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Paintball Fun plans foiled

Plans to expand an existing business into a multi-use facility were halted last week, much to the delight of a standing-room-only crowd at the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals.
Steve C. Boehman, who has operated Paintball Fun the past seven years on his 76-acre site on Breckenridge Road, wanted to expand his business to include such things as a go-cart track, water slides, batting cages, and horseback riding and stables.
Citing the fact that his paintball business has “dropped off considerably” the past three years, Boehman said he was “looking for better options that are more pleasing to everyone.”
But no one in the room thought Boehman’s proposal was acceptable.
After 10 people spoke in opposition to the request, Tod Smyrichinsky, who chairs the BZA, asked for a show of hands of those attending the meeting who were opposed. It appeared the only ones who didn’t raise their hands were applicants to present other docket items.
Those who spoke pointed out problems of finding paintballs on their property and violation by Boehman of setbacks, and other things, such as the additional noise that would come from the property and increased traffic on roads that are narrow and curvy.
BZA member Jim Klinstiver said he supports the “free enterprise system” and that the roads are “public.”
But after 90 minutes of discussion, none of the other BZA members were convinced that the expansion should be allowed. A motion passed, 4-1, to deny the request. Klinstiver cast the lone nay vote
“I’m really not opposed to this type of operation,” said BZA member Larry Ott. “It’s just not the right place. I think it would be good for the county.”
The BZA then unanimously passed a motion giving Boehman 30 days to bring his existing business into compliance with stipulations placed when he first got his special exception seven years ago.
Later in the meeting, a man who was denied his request for a variance to reduce the minimum side yard setback let the BZA know of his displeasure — more than once — by slamming the door to the Commissioners’ Room each time he left the room.
George E. Foster wanted the variance so he could build a 24- by 36-foot garage on his property at 4654 Crandall-Lanesville Road. Foster’s proposed location of the garage would leave about four feet between the side of the garage and his neighbor’s property.
When the BZA asked if he could relocate the garage elsewhere on the property, Foster explained that he and his wife are disabled, and they prefer to have the garage situated so they could enter their home directly from the garage.
“It’s definitely a hardship,” said Klinstiver, who made a motion to approve but also questioning the size of the garage. He said a smaller building would provide more side yard.
Foster said he wanted that size to house two vehicles and his boat.
Klinstiver’s motion died for lack of a second.
Ott then moved to deny the request. “I just can’t vote for something that close to the side,” he said.
Gettelfinger added that, as proposed, the garage would be directly under utility lines. Foster said he had approval from Harrison REMC to build under the line.
After the motion to deny passed, Foster asked: “What if I go ahead and build it anyway? It’s my property.
“It’s a simple garage,” he said. “My neighbor doesn’t care.”
Foster was advised that he would violate county ordinances if he built the garage after being denied his request. Foster made an explicit comment on his way out of the room and slammed the door.
During the next docket item, Foster returned, interrupted the meeting and apologized for his language.
“I just don’t understand,” he said. “It’s my property. I’ve lived there since 1975. I’ve always wanted a garage.”
After receiving no satisfaction from the BZA, Foster left the room, slamming the door again.
Foster appeared a third time before the board adjourned, but Smyrichinsky stopped him from interrupting. He told Foster he would have to wait.
Given another chance to speak later, Foster said he wanted the minutes to reflect that he believed he was being discriminated against because he and his wife are disabled. He said he would contact an attorney. On his way out, he slammed the door again.
The meeting adjourned shortly after that, just before 11 p.m.
In other matters, the BZA:
— Approved a special exception request by Henry R. and Vickie S. McCormick for a second home on family property at 4185 Corydon-Ramsey Road. The request was approved pending the applicant obtaining a permit from the Harrison County Health Dept.
— Approved a special exception request by the Town of Elizabeth for a town hall to be constructed on the northwest corner of the intersection of Hurricane Street and Elizabeth-New Middletown Road. The town hall will provide office space for four town employees, the municipal water department and storage for equipment now kept outdoors.
— Denied a special exception request by Judith Lawson for a furniture manufacture at 475 Highway 462. Lawson’s request had previously been tabled because she did not appear before the BZA. The decision to deny the request came after she failed to appear again.
— Denied a variance request by Mark B. Bryson to create a lot with less than 150 feet of road frontage and reduce a required rear-yard setback for property at 5501 Georges Hill Road. While not listed on the docket, the BZA acknowledged that the request also would require a third variance because the new lot would be less than one acre in size.
— Tabled a request by Chris Wilkerson for a variance to create a lot without road frontage at 1500 Walnut Valley Road. Members of the BZA asked Wilkerson to submit a 60-foot road easement and maintenance agreement before they will approve the request.
The BZA meets this month on Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the Harrison County Court House.

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