Everett returns for April 14 meeting
As a group of appointed Harrison Countians moves toward developing a plan for guiding growth, they felt it was time to offer the public another opportunity to learn about what they hope to accomplish.
That’s why the 17-member Farm, Forest and Open Space Preservation Task Force is having Scott Everett speak next week about land use.
Everett, regional director for the American Farmland Trust, will give a program Thursday evening, April 14, at 7 at Morgan Elementary School.
‘This will be an educational program,’ said Jim Heitkemper, a county commissioner who chairs the FFOSPTF. ‘We were lucky to find that Scott had an opening’ and could come back to Harrison County on just a couple weeks’ notice.
Heitkemper said Everett will talk about how farmland preservation works in other areas and how it can work here.
‘We want to give the citizens of Harrison County another opportunity to hear from staff of the American Farmland Trust,’ said Heitkemper. ‘We are working on developing programs that would give our farmers more opportunities for increasing farm income, and give them more opportunities to continue to serve as the stewards of our rural heritage.’
Everett, a veteran guide for the Ultimate Farmland Preservation Tour, gave a similar program in February 2004 at St. Mary’s School in Lanesville. About 200 people attended the program, sponsored by the Farm and Forest Preservation Alliance. Everett gave a repeat performance the following morning at the Leora Brown School in Corydon.
‘If people have concerns about the issue, they should attend this program,’ said task force member Bob Schickel.
Although the task force has been working on a voluntary plan for land preservation since its appointment in June, much of last week’s meeting centered on Everett’s program.
Task force members are very concerned about educating the public before any program is implemented, and they’re trying to avoid being accused of ‘sneaking anything in,’ as some residents suggested when a new sign ordinance was adopted last year. They also think that some people have the mistaken notion that the sign ordinance and land use are somehow connected.
Last year, Everett pointed out that the Midwest, and specifically this area, is experiencing ‘land fragmentation,’ where large acreage is being divided into five- to 10-acre parcels that aren’t readily noticeable.
Everett said he saw ‘big time’ indications of land fragmentation in Harrison County while he was visiting here.
A commonly used term when discussing land use is ‘smart growth,’ which doesn’t discourage development, Everett said, but rather plans for it.
Anyone wishing to know more about the Farm, Forest and Open Space Preservation Task Force can check out its ‘Findings and Recommendations for Land Conservation in Harrison County, Indiana, for Year 2004,’ as submitted in December to the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and Council. A copy of the findings is on file at the Harrison County Public Library in Corydon.
Light refreshments will be served at next week’s program.