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

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