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Next step in Corydon fringe takeover approved

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night approved a resolution regarding the county’s planning and zoning board’s takeover of the two-mile fringe from Corydon. However, the Town of Corydon filed suit against the county plan commission and commissioners last week with Harrison County Circuit Court seeking declaratory judgment.
Eric Wise, the county planner, presented the request and said the two-mile fringe, about 17,000 acres in size, extends to the north near Angelo Road, to Fey Lane on the west, Vulcan Quarry to the south and east nearly to Turley Road.
About 5,300 people live in the two-mile fringe area.
The takeover has been in the works since May, when Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes made the motion, seconded by Commissioner Jim Klinstiver, for the county to control Corydon’s two-mile fringe.
‘The reason I’ve spear-headed it, I’ve heard several complaints over the years from residents that they have no representation on the town’s zoning board,’ Mathes said. ‘The county’s ordinances are better than the town’s, more willing to accept change. I can’t help but believe it’ll be a better Harrison County when we’re done.’
Mathes said the county’s planning and zoning is not only more susceptible to change, but its ordinances are more flexible and better suited for growth.
‘There’s nothing that’s going to be worse,’ he said.
The county’s sign ordinance is much better than the town of Corydon’s, Mathes said, and business people within the fringe will like it so much more.
‘The Harrison County planning board is well-represented, well-rounded,’ he said. ‘It’s a win-win situation for these 5,300 people,’ Mathes said.
The board of commissioners will still have to adopt the actual zoning map and approve the new jurisdiction at its second meeting in November before the takeover is complete.
Commissioner James Goldman said he hasn’t studied the issue completely and is a little more hesitant than Mathes and Klinstiver.
Goldman asked Wise if there has been any opposition in public hearings, to which Wise said there has not been.
‘The majority of the people had questions,’ Wise said. ‘I didn’t hear any outright opposition.’
Wise said he hasn’t heard from the Town of Corydon about the matter, but the town’s attorney, Chris Byrd, attended one of the public meetings.
The town, however, filed suit against the county plan commission and commissioners on Oct. 9 with the Harrison County Circuit Court.
The petition for declaratory judgment said the town’s territorial authority of the plan commission is covered under Indiana law and that the town has exercised domain and control over the area known as the ‘two-mile fringe’ since at least 1974. It also said the town supplies the area with services and it will drive irreparable harm from the actions of the county and commission.
The town also requested a change of venue and moves for a stay and/or for injunctive relief of the revoking what has been known as the two-mile fringe.
‘The town does not need or want the defendants (county commissioners and plan commission) to have control over capital improvements that it has made,’ it states.
Goldman said he’s not as apprised with zoning as Mathes, who used to sit on the planning and zoning board, or Klinstiver, who currently sits on the board.
‘I’ve heard the pros and cons,’ Goldman said. ‘I’m trying to be objective. I will vote in favor tonight seeing as how it will be up again.’
Another public hearing will take place Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.
In other business Monday, the board passed the following additionals to the county council for approval or denial: $2,500 for litigation funding for the plan commission, $15,000 for outside public defender, $1,000 for jury meals and $7,500 for jury pay, all for Harrison Superior Court.
It also approved a transfer of $2 million from the community fund (riverboat gaming funds) to the county general to supplement the budget at the request of county council chair Gary Davis.
The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Nov. 5, at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center.