Would you please do this over?
A proposed amendment to the Harrison County Subdivision Ordinance was sent back to the drawing board Thursday night when the county advisory plan commission rejected it.
The proposed amendment presented at the plan commission’s regular meeting would require persons selling land to deed part of their remaining property plus part of the newly-created lot to the county and to establish a 20-foot easement along the properties’ frontage on a public road. The property owner would be financially responsible for filing the deed.
‘The purpose is to let development pay its own way,’ said county planner Eric Wise.
Carl (Buck) Mathes called the amendment unfair. He used an example of a farmer who has a fence near the edge of his property. ‘The county may or may not pay to move his fence,’ he said.
‘I agree with Buck,’ said Joe Martin. ‘I think it’s unfair to a farmer who wants to give one or two acres to his child.’
Replying to Mathes’ scenario, Wise said the fence would not have to be moved until the road was widened or utilities needed to be installed.
‘I thought this would be a way to get the easements before the development is there, and it would save the county thousands and thousands of dollars,’ Wise said.
‘I’d be in favor of (the amendment) for the lot that was being created but not for the remaining parcel,’ Mathes said.
The plan commission unanimously tabled the amendment so members could work on it more at a future work session.
Just prior to the discussion about the amendment, the plan commission unanimously gave a favorable recommendation to another amendment to the county’s zoning ordinance.
Part of the amendment limits the amount of land in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that can be used for residential to no more than 50 percent. ‘You can still have a PUD come in with five acres per dwelling,’ Wise said.
The amendment also gives the plan commission the option of making a zoning classification recommendation to an applicant making a zoning change request rather than having the applicant reapply and return to another meeting to make the request.
Earlier in the evening, Carl Wiseman of Corydon addressed the plan commission about his concerns regarding Quicksilver Resources Inc.
‘We can make it a positive experience or it (Quicksilver) can destroy our county,’ he said. ‘They’re out of control. Everyone needs to get involved and take some control.’
‘Many lives are being ruined,’ Wiseman said. ‘Mine’s about to be.’
Quicksilver did not have a representative at the meeting.
Wiseman said Quicksilver, a company that drills natural gas wells, recently purchased 12 acres adjacent to his property. He is concerned about where the company intends to place a salt water disposal well on its land.
Placed farther away from the property, the well would affect fewer people, Wiseman said.
In short, Wiseman asked the plan commission to place an injunction against Quicksilver, ‘while we find out what the law is … ‘
Wiseman already had an informal hearing scheduled for early next month with the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources to discuss Quicksilver.
The plan commission asked its attorney, Elizabeth Swarens, to research the law pertaining to gas wells. Swarens said she will also consult with county attorney Christopher Byrd to see what options the county has.
Also at last week’s meeting, the plan commission gave a favorable recommendation to a request by St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Bradford to rezone property from A-R to R-2. No one was at the meeting to detail the request, but plan commission member Tom Casper said the church intends to add on to its building; the new space would be used for classrooms and meeting rooms.
The county commissioners will make the final decision whether to rezone the property, which is located north of the church and parish hall.
Mathes, who represents the county council on the plan commission, moved that research be done to see if insurance can be purchased for plan commission members and members of the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) in the event that they are sued individually while serving on their respective boards. His motion passed.
The plan commission also sent a special exception request by Guy Silva to the BZA with a favorable recommendation. Silva wants to include a small guest house in part of his boathouse on the old Lanesville Reservoir.
The BZA will hear the request at its next meeting, which will be held earlier in the month than normal because of Thanksgiving. The meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the Harrison County Court House.