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‘Fun Farm’ approved

Go-carts, water slides, miniature golf and a skate park are all activities that Harrison Countians must travel at least 30 minutes away to find. But that could all change, now that a Franklin Township businessman has approval to proceed with his ‘Fun Farm’ idea.
‘Harrison County is behind in offering outdoor recreation,’ said Steve Boehman, who has operated Paintball Fun on Breckenridge Road west of Lanesville since 1994.
When the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals finally voted Thursday night about 10:30 to OK Boehman’s request to expand, he reacted by saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you … I will try to make you proud.’
The BZA, after spending nearly three hours on the request, voted 3-0 to approve the request.
In November 2001, the BZA denied a similar request by Boehman. And in June 2002, when the Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission was considering another request by Boehman, he asked that they deny the request, made as a Planned Unit Development ‘ or PUD ‘ so he could instead ask for a change of zoning.
Instead, Boehman applied for a special exception, which was forwarded March 4 to the BZA with an unfavorable recommendation by the plan commission.
In approving the request, the BZA placed several stipulations, including:
‘ Specifying the hours of operation (Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., and Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.);
‘ Noise from go-carts cannot be heard at any of the 76-acre site’s property lines:
‘ The main parking lot is to be paved;
‘ Septic system installation has to be approved by the Harrison County Health Dept. (proposed dormitories and cabins are not allowed until sewer hook-up is available from Ponderosa Road);
‘ A fence of Boehman’s choosing will be installed along certain boundaries of the property, plus a buffer of three-foot-tall trees;
‘ Allow a 32-square-foot sign, and
‘ There is to be no additional light spilling onto adjacent property than there exists now.
Boehman’s plan to host outdoor concerts was nixed by the BZA.
The Fun Farm also will have an indoor video arcade, batting cages and soccer cages. Boehman already offers laser tag, corn mazes and Frisbee golf.
‘The main thing I want to do is make a living with my farm,’ said Boehman, who purchased the property about 26 years ago. ‘I have done everything to make (the project) appealing for everybody,’ although he said he knew it was impossible to please everyone.
‘I pledge never to put in a roller-coaster or ferris wheel higher than 40 feet,’ he said.
Boehman said the water slides will be built into a hillside, on the ground, rather than as free-standing slides that are built in the air.
Many neighbors who have spoken against Boehman’s expansion plans in the past reminded the BZA of their concerns ‘ mainly the noise and added traffic the expansion would generate ‘ again last week.
‘We’re all aware kids need something to do,’ said George Coddington, who lives on Ponderosa Road. ‘But is the middle of Breckenridge Road really the place?’
‘It takes customers to make a business … , ‘ said BZA member Jim Klinstiver, adding that Boehman has sustained his Paintball Fun facility for 10 years. ‘If you maintain (The Fun Farm), I’m for it.’
Klinstiver did caution Boehman to come back to the BZA if he wants to modify the park before he does it.
To help with capital for his project, Boehman said there are FMA loans available, as well as grants for agri-tourism ventures, which he will seek.
‘Tourism is a critical part of employment in Indiana and Kentucky,’ Boehman said. ‘It’s one industry that can’t be exported to China or India.’
In other matters last week, the BZA:
‘ Approved a special exception request by David Melton for an office/retail sale space at 4885 Highway 64 east of New Salisbury. Melton can also display storage buildings and lawn furniture as part of his business.
In a separate docket item, Melton, Deloris Bowen and Melissa Bowen St. Clair had a situation ironed out that created two lots without road frontage along the south side of S.R. 64 on the west side of Buck Hollow Road, which is a private drive.
The parties agreed to dedicate a 60-foot easement to the property and to deed enough acreage to make the smaller lot one acre in size.
‘ Tabled a request by Craig Bishop to create a lot without road frontage at 990 Brunner Hill Road, southwest of Palmyra. Bishop, who owns a 40-acre farm, wants to give his son about three acres, but Bishop only has access to his property via an easement that is less than the board’s preferred 60 feet.
Bishop has been denied a request to purchase additional easement from another property owner, who allegedly has a barn that straddles a portion of the 60-foot easement that could be used.
With only three of its five members present, the BZA opted to table the request until next month in hopes that they will be able to reach a decision about the request. (Another neighbor of Bishop’s is hoping to gain approval for a similar request to create a lot without road frontage.)
‘ Granted a variance for Rick Quebbeman to reduce the required front-yard setback on his property at 7245 Oakland Hills Drive, Lanesville. The approved setback, 50 feet, keeps Quebbeman’s in proportion with neighbors.
The Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals’ next meeting is April 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the Harrison County Court House.