Tuesday, October 30, 2007


29 October 2007 Special Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes


Members present: Mike Hall, Chairman, Ken Nelson, Tarry Feiss, Ralph Thompson, Bob Laws, Dennis Kraus, Jr., and Patrick DeMaynadier (arrived at 7:30 prior to public comment).
Absent: Tom Cheek and Nick Held.

Also present: Mark McCormack, Planning Director, Kate Rademacher, Enforcement Officer and Planner, and Mike Ionna, Assistant Planner.

No police officer was present. The room was full with citizens standing inside as well. Register Publications and WSCH also covered this meeting.
The microphones are still not transmitting sound through the speaker system very well.

Mark McCormack gave a detailed overview of the master plan process and stated this land use map was a component to be added to the current master plan already adopted. The map does NOT stand alone- but is to be used in conjunction with text and other planning principles as stated in the document that is approved along with the map.
H e outlined the legal process and state codes (IC 36-7-4-500 series) outlining how the plan will be adopted. Plan Commission holds the public hearings and makes a recommendation to the commissioners- the commissioners do the formal adoption. (If they choose to accept the recommendation) Even if they do not accept this – the master plan and guidelines are still in effect as before. This map is more of an enhancement and additional tool for the plan Commission.

McCormack also outlined the numerous advisory board meetings, focus groups, and public workshops and meetings to get to this point. He stressed that this master plan is to be a document of the COMMUNITY’S values, goals, and objectives. It is the community’s preferences, their blueprint of how they want the community to grow. It considers economic, social, and environmental impacts. The plan is a living document to be revised periodically and should last about 15-20 years with revisions. McCormack also noted that revised census data after 2010 would affect this plan.
Pace and place concept was mentioned again as a guide.

PUBLIC COMMENT: 7:45- 8:20 Public asked to limit to about 2 minutes each so all could be heard. Mike Hall also stressed respect when disagreeing.

[NOTE: The public comments came from a wide geographic distribution- I have noted their 7 different townships as a demonstration of this fact]

MARK HALL- YORK TOWNSHIP- member of advisory board. Commended staff and PC for their work and noted the very involved PUBLIC process. He thinks we have a good plan developed in the proper way with public input. He felt a little insulted by the comments submitted by DCEDI- and Hall noted that the plan is about OUR COMMUNITY and commented that the citizens were here. He commented further that only Jim West was present from DCEDI. He wondered where the rest of the DCEDI leadership and board were, as he didn’t see Bill Ritzmann or John Maxwell present. He urged the PC to pass the plan on to commissioners and move forward.

SANDY WHITEHEAD- JACKSON TOWNSHIP- read a prepared statement: My name is Sandy Whitehead, and I live at 29370 Blue Creek Road in northern Dearborn County. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight.

My comments this evening are in response to Jim West’s letter to the Dearborn County Plan Commission dated September 1, 2007. The bulk of the letter written by Mr. West stresses that Future Land Use Concept Maps A and AA do not reflect long-term growth and prosperity for Dearborn County, and that the maps were created using emotional issues tied to preserving our agricultural industry. It seems to me that DCEDI has missed the big picture. If the citizens of this county want agriculture, why aren’t more efforts being made to promote agriculture? Why is manufacturing and industry being pushed as the answer to the fiscal disparity of the County?
Until a plan is derived that reflects the needs and wants of the citizens of this county, the debate for how and when growth will occur will continue. The Future Land Use Concept Maps have been in the works for a long time. They are certainly not a reflection of a knee-jerk reaction to the Northwest Quadrant debacle. It would be a terrible slap in the face to the many people who have put a lot of time and effort into the creation of these documents.

As I looked over DCEDI’s website again last night, I saw much of the same thing that I saw 8 months ago when preparing to speak to the Dearborn County Council regarding related issues: there were many vacant buildings and developable sites available for sale. There is no palatable reason to fill the real estate market with more developable sites when many still stand vacant.

The entire Fall 2007 issue of The Hoosier Farmer magazine, a publication of Indiana Farm Bureau, was devoted to Rural Development, and I have included copies of the more pertinent articles for your reference. Six entities were listed as resources for rural development projects, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs to name a few. Which, if any of these offices, have been contacted for input and counsel by DCEDI?
Please accept Future Land Use Concept Maps A and AA as drawn. Thank you for your time and consideration.

BOB GAYNOR- KELSO TOWNSHIP- thinks that Ag is getting a bum steer losing 19% of their acreage for a loss of 29,803 acres. He wasn’t thrilled with the idea that a lot of it was going to residential with all the current issues with schools lately.

HELEN KREMER- LOGAN TOWNSHIP- Advisory member- noted that care has to be taken with Ag having only one designation for all sorts of uses. She has issues with flood plain development and wanted that wording changed to just RESTRICTED on pa 147. Kremer further complimented the staff and PC on their efforts and hard work.

JIM WEST- DCEDI- MILLER TOWNSHIP- noted that his letter was already well-circulated and wanted to make it official tonight by reading it into the minutes:

The Board of Directors of the Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative (DCEDI) recently reviewed the latest version of the proposed future land use plan. Our interest in this document is not limited to but lies primarily in the sections that address the future economic development potential of this county.

DCEDI is the primary economic development marketing agency and the primary entity for the retention and expansion of existing businesses in Dearborn County. DCEDI markets and promotes Dearborn County, on a national and international basis, as a location for new or expanding manufacturing projects; office projects; large commercial and service projects; and, large retail and recreation projects. DCEDI also provides assistance to local companies that are expanding their operations. DCEDI works with the local communities to develop the resources and infrastructure to support its economic development programs. The primary goal of DCEDI is the creation of new "wealth" in Dearborn County through the creation of new, diversified job opportunities; the creation of new revenue opportunities for local governments and the general growth and expansion of the area economy.

From the above perspective, DCEDI must take exception to the Future Land Use Concept Maps Alternative A and Alternative AA due to the self-limiting acreage and locations that are designated for future economic development. Given the current and future fiscal needs of this county, our findings are that the two alternative land use plan maps:

1. Do not inure to the long-term prosperity of Dearborn County that would be derived from quality growth and development.

2. Do not provide opportunities for Dearborn County to generate economic development activity with significant fiscal returns and positive impacts on the local property tax structure.

3. Do not recognize the physical and transport limitations of Dearborn County, such as topography, flood plains and developmental highways that restrict significant economic development to only certain areas of the county.

4. Do not provide the physical site location requirements of new and expanding companies considering this community, thus creating a non-competitive situation for the county in comparison to other southeast Indiana and Greater Cincinnati communities.

5. Do not serve the best interest of those property owners in Dearborn County who have expressed their desire to sell their agricultural property for its highest and best use.

6. Relegates significant economic development activity to areas of the county viewed as less desirable by recent corporate prospects in terms of infrastructure, access and topography.

7. Were created in response to ‘no-growth’ rural residents using the emotional issues related to the preservation of the agricultural industry in Dearborn County to serve their cause.

8. Do not reflect the input and counsel of economic development specialists provided for previous versions of the concept plans.

DCEDI encourages the Dearborn County Plan Commission to re-evaluate the commercial and industrial sections of the Future Land Use Plan in terms of creating the most beneficial returns for the long-term growth and prosperity of the county. Status-quo is not an acceptable response to the fiscal issues facing Dearborn County in the very near future. (End of letter)

West said they want to see a strategic economic development plan to see what the marketplace requires and DCEDI is willing to pay part of the cost to do that. [NOTE: Taxpayer money goes to DCEDI and funds at least half their budget] Purdue and IU would help with the PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT part of the plan.
Thompson reminded West that he and the Rozow and Rosenberger had met with Planning staff and were supposed to give some positive response on changes they’d like in the plan. West replied that he had- it was a strategic economic development plan. So we know where it’s likely to happen and where we need it to happen. Thompson asked where? West said- the I-74 corridor- we only have US 50 and I-74. We’ve ignored I-74. West wanted the plan to WAIT till the strategic economic development plan was completed before deciding on the maps.

DeMaynadier suggested they amend the plan perhaps after the study is completed. Would you put a moratorium on development until this study is done? West wasn’t in favor of that.

Feiss- said this is a living document- what you could add to this might be a supplement.

DeMaynadier- we have momentum- all these people are here- we do not want to shelve this now and wait. It demoralizes people. There is never a certainty- but we can start with some clarity. He didn’t want to wait as there really was never certainty- so waiting is fruitless.

JOHNNY SCHOTT-MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP- With all due respect to the Chamber and DCEDI- they have it backwards. The development group is not driving what should happen in the county- the CITIZENS drive what should happen. Development folks are paid to be at these meetings. It pays for them to be here to look out for their interests. He’s not sure the 50/50 split on the advisory board was fair but at least it was a public process. For DCEDI to say the hell with you wait till we tell you what to do is wrong.

NICOLE DAILY- SPARTA TOWNSHIP- stated she was a resident and advisory board member. She’s also an urban planner and works with development. “I don’t get paid to be here- it’s beneficial for us to be in the know about what’s going on in the county.” She found some of the recent comments about being paid to be there “hurtful.”
Daily said this plan is a good start but there is a lot more work to do on the maps. It loses the ability to help plan infrastructure without more detail. We have ignored some assets (I-74) which connect Indy and Cincinnati. Industrial growth in the TIF districts only neglects other areas. We need other areas to be developed to get tax base immediately. We also need comparisons to be in the charts and wanted more columns added to make them easier to work with. More industrial growth in the map doesn’t ignore Ag necessarily. She couldn’t come up with an example of how they could fit together however.

Daily wants more high-density Residential growth to conserve more farmland. She feels that would be beneficial to the county.

Thompson asked her- what other Industrial/Commercial areas were needed immediately. Daily said the TIF districts won’t give immediate tax base. DeMaynadier said- you can’t color the whole thing RED- you also have to have infrastructure. [NOTE: Now this is interesting- the TIF’s are there to attract outside industry/commercial- by giving a tax advantage to the business. Daily wants to develop outside the TIFs to get immediate tax relief to the county. The logic escapes me- WHY WOULD A BUSINESS DO THAT IF THEY COULD GET A REBATEON THEIR TAX ESENTIALLY IN A TIF?]


Plan Commission comments:

Kraus Jr. – This is how we want the county to grow- not to stop or promote development.

Laws- most of the audience is concerned with 20% of the county. I prefer a less restrictive land use map.

Thompson- Served as advisory board member and now as commissioner and plan commission. Many people worked on this effort. The dichotomy is one stressing development and one retaining rural character and less development. There is not much middle ground. The majority at these public hearings want a less development type strategy and we need some industrial to lessen the impact. He doesn’t think industrial development is the driver. Agrees with DeMaynadier- this is a starting point- we should move forward – it’s a living document. It does not foster nor curtail development.

Feiss- impressed with the turnout and hopes it improves the awareness of the plan. It’s a living document- she’s in favor of moving forward.

Nelson- My dad use to say- “Don’t be overcome with the exuberance of verbosity.” Development monitoring is not done- we need to be doing that. We need a strategy- he sees NO purpose in stopping the process. He wants the motion to say we will be willing to visit economic development in the future.

DeMaynadier- summarized other’s views. Stated this is a plan with many parts. The map plus guidelines has to be collectively viewed. The various boundaries are approximate. This plan does NOT assume that the PC won’t listen to all other use options when presented. We still listen on a case-by-case basis.
Move this process forward- don’t bite off more than we can chew- especially if there is no infrastructure. R has to be balanced by Industry Commercial and Ag is caught in the middle.

Hall- If this is the only problem- Industry and Commercial is not stopped by anything that is there- would rather go forward than stop or go backward.

Nelson motioned and Laws 2nd for AA as map Failed with 3 Nays from Thompson, Feiss, and DeMaynadier.

DeMaynadier motioned and Thompson 2nd for Map A Passed with two Nays from Nelson and Laws.

The text was accepted with Thompson motioning and Feiss 2nd . After several amendments they passed it with text cleaning up table 7-2 by adding existing and future land uses to it. They did NOT change the text on flood plain to restrict development completely. Laws and Nelson were Nays (as it matched a different map than they wanted.)

The Land Use map A and text now go to County Commissioners with a FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION for their consideration. Probably date is Nov 2oth at 6:30 PM. Watch newspapers for announcement in the legal section or call PZ office at 537-8821.

OKI – Fiscal impact Analysis regional and local prototype- gave a PowerPoint presentation and answered questions from the PC. In a nutshell- the fiscal impact study is ONE tool of several that are use to evaluate development. PC has to consider social, environmental, economic, political, etc. The analysis can use an average costing per capita multiplier method or a marginal costing or case study method. It will provide a clear link between land uses and government budgets. It also affects the need for capital investment and long-term borrowing. The analysis has to be DEFENSIBLE. They want an easy to use version with training. It also has to work for all three states in the OKI region. There will be an advisory committee to oversee this. $300,000 is total needing 20% match of $60,000 per year. Our share would be $5,000 per year for 3 years. This is to continue, update, and maintain the model. Seven communities are serious maybes right now. The methodology is regional but the data is local.

Larisa Sims and Bill Miller presented for OKI- they need a letter of commitment by Dec 15. If not now- we can still elect to participate in the future- the door is always open.

No decision was made yet.

Meeting adjourned 10:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Nicole Daily said...

Chris...The reason a business might want to develop outside the TIF district is if the land available in the TIF district does not meet their need in size. I hope this helps in the logic

Anonymous said...

Daily wants more high-density Residential growth to conserve more farmland. She feels that would be beneficial to the county.

Schools are already over-crowded, the police, fire and emts are over-stressed and unless you want to go the Fehrman route and have everyone chip in for "your" sewers, how can we sewer all these these high-density subdivisions?

These are real costs to be borne by someone!

Anonymous said...

" how can we sewer all these these high-density subdivisions?"

Please, no more Fehrman and Maxwell alternatives where they profit from their developments at the expense of the taxpayers or the poor slobs who have the bad luck to live nearby one of their proposed subdivisions, who would be forced by those two crooks to subsidize their subdivisions' sewers!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The I-74 corridor, now that a handful or realtors and developers no longer have the opportunity to work in "secret" as to the potential development up there, the land will no longer be available to be bought on the cheap.

Now that "all" the citizens are apprised of their land's value, the asking prices will go up.

The windfall profits, the DCEDI was hoping for their membership, is now a distant dream.

Anonymous said...

Does Jim West consider what Brett is trying to do with Gabbard Estates as "economic growth" for the County?

Brett wants a LOT of money from the rest of us, outright or through coercing those surrounding his property to pay for his sewers?

"TAKING" money from one person and "GIFTING" it to Brett is not what most would consider "economic development!

Nicole Daily said...

I think you needed to be at the meeting to understand my comment on the high density residential. A citizen had questioned the lost of agricultural acreage and suspected that is was being taken from the residential growth. My comment was if we would have higher density developments instead of lots on 5 or 10 acres, we could help preserve the farm land which would be benefical to the county. I don't feel that all residential development should be high density but it would help preserve the agriculture lands if we would be more open to higher density in certain areas.

Also there were some numbers that the Planning Staff distributed a few months back that basically stated that if Dearborn County continued to grow as it has in the past and if most of the growth was low density residential there would be a signaficant amount of agricultural land loss.

Anonymous said...

Problem is:

Developers want to buy up cheap farm land...no matter if it is near existing infrastructure or not...and they are going to want to develop it has dense has their political cronies will allow.

Planning a "few" dense subsidivisions will not curtail the race for farmland to slice up into 1/4 acre lots.

Unless development is forced to work from existing infrastructure out, more of what DCRSD is trying to do to citizen/taxpayer will take place across this entire County.

jjss said...

Development fees and impact fees would limit construction to those that have the resourses to fund their own developments, without in-pocket politicians continually devising ways to force the rest of us to finance undercapitalized developers!!!

Anonymous said...

Those of us who live out in the "boonies" used to have the comfort of knowing "development" is decades away from us due to the cost of running sewers out to no where. Little did we know that their were enough corrupt developers and politicians out there looking for ways to force us to pay for these sewers under the "guise" of "public health" concerns. Concerns that only seem to arrise around a developers proposed development, land he bought at rural prices, but wants the rest of us to subsidize his rezoning to residential or commercial.

chris mueller said...

"Nicole Daily said...
Chris...The reason a business might want to develop outside the TIF district is if the land available in the TIF district does not meet their need in size. I hope this helps in the logic"

Nicole- I would think the business would want the TIF area expanded to include them. Otherwise they would be getting "less" than the TIF businesses.

HHM said...

The idea of high density to save agricultural land sounds good. In reality it just sets up agricultural land for continual conversion to high density development as the developers progress across the County. The low density residential development, first is what some people want, and second preserves green space by locking land into residences that are likely remain and will impede high density development of what would otherwise be agricultural land.

Also, the pro-development group always indicates development is good. That is not necessarily true. Most new residential development costs the County (and subsequently the Citizens) more in services, than they pay in taxes. And junk, high noise or pollution producing industry is hardly of benefit to the County.
Industrial development should be planned and controlled to provide value and benefit to the County, not just allow anything anywhere!

The Citizens of this county should have a collective say in how the County grows and develops.

Anonymous said...

"Also, the pro-development group always indicates development is good.

Myopically, if it is good for a few DCEDI members, it is good for everyone!

Jim West and those who placed him up front to do their bidding, see “cheap” farm land going unexploited by greedy developers and somehow that leads them to the belief that we are lacking growth!

“Growth”, to West and friends, has to do with the pocketing of many dollars quickly by a few “connected” realtors/developers/bankers/lawyers!

It much of this “growth” is to be aided by our savings, then so be it!

Anonymous said...

Development should not be determinded where a developer can get the best deal on rural land. If that would be the case, we would have a hodge-podge of ill-fitting development disbursed through out this entire county, only to lower the intrinsic value of the entire county. To some in this county, it is all about buying cheap land, at rural land prices and having someone rezone the land into residential or commercial land for them, to better their profits.

jb said...

Nothing wrong with making an honest profit.

But the playing field has to be level for profit to be honest.

Getting a good deal by cheating someone else out of a better price is not honest.

It might be "good business" but a development or realty business that wants to keep a good local reputation needs to treat their sellers fairly. That may mean less profit in teh short run and more business over their life time.

Anonymous said...

It might be "good business" but a development or realty business that wants to keep a good local reputation needs to treat their sellers fairly.

What we are seeing is less worry about reputations by our local realtors and developers and more emphasis on political connections and downright bullying to get what they want from the rest of us!

Anonymous said...

Developers on the DCRSD's Board, pushing to have their subdivisions sewered with public dollars, is not playing on a level playing field?

Maybe Brett and John did not get the "Playing Honest" memo!

Anonymous said...

Christine Mueller please run for county commissioner.

Anonymous said...

Christine Mueller please run for county commissioner.

Christine is doing a fine job where she is!

She has proven that the pen is far greater than the political hack!

Anonymous said...


Just to clarify what I meant to say re the wording on flood plain development on p. 147. My suggestion was instead of the last sentence:
"Development activities and/or the placement of any obstructions should be extremely limited, if not restricted",
to read:
"Development activities and/or the placement of any obstructions should be restricted".
--Just thought it sounded better, with the same meaning (should is not shall).

Anonymous said...

The pen is far greater and easier.

Anonymous said...

The pen is far greater and easier.

Christine spends more time reporting on the antics of some of our more dishonest politicians in a week as these dishonest politicians do for us, and not for their developer buddies, in a year!

And that just crimps your lower unit, does it not?

Alan S. Freemond, Sr. said...

"the need for capital investment and long-term borrowing"

Yes here we go again. This time from Sims and Miller from OKI whoever the hell they are.

Of course they want money it is easier to get public funds than it is to WORK for a living. Everybody know that.

Now " long term borrowing" means that bonds are issued and guaranteed by the taxpayers. We don't seem to be able to shake this business of getting the taxpayers to underwrite whatever the developer/realtor puppets want.

If they have such great ideas let them guarantee any loans that they desire, bonds or whatever plan they have to raise money. IT is so easy, go borrow it, put up and maintain 120% collateral of the loans or the bonds. The collateral should be checked monthly and checked by out of state bankers.
Try Goldman Sacks, J. P. Morgan City Group, any of the Wall Street invesntment banks.

Can't do it? You're in the wrong league! Try mortgaging your liquid assets, and your house, your cars, you insurance policies, pensions and such. Then go to your Aunt Tilly and shake her down but but leave us alone. I don't see what the difficulty in understanding the concept of paying one's own way.

As for the OKI folks who need 300 K (for openers) 5K from us, SHOW THEM HOW TO GET TO I-74 eastbound back to Cincinnati and have them take with them the DCDEI and C of C hired hands.

How simple life can be without all of this sucking money from the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Alan....you need to start paying attention to what is going on before stricking everything down. Planning & Zoning Department has been thinking about doing the fiscal plan for a while. The OKI plan would just be another source for Dearborn County to use. This would help determine what fiscal impacts a development would have on the County. To potential help the County establish impact fees. The Planning & Zoning already have this money for a study, they are just trying to figure out whether they should contribute to this study as well as have a study done specifically for the County. This would give them to resources to use to determine the fiscal impact development has to the County.

Do some research before you start banishing people from the County.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Allen start with those who are "presently" trying to steal us blind, like the realtor/developers on the DCRSD!

Alan S. Freemond, Sr, AKA Crazy Al the psychiatrist ;~}. said...

This would give them to resources to use to determine the fiscal impact development has to the County.

What development, where, who is going to pay for it??

The OKI folks were seemingly intoxicated with the idea of that Rev.Lach and Beckley of the circle highway. In fact after I read the OKI peoples' comments about the circle highway I wondered the OKI people were not smoking our cash crop. You must watch these people.

Let's not forget that the OKI folks are petit functionaires, simple bureaucrats. They care as much about Dearborn County as does a dead fish floating in one of my ponds.