Tuesday, February 27, 2007

26 February 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

26 February 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Hall, Chairman, Mitter, de Maynadier, Feiss, Nelson, Held, Thompson, Kraus, Jr.
Also present: McCormack, Plan Director, Rademacher, Enforcement Officer, and McGill Attorney

Meeting minutes were approved with corrections including one from Mitter noting that he stepped down to avoid an appearance of impropriety and NOT for a conflict of interest.

The room was full- primarily for the Tucker/Schmidt zone change.

[NOTE: PC needs to vote to tell staff to allow only a reasonable amount of material at each meeting. The rest can move to the next meeting on a 1st come 1st served basis.
This meeting lasted 5.5 hours. PC members have jobs, applicants have jobs, and citizens have jobs. Keeping people out that late on a work night is unreasonable. If an item is tabled at the applicant’s request they go to the end of the service line. Applicants need to be completely prepared. There is an inordinate amount of negotiating going on at these meetings. Items tabling and coming back 3 and 4 times are ridiculous, in my opinion. The PC is not here to redesign projects and this isn’t Let’s Make a Deal.]

Old Business scheduled to be reopened.

1. Zone map amendment for 32 acres from H-1 to M-1 for Mariah Development with Bayer Becker presenting for owners, which include Tim and Todd Kramer. Location is in the TIF district on SR1 and Old SR1 (Sawmill Road). Lisa Lehner was also in attendance and is the attorney for the owners as well as the attorney for DCEDI, who supported the Mariah application in previous meetings. She didn’t state which attorney hat she was wearing tonight- DCEDI’s or the owners of Mariah Park.
Mitter noted that because the last application hearing was in Nov prior to 2 new board members, he thought the board needed to hear the entire application over. He also said that he was stepping down and leaving the room and would address the letter from Lisa Lehner in their file AFTER the decision was made. Mitter left the room.

[NOTE: There is a 2 and 1/8 page letter from Lehner concerning her opinion regarding Mitter’s ability to speak regarding Mariah Business Park in the file dated 21 Feb 2007. The letter is public record and can be obtained from the Planning Office. Lehner cites case law regarding due process but does not cite the state law on conflict of interest, though she alleges he has one in her letter. Mitter, like any citizen, should have the right to speak as a citizen from the audience, if he steps down from the board and does not vote. Lehner wanted the board to deny Mitter that right. Mitter chose to leave the room so as to allow the board to hear the case without prejudice. Later in the meeting Lehner attempted to disallow an email response from an adjoining property owner to be part of the record. One wonders if anyone is allowed to speak in opposition to Lehner’s client.]

The board decided to hear the case in its entirety. They weren’t sure if they’d hear both cases on Mariah Park tonight as board members were concerned that if the zone change failed or some conditions changed it could affect the primary plat approval on the 2nd piece. McCormack said he warned the applicant regarding this more than once – the applicant still wanted both on the agenda. Board decided to look at the options on the 2nd case AFTER the first one was decided.
McCormack presented the entire case again with 16 letters to adjoiners and one letter in the packet from Mrs. Deville, an adjoiner unavailable for the meeting tonight. Transportation studies were assessed for light industrial as it producers more traffic than heavy. Items in M-1 section were removed by the applicant from consideration for possible uses - #s 3,4,8,9,21,23,30,32,33,and 35. They did not remove conditional uses, which would require BZA approval. McCormack discussed gradient issues, geotech and hillside guidelines for the area around the interstate. There were some items that still needed to be addressed including distance and access points on SR 1 and ld SR1, no letter from the schools, the letter from the fire and EMS saying they’d “do their best” to serve but they are a volunteer organization. There is a 350 ft variance needed on part of the road section and a LOS of F on the L turn access to SR 1. There is a 300,000 sq ft bldg proposed. There is a proposed R in and R out access for old SR 1.
Nelson noted that H-1 would allow a Home Depot and that has significant traffic. [NOTE: It was unclear if Nelson was assuming that it would be granted because the zone allows it. If there were safety issues with the road it would seem that even an allowed use might not get permitted.]

Todd Listerman spoke in detail regarding the traffic study and his disagreement with calculations on storage (stacking lanes). He said just because you don’t have room for it doesn’t mean it isn’t needed. With the history of accidents along the SR 1 corridor he doesn’t want to add any more problem spots. [NOTE: That’s so obviously common sense and logical, it’s a wonder the applicant is even arguing the opposing viewpoint.]
Listerman went on regarding what happens with LOS F on access to a highway and why people start to take chances when they have to wait too long for L turn egress, choosing to pull out into gaps in traffic too small for safe egress. [NOTE: More common sense.]

Feiss asked if SR 1 was a collector or connector. Listerman replied it was a Category 3 rural arterial that connects US 50 and I-74.
Thompson asked about concerns with I-74 interchange enhancements in the future. Listerman thought they’d be far enough away to not affect this.
Nelson asked about 2 L turn lanes. Listerman said there would still need to be stacking lanes.

Nicole Daily of Bayer Becker presented for the owners giving an overview and then went into the specific issues of contention. Daily said they were in close contact with the school and that school was fine with all the M-1 uses. Mariah is giving property to help with road issues, but she disagrees with Listerman’s assessment.

Etta Reed- for Bayer Becker- traffic engineer came to the podium to address those issues. They compared traffic in 2007, 2011 and 2016 with and without buildout to get at numbers for the study. Then they proposed mitigating solutions to the problems. Reed said the intersection warranted a signal today (stoplight). She noted that the L turn lane is only a LOS of F at rush hours. People COULD go to Old SR 1 to exit instead and be signalized there. There are no willing sellers in adjoining owners to get better access. She referred to this as an URBAN RESTRICTED AREA and said that drivers will slow down and anticipate turners in and out in that area. [NOTE: Maybe by 2016 it will be urbanized, but it isn’t now. Also if it is urbanized, then there is more traffic and fewer gaps to access the road. Doesn’t that make the problem worse?]

Traffic counts were lowered because of a by-pass reduction- Reed said this is because people come to this are on their way to something else and so you don’t have to count them all as NEW traffic.

Public comment:

John Taphorn- asked about detention areas and water flow from this to areas around the interstate. Hall explained they would have to control this.

Earl Dawson- didn’t like the 2 accesses as designed noting it’s tough for L turns on SR1.

Board discussion:
Thompson- concerned with traffic and the different assessments. He’s not sure the gaps will be there for the L turners. Also concerned with volatile pharmaceuticals and solvents in some M-1 uses still open for this and the proximity to the school. Didn’t see Bright EMS letter in his packet .
Held- agrees with Thompson on traffic- and conflicting statements.
Nelson- Traffic is a component that could be designed around- Home depot could come in now- what would happen there? He thinks neighbors could use Mariah Lane also eventually.
Feiss- Asked pointed question about a traffic signal Traffic and school issues for her.
DeMaynadier- also saw biologicals on the list as being issues potentially close to a school. Traffic and school concerns.
Kraus, Jr.- Would like to know what would go next to that school. Plans don’t show adjoiners could use that driveway.
Daily went on about this- couldn’t follow the logic – excuses about the neighbors not selling- not sure she answered the question really.
Kraus, Jr. – It’s unsafe.
Daily said the water issues and sizing for fire would depend on the fire dept. study. [NOTE: The VOLUNTEER FD is going to pay for a study?]
Persisted on the light.
Daily and Reed- not sure what studies need to go to INDOT to get this.
Rosenberger- also of Bayer Becker- We can’t answer that right now- we’re here for a rezone- stay focused on that.
[NOTE: Yikes!- Don’t they think the safety issues of the road access are part of a zone change?]
Are you applying for a light permit?
Rosenberger.- NO.
Thompson and DeMaynadier asked about #6,7,and 12 with biotech, plastics, and paints etc. by the school and because of the volunteer Fire dept.
We have to look at current uses in the area and compatibility as in the school- for a zone change.

Listerman came to the podium to explain the warrant process for stoplights with INDOT. INDOT looks to the locals to do zoning and access management. They don’t do that. Note US 50 and what happens when locals don’t control this.
Thompson and Listerman asked also about whether the gas station owner at Old SR1 would want the rest of the complex coming through his lot to access SR 1 from that side.

Thompson asked if the board wanted the letter from Pam Deville read into the public record. They said yes and he summarized her opposition as an adjoining owner due to dangerous road access, contaminants, health issues, noise. She would prefer an office park type use. She was concerned with using land next to the school and would it hamper school expansions. She also questioned why the applicant was allowed to be considered if he was in violation of the law with ATVs…

At this point Thompson was interrupted with Lisa Lehner standing up and saying- “ I OBJECT!”
Lehner said the Public Comment was closed and this shouldn’t be allowed

[NOTE: Yikes! This isn’t a courtroom. Does Lehner just want to shut down all comments noting the lawsuit between the county and the Kramers regarding their alleged illegal land uses as a recreational area in York township?]
The board noted that the letter was part of the public record.

De Maynadier motioned and Thompson 2nd to give an UNFAVORABLE recommendation because the plan doesn’t meet the Section 540 criteria for a zone change, there was insufficient info regarding uses and so they couldn’t evaluate the compatibility with the neighborhood (schools) and the most desirable use for the land. Further there are traffic concerns and variance issues. ALL AYES.

2. The Mariah Park request for primary Plat was tabled at the request of the applicant.

Lehner then conferred with the board – McGill was called over. The audience asked if this was a PUBLIC Meeting. Mitter – who was back at the board now- said – let it go to the board and McGill.
[NOTE: Lehner was trying to get Mitter’s comments regarding her letter to stop. She wanted it to not be part of the public record. The letter IS public record per the board as it is part of the file and part of the fact finding of the case. If it were not public record I wonder if it could be said that it was an attempt to influence PC members on this case? State law states that it is illegal to attempt to influence PC board members outside the meeting.]

3. Item 3 on changes to zoning and subdivision ordinance was tabled.

New Business: 9:30 PM

1. Stenger presenting for modifications of Bruns Meadows Subdivision regarding changes in a driveway access on Old Sr1 was approved. There were no issues- just relocation of a shared access.

2. Jeff Tucker presented a 3rd attempt to get 56 acres rezoned from Ag to R for White Farm Development on Short/Gaynor ridge, and North Dearborn Roads.
42 letters mailed out and 35 returned. The main changes to this development that was originally at 131, then 108 homes is that they are at 94 homes and no accesses to streets other that the 2 on Gaynor Ridge. All driveways are internal to the development. More buffering and larger lots (0.6 acres) are on the outer perimeters with berms and trees proposed. [NOTE: Berms against a 2 story house? Most trees planted on berms will have moisture and root issues ultimately.]
Tucker explained how this fits the criteria for a zone change ending with responsible growth and development in the master plan means “Put stuff where there’s stuff.”
He said they could grade the property and take trees out to help Short road site distances and money is being donated for schools and road dept to help with those issues. No dollar figure was offered at this meeting. Tucker thinks this fits with all the rezones granted in the past year. He mentions this again at the end of the meeting. The changes he cites are all Maxwell developments- some as far away as DogRidge road. [NOTE: Is Tucker basically asking: Why is Maxwell allowed to and I’m not?]
Tucker stated that he owns the property outright and passed out a concept development plan.

PUBLIC Comment:

Glen Crocker – speaking for the group- used an aerial map of the Logan Township and Bright area to show how this area is still rural. He enlarged the area with the proposed subdivision to show its incompatibility with the area even with the other subdivisions in the area. He also noted the visual impact of the proposal. If 45 acres are tillable then 45 are buildable. In the area there are 38 on 100 acres and 19 on 45. This will be 94 on 56 acres. Do we need 94 house here? No matter how many trees or bunkers you are trying to hide something that shouldn’t be here in the first place. It will not complement the surroundings. This is an awesome piece of land and it would work if it were in Bright. What do we have here now and what do we need is what responsible growth is about. Crocker talked to SD adm. and he said the cup is full and we can’t turn the faucet off. There are at least 2,200 lots UNSOLD for development in SD school district.

Tom Gaynor- Livestock farm- safety issues on Gaynor Ridge. Moving farm equipment hard enough now. Property is passed to families here.

Bob Gaynor- School district has the highest tax rate in the entire region- passed out data. Lawrenceburg pays $600+ less that we do on $200,000 valuation. Dense housing doesn’t fit tax wise or community wise.

Sheila Henderson- owns 33 acres on Gaynor Ridge. “It’s about me.” I view a field now and I know it will change, but would prefer a reduced number. Wants a rural way f life for her kids. She is 6th generation of Becks in the area- they are there for the long haul. Asked the board to give us a boost so we are not so resentful of the folks coming in.

Steve Kuhns- opposed due to visibility issues- too many homes, and wants one of the entrances to be off Gaynor Ridge and moved to North Dearborn for safety reasons.

Bill Williams- too high density a sea of houses plunked in the middle of Ag. Unfairness- the schools are saturated and the local’s taxes go up to pay for all of this.
These won’t pay for their impact.
He applauds Tuckers attempts to fix Short road access.

End Public Discussion:

Thompson asked about average density and McCormack showed him the slide calculations.
Tucker said he wished the property wasn’t surrounded by a whole bunch of people he knows and likes.
He says it’s a transition area between Bright and ??? He studied County permits and says they average 0.6 school age kids per home. [ NOTE: Is that across the board in the county or just in the Bright area? I would bet that in Bright the homes built cater to young families.]
Tucker insists that this rezone is in line with all the others in the area. [NOTE: There are areas of the county that are “ready” for development- and there are areas of the county with farming communities of closely related families. When lots are being divided for family members and when groups are sharing farming business activities, the county developers need to realize this is NOT an area ready for development. It’s not always about the infrastructure – which most often is translated as sewers. Has anyone considered the idea of a large lot – 5 acres or more- Ag use subdivision for this ground? That might be compatible and the price may be recouped for the land acquisition.]

PC members were all concerned with density and when polled thought ¾ to 1-acre lots minimum would be possible to consider. Some wanted 1-3 acres. Board didn’t like to negotiate this.

Tucker asked to be tabled for up to 90 days . Thompson and DeMaynadier motioned and 2nd to allow tabling for 90 days. All ayes.

THREE MEMBERS (De Maynadier, Held, and Feiss) HAD TO LEAVE as it was 11:45 PM. Two had work or trip plans and one was ill. Maxwell elected to proceed with the 5 remaining members, which required a unanimous vote. He said he could table it if it came to that.

3. Randy Maxwell presented primary plat for Mount Pleasant road for 190 lots with several unbuildable for accesses and for open spaces on 114 acres called Morgan’s Ridge on the former Farm Golf Course property.
20 letters sent out and 16 returned plus one letter in the file.
Density is 1.6 units per acre.
Maxwell wants to phase the development and go less that the required 30 in the first phase due to building market slump.

Public Comment:

Richard Johnson- Received his answer on about 6 acres of ponds being drained

Dan Howe- Concerned with density, the local bar in the property area and nearly having a deadly accident due to a drunk driver. He noted that what we all moved here for is disappearing. He lives on 1 acre.

Mike Bader- Density issues – slides don’t do justice to Mount Pleasant- hill hopping and width issues. He built orchards with the intention of staying there and wasn’t looking for all these people. Are the sewer plants big enough to take all this effluent?

Board Discussion:

Mitter asked about road improvements to Mount Pleasant. Maxwell said it was #3 in written commitments.
Kraus Jr. Wanted section of road and hill cut down by Ruth Blvd.

Maxwell said power lines and a home 50 ft from road preclude that.

Maxwell said they may just write a check to highway and have them do the work.
Maxwell wants to phase in 18 homes instead of 30.

Mitter motioned and Nelson 2nd to approve the primary plat with a variance to phase in 18 lots (10%) instead of 30. All ayes.


MASTER PLAN- advisory Board meets March 7th at 7 PM in Adm bldg to finalize plans for open houses.

Mailers going out to the citizens for Master Plan Open Houses:
Dates are:
Sat March 17th at EC from 1-4 PM
Wed March 21st at Manchester Elementary on SR 48 from 6-9PM
Sat March 24th at L-bg HS from 9-12 noon.

A copy of the area around Spangler Road that Dillsboro annexed was passed out.

A draft response to Karen Davis- Public Access Counselor was passed out in answer to allegations in a formal complaint filed by Commissioner Jeff Hughes on Open Door issues at a pre- meeting meeting just before the Jan 31st Advisory Board Meeting. [NOTE: PC members usually go in to get packets and decide how to divide up the tables for discussions etc. before these meetings. The door was closed due to noise in the hallway and so potential violations of the Open door law are being checked.]

Meeting adjourned at 12:30 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Anonymous said...

Lisa Lehner standing up and saying- “ I OBJECT!”

Gotta love diminutive Lisa. Our modest little sheester, is always looking out for the "Little Guy."

Hell, she is willing to personally place the target on the "Little Guy's" back in order for her clients to take a clean killing shot at the "Little Guy!"

She would not want the "Little Guy" to suffer any more than progress, and her bank account, demands!

Thank heavens most lawyers eat their young!

Anonymous said...

Lehner said the Public Comment was closed...

The whole "Public Comment" thingy really bothers her as well as the rest of the old County Guard!

Sadly, I think future elections will cause her to stroke out!

Left home alone, drooling, Lisa may get a Wal-Mart bouquet of carnations from her "good" friends at the DCEDI!

Then she will be unceremoniously removed from all the official DCEDI Rolodexes!

She will thus be replaced with the very next attorney with a red light above her door!

Anonymous said...

Lisa Lehner standing up and saying- “ I OBJECT!”

While Lisa may have found Vera to be personally "objectionable," she never felt the need to "object" to anything coming out of Vera's mouth during Vera'a commissionship.

Vera was always nice enough to stay within Lisa's script.

Anonymous said...

May Lisa continue to wear the "hat" of DCEDI lawyer.

As a public emissary of such organization, Lisa peddles its goals and aspirations like a lactose intolerant promotes milk!

Anonymous said...

“Meeting minutes were approved with corrections including one from Mitter noting that he stepped down to avoid an appearance of impropriety and NOT for a conflict of interest."

To avoid an appearance of impropriety?


May Mr.Mitter consider running for County Commissioner.

Let Lisa reap what she so easily sows.

Anonymous said...

…in answer to allegations in a formal complaint filed by Commissioner Jeff Hughes on Open Door issues at a pre- meeting just before the Jan 31st Advisory Board Meeting.

Wow! I bet serial meetings and the secretive way DCEDI conducts its meetings really burns Jeff and just sticks in his craw.

I imagine that both Jim West and proponent of serial meetings, Lisa Lehner, give Jeff a wide berth, and they both go to great lengths, to avoid his wrath!

Open them doors, Jeff!