Thursday, July 14, 2005

Greendale Council Faces Three County Based Issues at 13 July 2005 Three Hour Meeting

Greendale Council Faces Three County Based Issues at 13 July 2005 Three Hour Meeting

[Note: These notes only address issues discussed that are pertinent to the county at large]
7 council members present along with Attorney Butler, Clerk Treasurer Lynch, Police Chief Uhlman, and City Manager Lampert. Mayor Hedrick was absent- Al Abdon presided. (Jeff Hughes- D-1 County Commissioner was also present in the audience for part of this meeting.)

1. Annexation requests for three potential subdivision developments on Stateline Road. The room was full (standing room only) for this portion of the meeting. Abdon carefully lead this part of the meeting to insure all concerns were heard, even though the citizens were non-residents of Greendale.
Classic Properties (Blossom Hill) under Joe Farrugia requested consideration for annexation along with previous requests from the Villages of Sugar Ridge and Heritage Ridge. The County Plan Commission has repeatedly denied Blossom Hill primarily for road access and safety issues along with impacts to Stateline rd, which is not on any county list for major improvements, sewage access issues, storm water and the single entrance for 292 units. Farrugia seemed to change his mind from meeting to meeting on how much he was willing to do to alleviate those concerns.
Farrugia went on to say that this was a PRIVATE development and so costs to Greendale would be minimal- roads etc would be the HOA’s concern. [NOTE: We’ve heard this before- and then when they can’t meet their obligations, who bails them out? Even HVL POA, as large as it is, is struggling with costs for road repairs and sewer line maintenance and now a treatment plant possibly. The county needs to watch these proceedings carefully.]
IDEM has held a public hearing in the county concerning Blossom Hill’s request for a private sewage treatment facility (that would have dumped effluent into a creek bed that was dry much of the year.) [NOTE: Both IDEM and the county sewer board are no fans of private treatment facilities, particularly when public sewers are available.]
Butler gave a brief overcap of annexation proceedings so that county residents opposed to being annexed could understand their rights in this potential procedure. He discussed notifications and remonstrance rules as well.
Greendale is already servicing Sugar Ridge with sewers for phase 1 built to their specs and turned over to Greendale at no cost. Property owners in Sugar Ridge are not allowed to remonstrate against annexation as part of the deal that Greendale had for providing sewer service to them. The citizens surrounding these developments do not wish to be annexed. Some of them live in areas between the requested annexations and so they feared they would be included.
The Greendale Council consensus was that the cart is before the horse and that no decision can be made for any new development until the IURC issues and CTA for sewers are resolved over Sugar Ridge first. They also were adamant in their concerns that RESIDENTIAL annexation costs all the taxpayers of their unit more to provide services to those areas. [NOTE: The only way this can possibly come close to break even is if the homes are high end with NO KIDS for schools.]

2. Steve Lampert gave the SR1 SR48 Connector status report. He showed the old interlocal agreement to council members, and discussed the bat and soil conditions that lead to the demise of the first Greendale by-pass to an area attached to Industrial Drive.
He noted this new connector is NOT A BY-PASS and even the consultants and INDOT acknowledge that it won’t work as one. It goes through a lot of county land also. It also has ballooned from $8 million to $20 million estimated cost. [NOTE: And won’t get the job done for traffic- it may even worsen issues particularly at the 2 endpoints- Belleview at 275 and Scenic at 48.]
The US 50 Corridor Study is needed to look at this all comprehensively and unfortunately it is moving at “glacial speed” as Lampert stated.
Lampert noted the environmental study was being done and a huge bat study was involved. He also stated that the county was real favorable towards this. [NOTE: The county was favorable toward the Corridor Study- they want a comprehensive look at US 50 problems- they did not seem favorable at all toward the connector as it didn’t help US 50 traffic issues, potentially hurts Scenic Drive which is not adequate even now, and puts a bridge and hospital traffic too far down to be of help to county ambulances.]
Abdon asked me about public involvement in the process. I told him that there was a session at Lawrenceburg’s Plan Commission and then one at Tate Street Adult Center. The latter was an official meeting for public comment on the routes that SIECO Strand had already chosen.
Funding that is available for this is feared to be lost if we don’t proceed.
Greendale’s support is based on a desire to get traffic off US 50 but is conditional on having Belleview become 4 lanes first. Greendale will not sign if Belleview is not addressed.

3. VRUC for Hidden Valley received a provisional grant of approval from IURC for Sugar Ridge, where GREENDALE IS ALREADY PROVIDING SERVICE! Butler questioned the IURC board’s ethics and bias in this matter. [NOTE: I later learned that Parvin Price was HVL’s attorney in this matter. Price is essentially the guru for anyone wishing to get past the IURC….]
IURC apparently didn’t read or understand the briefs given to them because they decided the matter contrary to the facts as presented. In any event- it seems ludicrous that a city which has invested their taxpayer’s money to form a regional sewer district, then offers to help out a large COUNTY development like HVL, when HVL was in trouble is being turned into the bad guy. HVL now thinks they are going to go on their own. If HVL VRUC has to build a plant, and install lines, are they going to treat it all their or pump to SDRSD? There is a cost savings in pooling resources with utilities. [NOTE: HVL- though large- is not large enough to absorb the costs of this utility in the long term. The county should be concerned. The county sewer board should REALLY be concerned. The best thing for the county residents both in and out of HVL is to cooperate with the adjoining municipalities and pool resources.
Greendale is still considering their options at this point. Annexation of Sugar Ridge might make theVRUC utility claim a moot point. One would think that current service provisions would trump a future claim on territory, but perhaps common sense is not being applied at the IURC in Indianapolis.]

There were other Greendale matters that came before Council that I have not reported here. Register Publications covered this meeting- watch the newspaper for further details on the Alternative Plastics fire costs, the Greendale EMS budget and possible partially paid squads and squad billing, budget requests, and Rumpke increases for garbage pickup.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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