Tuesday, August 01, 2006

31 July 2006 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

31 July 2006 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Has Plan Commission Reached Development Saturation Limit?

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Patrick deMaynadier, Jane Ohlmansiek, Nick Held, Mike Hall, Jeff Hughes, Robert Laws, and Dennis Kraus, Jr.
Absent: Tarry Feiss
Also Present: Arnie McGill, Attorney, Mark McCormack, Planning Director, and Kate Rademacher, Enforcement Officer.

Others present included Richard Schmidt, Developer, Nicole Daily of Bayer Becker Eng, Jeff Stenger, Surveyor, Ralph Thompson, Republican candidate for Commissioner- D-3, and a room full of citizens. Register Publications was not present at this meeting.


The PC approved meeting Wed. Sept 6 from 6-8 PM with school corporations’ representatives.

DCRSD presented Woolpert Consultant’s Map of development areas to be considered for sewage. The staff reviewed it and found it to be SIMILAR to the Master Plan Land use maps with larger transition zones. Mitter wanted to know why they were proceeding without Master Plan or Plan Commission input. McCormack said Messmore indicated this was the process they were going through. Mitter asked: What process? No real answer to this. [NOTE: There certainly seems to be a lack of PUBLIC process or input on this.]There is also a push to get the sewer certification paperwork as part of the ordinance.

McCormack was told by the board consensus to get started on developing standards for the different R zones. They will have focus groups, advisory board again, and public input. Later in the meeting Kathy Scott requested that they put public input FIRST t help direct the process to the public’s desires. All advisory meetings are open to the public. The focus groups were not really. The issue with focus groups is that they seemed to be solely made up of development interests – much to the public’s dismay.

New Business:

1. Primary approval for 295-lot subdivision- Hidden Acres owned by Grubbs and Alexander and applicant is Maxwell Development. Location One Mile and Sneakville Roads in Logan and Miller Townships on 156.298 acres. This was rezoned as R-DP (with a concept development plan as part of the rezone approval.

Randy Maxwell presented after Mark McCormack reviewed the staff recommendations, comments, and slides. Maxwell described the knuckle areas on the map- essentially depicted as a cul de sac street with a 90-degree turn and a wide opening at that turn.
He discussed the different “neighborhoods” within the development for different types and spacing of homes. Frontages were 70-80 ft on smaller lots to 100 ft on larger ones.
LMH utilities had already planned an upgrade of 180,000 gpd. This sub’n will take about 91,000 gpd estimated using average home use of 310 gpd of sewage. Buildout estimated to be 10 years. They average 20 lots per year in the Bright area.

Public speakers were: Paul Vogel, Alan Freemond, Terry Evans, Norm Andrews, Dan Johnson, Ken Humbert, Betsy Sahlen, and Linda Mitchell.

Their comments included:

Access Road issues, Renck Road emergency only.
Could the board give 2-3 advantages that will occur for DC with this development?
LMH utilities current status with IDEM including capacity being exceeded 11 times in the last 42 months, “aromatic fragrances” which hopefully will decrease from the LMH plant, concerns for health issues with a lot of development going into this plant, detention ponds and West Nile, management of the ponds.
Potentially hoping they’d reduce the density to a more manageable level, character of the surrounding neighborhoods that weren’t subdivisions. R is worst investment for the county- heavy Industry is best investment, needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few.
Schools, roads, and sewage can’t keep up with this pace, tax issues; this ultimately affects how others view our county.
PC matters- your words will decide what the future of our county will be. Listen to us! Deep respect for the neighbors selling the property and also for Maxwells.- but don’t see how this development does anything good for the community.
Big issues with road safety- width, non-existent berms, foot traffic, farms on both sides of roads with livestock and horseback training.
Schools built with bonds but TAXES pay for maintenance and staffing.
Fire and EMS – county has NO MONEY to pay for it.
Bright is the most populated area in the county! [NOTE: Just where exactly are the boundaries of “Bright”?]Bright lacks parks and greenspace- it needs more facilities- not more people!
Here as concerned property owners and concerned citizens of the county. Involved citizens all across DC are becoming part of this process to get you to listen to us! “Do not ignore our concerns, our issues, and our voices. To do so is a terrible travesty of grass roots level democracy. Listen to us.” (Dan Johnson)
Subdivision is out of character with adjoiners- a chart was given to PC to show lot sizes surrounding the development.

Dan Johnson ended with: “We are all asking you to listen to us to fulfill your responsibility to preserve and maintain Dearborn County’s atmosphere, its balance of farm/rural and residential acreage, to live up to the commitments made by you and your predecessors. Please do not let unrestricted, overdeveloped subdivisions destroy out quality of life here in Dearborn County. Listen to us.”
[NOTE: The PC noted that this argument belonged more to a zone change- however, it should be noted that density issues speak to the infrastructure. And infrastructure is definitely part of the process on Primary plat approval. If it weren’t, then there would be no need for a PC board.]

Safety issues on One Mile Road and adt volumes were discussed. Currently at 2,000 adt and is designed for 400. Who will pay for all this improvement- builder or taxpayer?
May 2006 SD schools long-term facility needs study was released. This study should be PART OF YOUR DECISION MAKING PROCESS!
Average lot size surrounding this is 2.84 acres. This is not fitting in with the character.
Even reducing it to 1.5 acres would be a big help.
Public discussion ended at 8:45PM

Board discussions:

Todd Listerman gave then the traffic study info on One-Mile Road and also the thought that no improvements were in the works yet for this road as the point system has not been implemented. He said he basically has to redrive the roads to see what’s really meant by “paved” in the study and also to see what the condition ratings meant. [NOTE: It might be useful to talk to Erin Peterson of ME (formerly of Parsons Brinkerhoff) as she did the transportation study.]

Mitter noted no impact fees in the county and unless there are written commitments the taxpayers pay for improvements. [NOTE: Maxwell is known for levying his own “impact fee” of sorts by volunteering to do the improvements needed. The PC has on occasion added to those requests to be sure it is really safe to the intersection with the next main street.]John Maxwell detailed the detention ponds structure and the under drain system they will install under these ponds. They are designed to be dry within hours of a heavy rain and to be mowed and walked upon.
Maxwell also thinks a 3-way stop would be a good idea at the intersection of Grubbs and One- Mile to help manage the traffic there. They are willing to install it.
They want to develop from S end first as sewer line is there.
Public noted they were still waiting on an answer to Alan Freemond’s question as to 2-3 advantages to the community from this development. Mitter’s response was that the advantages would be more appropriate at a zone change. [NOTE: Mitter missed the boat here. If you can’t come up with 2-3 community advantages after all this discussion, then why was this approved for rezone in the first place? Maxwell could have come up with 2 just from this previous discussion.]

Kraus, Jr. said there are 15 points that a primary plat has to satisfy and that’s all they have to consider.

I asked then at this point to look at p13- section 100 of the Subdivision Ordinance and the 9 reasons for even going through a sub’n approval process. Esp # 5 and 7. [NOTE: This was to get them to step back and look at density as it relates to how many services exist and how much strain this would or wouldn’t put on the community systems.]

Board comments:
Jane Ohlmansiek and Mike Hall- Grubbs Road needs to be finished at the beginning during Phase 1 so there is 2-way access. It falls into current zone- though dense.
Nick Held- Road extension of Grubbs to One Mile is definitely an amenity [NOTE: There’s ONE ADVANTAGE.] Agrees with Mike and Jane on density and Grubbs Road done at Phase 1.

Patrick deMaynadier- Has density concerns. Section 216 Subsection 11 and roadway requirement and Section 135 says that if there is a conflict between the subdivision control ordinance and other laws the higher standards prevail. The comp plan is a higher standard. He is concerned with the tax base issue. Item #3 in the comp plan dovetails with 216 subsection 11 and adequate utilities. We are to put development where high level of infrastructure exists- where there is roadway, sewer, and the least strain on services. Schools concern also. Pace and Place development!

Kraus Jr. asked about commitments on vegetation and buffers. None were placed on this.

Jane Ohlmansiek said tat planting a few trees can help avoid conflict of uses- we should do it.

Dennis Kraus Jr. – has no issues with this.

Bob Laws- Grubbs Drive – finish early on. Not here to look at FD and schools tonight. [NOTE: Audience replied- who does?]Jeff Hughes – no problems with this development.

Mitter- Concerns with schools, One Mile Road. Schools not defensible in court. Density is an issue. This is an R-DP request- it was approved for rezone at this density.

Ohlmansiek motioned to grant primary approval stipulating that Grubbs Road be completed at Phase 1.
(Couldn’t add 3-way stop as it was not in their jurisdiction to require that- per Listerman)
Laws 2nd.
5 Ayes. 2 Nays- Hall and deMaynadier.

Recess- resumed at 9:45 PM

2. Zone change from Ag to R for 124.81 acres on Mt. Pleasant Road Logan Township. Owner- Lonnie and Sally Steele (the farm golf course) and applicant Maxwell Development. Plan says a max of 200 homes.

Robert Laws stepped down. Conflict of Interest.

McCormack noted in his report that St. Leon sewer line extends down the road to the Golf Course and Rohe’s Condo development site. They will service the subdivision.
Randy Maxwell presented. They will incur costs to upgrade REMC’s feeder line to this development. They worked with Steele’s for 3 years on this and the golf business hasn’t been that good. They are leaving the 5 acres of B zone out of the request. Steele’s still own that.
In 1876 his 4x great grandfather came up Mt. Pleasant and settled there. John Maxwell lives there and Randy grew up there. Excellent I-74 access down the improved Whites hill road. Logan someday will be like Bright. This is phase 1 of a 4-5 phase MASTER PLAN THAT THEY HAVE FOR LOGAN! [NOTE: YIKES! Does the Maxwell “master plan” get submitted to the public for discussion and possible approval? Or is this their private development plan?]Across the street the PC approved a density of 3/acre – condos.

WE DON’THAVE A DCRSD LETTER AS THEY ARE CURRENTLY WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY. [NOTE: DCRSD has not announced anything regarding their change of attorney, Lisa Lehner.]
We are in St. Leon CTA here. We will widen Mt. Pleasant to 22 ft along the property- though harder as the electric poles are here. Most traffic will head North on Mt. Pleasant. Sewer will be mostly gravity with lift stations to be given to St. Leon after warranty period. They are feeding to a 6 “ forced main – which “is a lot of sewer.”

Public comment:
Sandra Weisgerber wanted to know if she could access the subdivision road as a way out of her property. Yes.
Wanted to know about drainage also and design was explained.

Randy Maxwell doesn’t like the term “worst case” scenario when discussing density. Thinks that it’s a good thing to be dense with respect to smart growth.

Cliff Eibeck wanted to know the answer to Freemond’s questions on this zone change. Can they name 2-3 advantages for the community? You danced around it at that last application. The benefit I see is that he’s relieving Lonnie and Sally of that white elephant of a golf course. Mt. Pleasant is on the 30-year plan but it has more hills than Vail Colorado!

Ralph Thompson- in more general terms is anyone looking at the aggregate effects of this on schools. By state law they have to provide schools, but bond issues are paid back with taxes. Utilities and infrastructure- hard surfaces increasing run-off. Our zone changes should allow for various levels of R development.

Irwin Diehl- observed a lot of meetings- interesting contrast here. Road improvements are happening here- but not required in the previous case, which was higher density. Mr. Maxwell LIVES in this neighborhood- and this density is less and has more improvements proposed. Cart before horse- infrastructure improved BEFORE development. Sewer systems are in violation all over the county. (VRUC, Aurora, LMH,) Developers are waiting in line to do development in Dearborn County. The amount of applications in process is unprecedented. Character should fit the existing community.

10:30 PM Public discussion ended.

Todd Listerman- County Engineer- show all proposed accesses to this and also accesses to other properties!
In this rezone Listerman wants to know the # of houses accessed off a dead-end street. He came up with Residential streets booklet endorsed by the Urban Land Institute, Home Builders Ass’n, Civil Engineers, and Transportation Engineers. They say 200 vpd for single point access- That’s 20- max 25 homes.
[NOTE: Well that fits into our old cul de sac discussions!]
Listerman noted traffic will take Mt. Pleasant to a Category 3 collector so they have to upgrade to North Dearborn t this level. That intersection is also deficient. Turn lane needed.

Board discussion:
In a nutshell- several think the density is an issue here as three sides are Ag uses. They want to see connectivity to all properties. They are concerned with Mt. Pleasant upgrades including hill and width. They wonder what the cumulative effect of all this development is going to do to the services in the area.

Randy Maxwell passed out his master plan for Logan at this point, including patio homes to the north. Thinks we will never get a magic answer to impact questions, as it is development specific. Thinks the higher end of this development will balance out some of the tax issues. They will connect roads in this development. Had separated them to neighborhoods, but can fix that. Wanted accident report on Mt. Pleasant to indicate safety. Mitter noted vertical and width issues concerns.

De Maynadier motioned to give an unfavorable recommendation based on 540 #2 current character and conditions not being consistent, specifically density. Held 2nd. 4 Ayes, 3 Nays (Hughes, Kraus, Jr, and Mitter)

Randy Maxwell asked why condos density across the street was OK.
Hall said CUMULATIVE EFFECTS- the golf course helped balance it. Pace is too fast. Look what all is going on around here on these roads!

Randy Maxwell said the market determines the pace.
DeMaynadier said that will determine the rate of demand- but we can determine the rate of supply.

Do we need to call a time out on subdivisions? Kraus, Jr.- Even though I didn’t vote for unfavorable- the cumulative effect schools is a concern.

Randy Maxwell cited 1-2% growth rate in current school study- other school districts thinks that’s great- not John Roeder though. [NOTE: Percentages are funny statistics. Example 2% of about 1500 students is 30. 2% of 4500 is 90. SD Schools are about 3 times the size of L-bg’s for example.]

More discussion on needing to see a picture of lots and where the e big one and small ones are in relation to the Ag side of the community. Also noted the confusing message we are sending to developers.

Jane Ohlmansiek noted that an architect shows on drawings how to fit 350 people comfortably into a room. In a plan- drawing lot lines shows the space used and how it can “comfortable” fit in.

De Maynadier tried to get the board to decide something with an unfavorable motion under 540 with no specifics, which died for lack of a 2nd.

John Maxwell spoke saying- If we draw lot lines this will probably have 175 homes. We don’t want an unfavorable. We want to do business here with you (the PC).
We’d like to fix the road all the way to North Dearborn intersection and chop the hills off to make it safer. Would like to fix intersection, but there is a stone wall there, etc.
Would like to table this!

Randy Maxwell- can we come back in 60 days?

DeMaynadier motioned to table for up to 90 days. Hall 2nd. All ayes.


McCormack reported:
Tom Kent wants to withdraw his written commitments and wants to come back to the PC before it goes to the commissioners. Wants to eliminate turn lanes and the long boulevard entrance. He talked to some PC members about this. Mitter advised the board that it is UNETHICAL to discuss an application with the applicant. Hall said- it was only to tell him who he needed to talk to about it.

Tucker and Schmidt wanted to go down to 109 homes from 131- didn’t know if this was a substantial change and could it be reheard.

Also noted problems with the tape have been on-going and other boards have issues with it too. Bring it to budget hearings to see if they can get it resolved and paid for.
He’s talked to Cary Pickens also.[NOTE: Just FIX IT!]

Scheduled working sessions for Aug 21 7-9 PM for discussion of issues and concept development plans.

Meeting adjourned at 12:15 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

No comments: