Wednesday, March 18, 2009

17 March 2009 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

17 March 2009 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Thompson, President, Orschell, and Hughes.

Also Present: Pickens, Auditor, Witte, Attorney, and Gay- later appointed Attorney pro tem.

Approximately 150 citizens were in the room and out in the hall- nearly all for the Master Plan Public Hearing.

1. Tyler Technologies contract changes were approved for Assessor’s office for assessment. Changes made were in language on performance bond delivery time and they also agreed to work over 3 years to fit into allocated budget.

2. Bright FD remains tabled.

3. Pete Resnick- DC Hospital ADM and Phillip Meyer- Director of Finance asked for and were granted approval for a waiver on the 30-day requirement to change their bonding. Current bonds are at a rate unfavorable to the hospital and they seek to change that on the advice of Bond Counsel- Barnes and Thornburgh. 5/3 Securities is Marketing Agent for the bonds.

4. Lifetime Housing letters for 4 rehab properties were approved for 14579 W Wood St- Moores Hill, 24683 Weisberg Road, Sunman, 29103 St. Joe Dr, W Harrison, and 23604 Salt Fork, Lawrenceburg.

5. PUBLIC HEARING FOR FUTURE LAND USE PLAN- taken off the table from 20 Nov 2007.

Mark McCormack- Plan Director gave a brief history of the master plan including timeline. He thoroughly discussed what the plan was and how it would be used. (A vision and a guide-as an advisory tool- not regulatory- to manage future inevitable growth) It is to give a clearer picture of where the community wants growth to occur, to manage the timing of changes in the community, and to help utilize public funds better. In order to get funding for road projects, master plans help increase scores. Sewer districts use it to plan expansion needs. It helps minimize the impact between incompatible land uses and enhances quality of life. He said also that tax assessments are NOT tied to zoning. Tax assessment is determined by the current USE of the land. This map is about projected future use. The zoning and subdivision ordinances are regulatory- the master plan is advisory.

McCormack showed the last land use plan and map from 1979. That is the map we are currently using. He showed all the communities around us who have updated future land use maps- and he showed the maps of these communities. When there are lawsuits and eminent domain issues – they are against the ordinances- like zoning and sub’n- NOT the master plans. He listed the Old PC board that had passed this with a favorable recommendation.

McCormack went on to show the groups represented by the 60 person advisory committee and then showed how the base map was created and the steep hillsides taken out, the flood plains removed, the sewer districts service areas , and then main roadways. He also said that at any time the commissioners can ask for a change to the master plan and the PC has 60 days to respond per IN code.

McCormack detailed the process of getting the plan to the public – with the newspaper, the radio, and the mailing of 20,000 postcards to county and city and town households. WE are not to interpret the map as having rigid lines- and it must be used collectively with other parts of the plan. The plan lasts about 10-year s with review every 3-5 years. Most of the growth is expected to be along main thoroughfares and in the TIF areas and around towns. He cautioned people not to underestimate what the commercial/industrial land uses were. They represent 4 SQUARE MILES- over 3000 acres- compared to the 918 we have today. (It triples what we have now) The intent is to maintain a core group of people that will meet annually to see how the comp plan is working. McCormack noted also that the 1020 census WILL affect this.

Tom Orschell- thanked the advisory group and Planning Dept. He asked several questions of McCormack to verify that the plan will not be used for tax assessment, that both maps change when zones change and that commissioners have the final say on zone changes. He noted that this map does not encourage or discourage development and that it is NEVER used by itself to approve or deny a project. Orschell asked if there were problems in neighboring cities and counties with their plans. (None that we know of) Was it well publicized? – yes. They discussed that OKI encouraged the process and was here in 2007- both Bill Miller and Larisa Sims. Travis Miller also reviewed it (the former Plan Director)

Jeff Hughes- said this was not mandatory by state code. He said he believes they will use it as a regulatory tool, because he was on the board before. He said he asked a PC member if this map could be the basis of a denial if all other items were fulfilled. And he said that UNIDENTIFID PC member said yes. He believes gov’t is to protect people’s rights. The property owner is the best steward of their property.

Mark McCormack said- here is what happens WITHOUT the community’s input on regional plans. (These plans all cost taxpayer money) He showed the DCRSD plans and maps for sewers- when they couldn’t wait for the master plan to be finished. He showed the original US 50 Corridor Plan and also the Vieste Plan which was to take place over 2007-2015 where land was to be acquired and there was no public input.

Hughes said- let the property owners decide.

McCormack asked him- how many public hearings did these plans have?

Hughes said Vieste failed because the people were misled by a member of the future land use plan. Hughes said he never supported forced hook-ups on sewers. Hughes said he was on eth PC for 2 years and they will look at this map as regulatory- he talked to the previous county attorney (Ewbank) about that- not this county attorney.

McCormack said- IN code allows this- it is the “industry standard” in all communities- it is NOT unconstitutional. The preamble is clear about how to use it- and McCormack read that to the commissioners.

Some current PC members spoke:

Russell Beiersdorfer- I was not on the committee that developed this- I will not use it as a regulatory tool. I will make my decisions based on what the individuals want for their property. I don’t see recreational zones, parks in this plan. That can be addressed later. I agree and I disagree with you. We need to approve this and move forward.

Mike Hall- Chairman of PC- This map was gone through with a lot of intense discussion. It didn’t make everyone happy- which means it’s probably a decent plan. This was the work of MANY different people. Something needs to be done to move forward.

Nicole Daily- BZA- and Adv Committee- One way or another- something needs to be done. Whether it’s reviewed by some other advisors or approved. I think the I-74 Corridor has been neglected. Vieste studies had many emotional issues. Not everything should be to the south. It’s a federal corridor- and we don’t have to pay for the infrastructure (road). Her only issue with the plan is that- she worries about economic development now that residential is down- we need to take advantage of professional and industrial offices we can develop. We need jobs for college-educated kids here. Orschell asked if she meant St. Leon West. She said – yes- the whole 74 corridor.

Orschell said he’d hate to invest county money and then St, Leon would annex.
Daily said- we need the tax base- if you keep within the 74-46 borders- they are their own buffer.

Thompson admonished the crowd to keep decorum- be brief and respectful. Don’t repeat. He said there was a sheriff’s officer present but assured the crowd that he didn’t think he’d be needed.

LaVerne Kolb- Benedict Lane Bright- This is one of the best maps we are ever going to have. The committee found that this was one map we could all live with. No disrespect to Nicole Daily, but the I-74 corridor will develop on its own- that is some of the BEST farmland in the county. Only 2% of the USA is in Ag- and they feed the other 98%. Our rights have been controlled for 30 years with eth old map and plan. It is hard sometimes but we obey the rules. We are not required to have this map- but it protects citizens- and helps to not have people walk on others rights.

Mandy Shore ( ??? speaker was unclear on her name)-Chesterville Road- We already have P/Z maps and all these regulations. This map is like double of something already in existence. How will I be assured eminent domain will not us this as a legal document. I am against the map- it all boils down to the property owner having the final say.

Bob Sauerbrey- Oak Ridge Bright- The constitution says the commissioners create legal documents- not the PC. The US Census bureau moved eth Greater Cinti Metro area to 24th place- above Indy. Chicago ate up all that is around it like a giant amoeba. If we don’t decide , Cincinnati will decide for us. We are in an envious place, near a metro area and we still can decide our future quality of life.

Dave Hughes- relative of Jeff’s in Dillsboro- Dillsboro had a plan and some people there said this is a way you can keep certain people out of your community.

Mike Rozow- Mark McCormack did an excellent job (applause) the Chamber needs a good smart plan. I want people to see that Dearborn County has its act together. I want to be sure we do the right things around the TIF areas. We need to build the trust back up after the Vieste plan. I could have choked them for that- they divided this county. We need jobs and opportunities here. People can’t retire now with the economy. I would like to see an unbiased group such as OKI review this map- to see if it is good and smart and will lead to jobs and a better family life. We pay them- we might as well use them.

Thompson asked Rozow- if a land use plan would help or hurt then in this process.

Rozow said – companies will like to see how a county thinks. I’m interested in the 74 corridor between St, Leon and W Harrison- NOT west of St, Leon. Land is valuable- we have to use it wisely.

Henry Knopf- Stewart Road- Aurora- landowner who lives in OHIO. I do believe that Dearborn County needs a plan.

Dennis Merk- White Ridge- Bright- Are there definitions of low and high density here? What if I want to divide my land? McCormack said yes- low is greater than 5 acres, high less than 1 acre and moderate is in the middle.

Thompson said- if you want to split the land you still go thru zoning.

Sheila Merk- Bright- I’ve come here before on rezones. If you are worried about your farm- PASS THIS! In the past things got rezoned high density without these plans. The plan showed where we didn’t have zoning right- spot zoning occurred. I care about safety. This is the best thing this county has ever done- the board deserves a handshake.

Pat Holland- Brown Road- Moores Hill- Talk about trust- the community members spent time on this. People have seen things they didn’t like and wanted to get guidelines. Density, traffic, economy were considered. You can’t have haphazard development. People won’t want to come here. We need a good quality of life to pass on. I want to get recreation here also- when we meet again on the plan we can look at that. This plan is to help eliminate many problems with pollution and safety. Tried to get public input and we did get a lot. We could always get more. When this was tabled the adv board was verbally spanked. Trust was broken. Community worked on this and I think that input is better than someone else coming in and telling us what to do.

Kathy Scott- Property owners can sell to anyone- what if a developer has bought land and to put 250 homes on it and next-door industry comes in and he can’t sell his homes? The map could help. The map should be passed tonight. The map worked for Mr Rozow last month when they requested a TIF district rezone to get a shovel ready industrial site. OKI is a metropolitan group- people need to get on the internet and see what they do. This map will help to give everyone pause to think before taking action.

Chet Wolgamot- SR 48 Manchester- I encourage you to adopt this plan- it was chosen by a huge turnout of Dearborn County citizens. I’m positive that all the people wish the best for Dearborn County. This was a 2-year process and I gave it plenty of time and effort. 530 people wrote comments and lots of people came and did their civic duty at the public hearings. The only reason there are large crowds here tonight is that this was legally blocked by 2 commissioners, one who isn’t here now. I don’t know whether to be angry or feel sorry for Mr. Hughes.. Many people have tried to explain this to him. Let’s adopt this and get on with important business, weather the recession, attract a tax base , not lower tier development. AND PLEASE GET A SOUND SYSTEM THAT WORKS!

Tom Klump- New Alsace- I think something should be in the plan to insure that if a farmer wants to sell to retire he can. I don’t like eminent domain.

Mike Steele- Bright- Thanked Hughes for his letter.

Pat Little- 22269 Stateline Bright- 23 year resident. I have problems with this document. I read what the plan does. This won’t affect future uses? This document can be changed at any time- why do we need it? Most farmers aren’t rich- they have their land to sell if they get sick. Shouldn’t they be allowed to sell their land for something besides Ag? HVL was forested and not good for much except pasture. The tax bills should have a document in them telling what the future land use will be. We need to be talking to our neighbors – not letting county decide.

William Short- Woodlawn- Aurora- How will you use eminent domain? It has to be for public use and there are criteria. McCormack told him eminent domain is exercised by regulatory body not Planning Commission. It would take Commissioners or Redevelopment to do that. He also cited the 36-7-4 series of the IN code for him to check on that to verify.

Thompson said in his opinion taking land by eminent domain for developers is legalized theft and he won’t vote for that. It should only be used as a last resort.

Linda Mitchell- Bright- We are surrounded by Ag- you can’t say you can always sell to the highest bidder. There are property SELLERS rights and property OWNERS rights. Look at the community- we should pass this tonight- even though it is not perfect.

Mandy Shore- again- this is duplication.

Sheila Merk again- We have an OLD version of this map now- it’s no good- pass this one.

Sandy Whitehead- Blue Creek Road- Jackson Township- It’s been said OVER and OVER- it’s and advisory map. My neighbor had questions about this letter of Jeff’s. Who all got this letter? Hughes replied 50 acres and over. But not all- he couldn’t afford to send it to all the large property owners. Sandy went on to say- your letter was not facts. She brought up the NW Quad issues and urged passage of the plan.

La Verne Kolb- again- this is not about eminent domain.

Bob Sauerbrey- again- Vieste could have run those people ( NW Quad) out- we need a vision or we go down piece by piece.

Tom Klump- again- don’t use it against us- write it in there to protect us.

Eugene Cappel- Lawrenceville Road- Thanks Hughes for bringing it to their attention- read it online and liked what he researched.

??? at 6297 US 50- Not going to get direction in the county without infrastructure. Why not make this a public vote at election time?

Thompson said there is no mechanism for that.


Tom Orschell -said this document was written by citizens- it’s a living document and can be changed as we move forward.

Jeff Hughes- I don’t think this is in the spirit of American freedom. It creates an artificial market. I disagree with moving forward.

Ralph Thompson- Zoning already affects what you can do with your property. This is a planning tool to help Rozow with economic development and others with infrastructure plans for development. Property owners have rights as long as we protect the neighbor’s rights too. This is a planning tool. Mike Rozow thinks it will be appositive, if not a perfect, tool. I’ve worked with him- we hope to bring in quality jobs. . If we table this again, it stops the process. We could reject it, send it back with suggestions, or we could approve it, knowing that it will be revised in about 3 years.
A lot of citizens had input on this- the newspaper, radio and postcards were sent out. 2% as a poll is an excellent sample size.

Tom Orschell- I move to accept the land use plan as is.
Hughes said he couldn’t 2nd it.
Thompson said I will 2nd it- I believe the county has to move forward.
Motion Passes- 2 ayes and Hughes Nay.

5-minute recess to clear the room.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman gave 25- minute report.
$9379.10 awarded to purchase RR signs and markings to be completes by May 31, 2010.

Last Triple Whipple change order approved for $4120 for drain installation at each end of the bridge, sandblasting, and sealing the deck/. Our share is 80/20 = $820.

Listerman was authorized to sign the contract for 3000 tons of salt at the state negotiated price. This locks into the price and we have to use (pay for) 80% of that minimum.

Listerman will train for the new procedure for LPA projects, so that it won’t take years to get things done. There has to be a certified person in charge at the local level.

Hwy is going to summers hours and dividing into 2 crews. Trucks no longer have to go home with drivers. Foremen are meeting this week.

Listerman will go to INDOT to make our case for the 3 bridges we requested.

The stimulus money request was changed to remove the paving for Pribble, Kaiser, and Stateline hills. They might be in OKI MPO also- so it was cleaner to remove them from the listing.

Holt Road was closed last year- they can’t do the bridge in-house as it’s about $250,000 and that requires bids. They did put guardrail on both ends to prevent use of the bridge.

Listerman will be off next week for Spring break- MTW to help his in-laws.

Listerman will have report on 4/10 work week at their next meeting.

Commissioners approved Listerman to go for all $3million on stimulus, and OK’d him going to Council if they need to use extra money here to complete, He can request from Council to use part of $1.2 million from Transportation Infrastructure Acc’t.

Attorney- Jack Gay for Mike Witte- handed them a letter on a resident problem- they can share it if they desire with the resident. (This was probably the ATV problem from last meeting)
Commissioners decided to get a larger facility for next Bright FD hearing. Sue will set that up.
Hughes welcomed Mr. Gay at county att’y for when Mike Witte is serving at Superior Court in Wayne County.

Commissioners decided to stay with evening meetings.

Phil Darling- York Township- with over 150 people here tonight- can you get a switch to allow speaker in the hallway? Sound system needs work anyway.

Ray Wagner- Bright Fire District- Had pictures and a business owner requesting commissioners be informed that petitions against the district were damaged and threatening comments on them all on video tape. He was advised to tell the owner to go to the sheriff.
Wagner also asked about the number of petitions required to eliminate the Fire District and how they could know how many households were in the district? Pickens said- good question! Need 51% - one per household only. That makes it a dead issue for 2 years. Brown county enacted one and then had to remove it because of petitions. Also issues with Kelso and other dept. being caught in the lines- esp with overlap of EMS.

Jake Hoog- Jackson Township- I am speaking as a private citizen and not a PC member. My mother received a copy of Jeff Hughes letter and the letter says a banker said her property would be worthless. He said there were false statements in that letter. What banker said that? Jeff said he couldn’t say due to reprisals. Hoog said the value of the property is what the consumer will pay for it. Hughes agreed it was market value. Hoog said he thought it was unethical to send out these letters- when the other commissioners didn’t know. It should have been done as a board and presented to everyone here tonight. Also please find a bigger room for meetings like this one, so all can participate.

Paul Ravenna- Asked about Thompsons actions at the end of the FD meeting and why ask if they’d agree if it cost less? Thompson said he wasn’t trying to negotiate- he was only seeing where there issues were. Pickens said they can go to DLGF and get approved , but they can’t get more money later. That’s why they ask for so much up front.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 PM

After the meeting Commissioners said the Jail/Court complex project will have a meeting March 31 at 4 PM.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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