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Request for 50-lot subdivision tabled, again

A request for a major subdivision east of Lanesville was tabled – again – this month by the Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission to give the developers a chance to get written agreements with neighboring property owners and resolve some issues about sewer connection requirements.
John Blocker and Mark Bush want to develop 50 lots on 28.65 acres north of S.R. 62, just east of Tandy Road and west of the High View Addition. The subdivision would be named Sunrise Ridge.
The preliminary plat was first presented to the plan commission in September but tabled to allow the developers time to try to come up with a better entrance.
At the Jan. 2 meeting, engineer-surveyor Paul Primavera said minor modifications had been made to the proposed road since his earlier presentation.
“The main reason, I feel, we’re doing this is to reduce traffic through the (High View) subdivision,” he said. The developers propose to widen Villa Drive to 26 feet.
Villa Drive is the entrance to High View from S.R. 62, and there are three dead-end streets – Cottage Lane, Manor Drive and Carriage Way – in the addition.
Primavera said Jerry and Peggy Arbuckle, who own property on both sides of Cottage Lane, agreed to trade Blocker and Bush some land to keep the entrance to Sunrise Ridge from running through the middle of their property.
A verbal agreement was also made with the Lanesville Cemetery for a land trade to allow additional burial plots.
The new proposal has the entrance running south of the Arbuckle property.
But when Peggy Arbuckle addressed the plan commission, she said the developers should return to their original idea of constructing the entrance off Tandy Road.
Blocker and Bush had suggested to the plan commission earlier in 2002, when the property was rezoned from A-R to R-1, that Sunrise Ridge’s entrance would be from Tandy Road. But they abandoned that idea as cost-prohibitive because it would require constructing a bridge over a creek that runs along Tandy. Rough estimates put the cost at a minimum of $200,000.
David Walther, who lives on Villa Drive, spoke on behalf of several other High View residents at the Jan. 2 meeting. He said they still object to the proposal because of the burden the increased traffic would put on the existing subdivision and because some residents would be required to connect to the Lanesville sewer system, which would serve Sunrise Ridge residents.
Walther said the Lanesville Town Council agreed to reduce the tap-on fee from $2,000 to $1,000, but the monthly sewer rate is costly.
Plan commission member Jerry Dryden made a motion to disapprove the subdivision, but the motion died due to lack of a second.
“I’m reluctant to approve anything tonight because we don’t have anything nailed down in writing,” said plan commission member Charles Crawford.
Joe Martin agreed. “A letter from the property owners saying there’s no objection – that’s what it will take to get my vote,” he said.
“I personally regret having this tough of a decision,” said Tom Bube, who is also the county surveyor. “You’re not taking up farm land; you’re within a sewer district.”
Bube said the property is “ideally located” and would increase the county’s tax base.
Martin made a motion, seconded by James Klinstiver, to table the request. The motion passed 6-1, with Dryden casting the nay vote.
Klinstiver told the High View residents that they were “postponing the inevitable” of having to hook on to sewers, rather than use septic systems.
He recommended that Blocker and Bush try to get the Lanesville Town Council to agree that High View residents wouldn’t be required to hook on to the sewer system until their septic systems fail.
Later during the meeting, a special exception request by Blocker and Bush was given a favorable recommendation by the plan commission that would allow the Lanesville Cemetery to expand. The Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals will hear the request at its next meeting, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the courthouse.
Another request, this one by Steve Aulbach, to rezone property in Heth Township was also tabled.
“This is something a little different than normal,” said Primavera, who represented Aulbach.
The request was to establish a PUD (Planned Unit Development) for two parcels located on the east side of S.R. 135 between Watson and Squire Boone roads that is zoned A-R.
“What we’re attempting to do is put these two together,” Primavera said.
One parcel, about 67 acres, is known as the Meek farm, while the other, just under 66 acres, is the former Asher farm.
“We’re reconfiguring the site so we’ll have one road coming in (the PUD area) to a cul-de-sac,” Primavera said.
“Keep in the mind that the final approval of roads, etc., will be made later if developed,” he added, as the only request before the plan commission was to rezone the property.
Fourteen lots, ranging from 6.263 acres to 10 acres, are proposed in the PUD.
Three adjoining property owners told the plan commission that they would like for Aulbach to erect a fence, separating their property from his.
Richard Young, who owns the Cindico gas station and food mart, encouraged the plan commission to investigate the traffic situation on S.R. 135 south of Corydon, especially regarding excessive speed and disregarding proper passing of vehicles.
Klinstiver initially made a motion, seconded by Victor McCauley, to approve the request with the stipulation that Aulbach do four things: vacate an existing road easement, obtain a commercial driveway permit, agree not to use a strip of land on the south side of the PUD as an entrance to the development, and get letters from neighboring property owners (or have them come back to the plan commission) stating that they worked out an agreement about the fence.
Aulbach replied that he thought he’d withdraw his request because he’s unsure if he could satisfy the neighbors’ request for a fence.
“I’m not willing to build an entire fence for everybody,” he said.
Klinstiver withdrew his original motion and moved to table the request to give Aulbach time to meet with the property owners to try to reach an agreement. McCauley seconded the motion, which passed 7-0.
Also at Thursday night’s meeting:
– A request to vacate parts of lots 30 and 32 in Deer Ridge Subdivision, in Jackson Township, was approved. Ronald Broadwater, president of Broadwater Enterprises Inc., said the vacated portion will become part of an existing neighboring farm.
– A special exception request by Virgil Riggs to sell and repair semi-tractors was forwarded to the BZA with no recommendation by the plan commission.
– Ott and Klinstiver were reelected as chairman and vice chair, respectively.