed to expand. Their proposal was a thick 3 ring binder and with those specs “only one bid came in- us!” (RQAW).
[NOTE: The other bidders dropped out as stated in conversation with previous administrator due to realization that RQAW had the inside track already. They felt it would be a waste of their time to do all the preliminary bid work if another company already was favored. This is a critical problem with having the same company who designs the specs also be allowed to bid. It presents an unlevel bidding field. RQAW’s initial quote was nearly twice their final bid when the project went to open bidding. In their initial quote they were going to give part of the work as a freebie if they got the contract.]Dodd went on to say they’d do a workshop for the commissioners and share more things that “weren’t appropriate to put in the 500 page report.” [NOTE: This didn’t sound right.]
Pickens stated that Barnes and Thornburgh is the Bond Counsel we use. RQAW will share info with them also.
Benning stated that a “previous commissioner had passed this off to the county administrator and that’s how this happened.” [NOTE: What is Benning perceiving as happening?]
Ewbank suggested they get financial advisor first, as that is less expensive than bond counsel.
Fox and Hughes motioned and 2nded to get Barnes and Thornburgh’s recommendation for Financial Advisor and retain them. a workshop will be scheduled at a later date.

5. Scott Burgins- Strategic Development Group - Dearborn County Housing Needs Assessment.
Benning, Travis Miller, and Tom Kent were among others on this committee. Burgins went over his same report for the new commissioners. Commissioners took the information under advisement. (See previous commissioner meeting notes for details)

6. Public Hearing Vacating Streets in the Oxbow Lands of Hardintown. Travis Miller presented background from the Plan Commission Hearing and also their favorable recommendation. He reviewed section 280 in the Subdivision Ordinance Book and Benning read it into the record. Archie Crouch of The Survey Co. explained the reason for vacating the lands. No public wished to comment. Ewbank read his prepared Ordinance for signing and Fox and Hughes motioned and 2nded to vacate the Streets in the Oxbow Land. Approved.

Travis Miller reminded Commissioners of the OKI meeting 3/16 at PNS on Growth and also the Sat 3/19 meeting with US50 stakeholders at 10 AM at LHS.

7. Bryan Messmore- Adm.- presented the paperwork for Lifetime Housing. Discussion as to whether the county had to put any money in or if this was a pass-thru grant. Fox and Hughes motioned and 2nded to approve only if it’s a grant and no county money is needed. Approved.
Drug Free Workplace addendum to the Employee Handbook is almost ready.

8. Claims and Minutes approved. Hughes abstained on Minutes for 3/1 as he was absent.

9. Ewbank- Attorney- reported that a letter received by the commissioners has been turned over to Kraemer for review.

10. Benning- is concerned about security in the building. Bryan had checked on previous work on this issue- no decision.
Benning informed the board that Regional Sewer Board is meeting 3/17 at 7 PM. if they are interested in attending.

11. Pickens reminded the board that they need to beat on their senators and reps and that Fehrman and Pickens have sent a letter to the governor reminding him that he promised not to take riverboat revenue to balance the budget. Pickens is going to Indy tomorrow to lobby some more.

Benning asked the board if they had any more comments. No one did.

She them looked at Mike Rozow and asked if “anyone out there had anything to say.”
[Note: This is the first time the public has been asked if they wished to speak this year. (other than at the zone change hearings)]

Meeting adjourned 8:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Available Building Lots in Unincorporated Dearborn County

The following information was updated from public documents, specifically, reports, files, and minutes of the Dearborn County Plan Commission and the Planning and Zoning Office. The Planning Office is NOT responsible for this report, though a copy of it was provided to them for their information.

The last time this report was done was in October of 2002. This data is for approved subdivisions through March 1, 2005.

270 subdivisions have been created in Dearborn County. This includes small minor subdivisions as well as the large ones.

The Building Inspector's office lists about 300 residential permits per year. (Some years a little more, some a little less)
Planning and Zoning tracks these permits including data on which subdivision they are in. Subtracting the housing permits for each subdivision from the lot count tells us how many buildable lots remain. These remaining lots may be sold already, but there are no homes built on them yet.

There were 9134 subdivision lots created in Dearborn County since Zoning took effect. In October 2002 there were 2768 lots left that were unbuilt. More subdivisions were added and more lots were built since then.

As of March 1, 2005 there were 3056 unbuilt lots remaining in unincorporated Dearborn County.

Of those, 1528 remain unbuilt in Hidden Valley Lake. Per HVL POA there are 1723 homes built there currently. They also estimated in 2002 that nearly 25% of their lots were doubles lots. Unless the home is built between the two lots, that still leaves an unbuilt lot that could be sold and built upon later. This same issue could be the case in some of the county's subdivisions.

Of interest, in the last 2 1/2 years there were 215 housing permits for lots that were not in subdivisions. Considering there are about 300 housing permits a year,in that time period there were about 750 permits total. In conclusion, about 17% of all non-city or town housing was outside a subdivision.

In summary, the potential building supply (not counting Hidden Valley Lake) has about a 5 year "surplus" of lots. (Hidden Valley would double this number)

This could be an average goal to allow for consumer choice as well as builder options. Considering the typical economics of supply and demand, it would be prudent for the county and for developers, builders, loan officers, and realtors to consider these numbers as they relate to taxation, land prices, housing prices, and interest rates. From a business standpoint, we need to be aware or market pressures in all these directions as we plan for the growth of Dearborn County.

If anyone would like a copy of the complete data (10 pages) in Excel format, please contact me and provide your email.
I will be happy to post any verifiable corrections to this data. If you live in (or built) a county subdivision that was created prior to 1998 and know the exact lot count and number of houses in your subdivision, this information would be helpful. County files do not contain built out data prior to 1998. I will pass on all data anyone provides to the staff at the Planning Office as well.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Willow Brook Farm
18203 Pribble Road
Lawrenceburg Township

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Free Press

As I read the Register Editorial, "Government assault on public information must be battled in tech age", I couldn’t help but wonder why Register Publications has withheld many pertinent stories from Dearborn County residents.

For instance, there was a seven car pile up on State Road 350 in front of the High School involving South Dearborn students Friday, November 19 and another accident at the entrance to the school Friday, February 25 involving a school bus full of children and a High School Student driving a Jeep.

I have to wonder about this. Especially since a Dearborn County Resident was quoted in an article December of 2003 as saying the State Road 350 site was much safer for Aurora Elementary students than the school on Washington Street. Has there ever been a personal injury accident on Washington Street involving a school bus, or a seven car pile up at that site?

Doesn’t the public have a right to know about the accidents happening in front of South Dearborn High School? Especially since another school will be moving to the site.

In December it was reported that South Dearborn issued $34,740,000 in Bonds for their building project. The actual total face value of those bonds was $37,920,000 and proceeds of the sale were $40,065,726. Didn’t the public have a right to know South Dearborn in reality borrowed $3.18 million more than published. Doesn’t the public have a right to know South Dearborn will be paying $1.768 million in interest for this debt in 2005, 2006 and nearly that much in 2007.

Does the public have the right to know South Dearborn Community School Corporation is in violation of IC 20-1-1-6.4? The corporation was required by law to issue a public document identifying material differences between their building project and Department of Education building guidelines. There are many material differences. Probably the most pertinent difference is the recommended classroom size of 900 square feet for elementary students. Aurora elementary classrooms will be only 770 square feet.

The corporation was also required to present building specification for the new building at the public hearing. They presented no building specifications. They had not even selected a site for the building.

Did the public have a right to know South Dearborn superintendent Tom Book banned me from serving as a volunteer in the music department at South Dearborn Middle School because I was opposed the building project?

As long as Register Publications continues to selectively report the news, free press in Dearborn County is nearly meaningless.

Karen Loveland
Well once again our county commissioners have shown the resident of Dearborn County that their only concern is promoting the SUBURBANATION OF THE COUNTY.


Truly it seem that our elected official do not care what You or I think, they already have an agenda for this county. It's all about big DEVELOPERS AND THEIR MONEY controlling the decisions being made. Why have meetings when it is clear the decisions are made before the meetings start. It may just be that there is some truth in the Heil Hitler comments.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

1 March 2005 County Commissioners Meeting Notes

1 March 2005 County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Vera Benning, President, and Rick Fox.
Absent: Jeff Hughes (on vacation)
Also Present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Bryan Messmore, County Adm., and Bob Ewbank, Attorney.

The agenda for this meeting includes a statement: “During the Public Hearing, public comments are welcomed.”

1. Advanced Medical- Diane Anderson was presented by Sheriff Dave Lusby and Karen Stokes. The contract for services was tabled from the Feb 15 meeting. Ewbank stated that he’d looked over the contract with Lusby and recommended it as a good idea.
Fox motioned and Benning 2nd to approve the contract for medical services for the jail pending Council’s approval of additional appropriations.

2. Bill Ewbank- Veteran’s Officer- requested the Commissioner’s agree to cover the insurance for the Catch-a-Ride van that was being donated to them. The Veteran’s Office will cover the tow and repair costs. It will be used sparingly, whenever wheelchair access is needed.
Fox motioned and Benning 2nd to accept the donation and add it to the fleet of county cars being insured.

3. Bill Black EMA- declared March 6-12 Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Fox motioned and Benning 2nd to officially proclaim Severe Awareness Week.
Certification classes are continuing with grants to cover the costs. Black gave commissioners disk copies of the EMA plan for the county, which needs to be approved by April. He notified commissioners that the FEMA money is coming to help cover snow and flood damages. He also advised them that March 10 at the L-bg Firehouse they are invited to a meeting on the 800 MgHz system for communications.

4. Mike Davis- Highway Dept.- reported that the George Street Bridge grant money ($277,000) has been granted and coupled with the cum bridge fund will be able to begin work on the bridge. He wants to hire James Barker, PE from Bloomington too supervise this. It won’t be finished till 2007. Ewbank to review the contract for next meeting.
Davis informed commissioners that the state is looking to fix a slip on SR46 and realign the entrance of Chappelow Ridge to the hwy there. Commissioners will have to sign off on the redesign of that access point after review.
FEMA will be in town to look at road slips. He’s hoping to get money for these as flood damage.
Whites Hill- St Leon and O’Mara have agreed to install the line- they will be back on track soon.
Piper’s Landing- 325’ of road accepted into the system, but forgot to sign off on it 10 years ago… [NOTE: Piper’s Landing is not 10 years old even- this time frame is off. It was 2000.]
Fox motioned and Benning 2nd to sign the road inventory papers for Piper Lane.

5. Public Hearing 2 Zone Changes. There were approximately 50 people in attendance.
Vera Benning stated that she wanted all the people to get a chance to be heard and wanted them to hold it to 3 minutes each.
Maxwell Development- [Note: this is the one on Chappelow Ridge and Barber Road]
Travis Miller presented an overview of the development and the five criteria that the commissioners have to consider in granting a zone change. The public hearing at the PC occurred on Jan 24 and was certified Feb 2. PC voted unanimously for a favorable recommendation. Density is moderate at an average .68 units /acre, though it looks denser because they are clustered at the top of the hill. Slopes with over 20% grade are to be avoided. The road is on such a slope, but the houses are not. The property utilizes Chappelow Ridge and Barber Rd to access SR46. Site is .75 mi from SR46, 1.25 mi from SR52 and, 2mi from I-74. It is not yet served by St. Leon sewer, but has a written commitment for sewer. They have also committed to connect Chappelow Ridge to Barber Rd. Roadway design and geotech analysis will be done in stages and paid for by the developer. [NOTE: County needs to think about this- and the county should be selecting the engineer and geotech analysis and then charge the developer. Otherwise there is a conflict of interest in that the engineering firm has to “please” the developer who hires them in order to get further jobs from them.]
Benning went through each utility letter. Travis Miller showed slides of existing zoning, existing land uses, slopes on the site, and areas of greater than 20% slope. [NOTE: The commissioners did not have a copy of the minutes from the Plan Commission meeting- so how could they know what testimony was behind the PC recommendation?]
Public Comment:
Dorothy White showed the commissioners on one slide the polluted sewage from Whites’ Hill that was dumped along the riverside and covered with bricks. She then presented 300 petitions against the development.
Daniel Sexton
, Chappelow Ridge adjoining property owner, stated that he’d looked for property on a dead end street in and Agricultural zone for his horses and gardens. He wants the road to stay dead end to avoid thru traffic issues. Estimates that 800 cars per day will pass his house and now there are none. He sees no recreational area in the property. Chappelow Ridge is 13.5-14 ft wide and not designed for traffic. Schools are overcrowded, Fire Dept. Is volunteer and in Ohio. “We’re not going down without a fight.” This wrecks our rural lifestyle. More traffic, more noise, more taxes. Increased property value is only good IF you want to sell and move. Don’t connect this to Chappelow Ridge, please redesign it to take the residents into consideration.
Tom Holtgrieve- Daughter’s classroom at EC is a trailer! The average person in my area owns 33 acres with only 4 houses built near me in the last several years. Come out Sat. and I’ll saddle up horses and we can ride all over this land. You need to see that the slope is too steep for a road.
Helen Kremer – We also have Eric Russo here to present for us. (from Hillside Trust) We have a barn, house built in 1848, and granary on Barber Rd. We request you deny this zone change. It is not in compliance with the comprehensive plan, which states that moderate, and steep slopes are to be avoided. It will not retain the rural character. Developers should respect the county topography, environmental issues, and historical significance. Comp plan says to restrict development on steep slopes, flood plains, and any site that would adversely affect surrounding uses. Calculating the number of homes (124-136) plus the existing 45 in the area would produce 1810 more trips per day on Barber Rd. Barber Rd access to SR46 is tricky sight-wise. Does not want to lose the 100-yr old granary by eminent domain to widen Barber Rd for this development. Kremer brought up issues with farm equipment on the road. The developer was not required to do a traffic study. From the Hwy Dept. letter: This is an environmental wetland parallel to the road. The tech review has concerns over soil types and slippage. There are stormwater concerns when the vegetation is removed. Stable soils do not occur until 9-10 ft of depth, and the majority of the road will be constructed on fill. “Realtors commonly know that anything which increases traffic on a road decreases property value.”
Building this road is not responsible and will be expensive to the taxpayers to repair and maintain. 1200ft is the max for a cul de sac and this one is 3200 ft.
“Creative design is what developers call it when they go to areas where topography is unforgiving.”
Can any developer ignore steep slope requirements?
Kathy Scott – I am a transplant from the city and marvel at all the wildlife here. The comp plan is here to protect it. We are in danger of going astray into commercialism. You and I (referring to the commissioners) are equal participants in the governing of the county. Scott’s talk repeatedly referenced by page number and section parts of the master plan and the zoning ordinances. She also showed several pictures of the site issues blown up for the meeting. Comments included references to keeping as much forested terrain as possible, but knowing that maneuvering large equipment to build roads and sites would surely remove a lot of it. There are functioning wells 56 ft deep at the base of this development. Gas and electric letters were non-committal, as was St. Leon. Speculation was that installing pipelines on unstable hillsides would be a problem. Subdivisions do not strengthen the economic base. They will change our county. These people will spend their dollars in Harrison and Cincinnati, because of their location. Residential zones allow an ultimate 4 units/acre, if the developer so chooses. Stormwater and existing flooding patterns on Barber Rd. will get worse. A HOA is not the best way to maintain these detention ponds etc. Residents below do not feel protected. There are 168 washed out roads in this county. First rule should be in effect- DO NO HARM. In summary: What is Dearborn County giving this developer without regard to the ordinances and comp plan? We are giving him a blank check. The maintenance, road slips, etc. will all be taxpayer costs. The governing body should maintain integrity and influence by our conduct and the direction this county takes. She then showed three scenes of the area that looked like pictures from a nature preserve.
Eric Russo – Executive Director of the Hillside Trust. Benning stated that she’d already heard his presentation and limited him to three minutes, so that “we can hear the citizens of this community.” [NOTE: Rick Fox had not heard this presentation though. He made no comment at this time.]
[Note: this was apparently the expert that the neighbors brought in to help state their case. Had he been an attorney, would he have been restricted? If the commissioners want facts and not emotion, this would have been the time to get them.]
gave 5 examples of fiscal impacts of hillside development and ended with the one from IVY Tech costing $1milliom in 2003 to fix a hillside even though the original design had geotech input. He then passed out his paper detailing the rest of his presentation.
Rick Fox – questioned Maxwell- stating that the road was the backbone of this project.
John Maxwell- The county uses Schneider Engineering and we’ve agreed to reimburse the county for fees to be sure the engineering is here. Will the trees be intact? We have to cut down 10 ft or so to bedrock. The trees will be intact above the road cut.
I met with Mark Seiler after he did this letter (referring to the letter questioning the stability of that road site). We agreed to widen Barber to 20 ft. Got Mark to correct the statement about poor pavement, the pavement is in good condition. We will be coming out beyond the flood prone area of Barber Road. I thought it would be a great idea to do Chappelow Ridge connection to get alternate access. The barn does not have to be taken sown. I don’t want to have anything to do with eminent domain! The barn is nice- beautiful- keep it. I agree that 2000 ft. of Chappelow Ridge needs widening. The hill grade is 30-35% but the road will be at an angle to this that is 10% max. I still have no letter from Seiler correcting these statements. (He said this several times). As to the homes having to be built on piers- we are building on the top of the hill- no piers needed. It makes no sense for the highway dept. to put something like this on paper. He said Seiler apologized for his behavior at the tech review and said he would do another letter- no letter still. [NOTE: If Mark Seiler issues another letter- then the PC hearing was based on something different. It is legal to have testimony change at this point? Is it advisable? Does the county need to hire a PE to review these cases?]
Maxwell took exception to the statement about the sewer dump as if it were his. He did nothing of the sort. Gas is not necessary- but they are getting 2 bids. Amenities include 2 small parks and walking trails. He rejects Kathy Scott’s statements saying some comments were a stretch and highly inappropriate. Some were correct.
“Should we lose tonight we’ll have to evaluate how we stand with her.” [NOTE: It is not appropriate to attempt to intimidate a citizen who offers an opinion at a meeting, unless slander or libel is intended.]
We are going to comply with all the rules for stormwater and soil conservation. We do 50 construction projects a year and we comply with all of this.
Bill Werner – I apologize for some of the name-calling that occurred at last night’s meeting- it was not appropriate. If all potential farms slated for development in the St. Leon area occur- we will get about 800 homes. How can the schools ..?
Vera Benning- If a person wants to sell should they be able to?
Bill Werner – Yes – but… you didn’t let me finish.
Benning – I took the oath of office seriously, if someone wants to sell… repeats herself.
Bill Werner – I’m talking about responsible development.
Vera Benning cut the public discussion off at this point. Three hands were still raised to speak. Fox motioned to end public discussion and Benning 2nd. Immediately Fox motioned to approve the zone change and Benning 2nd. Passed. The crowd protested throughout all of this that they weren’t finished. Please stop. Wait etc… Benning asked the police to get people out in an orderly manner. Two policemen stood at the front of the room.
After the people left, Ewbank informed the commissioners that they needed to consider the 5 criteria for a zone change. Fox and Benning amended their motion to include those criteria. THEY DID NOT DISCUSS THEM AT ANY POINT, just stated that they wanted them included in the motion. Ewbank said he’d fix the motion up when he typed it out officially. He also stated that bonds would be required when the subdivision is granted so they should be protected on that road construction.

Rohe Development (this is the one on Mt. Pleasant for condos).
Travis Miller presented the details again and pictures. These 103 condominiums require a zone change from A-R. Since condos are a conditional use it will have to go to the BZA for final consideration. Nicole Daily of Bayer Becker protested that they were told this was the final stop. Miller apologized and informed her that they were in error and that state law was researched and it required BZA approval.
This is an R-DP as well- so approval is tied to the development plan presented.
Public Comment:
Kathy Wolf- Last night someone said there were about 2000 unbuilt lots in HVL- how many are in Dearborn County? [NOTE: This is an error- my personal research from 2.5 years ago showed 1785 lots left in HVL with about 25% being double lots. There were nearly 2200 unbuilt lots in the entire county in Oct 2002]
She discussed road width issues, school crowding, and taxes. She suggested that the PC, Commissioners, schools etc, work together to get an overall record of building lots approved vs. development potential, to gauge the effect on public services. [NOTE: This would also be helpful to assess supply and demand, as it would prevent overloading supply and driving prices down leading to decreased home values etc.]
Nicole Daily- Bayer and Becker
- discussed how the condos meet the 5 criteria for a zone change. She said they were trying top create a rural aspect with the project. [NOTE: Multifamily is rural???] The traffic study indicated no road improvement needed, though they will do proper ingress and egress. They are marketing to younger couples with 2-3 bedrooms. They are only going to improve Mt. Pleasant along their own frontage. [NOTE: No one seems to be questioning this- while the previous developer is widening the main road to the next access point.]
Diana Hubbard-
adj. Landowner concerned about the number of people in the area, as they have farm animals. Farms are attractive to kids, hunters, and quadrunners. This is high density- the first condo in our entire area. She wonders if there can be fencing between them and the farm.
Jackie Kraus – If Mom and Pop want to sell the farm they have aright to dream but not a right to presume that it will be Disneyland, a subdivision, etc. We should have gone to the comp plan. We trusted our officials. She referenced feeling like saying Heil Hitler. That people weren’t heard. [Note: This was all said in a polite, quiet, respectful manner.]
Rick Fox
- We are listening- this is close to my heart I have hunted all over these old farms. I wish we could save things by having development rights to pay these old farmers. “I can’t sit and zone away what they worked all their lives for.”
I put a lot of thought into what people have put all their lives into. [NOTE: What about the people next door? Do they have any rights?]
Bob Ewbank-
questioned her use of Heil Hitler. You had due process. In my family people died for that. People have the right to speak and the commissioners have a right to LIMIT the hearing. [NOTE: This made no sense- to speak of rights to speak and then refusing the last people that right in the 1st hearing. The factual presentation was shut down as well. This is not the first person to liken our commissioner’s behavior to a dictator.]
Fox motioned and Benning 2nd to approve the zone change based on the 5 criteria. They did not discuss those criteria.

Travis Miller updated the commissioners on meetings for US50 and OKI and also asked for a letter in support of the US50 Corridor study. Messmore had already typed the letter, and the commissioners signed it.

EMS contract signed for St. Leon.
Hospital Trustees needed Ron Denny approved as Vice-Chairman and Robert Hoffmeier as Chairman. Approved.
They signed the letter supporting VRUC permit application
Barnes and Thornburgh contract for lobbyist services was approved pending Council approval of funds. Ewbank reviewed it first. [NOTE: This is the third lobbyist we have now]
Ewbank reviewed his services for the month and gave kudos to Bryan for leading the effort to get the White’s Hill issues resolved. He also included the Hwy Director.
Commissioners signed a letter of understanding with Ewbank for his services, based on prior fees appropriated.

Benning brought up a draft copy of an ordinance they wanted to do in 2001 concerning conduct of meetings. Ewbank will review it.
Ewbank will speak to Pickens to see what they can do to make the process of going through gov’t easier. They also want to be sure older citizens don’t lose their property to tax sales. [NOTE: This is an unusual statement for a group bent on shutting down public comment.]
Meeting adjourned 9:40 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

28 February 2005 County Plan Commission Notes

28 February 2005 Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Mike Hall, Patrick deMaynadier, Jane Ohlmansiek, Tarry Feiss, Robert Laws, and Dennis Kraus, Jr.
Absent: Jeff Hughes (on vacation)
Also present: Travis Miller, Plan Director, Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer, and Arnie McGill, Attorney.

This meeting lasted 5.75 hours. There were a little less than 100 people present and in the hallways. This is a summary of the discussions and decisions for all three zone change requests.

Plan Commission Narrowly Approves Favorable Recommendation for Maxwell Development on Dog Ridge Road
1. Zone Change from Ag to R for 198 single-family homes on 101.208 acres on Dog Ridge Rd. in Kelso Township.
Travis Miller presented the staff concerns and basic development issues, including an R zone having a maximum allowable density of 4/acre. This development figures at 1.96/acre in a clustered arrangement of cul de sacs. The area surrounding it is all Ag except for a H-1 around the interstate. Dog Ridge is 20.43 ft wide in good pavement condition. Traffic study indicates a need for L turn lane on Schuman and on Trojan Place as they access their respective hwys. A signal ay SR1 is needed particularly at peak hours. Traffic study by the applicant states the light is not needed yet because of AVERAGE daily traffic volumes. [NOTE: There may be an inherent problem with having applicants select and pay for traffic studies]
No portions of developed area in the plat exceed 20% slope.
Traffic study showed Schuman 21.6-21.9 ft wide and Trojan 27.6 ft wide as Cat I roads. Sanitary sewer is available from St. Leon. The hwy dept. changed their initial recommendations on improvements for Schuman Rd. via letter. [NOTE: This change was not stated nor was it explained why.]
Travis Miller showed pictures of the site (old barn and possibly historical house) and roads.
EC submitted plans to improve the road when the school was expanded.
John Maxwell presented. His statement included reasons for the site being good for this development: proximity to interstate, sewage and roadways were in place, and the lower density from the previous proposal is more in keeping with the area. “ Density provides an economy of public services so that it is more affordable for the end users.”
He stated that H-1 is not suitable for single-family homes.
He said that this is safe, aesthetically pleasing sanitary, and affordable homes as called for in the comp plan. He believes it is in character with the area and that there is a need for this type of development. They set the development 100ft back from Dog Ridge Rd and have greenspace easements to protect the woods and creek. Curbs, gutters, and sidewalks with a landscaped entrance and HOA are part of the plan. The state is in change of SR1and if they won’t allow a light, he can’t put one there. They are willing to fund a light if allowed. Drawings for the design of the intersections and turn lanes have been done for SR1-Schuman and SR46-Trojan Place.
The traffic study indicated there is a problem at SR1 even without this development, hence the turning lanes. [NOTE: The SR1 interchange needs attention- BEFORE someone is injured or killed there. There are kids at risk.]
PUBLIC Discussion:

27 people spoke on this issue for 90 minutes. 478 petitions were turned in with comments.
Jackie Kraus, Bill Werner, Cindy Lockwood, Jeanette Kraus, Mr. Duncan, Jim Hoskins, Ken Watkins, Dennis Wuestefeld, Jeff Siegel, Ellen Bulach, Chris Shumacher, Barbara Kurtz, Chuck Andres, Gordon Kurtz, Adam Allgeier, Linda Schumacher, Estelle Salisbury, Steve Burton, Karen Rudicel, Mark Hall, Karen Hurth, Denise French, Robert Hurth, Gerald Schneider, and Tom Holtgrieve. Two letters were also read.
Discussion included the following comments and issues:
Rezoning benefits the developer and not the community.” Tax revenue issues with area becoming unaffordable and services being stretched too thin. Precedent being set for more development in rural area, if this goes in. Schools are getting overcrowded and quality of education will diminish. Prefer slower development and less density. Crime rates and issues that people moved out here to avoid are following them. Traffic issues around school events and opening and closing times are already a problem (20 minute delays). There are no pedestrian services on Dog Ridge Rd. [Note: How can kids walk to school?] Farms in area will have interference now- machinery on roads etc. Water pressure concerns. Could this be a park perhaps? Price of farms is too high. Farms don’t even go on the market anymore- they go straight from realtor to developer with no chance for farmers or others to buy them up. Drainage issues with stormwater and creeks potentially affecting existing culverts and driveway access. There are many undeveloped lots in Dearborn County already- how many is too much? Roads are leading out of this development to other farms! This is surrounded by Ag land. Long history of traditions in this community. “If a 500-lb gorilla walks into a saloon, where does it sit? Anywhere it wants.”- you were appointed to serve citizens not the gorilla. [NOTE: This person later went on to say that he works with gorillas and didn’t mean this as an insult.] Wants clean air, sunshine, serenity. City problems are coming here with this much development. ROW at SR46 area on that farm is not available- doesn’t want any more eminent domain- their family has had enough eminent domain already. Farmers clean the roads in winter- hwy dept. doesn’t get there already. If sewer line breaks the creek will be contaminated. Domino effect of farms being gobbled up by development. EC already has trailers for classrooms. Sewer bills are getting too high. Underground springs potentially on this land- basements in some area and post holes are wet most of the year. Dearborn County has less than 17% of land suitable for farming- we need to call it open space instead- and if we can get money for it- why not? There is no Agricultural infrastructure left anymore. [Note: This was one individual who spoke in favor of development.] Police, fire, and EMS services were inadequate for this development. Teenage drivers on the old back roads- unsafe. Only one way out of this subdivision- Dog Ridge is a dead end. St. Leon has one cop on duty. We have “10 lbs of manure in a 5 lb bag!” This is a mess- don’t want to live in “Maxwell County.” Nice homes in the area (property value) will be affected by this dense “affordable” housing. Community is more important than builder’s pocketbook. “Land value is not just a dollar amount"- want to raise family in a rural setting. When others move away the land is not worth much to them anymore. Noise pollution from construction and more people. “What is ours is ours.” Invested because of rural setting- to do this is a form of theft. Turn lanes will not solve the traffic problem. Who will retain ownership of greenspaces- can the developer come back later and develop those too? Proud to live in this community where people care about it. It was unfavorable before and nothing has changed in the area. Comp plan meetings indicated that people wanted to keep the rural character of the county as their number one priority. No business in the are to offset tax increases. Don’t want to see affordable homes with transient homeowners. Don’t make the same mistakes that the Lakota Schools did. “Developers make a profit by buying cheaper land in rural areas. Realtors make a profit on estates where they seek out developers first to get the highest price.” Land doesn’t get on the market even. Build roads first- then develop.
John Maxwell thanked the public for the reasonable amount of respectful discussion. He said all rules to slow down water shed issues will be met. The ROW is still available at the intersections with the hwys. "We don’t like eminent domain either." The roads to other farms were required by our ordinance, that’s why they were drawn.
The Board discussion followed:
Mike Hall- This is not connected to a R area, density is an issue. Roads are as good as they get in DC. Sewer and water is there. Fire dept. is an issue, but hydrants will be provided. Nobody wants development in his or her backyard. Comp plan wants this to happen where this is.
Nick Held – I see access to interstate and 2 state roads with Residential to the south. Density like this will help preserve farmland.
Patrick de Maynadier – the comp plan uses the idea of “pace and place” for development. We also say that infrastructure should precede development. Main issue is density. Road infrastructure etc. is not ready to support this high a density yet. Cat I Local street has <400>We represent the comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinances as they are written.” There is some room for interpretation, but I have issues with the density.
Jane Ohlmansiek – I drove out through the area. Infrastructure looks sufficient. Roads are as good as they are anywhere. Development is coming and we need good development. Increased density would preserve the land. The greenspace counters some of those issues.
Tarry Feiss – It is compliant with the comp plan. Who is going to buy these farms? It costs money to build parks. People who moved here also moved to a subdivision.
Robert Laws – Infrastructure will support it. Increased density will preserve Ag.
Dennis Kraus – Dog Ridge is a dead end. Comp plan targets some development around infrastructure. The interstate is here.
Mark Mitter – Infrastructure is in place. Water retention can be controlled. Concern is with the rural character. What balance can be struck with density to make it compatible with the area? This general area was talked about for development. What about the internal circulation of this development and the cul de sacs. ( Maxwell explained that this was to eliminate more curb cuts on the main road as an artery thru the development.)
Jane Ohlmansiek motioned to give a FAVORABLE recommendation because this complies with the comprehensive plan, is compatible with current conditions in the area, is the most desirable use for the land, and will preserve property with cluster development that satisfies the need for responsible development.
Tarry Feiss 2nded the motion.
Amendments attached to this were that this is an R-DP (Residential with development plan) with a cap on the density at 1.96 lots /acre, public sewers have to be provided, and the turn lanes at Trojan Rd and SR46 and Schuman and SR1 have to be constructed.
Vote was 5 Ayes and 3 Nays (Nays were Mitter, deMaynadier, and Kraus, Jr.)

BREAK- 10 minutes- resumed at 9:40 PM

Trackville Rd. Development Gets UNANIMOUS Unfavorable Recommendation Due to Road Issues.
2. Zone change from Ag to R for the county portion of a three area (St. Leon and Franklin Cty have parts of this) development on 34.887 acres in the county along Trackville and North County Line Rd. in Jackson Township. Southwest Ohio General Contractors are the applicants for Equestrian Estates represented by Joe Gillespie, a surveyor from Brookville. Mike Hall stepped down for this.
Travis Miller
presented pictures and the specifics of the site plan. Density is .77 units/acre with 27 lots on 34 acres. (More in St. Leon and Franklin Cty) This is surrounded by Ag land and low to moderate Residential uses. Trackville Rd averages 16.5-17.5 ft width (narrower at culverts). North County Line Rd. is severely deficient at 12.5 ft width and mostly gravel. Proposed concrete roads were asked to be downgraded to asphalt so that the county can maintain them at our level. Feller rd. has no shoulders either and is 16.5 –17.6 ft wide.
Joe Gillespie presented that there was sewer from St. Leon and a traffic study from Bayer-Becker. Franklin Cty was OK with concrete road along the property edge and double chip and seal on the rest of County Line Rd.
Kim Dietrich (Bayer Becker) – said they were NOT recommending any further road improvements- these were adequate. All intersections were a level A use. [NOTE: This seems outrageous in light of the widths and deficiencies described.]
Mitter questioned this and she stated that though the roads are lane deficient, the amount of trips didn’t warrant additional lanes. [NOTE: There aren’t even two lanes on these roads, never mind the shoulders!]

Public discussion: (20 minutes and 11 individuals)

Bill Werner, Robert Hurth, Jake Hoog, Arlene Hoog, Alan Freemond, Mrs. Eckstein, Robert Hilvert II, Ernest Goodpaster, Barb Kurtz, and Gloria Hoog spoke. Petitions were presented also.
A video and pictures of the flooding of the roadway in the last 2 years was shown- an impressive amount of water was evident during heavy rains.

Discussion included the following comments and issues:
“We should have been here when the comp plan was being done.” Where is the limit for sewers, water, and schools? There are 2 blind curves on Trackville Rd. When are we going to look ahead and see where all this development is going? We would buy the property if it would come up for sale! It goes straight to developers. “I won’t beat a dead horse – don’t know about the gorilla, though.” (Laughter) Trackville residents don’t think this is in the best interests of the community. Comp plan study shows this at <400 kids =" 135">We are far from the desired ratio of 70% Residential to 30% Commercial/Industrial. This area has tremendous serenity and an Elysian atmosphere. The tranquility is enviable. Feller Rd. has blind curves and hills, deep ditches and no shoulders. IRS data on taxes and homes and wages was presented for Dearborn County. Video of floods was presented. Wildlife will be invading suburbia even more if you take away all the rural area. Safety issues for kids on this road. Impact fees need to be considered so developers pay for all these improvements and maintenance. Where is the industry? Is there room for school busses on this road?
Joe Gillespie stated that there was a storm water plan designed by Bayer Becker also.

Board Discussion:
Dennis Kraus- we need to consider what St. Leon is going to do.
Mark MitterThis is a huge mistake to rezone this with the roads in this condition! This is a no-brainer.
Robert Laws – Which lots are in our jurisdiction? (Kraus showed him)
Dennis Kraus- They are proposing to improve Cty Line Rd. The Trackville flooding poses a serious problem.
Robert Laws – I think it’s too much for the existing infrastructure.
Tarry Feiss – I agree- when is St. Leon meeting? With the concrete road and Franklin Cty etc. I have road issues.
Jane Ohlmansiek - Concerned with the road. I don’t believe the subdivision fits there, there is no housing like that in the area.
Patrick deMaynadier- Roads are the issue.
Nick Held – Agree- roads are the issue.
Nick Held motioned to pass an UNFAVORABLE recommendation to the commissioners due to inadequate road infrastructure and the fact that it doesn’t fit the current character of the area.
Jane Ohlmansiek 2nd. All Ayes. Unanimous for UNFAVORABLE.

10:55 PM started the 3rd request.

The Farm Golf Course Gets Tabled for B-1 Zone Change Due to Violation Issues and Lack of Plan
3. Zone change from Ag to B-1 for Golf Course and restaurant (banquet area) for 2 acres on Mt. Pleasant Rd. in Logan Township.
Jeff Stenger presented for owner Lonnie Steele.
Travis Miller presented the case with the hours of operation going beyond normal business hours in an Ag Zone. The accessory use is no longer just a clubhouse. There is no on-site sewage and St. Leon sewers are not on the road yet. They use a holding tank and haul sewage off site. More parking space is required.
Jeff Stenger said they weren’t going to survey the boundaries until they would know how much parking is needed. They want to remove the bufferyard from the golf side of the facility to preserve view of the golf course. They are working on the sewers with the potential condos across the street. They want to be able to drain the parking lot water to the course itself.
Public Discussion:
One woman spoke at this meeting for public discussion. She took issue with how someone was being rewarded with a zone change after being in violation for two years. How did the building inspector not notice permit issues? How did the Health Dept. not shut down the business, when the temp. permit kept getting extended. Who protects us?
Stenger noted that neighbors purchased St. Leon sewer taps but have yet to receive their sewers.
With all these issues and a lack of concrete plan, the board decided to table this for one month with the understanding that fines start at $300/day if this is not settled then.
Kraus motioned and deMaynadier 2nd to Table. All Ayes.

12:10 AM- Administrative issues
Flood Plain Ordinance will be gone over and revised per FEMA boilerplate version for adoption in March or April.

Due to Rick Pope’s removal, a new VP and BZA member had to be selected.
Hall motioned and Ohlmansiek 2nd for Patrick deMaynadier to be VP of the Plan Commission. All Ayes.
Hall motioned and Kraus 2nd for Patrick de Maynadier to be BZA rep also. All ayes.

Travis Miller
Minute takers are not lasting at $10/hr. Currently using Wullenweber Transcription to get caught up. (though more expensive and a verbatim transcription)
Meeting with St. Leon to further the discussion on their adoption of ordinances similar to ours.
Meeting 3/19 Sat at LHS for US 50 Stakeholders and businesses.
Anyone interested in a seminar on planning perspectives on community with Purdue on 3/30 should contact Nick Held.
April 20th Working session on schools or roads to be decided.
Mitter informed the board that the state is going after the wagering tax, which would deplete the county of about $4million in revenue.
March 16th working session is the OKI meeting at PNS from 7-9 PM.

Meeting adjourned at 12:45 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township