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Planners to make serious visit to ‘Fun Farm’ site

A Corydon man who, six months ago, was denied approval from the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals to expand his existing business, approved as a special exception, made a similar presentation to the county’s advisory plan commission last week.
That board tabled Steve C. Boehman’s zoning change request until it can visit the 76-acre site on Breckenridge Road, west of Lanesville.
Boehman, who has operated Paintball Fun about eight years, wants to rename the business The Fun Farm, which would include a go-cart track, water slides, batting cages, and horseback riding and stables. He estimated the additional activities would draw “several hundred” additional people each week into Harrison County.
Last September, Boehman said he desired the expansion because his paintball business had “dropped off considerably.”
Opponents last fall, and again last week, cited concerns about additional noise and increasing traffic on the narrow, curvy roads there.
New Albany attorney John Kraft, representing Boehman, told the plan commission Thursday night that Boehman’s plans qualify for a Planned Unit Development (PUD). Boehman’s request is to have the property rezoned from A-R to PUD.
Marvin Schmidt of Georgetown, a real estate broker, told the board that his research, done at Boehman’s request, did not indicate that property values in the area had declined since the opening of Paintball Fun.
“Land sales in that area have kept abreast of other sales in the area,” Schmidt said.
He added that A-R zones include “other intrusions,” such as grain dryers and livestock.
The Fun Farm would provide “something for the youth to do,” Schmidt said.
Boehman brought to the meeting a videotape that included audio to substantiate his claim that paintball players or the public address system cannot be heard by neighbors.
Boehman said there were about 170 people at Paintball Fun the day he recorded the tape. He used a meter to record decibel levels, which were extremely low at the property lines.
Many of the same neighbors who spoke in opposition last fall disputed Boehman’s claims about low noise; some invited plan commission members to come to their homes to hear for themselves.
“I wish we had thought about bringing our own video with noise,” said Diane Lewis, who lives next door to Paintball Fun. “We have come to learn to live with it. Now, we’re dealing with something so much greater.”
Lewis and others said they are not opposed to Boehman’s project and the young people who support it.
“We’re opposed to the location,” she said. “This needs to be in a commercial area.”
A few people spoke in favor of the request.
Allie Knieriem of Corydon, who said she was representing the “younger generation,” said The Fun Farm would help keep teenagers off the streets and give them some place close to go to rather than drive 30 to 40 minutes away, and it would provide “jobs for older people.”
Susan Reas said her two children spent considerable time at Paintball Fun. She said she “appreciated” knowing where they were and that they were close to home.
Boehman told the plan commission that he has “almost 100 percent” support of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County.
Yesterday, Chamber executive director Darrell Voelker said the Chamber has not, and will not, take a position on a project like Boehman’s, stating that it’s up to the plan commission to determine zoning.
“We always encourage development,” Voelker said, “but the plan commission will determine its place.”
The results of a survey conducted in 1992, at the direction of the Chamber, indicated an appeal by Harrison Countians for recreation/entertainment activities closer to home, but the study did not promote specific locations.
The plan commission unanimously voted to table Boehman’s request and set a site visit for 1 p.m. on April 13. Commission members then will consider the request at its next meeting, May 2, at which time they will hear a staff report and allow discussion on any new items about Boehman’s request.