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Zoning passes requests on to commissioners

Two zoning changes will be considered Monday evening by the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, based on recommendations made May 3 by the county’s advisory plan commission.
Ralph Jackson is hoping for approval to rezone property at 265 Highway 462 from B-1 to A-R. Jackson said he has a buyer for the property if it is not zoned commercial.
The zoning on the property was changed to commercial in 1977.
No one else spoke about the docket item. The plan commission unanimously voted to allow the zoning change.
Chris and Andrea Hall’s request to rezone 12.6 acres from A-R to R-1 was approved almost as easily. The couple plan to purchase the property off Clover Valley Road in Spencer Township from Larry Wernert. The property is already plotted into half-acre lots.
County planner Eric Wise said the zoning change would reduce the setbacks, allowing more leeway on where houses could be built on the lots.
The zoning change was unanimously approved by the plan commission.
A third zoning change request was tabled to allow plan commission members the opportunity to visit the property in question.
Tony Willoughby wants his property on the north side of Cemetery Road near S.R. 135 in Morgan Township rezoned from A-R to R-1 so he can build a second dwelling on the 2.291-acre lot.
A neighbor, Suzanne Hopf, expressed concern about water drainage from the lot. She said Willoughby created his own hardship by wanting to split the lot in half so he could build another house.
J.R. Eckart, a member of the plan commission, agreed, saying he thought Willoughby was making the request for ‘monetary gain’ rather than a hardship.
Plan commission member Tom Bube said he didn’t believe that the construction of a second house would contribute much to the water run-off in that area. He said he was more concerned about the nearby 116 acres that could be developed.
‘Where’s all that water going to go?’ he asked.
Although the plan commission would like to address drainage issues, Jim Klinstiver said it’s not what they are to base decisions on and that the county doesn’t have a drainage board.
‘Whether it meets the setbacks is our concern,’ he said.
After more discussion, Joe Martin said, ‘There are very few perfect lots, and it’s not the first time we’ve rezoned something for monetary gain.’
Martin then made a motion to approve the zoning change request. Klinstiver seconded the motion, but it did not pass. Larry Ott also voted in favor of the motion, but Bube, Eckart and Rhonda Rhoads voted against it.
Bube then made the motion to table the request so they could visit the site.
In other matters, the plan commission heard three requests for special exceptions.
The first, made by Dennis E. McArdle, was for a members-only campground located at 2150 Overlook Drive east of Mauckport.
The camp would be open Friday through Sunday from June through September.
According to staff reports from the planning and zoning office, the camp started operating last year without permission and some of the buildings were constructed without the proper permits.
After some discussion, the plan commission unanimously decided to forward the request to the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals with no recommendation.
Another special exception request was made by Richard and Jennifer Vierling for a home occupation at 4585 Union Chapel Road, Corydon.
Jennifer Vierling wants to operate a dog-grooming business in her garage three days a week.
‘This is one thing that’s needed in this county,’ said Bube, who related his own experience with dog groomers. ‘There’s just not enough of them around.’
The plan commission forwarded the request to the BZA with a favorable recommendation.
A third special exception request, also for a home occupation, was tabled to give the applicant time to meet with the homeowners association of her subdivision. The applicant wants to run a bookkeeping service from her home at 8475 Indian Bluff Road.
The BZA will hear the two special exception requests at its next meeting, which is Thursday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Harrison County Court House.