Posted on

Plan commission denies floodplain development

Despite a recent change in state law that allows building in floodplains, the Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission denied a developer’s request to rezone property along the Ohio River.
George Hughes, who owns the property on the east side of S.R. 111 about 500 feet north of S.R. 211, wanted to change the zoning from A-R to R-2 then return with a plan for a subdivision that would allow single-family residences.
Hughes, of the Hughes Group Inc. in Jeffersonville, initially made the request last month, but a decision was tabled when the plan commission members present decided they couldn’t reach a majority decision. (Three members were absent last month.)
‘We believe (the request) fits in with the Comprehensive Plan based on what’s happened along 111,’ said attorney John Kraft, who represented Hughes.
Several members of the audience spoke against the request.
‘Simply because the state of Indiana allows (building in the flood plain) doesn’t mean it’s a good idea,’ said John Keeton.
Mike Sampson, a member of the Elizabeth Town Council, said the town opposed it because the development would be built too close to a well that serves the town’s water system.
‘It’s not just something we’d like to see,’ said Keith Sallee, citing increased traffic on S.R. 111 among his concerns.
Plan commission member Jim Klinstiver said there are several abandoned houses along the river in that part of Harrison County; many have mold issues due to the dampness of the area and lack of sunshine hitting the structures.
Joe Martin made the motion to send the request to the Harrison County Board of Commissioners with an unfavorable recommendation.
‘We’ve been reminded our charge here is ‘land use,’ ‘ Martin said. ‘I don’t see any way we can responsibly say development in the flood plain is the best use.’
The motion, seconded by Adrienne Rich, passed unanimously.
At next month’s plan commission meeting, there will be a public hearing on amendments proposed by the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals that would change wording in the county’s regulations with regard to ‘private’ and ‘public’ garages.
In other matters, the plan commission forwarded three special exception requests with favorable recommendations to the BZA. They were for:
* A pop-up camper sales business on Tee Road.
* A pet cemetery on Pine Hill Drive.
* A second dwelling on property owned by David Abernathy on Watts Lane.
The BZA will consider the requests at its next meeting, which is April 27 at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners Room of the Harrison County Court House.