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BZA MEETING OCTOBER 17, 2013

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met Thursday, October 17, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, County Building, Monticello, Indiana.

Members attending were: Carl Hites, Dennis Sterrett, Randall Conwell, Richard Holmes.  Absent: David Rosenbarger.

Also attending were Attorney Abigail Diener, Executive Director Joe Rogers, and Board secretary Erin Owens.

Visitors attending were:  See Attached

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Hites at 6:00 p.m.

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Business

 

Minutes: There was a motion by Richard Holmes and a second by Randy Conwell to approve the meeting minutes and findings of fact of 9/19/13 as written.  So moved.

Director Rogers asked that the 2 variances be moved to the top of the agenda so that visitors in attendance did not have to wait while general Board business was discussed.

Variances & Special Exceptions

Chairman Hites advised the applicants that, because only 4 Board members were present, they had the right to continue their requests until the next scheduled BZA session.  They were advised that 3 votes would be required to approve the requests, and conversely, 3 votes against the requests would result in a denial.  Both applicants chose to move forward with the Board members present.

Note: At the introduction of each case hearing, Director Rogers requested that the Staff Report be incorporated into the official record of the meeting, to be used as a reference document for the Findings of Fact for each hearing.

#2887 - Faith Covenant Fellowship Variance: Commencing 60 feet South of the Northeast corner of Bennett's Addition to the City of Monticello, Indiana, Northeast Quarter of the Northeast Quarter of Section 4, Township 26 N, Range 3 W, White County Indiana - more commonly known as 601 Maple St.

Violation: None

Request: The applicant requests a 3' setback on the North and South property lines to accommodate an additional parking lot.

Discussion: Director Rogers provided a summary of the variance request and read the staff report into the record.  He then presented the applicants' parking lot drawing and photos of the property.

Chairman Hites invited the applicant to approach the podium, at which time Pastor Darl Clemons introduced himself.  Mr. Clemons answered the Board's questions regarding the current number of parking spaces available, the average number of church attendees, plans for upkeep (i.e. snow removal), and possible future church expansion.

There being no further questions or discussion, Richard Holmes moved that the issue be put to a vote; Randy Conwell seconded.  Attorney Diener distributed the ballots.

Result:  4 votes cast; 4 grant; 0 deny; petition is granted.

Director Rogers advised the applicant that he would need to appear in the Area Plan office to obtain his Improvement Location Permit; he agreed that he would do so.

#2888 - Material Service Corporation/Synergy Management Variance: That part of the SW quarter of Section 27, Township 28 N, Range 4 W lying West of the Westerly Right-of-way line of the CSX Railroad and that part of the SE quarter of Section 28, Township 28 N, Range 4 West lying East of the Easterly Right-of-way line of the CSX Railroad, commonly known as 72 E Quarry Rd and 102 E Quarry Rd.

Violation: None

Request: The applicant requests a height allowance of 150’ for structures identified in applicant’s letter dated September 24, 2013 (55’ current allowable maximum); and a maximum berm height of 20’ (6’ current standard).  The requests are necessary for the extractive manufacturing facility to pursue underground mining operations.

Discussion: Director Rogers provided a summary of the variance request and read the staff report into the record.  He then presented the applicant's supplementary materials, such as exhibits, surveys and photos.

Chairman Hites invited the applicant to approach the podium, at which time Hamilton White, project manager, introduced himself, along with Synergy owner John Cross.  They asked that their 2 issues be considered separately, since the outcome would have very different consequences for each.

Mr. White presented photographic exhibits pertaining to the berm issue, which were entered into the record and became the property of the Area Plan Commission.

The applicant answered questions from the Board, such as how the berm might affect the plant's noise level, whether or not the industrial buildings would be hidden more due to the berm height, what type/number of jobs were being created by this new business, etc.

There being no further questions or discussion, Dennis Sterrett moved that the first issue (berm height) be put to a vote; Richard Holmes seconded.  Attorney Diener distributed the ballots.

After all ballots for Issue #1 were returned to Chairman Hites, he read the following results into the record: Result - 4 votes cast; 3 grant; 1 deny; Issue #1 (berm height) of the petition is granted.

Moving on to Issue #2 (structure height), Mr. White presented additional exhibits showing the proposed quarry equipment and buildings, providing details about the use of each and the need for each structure in question. He illustrated the 5 different areas requiring a height of considerably taller than the 55' allowed in the I-2 District.

The applicant answered questions from the Board, such as what kinds of attempts have been made to minimize structure heights; emissions statistics and plans to minimize those; Synergy's interactions with other local industries, i.e. Magnetation; projected business in tons per year and how that translates into truck and rail traffic; mine safety administration; etc.

Several audience members introduced themselves in support of the petition (see attendee list) and spoke about the positive impact this industry will have on White County jobs.

There being no further questions or discussion, Randy Conwell moved that the second issue (structure height) be put to a vote; Dennis Sterrett seconded.  Attorney Diener distributed the ballots.

After all ballots for Issue #2 were returned to Chairman Hites, he read the following results into the record: Result - 4 votes cast; 4 grant; 0 deny; Issue #2 (structure height) of the petition is granted.

Director Rogers reminded the applicant that a building permit would now need to be obtained to move forward with the project.

Closing Business

 

Approval of 2014 Meeting Schedule: Director Rogers shared that 10 meetings would be scheduled for 2014 (no meeting in February and none in December), and asked the Board to approve the schedule as written.  So moved and approved.

Board Packet Distribution Schedule: Director Rogers asked the Board if the office could be allowed to send Board packets out 7 days in advance, vs. the current 10 days in advance of each Board meeting.  He asked this because it is often difficult to coordinate the taking of photographs at the variance sites when the 10-day requirement is in place.  He noted that we used to mail the packets via USPS within this 10-day window; now that we use email, Board members receive them much more quickly, so the 7-day window should not have a negative effect.  He also noted that there is no statutory requirement for 10 vs. 7 days.  So moved and approved.

Board Purview: Chairman Hites brought up a concern regarding how the Board considers and makes decisions about petitions without additional research.  Director Rogers reminded the members that when voting on a variance, the scope of the Board's decision is limited to the variance item itself (i.e. height), vs. any other contributing factors such as public safety or morals outside of the height question.

While the BZA bylaws grant this body the authority to continue a hearing if it feels there is not enough information provided by the applicant or by the Staff, the BZA should not request information that is beyond the parameters of the variance request itself, or make decisions about a variance application that goes against concepts that the APC and/or legislative bodies have already authorized.

Director Rogers reminded the members that, in cases such as the height variance heard during this session, it is IDEM's responsibility to sign off on an applicant's right to operate, based on their adherence to the State's stringent requirements, not the BZA's.

Director Rogers also reminded the members that we have 2 BZA members who are also members of the APC.  Should there be a disagreement with decisions that were previously made by the APC, these two members should then take the disagreement to the APC for discussion.

In addition, when the Staff sees a pattern in variance requests where problems applicants are facing are repetitive (i.e. berm heights and parking setbacks), the Staff is responsible for researching the issue further and providing feedback to the APC and legislative bodies about possible ordinance adjustments to address the common problem.

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Because of the length of the meeting thus far, additional business was continued until the next session.  Dennis Sterrett moved that the meeting be adjourned; Randy Conwell seconded.  Chairman Hites adjourned the meeting at 7:57 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

____________________________

Erin Owens, Secretary

Area Board of Zoning Appeals

___________________________

Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

White County Area Plan Commission

Document Prepared By:  White County Area Plan Secretary, Erin Owens “I AFFIRM, UNDER THE PENALTIES FOR PERJURY, THAT I HAVE TAKEN REASONABLE CARE TO REDACT EACH SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IN THIS DOCUMENT, UNLESS REQUIRED BY LAW.”   __________________________________
EXHIBIT A

WHITE COUNTY AREA BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

PUBLIC NOTICE OF REGULAR SESSION

 

October 17, 2013 - 6:00 p.m.

2nd Floor Conference Room

White County Building

Monticello, IN  47960

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AGENDA

6:00 P.M.:  The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals will meet in Regular Session pursuant to Indiana’s Open Meetings Law, I.C. 5-3-1-2 (b) with the following agenda:

READING OF THE MINUTES AND FINDINGS OF FACT – September 19, 2013

BUSINESS –

1. Approval of 2014 Meeting Schedule

2. Board Packet Distribution Schedule

VARIANCES & SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS –

1. #2887 - Faith Covenant Church of God Variance

2. #2888 - Material Service Corporation/Synergy Management Variance