Wednesday, August 16, 2006

15 August 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

15 August 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes


Present: Hughes, President, Benning, and Fox
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Ewbank, Attorney, and Messmore, Administrator.

A uniformed police officer was NOT present.
Ralph Thompson Republican Candidate for D-3 Commissioner was present in the audience.

1. Joan Seitz Assessor gave the commissioners an update on State Dog Tag tax being removed and only county tax remaining. Pickens has the final word on where these monies are kept. They are used also to cover dog kill claims.

2. OKI and ME Company - Bill Miller and Erin Peterson presented the overview of the first US 50 GATEWAY STUDY public meeting and the results of public input, They are continuing to refine the access and egress points along 50 and showed commissioners examples of how medians work, no L turns work, U-turn solutions, and how improved traffic flow results in better business climate along the highway. 50 –60 people attended the first US 50 workshop. Their purpose was to improve safety, mobility and functional development patterns. Recommendations so far include:
*R in and R out access points like at Lowes thus leading to 20% less crashes per research.
*Raised medians in some areas with breaks in the medians to limit access to less points along the roadway. Similar to what’s in Lafayette IN and Colerain Ave.
* Breaks in medians will be full or partial access as required for businesses.
* U-turns will be utilized
* Possibly include streetscapes and median landscapes in old Lawrenceburg.

Whites Farm is 56 acres bounded by Gaynor Ridge, Short, and North Dearborn Roads. The project applicant is Tucker/Schmidt with Bayer Becker.
McCormack showed slides and reported the PC results: This came from the plan commission with an UNFAVORABLE recommendation due to density issues primarily as being out of character with the surrounding area. The only nay at the PC was Hughes.
If R s granted because there are no written commitments from the PC and no concept development plan this land could be developed at it’s full potential of 224 lots. The traffic study was done for 131 lots max. Tucker further changed it for commissioners to 109 lots and talked about placement of larger frontages as buffers, and redoing the roads as specified in tech review and staff recommendations to Cat 3 level just along the project length, etc. This is not binding- just his word.
Fox asked if the biggest snag was density. YES.
Benning quoted tech review members Hall and Kraus Jr as saying they weren’t really concerned with density. [NOTE: Benning read the words out of context. Hall and Kraus were saying that they were looking at the plans for technical issues and density wasn’t a tech issue. Later in the same PC meeting they were concerned with density and voted that way also.]

Jeff Tucker said that they wanted to resubmit to PC but were not sure they had a significant enough change to be reconsidered and so they decided to try commissioners. The PC was down 3 members that night also [NOTE: 3 members plus Hughes =4 and it takes 5 to pass anything. They still wouldn’t have enough votes even if those 3 all agreed with Hughes.]
Tucker said that 45 of the 56 acres were tillable and if it stayed Ag then other Ag uses would possibly interfere with the Residential around it!!! He said B1 or 2 and M1,2, 3 or H-1 would be unsuitable uses also.
He quote the “well –written” article in the Sunday paper about Honda plant spin-off uses in Dearborn County and said R would be good here so people can live where they work. He said this White’s Farm development project will generate $21 million and that $12-14 million will stay here in the county. Tucker said the North Dearborn corridor was for R development in the Master plan because of it’s access to highways and schools etc. [NOTE: I served on the master plan advisory board- I believe that the caveat to North Dearborn being R in discussion was a major reworking of the roadway itself to make it safer and that that should be done before or concurrent to development.]

Public input:
Richard Johnson:
Tucker and Schmidt put a lot of icing on the cake here- but 109 units is still too high. Farmland is buffered, but he’s wiping his dirty shoes on the rest of us. 65 lots would be more like what’s in the area. This land went at public auction by invitation only- only developers invited- not neighbors.
Tom Gaynor- sons and he own land that is grain and livestock farm adjacent to this. Lived here over 60 years. Have difficulty moving farm equipment now. Within ½ mile of this proposal are 4 ninety -degree turns on Gaynor Ridge. Only 33 ft of ROW in parts. It’s hard to fix this so the traffic flow to this is safe. Wants 2 acres per home. Preserve rural life is part of master plan What about costs of services to this? Long time neighbors out here- Johnstons, Backs, Zinsers, Hartmans, etc. Traffic counts done after school was out.
Todd Schumate- purchased 20 acres of grandfathers’ farm- born and raised here. Wants to pass to his kids some day. Roads- In any direction from this plan there are road issues. Many are dangerous in the winter. White’s Hill Sawdon Ridge hill and North Dearborn- curves, hills and deaths on some of these. I don’t believe AT THIS TIME that the infrastructure is here. Is it fair to the taxpayers to absorb the cost for this density?
Character- this is predominantly Ag- even the current land use map shows that. I believe we need to control development the same was as we use dams to control rivers. Guidelines for increased valued homes to get more school taxes. Lots in this area are not in character- Harley Springs is about .94 acres per home and that is the MOST DENSE here. Logan Township has a different character from Bright. No written commitments on this- and even though Tucker and I go to the same church- if something happens to him, would his heirs honor his verbal words here?
Glenn Crocker- Have lived here 36 years- married into the Zinser family and has passed land to his kids too. We have a lot of elbow room out here. I have known Jeff since he was a little pup and Mr. Schmidt on Sawdon ridge produces a nice product also. Crocker asked about clustering and Fox explained how it worked. Crocker went on- I know where you live Mr. Fox and you’d be concerned too if this were by you. Control the growth. Look at Steeplechase and (another dev- couldn’t catch name)- less dense. I’m a Chemistry teacher and we talk about Boyle’s Law- if you have a confined space and jam in a lot of particles the pressure builds up. This is NOT CONDUCIVE to what we want to see here.
Steve Kuhn- lived on farm on Gaynor Ridge his whole life. Showed pictures of the road and dangerous sections. Farms are 10 acres or more here. We are LOGAN TOWNSHIP. And don’t want all the burdens of EMS and Bright etc. “Why should we have to suffer because they paid too much for the property?”
Most traffic is going to Gaynor Ridge, schools are at 30+ per classroom now. Most Tucker homes on their website are smaller- not like what we have here now. Kids drive to fast and thru fences also.
Olivia Schumate- Tucker says this is R but the PZ map shows R. SD schools are already overcrowded. Buffered by Farmland but what about the rest. WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE LIVE TO CO-EXIST WITH THIS. We have a responsibility to be more controlled. WE HAVE TO PAY MORE TAXES TO HELP SUPPORT THEM. WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE PUNISHED AND BURDENED?
Bob Gaynor – the senior of Gaynor Ridge road- Schools are the largest employer in the area- they can’t handle more. Few farms carrying much of the tax burden. $40 mil on new EC buildings. We have rights also. Road width by him is 15.5 ft. Gaynor Ridge goes through his farm building set. Look at the whole picture- keep it as is. Benning questioned him about him saying that two of you know how that is. What did he mean by that? Gaynor told her he meant her and Fox. She was OK with that.
Todd Schumate- again- Will there be enough land to fix the curve on North Dearborn that Tucker wants to fix?
Benning cited Dick Robertson in the back of the room to answer that, He’s working on the curve by the Larry Smith property- and that is NOT the area mentioned. [NOTE: Does Benning really know where this all is?]

End Public and Tucker response
Auction was by invitation- some didn’t show. Actuaries fix up the road data to reflect what happens with school in session he BELIEVES.
When they upgrade to Cat 3 road- things will change dramatically. Appreciated people not getting personal- known you people all my life. There are issues with commissioners putting out commitments. We can’t have low-end houses on these expensive lots. These will be about $300K like Old orchard and Steeplechase.
Don’t know if we want to cluster and cram them in the middle. We are not .2 acres like Fairfield and Mason. Noted A LOT of yellow and orange on the land use map for R uses. Taking out poplar trees to improve visibility. Will put larger deep lots on perimeter to buffer. Will require front yard trees on Gaynor Ridge. County has to allow reasonable density to be afforded. This area has all kinds of amenities even cable. Tucker showed the St. Leon sewer map of pipes and the amenities available in the area. WHERE THERE IS SEWER THERE IS ALSO WATER ELECTRIC, ETC. USUALLY.
Tucker said there is no public outcry when commissioners turn down a zone change and ignore the PC recommendations- which happened 2 times in the past. Tucker did not say which two times that was. “PC only serves as an advisory function.” I tell my kids not to use the F word- and the F word is FAIR. Life isn’t always fair.
Get the highest and best use- make it residential.
Several members of the audience wanted to respond to Tucker’s comments but were told public comment was over.

Fox- It would have been nice to go back to PC- a shame- they couldn’t make a decision on one and then they were quick to slap one on this.
Benning- thinks it’s a great development – it will do a great thing by doing Category 2 (corrected by staff to category 3) for all the roads in area surrounding it. It will save the county money by doing this.
Hughes asked what constituted a significant revision (so they could go back to PC)
McCormack- The decision wasn’t really made by the PC as to whether they should rehear this or not.
Benning- We don’t have R subdivided to R1,2,3.
McCormack- That is being researched already and will meet with master plan and PC – to be done by late 2006 or early 2007.
Hughes asked for motion. No motions made. Started to end the hearing.
McCormack explained to them that if they do nothing it adds another 90 days in addition to the original 90 days for Tucker to bring it back if allowed.
Benning- send it back to the PC and tell them to do their job! [NOTE: They did- if Tucker would have asked the PC to be tabled he could have brought those revisions to them and gotten the written commitments possibly. He chose to let it get the unfavorable.]
weighed in at this point and explained the legalities of not having written commitments. He said if it is denied they can go back to PC and the PC can put restrictions on this. The law does NOT allow commissioners to do this.
Fox motioned to reject it and send back to the PC again in 90 days.
Ewbank again explained that max density can go in if the do R and the commissioners cannot enforce 109 lots as promised tonight. Only the PC is allowed to get written commitments.
Benning would not second. Hughes seconded. Benning voted Nay. Zone change

4. Todd Listerman- Transportation Director- quickly summarized road issues:
Inspections to be done on Jerry Martin’s Woods edge sub’n. He has installed stone and moved rip-rap
Striping starts Monday to be finished in about 3 weeks.
O’Mara Paving awarded and they toured cty to get project in line with Council budget. Contract was changed and Ewbank will review before signing- but Stewart St. and Voltz Road are eliminated for this year. Stewart St sewers are still not started and so they won’t be ready in time. Voltz Rd – they want to do the whole thing at once rather than piecemeal- so will do later.

5. Ewbank – told SBOA that claims usually covered by insurance. Had commissioners ratify the Building ordinance that homeland security signed off on. He will have it published in paper.

6. Hughes By Aug 20th wants Council to have Messmore’s evaluation system for staff so that raises are based on evaluations. Benning to get a copy- she hadn’t seen it yet. Dept. heads will do the evaluations. This will be presented at Council budget hearings next week.

Meeting adjourned at 9 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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