Tuesday, July 24, 2007

23 July 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

23 July 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mike Hall, Chairman, Dennis Kraus, Jr., Nick Held, Robert Laws, Tarry Feiss, Patrick De Maynadier, Ken Nelson, and Ralph Thompson.
Also present: Mark McCormack, Planning Director, Kate Rademacher, Enforcement Officer, and Arnie McGill, Attorney.

Council has not appointed a member to replace Mark Mitter, who resigned from Council as he has a new job in the Indianapolis area.

Meeting started late (7:20) due to US 50 repaving and traffic issues. Laws arrived at 7:25 and Thompson arrived at 7:35.

Old Business re-opened- Villages of Sugar Ridge on Lot 156 with dimensional variances requested for front yard setbacks and sidewalk location and distance between two proposed intersections. Location- Augusta Drive in Miller Township on 7.013 acres zoned PUD (Planned Unit Development). Owner is TBS Development, LLC and the applicant is Hrezo Engineering. Lisa Lehner is the attorney representing the owners. She had a letter that was in the boards packets.

Material presented was only new information. Board members updated themselves on the previous meeting information. [NOTE: It became obvious later that the old minutes on the acceptance of Sugar Ridge and subsequent meetings would have been useful in the commission’s packets.] The density for this section is less than proposed initially (now 4.28 units/acre vs. 4.4) This does NOT translate into increased density somewhere else in the PUD however, per the commission at the previous meeting.


DeMaynadier: Where is the bond?

Todd Listerman, Transportation Director: We’re working with Mr. Macke, the developer, to secure letters of credit for $300,000, which is 25% of the original $1.2 million bond. Macke’s engineer is Land Consultants (formerly the Survey Co) and they are working with the county to figure the bonds. [NOTE: Why is the APPLICANT’S engineer telling the COUNTY what to charge for a bond? I thought the COUNTY is supposed to charge an amount to protect the taxpayers from having to pay for improvements should it become necessary to call the bond in.]

Nelson: Why did the bond expire?

Listerman: The developer or institution is supposed to notify us when the bond is due to lapse. They didn’t. We didn’t catch it or follow up on it. We are working on fixing that procedure. [NOTE: That procedure was fixed- someone in the staff didn’t do their job.]

Mike Macke: I didn’t know the letter of credit expired. I do business with a different bank now. I should have it in a couple weeks. I’d like to put the bike trail in now- there is no HOA to maintain the bike trail, the county is supposed to maintain that and the storm water areas.

Feiss: I thought the HOA was set up to do this.

Macke: No. We’ve invested $24 million up there to date. We’ve done everything we’ve been told to do. I’m staying here at the meeting to address every issue you have. (Macke was on his way to Indy and turned around to attend meeting at TBS’s request)

TBS- Paul Raney of Hrezo Eng: We’re asking to put in an intersection at a distance less than design code to use a naturally occurring highpoint for sight distance. We’re asking to put buildings closer to the street and some will only have 19 ft from the sidewalk to the garage so as to take advantage of terrain for walk outs and for increased greenspace in the back for golf view.

Nelson: What are the deed restrictions?

Macke: We have things in there about golf balls hitting properties so that homeowners know the risks. We concentrated the homes on the ridges to get the views. We will maintain the golf course where it is.

Nelson: Retention ponds?

Macke: It’s 90 % golf course- we want to collect water and keep it. If that’s an issue, we can work it out with you. If we have to maintain storm sewers, we’ll do it.

Nelson: You’re saying the GOLF COURSE will collect the water when they aren’t causing it?

Macke: That’s cheaper for us than buying water.
[NOTE: There is NO AGREEMENT between the owners of these sections sold off and the golf course or the county on storm water runoff. This was NOT the way it was presented in the original zone change and primary plat acceptance. The HOA was to maintain this.]

Nelson: What about bike trails?

Macke: We will build them to county specs and the county will maintain it. We can switch to sidewalks if you want- probably would be cheaper. [NOTE: Macke could have pulled this ruse off in OHIO maybe- but in Dearborn County in the last 12 years for sure, as I have attended meetings at the PC there have been NO INSTANCES of the county maintaining any sidewalks, trails, or storm water ponds.]

Each condo group has an HOA. There is a larger HOA but not for the single- family homes. [NOTE: There is a problem of overlapping HOA’s- this is a legal mess.]

Thompson: Mark (McCormack), did our original plans have the county encumbered to maintain bike trails and stormwater?

McCormack: All our cases have private HOA’s maintaining stormwater. There are also 4-5 private streets in this and the separate HOA’s per Macke are Villages of Sugar Glen, the one looking at tonight, the area on Oakmont, Cottages of Sugar Ridge, etc.

Lisa Lehner: Attorney for TBS, LLC. The two owners are in the audience in the orange shirt and in eth black shirt. [NOTE: Why not introduce them by name?] TBS feels caught between the PC and Macke. TBS is not the PUD developer. The bond lapsed through no fault of TBS and TBS is not part of the discussion on bike paths etc. I don’t know legally if the prohibition on the permit is on TBS. There doesn’t seem to be any opposition voice to anything on TBS’s application. I have a couple questions I’d like directed to Arnie McGill (board att’y). Has the PC been delegated authority by the county to make these changes?

McGill: Yes- it’s in our ordinance.

Lehner: A denial of this does not preclude TBS from proceeding with no changes made and no variances?

Board: If the improvement bond is NOT posted, then they still can’t proceed. (In either case)

Nelson: We should straighten out the HOA issues now before something snowballs into something worse.

Lehner: TBS appreciates that- they wish it had been fixed 6 months ago too.

DeMaynadier: can we have a list of all the parties involved?

Lehner: TBS bought property from Jason Guard… Discussion continued showing a mish-mash of property names and owners- ultimately:
Eagle Golf sold to TBS, LLC of Kenton County. MT Investments owns the golf course. (MT is Macke and Carl Tuke (sp?)) They also own Eagle Golf.

Thompson: How many other entities are involved in this whole PUD?

Macke: Villages of Sugar Ridge is about 100 lots. Sold condos to Robert Irwin (?) of Coach Development. The third phase is Sugar View, LLC. MT Investments is the golf course, Sugar Heights, Eagle Golf, Sugar Ridge Construction, and 100 or so lots owned by individuals. These were all set up separately for individual loans- most of them are really the same owner.


Laws: Concerned with HOA, lapsed bonds, and bike trail responsibility.

Feiss: In addition to Laws comments also the conformity and consistency in the whole PUD.

Thompson: No bonds in place, the county is indicated as doing maintenance and it’s out of the ROW and storm sewer maintenance are concerns. Multiple HOA’s is a future nightmare. Uniformity with all the different groups.

DeMaynadier: I see 2 buckets of issues: The applicant and his variances and the bond, trail, stormwater and consistency of the PUD itself. The standards of variances in section 160 have not been addressed either.

Thompson: The intersection issue was safety related.

Nelson: Part of the PUD receives its zoning THOUGHT the PUD. The variance seeks to amend the requirements of the Villages of Sugar Ridge. It must be consistent with the PUD plat. The HOA is part of Sugar Ridge. Land vision requires the improvement plan to be filed and BONDING TO BE IN PLACE to assure the improvements are made. If there is a violation – section 645 of our code requires a suspension until this is fixed.

Nelson: I move to continue this petition (table it) until the PC attorney assures us that the bonding and platting requirements and maintenance requirements are in place and a budget also. There should be an appropriate schedule for improvements supplied. If this is not completed by Sept 30, then ALL PERMITS to this entire PUD will cease until it is accomplished. In addition, we will notify the county commissioners of this.
Thompson: I second that motion.

Lehner: Interrupts- wanting the PC to approve the variances conditionally.

[NOTE: A motion was on the table-this was not in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order. And it only got worse- see below for more input from the applicant while the motion is still on the table.]

Nelson: Would have done this a week ago, but there is a larger issue and you have to demonstrate how this variance fits the code.

Lehner: My clients need to know where they stand- if they need to redesign or not.
Mike Hrezo: I thought they addressed the variances thoroughly safety for the intersection and also utilizing walkouts and greenspace behind for the golf course- a 13 ft variance total.

Nelson: We can’t entertain ANYTHING- UNTIL THE VIOLATION IS CURED! [NOTE: Nelson is 100% correct.]

McGill: A motion was made?

Mike Hall: YES

McGill: There’s discussion- who is having it?

Hall: It’s proliferated.

[NOTE: McGill is trying to get the board back to order.]

There was a 10-minute recess here to get the audio fixed for the tape.

McCormack: Reiterates what McGill said- discussion is closed. We can take issue on the variance but they can’t proceed until there is a bond- so no site plan can be reviewed. Section 460 covers bond expiration. We should table to a specific month or else we have to notify all adjoiners again- and that’s about a $500 expense for applicant. [NOTE: Not including their attorney fees for tonight.]

Nelson: I disagree- we have to consider both together- we wouldn’t be seeing the rest of this had they not applied for this in the first place.

Motion was voted on to get it off the table to start over with 5 nays and 3 ayes.

Discussion re-opened:

Bob Hrezo: passed out the variance details in a page to all members, which they read silently.

Lehner: Suggested they vote on variance tonight and then get a senses of whether these variances will work or not. That won’t prevent you from enforcing the bond issues. Also requested tabling to a date so applicant doesn’t have to pay again for notification and less staff time involved.
[NOTE: The County never seems to learn this lesson. Conditional acceptances lead to bigger messes- note Ameritech on the Gabbard Property, Schmidt with White’s Hill Development, and Maxwell with Barber Road Development. This merely puts the county in the middle of two potentially suing parties.]

McCormack: Some tech review items were not completed- though minor in nature.

Thompson: How did this get here with tech review incomplete?

McCormack: They are minor and not related to the variance specifically.
[NOTE: Still they’ve had two months to get that done. And if it’s minor details- it should be easy.]

Closed public discussion.

Nelson motioned and DeMaynadier 2nd to approve the variance requested based on improved safety, improved site views of units in topography with a better view of the golf course. In accordance with articles 440 and 645 acceptance is conditioned upon NO development plan being permitted until the PUD issues are resolved. Bonds in place. There should be scheduled items necessary to complete the PUD and an assignment of responsibilities for maintenance of greenspace, bike trails, storm water, snow removal, street cleaning, retention basin cleaning, storm water collection, etc. If after September these are not addressed, then ALL PERMITS in Villages of Sugar Ridge shall cease and county commissioners will be notified.
All ayes.

[NOTE: Why does Macke’s permits continue until Sept 30 and TBS can’t? Who is the real violator here?]

Thompson motioned and Feiss 2nd to open discussion of the history of actions on the PUD with Mike Macke. All ayes.

Feiss: What do you anticipate the PUD consisting of? Consistency in homes? Decreased greenspace?

Macke: The greenspace is the same amount as in the beginning, and our engineers sent this number to McCormack. [NOTE: Calculations reportedly included private yards as greenspace.]

Feiss: You didn’t cut trees?

Macke: We cut less trees, but we moved things around so we shouldn’t have to cut ALL the trees on the 20 acres where that would go. Driving range would have required taking all trees to the creek. Depends on how you treat greenspace. Building 40 smaller condos so the rest is greenspace. No black top parking lot- we combined it with an existing one.

Question: When you sell to TBS etc are they all aware of the covenants you had- the golf course, the banquet facility, the practice range, the certain number of homes and condos, patio homes etc.?

Feiss: I see nothing different from a regular old subdivision.

Macke: VIEWS!

Feiss: View doesn’t make it a PUD. [NOTE: Macke does not seem to understand that a PUD is a trade –off to get certain amenities, the county lessens density restrictions.]

Macke: We started with 315 homes- you can’t do that in this market now. We’re at a 10-year buildout now. We have the golf course, but we haven’t built the banquet facility. We sold eth commercial site to someone who specializes in that and so that is built. We can’t do the banquet until cash is in and the market turns around. [NOTE: This contradicts Mark Rosenberger’s assertion in a previous blog entry about what is really stymied the development in the county.] We want to start the sidewalks and bike paths the county needed 75% buildout first to maintain these. [NOTE: WHAT??? Where is he getting this drivel?] Macke is going to check the Survey Co and notes first on this he says. The bike path goes up the hill just like the road- topography here was no secret.

Four current PC members were involved in the initial approval of this PUD.

Feiss: The picture we were painted is not what I see. It looks just like a subdivision.

Macke: There is one master association for the condos- I have no problem having several HOAS. There are small private drives and each condo HOA set pays for them.

VINCE KARSTETTER- I am the problem neighbor Macke referred to. A driving range is not the same as a practice range. He cleared the land behind me and had Sizemore Landscaping put in sod there. T- boxes were in place. Travis Miller- who is not here to defend himself- supposedly approved all these changes on Dec 27, 2005- his last day of work here. Then they were going to build condos. Gehring moved dirt for 3-4-5 months. They took out lots of trees and burned daily, a neighbor called the Bright Fire Dept to complain each day that happened because ash was raining on our homes. It’s not quite the way Mr. Macke says it was.

Macke: When we initially clear property we are required to seed and straw that.

Karstetter: It was sod!

Macke: You’ve got to be kidding me.

End discussion. No decisions.

Proposed amendments to DC Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance were discussed.

Language to be addressed in clarifying PUD requirements and major and minor changes. McCormack will also redraft and address buffers, density, POAs etc in more detail. There is no way the county can pay to maintain private amenities per Listerman.

Bonds and letters of credit and that entire section is being reworked. They are looking at 3 years- as no construction seems to be less than that historically. Listerman noted that Macke is looking at bringing in 6 different letters of credit from 6 different banks. [ NOTE: WHOA! It takes 6 different banks to cover a $300,000 bond? Something doesn’t smell right here.] Notifications of lapsing are being strongly worded. Performance bonds are to be 20% over construction cost estimates per section 405.

I left at this point and called PC office to see what else was covered.

Article 3 and 5 were approved to proceed to Commissioners for approval.

The master plan will be discussed with the Advisory Board in August and hearings are tentatively set for September.

Meeting adjourned at about 11:15 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Anonymous said...

Well, if Lisa Lehner is involved in this deal, it must all be above board!


Anonymous said...

Ralph Thompson: multiple HOA’s is a future nightmare."

Don't fret Ralph, Lisa and her trifling little friends don't care about the future!

Remember, Lisa and her pals are "VISIONARIES!!!"

"VISIONARIES," expect the taxpayers to clean up all their resultant "VISION" related messes!!!

Anonymous said...

Poor Lisa!

Voted most likely to be the number one tortfeasor discussed and studied buy the alumni of her Law School's Torts Classes!

Let us just hope her abilities on the subject of her personal relationships do not match her wanting and absent professional attributes and aspects!

Alan S. Freemond, Sr. said...

Macke: No. We’ve invested $24 million up there to date, This is the same guy who need 6 banks to give him letters of credit for 300,000 dollars AND the original bond was for 1.2 million??!?!.

Are we dealingw with smoke and mirrors, If this guy can't write a valid check without all sorts of if's and or's and needs 6 banks to extend 300,000 dollars worth of letters of credit maybe he ought to go away. Fooling around with 6 different bank on average 50,000 dollars per bank for the letters of credit is suspect. We'd better take a look at these folks.

These guys ought to put up 125% of the bonds in collateral and MAINTAIN the 125% collateral. Otherwise why don't we tell them to go backato Cincinnati or where ever?

What is going on here?

Why 300,000 instead of the 1.2 million dollar bond.

Anonymous said...

Otherwise why don't we tell them to go back to Cincinnati or where ever?

Can't,he burned those bridges on the way out.

Anonymous said...

Feiss: "The picture we were painted is not what I see. It looks just like a subdivision."

It looks just like the citizens, tax payers and the neighbors of this SUBDIVISION, are about to get hosed!