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September 15, 2016

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met Thursday, September 15, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, County Building, Monticello, Indiana.

Present: Carl Hites, Randy Conwell, Dave Rosenbarger, Dennis Sterrett

Also attending were Executive Director, Joe Rogers, and Board Secretary, Annette Cobb.

Absent: Abigail Diener

Visitors attending were: Larry Stigers, Greg & Gina Spence, Phil Hunt

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Hites at 6:00 P.M.


Minutes & Findings of Fact:

There was a motion by Randy Conwell and a second by Dave Rosenbarger to approve the meeting minutes and findings of fact dated June 16, 2016 as written. Motion was carried unanimously.

Note: At the introduction of each case hearing, Director Rogers introduced the Staff Report and affiliated documents into the official record of the meeting, to be used as supporting documents for developing the Findings of Fact for each hearing.

Variances & Special Exceptions

Variance Petition #2937 modified-Special Exception Use-Hunt & Company LLC (continued from 4/21/16 & 6/16/16). The applicant modified the original request from a request for Special Exception Use for an outdoor gun range to a request for Special Exception Use for an outdoor and indoor gun range along with two variance requests 1) a setback of 526’ vs 1250’ required to nearest off premise dwelling unit 2) a berm height increase to 8’ vs 6’ required.

Chairman Hites explained to the applicant that since one of the board members was absent the applicant had the option of continuing the hearing until there was a full board available. Phil Hunt, applicant, indicated he wanted to proceed with the hearing. Chairman Hites also explained to the applicant that he had two variance requests, and that he could choose to have them heard together or separate. He was advised that if one request is approved and the other was not both would be turned down. Phil stated he would like to have them heard together. Executive Director Rogers read the staff report and presented pictures of the site. Director Rogers also advised the board that the application now included two variance requests and an addition to the special exception use from an outdoor shooting range to include a special exception use for an Indoor & Outdoor Shooting Range. The modified request was treated like a new application by the staff relative to all public notifications; i.e., newspaper advertisements, adjoining property owners notification and the on-site sign posting.

Phil Hunt, owner Liberty Arms Inc. LLC, addressed the board, he stated he had requested a clay shooting range and coming here they did not realize that it would be required that he take into account all the land mass for the actual part of the clay shooting area, so he will not continue to pursue that. He stated that he will be acquiring land from his father, a little over an acre, to the west of his property line to be able to meet county developmental standard guidelines. He stated that he believed the house, a house trailer, has been unoccupied since Feb/March, before then it was a hit and miss occupancy. Phil stated that he doesn’t know the status of the house trailer, or what their plans are for future use. He stated that he hasn’t been able to get any type of use commitment from the neighbors, so that was all the information he could offer. Chairman Hites asked Phil if the facility he is planning on building is the same as what he described to the board in April. Phil stated that those plans have been changed. The outdoor shooting range will be a smaller contained area used for law enforcement and private shooting lessons. The bulk of our shooting will be on the indoor range. The outdoor range will be directly south of the building and will be a dynamic firing range. Individual number of stalls is to be determined at a later date. Size of the indoor building will be 200’X100’. Phil stated that the indoor range will connect to Liberty Arms. Outdoor shooting range will be located to the south of the building with the berm being placed on 3 sides. Phil stated that parking is still contingent on attaining ground from his father, Ken Hunt, but Phil assured the board that this is already agreed upon. Parking will be on the north side of the proposed building and will be ADA compliant. Phil was asked by BZA member, Randy Conwell, if there would be any problem with committing to certain hours. Phil asked what is on the books, and stated that the indoor range should not produce much sound on the outside of the building, so he wouldn’t see that as being an issue. He stated that he would like to be open longer hours for the indoor portion of the range. Outdoor range will not be lit, and will only be used during the day. Phil stated that he has not hired an engineer or went through the footwork regarding the building, because If the variance request to the nearest off premise dwelling unit is denied, he would not be able to continue with his plans.

There was discussion about how to handle the request by the board. Director Rogers stated that what our office is concerned with is the land transfer, hours of operation, the variances that he has asked for and satisfaction of the application requirements. Director Rogers stated that adequate land mass must be transferred per the White County Subdivision Ordinance to meet developmental setback standards. The board decided to vote on conditions of approval before the variance vote.

There was a motion made by Dennis Sterrett that the special exception use determination be subject to Mr. Hunt acquiring adequate property to meet all county developmental standards. David Rosenbarger seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Motion was made by Randy Conwell that indoor hours are at applicant’s discretion, outdoor hours of operation are limited to an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m time frame. Dennis Sterrett seconded. Motion carried 3-1

Motion was made by Dave Rosenbarger that the criteria needed to meet the special exception application requirements must be presented to the board as opposed to the area plan staff. Dennis Sterrett seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Motion was made by Dave Rosenbarger that any berm over 6’ high must be at least 60’ from the road. Dennis Sterrett seconded. Motion carried unanimously

When there were no further conditions to consider, Executive Director, Joseph Rogers passed out the ballot to vote on the combined variance request.

After tabulating the ballots, Chairman Carl Hites read the following results into the record:

Variance Petition #2937 modified-Variance requests only-4 votes cast; 3 votes to grant, 1 to deny; Petition Granted

The Special Exception Use consideration was continued by the Board to the January, 2017 meeting. Applicant agreed to the continuation date.

Phil requested that the board consider allowing standards outside of the NRA sourcebook standards. Executive Director, Joe Rogers told the board that the board can grant an equivalent industry standard. Board said they will listen to what he presents.

Other Business:

Chairman, Shaker Hites announced that his last meeting will be November 17, 2016. He will send his resignation letter to the Executive Director.

Executive Director Joseph Rogers stated that Kevin Gross was appointed to the vacant board position. He should be ready to attend the October BZA meeting.

There being no further business, Carl Hites made a motion the meeting be adjourned with a second from Randy Conwell. Motion carried, meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



Annette Cobb, Secretary

Area Board of Zoning Appeals



Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

White County Area Plan Commission



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