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‘Light show’ may take to the road

The Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission is considering holding public hearings in different parts of the county to gather input for an ordinance that addresses light pollution.
The commission has been working toward presenting an ordinance to the county commissioners for approval for several months.
‘I’m for a lighting ordinance,’ commission member Victor McCauley said Thursday night during the board’s monthly meeting. ‘I don’t know if this one here is the correct way or not.
‘I think we need to rework it and get it where it’s more palpable for the community,’ he said.
Members of the audience who took the opportunity to speak about the issue were split on whether such an ordinance is necessary.
One man said the county doesn’t allow air pollution or excessive noise. ‘Why not something with light?’ he questioned, adding that the time may be right to implement such an ordinance, before additional subdivisions are built.
He even suggested that businesses should be required to shield their lights so as not to trespass onto other property.
Zeke Combs of Lanesville presented a petition containing the names of county residents who oppose a light ordinance.
While he agreed that sometimes ‘light spillage’ is an issue between neighbors, ‘it should be between them,’ Combs said. ‘It shouldn’t come to this board.’
Judy Wingfield, who was at the meeting to oppose a proposed subdivision in Jackson Township, said it would be nice if common sense would prevail when disputes arose between adjoining property owners.
‘I would like for you to error on the conservative side’ when writing a lighting ordinance, she said.
Larry Ott, who chairs the plan commission, reminded the audience that persons who live in Corydon and its two-mile fringe would be exempt from any ordinance adopted by the plan commission because the town has its own zoning board.
Plan commission member Adrienne Held proposed preparing a summary sheet, using layman words, on any lighting ordinance the commission would propose.
Tom Bube, another member of the commission, suggested holding public hearings throughout the county, following up on a comment by Combs that residents shouldn’t have to come to Corydon all the time.
‘I like the idea,’ McCauley echoed. ‘We used to call them traveling road shows.’
Jim Klinstiver added that the commission should also have a demonstration prepared to show the public.
County commissioner J.R. Eckart, who also serves on the plan commission, said, ‘It’s going to be tough to write an ordinance that’s going to cover as broad of an issue as this is. It’s not going to be easy (or) something done with a few, quick sentences.’
In other matters Thursday night:
‘ The plan commission unanimously approved a request for a major subdivision at 3020 Motts Road in Jackson Township. The property was rezoned about a year ago, from A-R to R-1.
The property, owned by Steven W. Aulbach, consists of 49.9 acres. He plans to develop 33 lots, with all but three of them having access from new roads to be built in the subdivision, to be named Motts Landing. The remaining lots will be accessed off Motts Road.
Attorney John Kraft, who represented Aulbach, said the average lot size will be 1.35 acres. Homes will have to meet certain restrictions, including a minimum square footage of 1,350 for one-story dwellings and 1,000 for the first floor of dwellings that are two stories.
Aulbach said he anticipates the price of the homes to be in the $135,000 to $175,000 range.
Some property owners in the area came to the meeting to voice their objection, but they could be heard in the back of the room saying that it doesn’t do any good to speak at the meetings because the plan commission members have already made up their mind.
‘I do not believe this is going to be an asset to the community,’ Wingfield said. ‘I think it will be an eyesore.
The Harrison County Commissioners will act on the request at their Dec. 17 meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
‘ The plan commission also unanimously approved a zoning change for property on the north side of S.R. 62 near the intersection of New Middletown Road. Debra Hardin, who is handling the estate for her late mother, asked to change 18-plus acres from A-R to R-1.
McCauley made the motion to approve ‘because the land in the area is already fractured.’
The county commissioners will also hear this request on Dec. 17.
‘ Forwarded two special exception requests to the Harrison County Board of Zoning Appeals.
One, for an antique collectible store received no recommendation from the plan commission, although members of the commission said they were not keen on the location because of sight distance. The property is east of Gun Club Road.
The other, for a second dwelling on property in the 2500 block of Hidden Valley, was forwarded with an unfavorable recommendation.
The BZA will consider both requests at its next meeting, set for Thursday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners/Council Room of the courthouse.