Posted on

Planners turn down Thompsons’ plat for Spring Leaf subdivision

Bruce and Mary Thompson and their son, Denny, have hired an attorney to seek approval of their 46-acre Spring Leaf Subdivision, which they plan to develop next to Willow Creek subdivision off S.R. 62 east of Corydon. The Willow Creek residents all object to the Thompsons using the road through Willow Creek to Spring Leaf.
The attorney, David Nachand of Jeffersonville, said he is a “straight shooter” with 25 years of experience in zoning issues in Clark County. He spoke for the Thompsons Monday night at the Corydon Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at Town Hall.
Nachand said that, in his opinion, according to state law and the town zoning ordinance itself, there is no way the planners could reject the Thompsons’ preliminary plat. He said there were no valid reasons why it should be refused, and it’s too late to file objections anyway.
He reminded the planners that in other counties, like Floyd, petitioners have sued individual plan commission members for civil rights violations and damages. He mentioned a figure of $50,000, and he said he hoped that wouldn’t happen here.
Nachand said his clients want to use their property for homes just as the people in Willow Creek use their property for their homes. He said in a couple of years, the people of Willow Creek will wonder why they were so fearful about the Thompson subdivision. “It won’t hurt them,” he said.
Nachand said he hoped he hadn’t offended any of the “nice people” who live in Willow Creek who were listening to him. Addressing the board, he said, “Please don’t let these nice people get you in trouble.”
Plan commission chair Dr. Len Waite smiled and thanked Nachand for his “non-adversarial presentation.” After John Daily answered for the citizens of Willow Creek, all of whom object to their road being the main access to Spring Leaf, the plan commission voted 8-0 to reject the Thompsons’ preliminary plat.
Bruce Thompson had no comment after the unanimous vote.
Nachand said state law says that if an application for a plat and the plat itself conform to the zoning ordinance standards, the plan commission must accept it.
He said the Supreme Court has decided that if a plan commission has any latitude in approving or disapproving a plan, it comes during the writing of the ordinance, not when approving or disapproving plans.
He said Spring Leaf’s 30 lots on 46 acres meet all the tests.
In addition, he said the Thompsons will let all construction traffic come in from the north off Grange Hall Road. Spring Leaf’s subdivision requirements will be identical to Willow Creek’s.
He said an applicant must be told why his plans should be rejected at the “first opportunity,” and he doesn’t have to request it. Nachand said, “Your first opportunity is your last opportunity. In my opinion, and I don’t want to aggravate you, but the time to tell the client has come and past,” he said, referring to the Thompsons’ appearance at the April meeting.
Nachand cited several statements from the zoning ordinance which, he said, support his clients.
Daily said his Willow Creek’s attorney was not present, and that there are always two sides to each story. He said all the residents there have signed a petition stating their concerns about traffic and their opposition to the Thompsons using their road to Spring Leaf.
Daily said the residents are concerned about loss of peace and quiet (main reasons for buying property there), and they worry about their property values going down. If anything, he said, the Thompsons should plan to have entrances along Grange Hall Road, not S.R. 62.
He said to the board, “It’s easy for him (Nachand) to threaten you. That’s what he did.”
Willow Creek resident Diane McCartin said she knows of one home sale that has fallen though because of the controversy. She said there are 21 children under 15 in their subdivision, and Willow Creek was not designed to carry large amounts of traffic, which will “destroy our community spirit,” she said.
“I urge you to rely on your attorney and his advice and your interpretation of the ordinance.”