Tuesday, January 26, 2010

25 January 2010 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

25 January 2010 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mike Hall, Chairman, Mark Lehman, Ken Nelson, Jake Hoog, Dennis Kraus, Jr., Russell Beiersdorfer, Mike Hornbach, Ralph Thompson, and Dan Lansing.

Also present: Mark McCormack, Plan Director, Arnie McGill, Attorney, Ashley Webb, Zoning Administrator, and Ron Barnhart, Ass’t Planner.

Hall was reelected as Chairman, Kraus Jr. as Vice chairman, McCormack as Secretary, and McGill as Attorney. Mike Hall is the PC rep to the BZA again.

There were no applications or old business that was to come off the table.


Discussion of Sugar Ridge PUD solutions took about 2.5 hours. The room was full of about 40 residents from Sugar Ridge. UCB bank representatives (Bill Ritzmann, EG McLaughlin, and Bob Ewbank) attended. DCRSD board member Brett Fehrman and President Steve Renihan were present. In addition to Thompson , the commissioner who sits on the PC, Commissioners Orschell and Hughes attended.

McCormack gave a power point presentation of the timeline and issues that are still unsolved at Sugar Ridge. The report and map can be downloaded from the PC website: www.dearborncounty.org/planning

The purpose of this session was to inform the officials and stakeholders involved of the facts regarding the development and to engage the parties to address ongoing problems with the subdivision.

Notice was sent to 58 parties based on tax records with the assessor’s office. Public notice was also given to the local media and to property owners via emails to pass to neighbors.
The top coat on the roads- Augusta Drive and Oakmont will cost about $150,000 to do it to the sub collector specs as in the plans. The county has done some snow removal there for safety reasons, despite the fact that it is not an accepted county road. The pedestrian bike path and drainage areas are not in the bond and the pathway will likely not be done. The original plan changed with retention and detention areas and also with density areas. Article 16 in the code was revised to address issues that this development made evident- regarding major and minor changes.

Nelson questioned the movement of density and how it affected the investors with loans on the land. He also questioned the amount of contact between staff and developer. McCormack said the problems developed about the same time as the developer (and county)let the $700,000 letter of credit with First Financial bank lapse. The $500,000 letter of credit was released earlier as that amount of work was finished on the road.

In Nov 2007 a lawsuit was filed against the developer for non-compliance issues. Many of the lots have been foreclosed , but the lawsuit is still pending. Nelson said- If fraud was involved in the bond issues, you cannot hide behind bankruptcy for fraud. McGill said there were never any allegations of fraud by any creditor at that time. They all signed off on the bankruptcy. Nelson asked if it was a smoke and mirrors game. McCormack said the blanks in their knowledge got filled in by parties who had loaned to the developer. He then delineated the areas of density that were moved around during the development phase and noted that the practice range and banquet hall are not going to be built apparently. Even though density areas moved, the total density for the PUD stayed the same.

Thompson asked for a list of banks involved in the developer’s mortgage. He wants to track who was financially impacted by the density shift. Banks listed were: Eagle Savings, First Financial, Bank of America, UCB, LaSalle, Central, and Merchants. McCormack stated that some banks were given plans with densities that far exceed any density that the county approved.

Greendale has to sign off before any additional sewage capacity can be added beyond the original plan. Lots 2, 120, 28, 29, 26, 22 etc are affected by OWNING detention basins. There are homeowners associations in the village and condo areas. There is none in the single family detached homes. They have restrictions and covenants that they will have to enforce in civil suits if needed as the developer is no longer there. The purpose of the meeting is to INFORM residents NOT to set up Homeowners Ass’ns for them.


Carl Stecklan (sp?) asked how do bonds expire? Performance bonds cover the job and should run until it is completed. They get billed for the premium until it’s released by the county!
McGill said it was a letter of credit and we don’t actually have a copy of the letter of credit- we have a letter with the number and etc on it referring to it in our file. The bank (First Financial) said they destroy letters of credit after a certain time period. [NOTE: UNBELIEVABLE!- A financial institution that deals in taxable situations destroys something that soon? Banks destroying financial records less than 5 years old?]
Carl Stecklan- you might want to only get bonds from now on.

McCormack- To correct this problem, we have monthly tracking on all of these now with reports to the PC. The bonds are no longer in highway- they are in PZ Office.

Lisa Taylor- Lot 161 -is an attorney living in Sugar Ridge- concerned about fraud possibility. We should move forward with that- where is Macke’s partner? Encourage the county to look into a lawsuit. She wants no HOA- she would have moved to HVL if she wanted that. Do NOT leave the lawsuit on the table- do not accept that the bank does not have a copy of the letter of credit. There are problems here and it means people will have trouble selling until they are fixed.

??? Man (could not hear name)- Per Article 4 of PZ- the county did not proceed in a timely manner to execute the letter of credit. We’re all culpable- us for not getting to it and the county for not managing better. We need asphalt top coat- if each owner pitches in x amount- we can get it done and move on. Macke’s gone. [NOTE: Several in the audience were not in favor of spending their money.]

Frank Leary- Lot 24- has one of the retention areas by him- and knows he is responsible to help with repairs possible. He added that Macke bought Elk Run Golf Course in Milford and put it in his wife’s name. Leary attended the bankruptcy hearing and learned about these shenanigans.

Jerry Federle- Heard that Pebble Creek bought the golf course- and that 4 owners included Macke and his partner Tuke.

McGill- It’s a different legal corporation- hence a different “person.”

Tim Brennan- Is the county going to blacktop the street and accept it? Sometimes with a letter of credit the bank requires the developer to put up a performance bond to secure the line of credit. Ask about his. Since the county did not do due diligence- will they fix this?

Bill Ritzmann- UCB Bank President- We foreclosed on the golf course- we owned it and own Lot 157 in D-1. We did this as a way of keeping property values up. Even though the consequences were unintended by the PC – they are real. We called the county to confirm the density on D-1- Lot 157 and made the mortgage for 60 condos. Now the density it 2.85- so only 21 units. We are not here with our hand out- but we are here to voice our concerns. “UCB HAS SOLD SUGAR RIDGE GOLF COURSE TO ANOTHER ENTITY AND MACKE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.” We believe in Sugar Ridge- it can be a really nice development. The county should get the road paved.

???- Pres of Villages of Sugar Glen and their HOA- Property D- built 22 condos, sold 18, and also a clubhouse because a practice range was to be her. Our bank defaulted on us- we raised the money and stayed. If they knew what they actually have now- the banks can redo their paperwork ( write-off) and move on.


Nelson- Bothered by this because now the regulations will increase on everyone. One option – look at a TIF here to raise the funds for road and other infrastructure and maybe even the traffic light. Second- maybe we should collectively chase Macke and get something. I’d like to know who got the money when the bond was released. Were the partners discharged also? These are things that a lawsuit will uncover. They think we are country hicks and they leave us holding the bag.

McGill- don’t know how many corporations and LLCs are in existence for them.

Lisa Taylor- attorney- piercing the corporate veil- consider fraud again.

McGill- The banks did not object at the bankruptcy hearing. How to claim fraud now? All these LLCs are in Ohio. They only have to list their attorney and the rest are covered. We talked to the county attorney about this at the time.

Bob Ewbank-attorney- I was the county attorney then. There is NO letter of credit. The county let it lapse.

McCormack- PZ did not let it lapse- it was in the highway dept then. The Plan Director at that time and the Ass’t County Engineer who was in charge on bonds no longer work for the county. The people who are in charge now are trying to fix this! We have a letter from First Financial Bank to show the $700,000 letter of credit exists- but no actual letter of credit. WE have looked everywhere in the files.

Tom Orschell- Commissioner – explained the highway budget issues and revenue. He is willing to work to help resolve but can make no commitments tonight. [NOTE: He is correct. Commissioners are all present and so it is inappropriate for them to take action as this is not their publicly announced meeting time. Note Open Door Laws]

Todd Listerman- Transportation Director- will contact Tom Gehring and Dave O’Mara to get copies of the road data. Only have data for first part of Augusta Road. Estimate for the road topcoat of 1.5” was $150,000 from O’Mara in 2008. One small area was fixed by the county where the sewer line came across. County plows some areas for safety issues. The asphalt is in the 7.5-11” range and was to be set as a collector standard of 10.5”. It would definitely meet local street standards. The idea now is to put topcoats on and have roads finished within 2 years- not wait for a large percentage of build out to be done. Some of our bonds extend 7-10 years!. Now if the road tears up after the 2years and topcoat- the builders are responsible. They won’t get an occupancy permit until they fix the damage. Speed limit is 30 mph on Augusta- as it is an unposted speed limit road. 30 mph is enforceable by the sheriff.

County gets $4000 per mile for roads and it would take 20 years to recoup that for Augusta Drive at $150,000. He proposed maybe doing chip seal over this to hold it at about $30,000 cost. The county only paved 3.5 miles of the 500 we have last year. The road counts on this road are low- and very little truck traffic. Neighbors were worried about the speeders and drunks from the clubhouse.

Listerman said if the subbase were bad we would have seen it by now with as much rain as we had last year. This road has no gravel base- it is a full depth asphalt road.

Jeff Hughes- County Commissioner- asked to speak. We all inherited this- the county does have responsibility. If it come to the commissioners, I’m going to vote to take it (the road) over.

Ralph Thompson- County Commissioner and Plan Commission member- There are issues for the commissioners to decide and they cannot legally be discussed here. He motioned to continue the research and table this till the February 22nd meeting. Lansing 2nded. All ayes. TABLED.

Rick Murphy- advised them that the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court has online listings of all under Michael R Macke.

1. Gave out annual report for Board review.
2. Comp Plan Advisory Board Meeting will probably be the last Wed in March.
3. Passed out the updated bonds lists and one is coming due that has been dragging their feet.
4. Draft copy for review of the inspection and enforcement procedure- to be finalized in Feb or Mar.
Meeting adjourned at 9:40 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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