Wednesday, December 28, 2005

27 December 2005 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

27 December 2005 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mark Mitter,Chairman, Jeff Hughes, Mike Hall, Tarry Feiss, Jane Ohlmansiek, Robert Laws, and Dennis Kraus, Jr.
Absent: Patrick deMaynadier and Nick Held
Also Present: Travis Miller, Planning Director and Arnie McGill, Attorney. Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer, was not present (he is out of the country)

Mitter publicly thanked Travis Miller for his outstanding service to Dearborn County for the past three years. The board concurred. Travis Miller stated that his working relationship with this board has been superb. He stated there was no negativity there. Then he asked Mitter to stop before he would get all choked up about leaving. [NOTE: Travis Miller has had the unique ability to be able to bring together many different perspectives from politicians, citizens, and activists. He worked to create public processes that produced plans that most county residents can live with. For someone who is so young he possesses maturity beyond his years. Dearborn County has been fortunate to gain his experience and work ethic for 3 years. Our loss is Yorkville’s gain.]

New business:

Primary approval for a 2-lot subdivision- Pires Subdivision in Jackson Township on County Line Road on 7.350 acres of AGRICULTURALLY ZONED LAND. Bob Koester, a local realtor was representing the Pires, who are out of town owners of the land.
Dennis Kraus, Jr. stepped down for this item, though he did serve on the technical review committee that had previously denied it twice (Sept and Oct) before approving it in November.
Neighbors were notified by certified mail that the tech review had approved the split. The Reders who adjoin the property appealed the decision of the tech review board within the 10-day time limit. The Plan Commission was to decide whether to uphold or overturn the tech review decision.
Tim Reder presented the opposing view that he purchased and was using 17 acres of Ag land to perform agriculturally approved activities (landscape plant farm) and did not think it was appropriate to have the area turn into a subdivision piecemeal around him. He noted that there were many splits going on in the past few years on this original parcel of Ag land.
I (Chris Mueller)asked the plan commission if the total acreage was 7.350 acres, meaning that the splits would be less than 4 acres each. Then I asked if that was the case, and the smallest acreage that Ag uses could be considered legal was 5 acres, how could they split this and still have it as Ag zone? [NOTE: I do not know why tech review did not see this problem.]
A nearly hour long discussion ensued among the plan Commission members while new plan commission members were shown the rules relating to Ag subdivisions and how they could be allowed. Jeff Hughes argued about property rights and how a landowner should be able to do whatever he wanted with his property. He was asked if he would like a dump next to his property. He said that would be OK, but that it would be a “taking” and that he would be entitled to compensation for the value lost in his land. [NOTE: Hughes clearly does not understand how zoning works. He states his personal philosophy on property rights, but he fails to see that he is at the head of a county that has elected to have zoning and a comprehensive plan. When a commissioner is elected they swear that they will uphold the laws of the county. Serving on the plan Commission requires that you adhere to the zoning and subdivision ordinances. This does not mean that that land cannot be divided at some point. It does mean that if the landowner wishes to create something that is not based on Ag uses in an Ag zone, they need to request a zone change to Residential. Looking at the area in question, that should have occurred earlier. This is an area developing without a plan (as in a subdivision request) and the result is turning into a hodge-podge of potentially conflicting uses. Zoning helps protect the investments that people make in their homes and in their land. It helps people with different desires in their choices of lifestyle decide where to live.]

Ohlmansiek motioned to OVERTURN the tech review decision based on the Ag use definition in section 27 and the fact that these lots were less than 5 acres each. Feiss 2nd. 5 ayes and one nay (Hughes).

The intergovernmental agreement between the town of West Harrison and The Dearborn County Plan Commission was signed. This agreement cleans up and legalizes the duties that the Planning staff is already providing for West Harrison. Hughes motioned and Hall 2nd to approve this. All ayes.
It was noted by Laws that West Harrison is all B-2 and that would preclude and residential building there. They will have a non- voting member on our Plan Commission. The county PC will hear any zone change requests and they will make recommendations to the West Harrison Town Board, who will have final say on the matter.

Mitter will serve as a rep to OKI for the Plan Commission.
Laws completed his Plan Commission training.
Hamilton County Plan Commission’s annual report was passed out for their information.
Travis Miller has posted the plan director job on the APA site also, at
Deadline for applications is 2/1/06. The 5-member selection committee will narrow down applicants to interview. Committee is: Jim Deaton, Jane Ohlmansiek, Jeff Hughes, Dennis Kraus, Jr., and Patty Baker.

Meeting adjourned at 9 PM after which time members and citizens took time to wish Travis Miller good lick on his new job. Miller leaves Jan 2 for Yorkville, IL outside Chicago.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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