Monday, November 29, 2010

29 November 2010 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

29 November 2010 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mike Hall, Chairman, Dennis Kraus Jr., Russell Beiersdorfer, Mark Lehman, Mike Hornbach, Ralph Thompson, Jake Hoog, Dan Lansing, and Ken Nelson
Also Present: Mark McCormack, Plan Director, and Arnie McGill, Attorney.


Appeal of the decision of the Technical Review Committee to grant primary approval for an 8-lot subdivision, St. Joseph’s Field Subdivision by James Hough, Jerome Hough, and Nina Campbell. The owner of the Ag zoned 21 acres on Chesterville Road in Sparta Township is Joseph Tuechert.

Current proposal involves the retention of the airstrip granted as a conditional use by BZA from 1997 with prospective owners potentially being able to use the one airplane allowed on the site. Hours of operation limited to 2 hours after official sunrise and 0.5 hours before sunset. The use is to be terminated if a residence is built on the southern adjoining property per 1997 agreement. Tech review tabled it this summer and then it was brought back in October 2010. Lot 7 was possibly an unbuildable lot as one of the tech review concerns. There may be only 6-7 lots when it gets to secondary approval phase. Septic placement and setbacks could eliminate one or two lots. Neighbors are appealing the decision. The area is all Ag zoned around this. With current uses though, there are mixtures of uses, the main other use is residential. This site is the flattest in the area around it. The airstrip runs right next to the proposed road.

Issues named by appellants to oppose this decision are: use and density is inappropriate, increased noise, loss of wildlife, and increased fire hazard.

Only one airplane is allowed on site per FAA. No more planes can be added to this. The use of the airstrip is not in question. It has been operated in accord with FAA and County stipulations.
10 letters were mailed out. Chesterville Acres 2005, Long Branch Ridge 2000, and McGuires 2003 were subdivisions from 2000 on in the area- on Ag land.

The appeal was made within the 30 day time limit as stated in the ordinance.
Keep in mind that this is a minor subdivision on two parent tracts. One tract probably wouldn’t have to be a minor division. The whole area has been Ag since 1965.

[NOTE: How did this get decided by Tech Review with something as SIGNIFICANT as an airstrip in it? That would seem to be something that should be decided by the Plan Commission. How is this supportive of the intent of the Agricultural district?]

James E Hough- retired PE and licensed geologist. Speaking on behalf of 3 appellants. There is an issue of 300 ft ROW on the airstrip that goes beyond this property. In reviewing Ag zone code. The purpose of Ag zone doesn’t list this. This does not seem to fit with or support the Ag use. Non-compliance with FAA document. This is a commercial activity and not agriculturally related. Noise from landings. Wildlife issues. Increased risk of pilot error that could damage adjacent property. Contradictory information on plat. The FAA does not approve or disapprove private airstrip development.
Property value issue.
Subject to be reviewed by the board if neighbors complain of noise etc. was listed in the original BZA stipulations.
There are issues with not having enough land to accommodate the airstrip length required. It goes across Chesterville Rd to the Lanvermeyer property.

Nina Campbell- primary concern is value of the property, and the runway length issues.

Rob Sieg- surveyor for Joe Tuechert- want to work with the county- if we need to add a covenant, we’ll look at that. FAA out of Chicago has no issues with this. Joe has all the proper documentation for this to be a private airstrip. They will add that if a house to the south is built, the airstrip goes away if the board wants that.
Sieg said the use is same as the land to the west- a small subdivision. The density is similar. Increased noise is not an issue- same as before. Loss of wildlife- he doesn’t understand. The classified nature preserve next door is the neighbor’s issue. The wildlife can still exist and move freely. There is no airplane fuel stored on the property- so no fire hazard. Not changing anything- other than 6 new potential homes to approve around this airstrip. Joe has discretion as to who is allowed to use or buy an interest in his airplane. He is currently farming the land. He acknowledged that a clear zone does exist on the south adjoining property. That is why the airstrip ceases to exist if someone builds there. He went on to disagree with the apppellants’s statements. He even thought it could increase the value of the property. Driveway surface issues with the runway include grass airstrip. Melanie of the FAA saw all these plans.

Thompson asked questions – 1450 ft for runway from S property line. He showed some issue with the pole barn and alley on other property and the 125 ft setbacks.

Arnie McGill- attorney for PC- said that they can only address if the tech review decision was correct.

Joe Teuchert- owner- reiterated the airstrip rules. He said it’s only 1220 ft. and it starts further into the property. He said there will be no rental- they will have to be part owners. He may not need to sell part of the plane now that he has this other business venture. He said- this is just about the subdivision- not the airstrip. Airport is open to medi-copters. No one else. Costs $200 to fly it- so he doesn’t do it much.

James Hough- reiterated the FAA requirements- 3 of which he says are not met by this airstrip. He was advised to take that complaint up with the FAA.

Chris Mueller- asked what rules allow tech review to approve something without BZA or PC being consulted particularly if there is something significant in the middle of it.

McCormack cited the state law that allows this. There was some discussion that clarification may be needed in our ordinance.

Thompson- said that putting subdivisions next to wildlife or farm does affect them. But because McGill said they have to stick to just the subdivision concept, Thomspon said he’d have to deny the appeal. Nelson motioned and Beiersdorfer 2nded to deny the appeal. All ayes. Appeal denied.
Proposed amendments to the Dearborn County Zoning Maps. Mark McCormack passed out digital maps and insets along with disclaimer to be posted with it, saying that the official determination of a zone comes from the planning dept. They would also list a month date and year that it was effective to. This would replace the 8 panel maps. Nelson thought this is start in the right direction to see the whole community too. This format will be easier to use. This corrects mistakes too. This will also help suggest correcting some areas in the future. All three commissioners know what this is about. Nelson and Kraus Jr. motioned to send it with notes to commissioners for approval. All ayes.

1. Passed out performance guarantee list and noted expirations pending early next year.
2. Passed out the schedule for meetings next year. Approved.
3. Printer was approved by Council.
4. St. Leon has adopted new subdivision ordinance effective on Nov 1st and are posted on their website:
5. Thompson said this was his last meeting as a Plan Commissioner and expressed how he enjoyed it. Protect rights of all property owners as well as developers. Have to look at some of the precedents and not repeat any bad ones. Mike Hall said they appreciated working with him also.
6. Dec 20th meeting only has a street vacation on the agenda.

Meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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