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APC MEETING MARCH 12, 2012

 

The White County Area Plan Commission met Monday, March 12, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. in the Gymnasium, Twin Lakes High School, Monticello, Indiana.

 

Members attending were: Charles Anderson, Jim Mann, Don Ward, Richard Lynn, Dave Scott, Jim Annis, Denny Sterrett, Mike Smolek, Dave Rosenbarger, Greg Bossaer.

 

Also attending were Attorney Ben Diener, Executive Director Joe Rogers, Secretary Gayle Rogers and two Security Officers.

 

Visitors attending were: Ingrid Landis, Kay Garwood, Rick Roach, Brian Crist, Cynthia Harmon, Jay Claussen, Larry Pampel, Ronald Gronwald, Jay Hall, Phil Gutwein, Kathleen Gross, Jim Prummur, Robert Frost, Connie Neininger, Dan Mattanello, Rich Nicholas, Wayne Reedy, Charles Vaughan, Julie Gutwein, Dave Jordan, Larry Sanson

 

The meeting was called to order by President Charles Anderson. There was a motion and second to approve the meeting minutes of January 9, 2012 as written; an 11 – 0 vote in favor followed. Dr. Anderson then announced that the order of the Agenda would be adjusted so Rezone #1000 would be last on the agenda.

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Business:

 

Director Rogers announced that only two orders of business would be addressed and the others would be continued to the next meeting.

 

Meadowbrook 2 Subdivision: It was determined at the January 9th meeting that Don Ward and Denny Sterrett would look into how the escrow funds should be utilized for the roads in the subdivision. Mr. Rogers explained that the extended time limit for the developer to have control of the escrow funds was past and the determination was now up to the APC. Mr. Ward motioned and Mr. Sterrett seconded that the road in front of Ms. Dean’s property be repaired immediately, a surveyor be hired to plat out the street down to the cul-de-sac and the remainder of the $32,000 escrow funds be utilized to construct the road as far as possible with the available funds. The motion passed unanimously with an 11 – 0 vote.

 

East Chester Estates Addition #1; At the January meeting the board voted in favor of amending the plat from the use of A-1 setbacks to R-2 setbacks, as originally intended. The restrictive covenants for the subdivision were not a part of the plat amendment, therefore removing them from the subdivision. Mr. Hendryx is requesting the Board vote on the covenants so they may be included with the subdivision again. Director Rogers explained that in many cases covenants require architectural developmental review by the Association, however, no provision is made for ten years down the road when the review committee no longer exists. He suggested the Board attach the requirement that the covenants be reviewed and renewed every ten years. Jim Mann motioned to vote including the 10 year requirement. There was a second by Dave Scott and the motion passed unanimously (11 – 0).

Rezones:

#1002 Ingrid Landis; requesting a rezone from R-2, Single and Two Family Residential District to B-1, Neighborhood Business District to convert the first floor apartment to retail.

 

OP W1/2 Lot 19 9021-29930-00 more commonly described as 113 E Harrison Street, Monticello.

 

Director Rogers informed the Board that the office received one letter in opposition to the rezone from Mr. & Mrs. Marty Garwood. Ingrid Landis was present to represent the request. She stated she intends to put retail space on the first floor, a different type of shop in each room such as kitchen gadgets in the kitchen, bath and body in the bathroom, children’s store in a bedroom, home accessories in the living room, etc. There is a city parking lot across the street for adequate parking. Kay Garwood was present to speak in opposition. Her back yard abuts the back yard of the proposed request. She and her husband bought a 110 year old Victorian home at 206 N Bluff Street five years ago and have put a lot of money into its restoration. They did not purchase it to have a business in their back yard. She requests the Board vote to keep the area residential. She also mentioned the business would have a dumpster that would have to be in the yard visible from the street which would look bad, plus it would be emptied in the middle of the night, making excessive noise for the nearby residents. Kay asked if the building will have to be ADA compliant if the zoning passes. Ingrid said that is up to the state. She must come to the county (APC) first, then go to the City for approval, then pass a state inspection. Joe Rogers spoke and said the B-1 is intended for a downtown district, so this site is not required to follow landscaping requirements, buffer zone, fencing, etc. regulations such as would be required of a B-2, General Business district. Commissioner Don Ward asked if there are too many requirements put on the proposal would Ingrid still go through with it? She said no, she would not. It would become too costly. She said her proposal will help the downtown district and that type of shop will attract people from other communities to shop. She remodeled the building five years ago. Commissioner Jim Mann mentioned the City has established precedent for business owners to have residences above the business. This practice is embraced by the City. He also stated that Harrison Street is considered by the City to be within the downtown business area. There was a concern by the Board that the B-1 district allows other types of businesses so this could evolve into an undesirable business for the location. The Board wanted to know if they could place a condition that if Ingrid ever sold or closed this business the zoning would revert back to residential. Director Rogers stated that Indiana State Statute does not allow this practice, although it has been done in the past. Attorney Diener corroborated. Jim Mann asked Mrs. Garwood if the dumpster was her only concern. She said no, they bought their Victorian home in a residential area, not business. Commissioner Dave Rosenbarger motioned that the Board vote on the request. A second was spoken by Commissioner Don Ward. Result: 11 votes cast; 5 grant, 6 deny

 

Findings of Fact:

  1. The proposed rezoning is consistent with the goals, objective, and policies of the White County Strategic Plan and any other applicable planning studies and reports, as adopted and amended from time to time. 6 agree; 1 no opinion; 4 disagree; spot zoning; not what B-1 zoning was intended for; not in business district

  2. The proposed rezoning is compatible with current conditions and the overall character of existing development in the immediate vicinity of the subject property. 4 agree; 2 no opinion; 5 disagree; spot zoning; nice homes in area

  3. The proposed rezoning is the most desirable use for which the land in the subject property is adapted. 4 agree; 2 no opinion; 5 disagree; should be 1 & 2 family housing

  4. The proposed rezoning will not have an adverse effect on the value of properties throughout the jurisdiction. 4 agree; 6 no opinion; 1 disagree

  5. The proposed rezoning reflects responsible standards for growth and development. 5 agree; 4 no opinion; 2 disagree; based upon the past practices this type of situation has been allowed, business on main level and an apartment upstairs.

 

The non-favorable recommendation will be sent to the City of Monticello to be heard at their March 19, 2012 City Council meeting at 6:00 pm for a final decision.

 

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#1000 Richard C. Roach II; requesting a rezone from A-1, General Agriculture District to I-2, Heavy Industrial District to construct an anerobic agricultural digester plant

A Part of the Northeast Quarter of Section 8, Township 26 North, Range 3 West and the East Half of the Southeast Quarter of Section 5, Township 26 North, Range 3 West, Union Township, White County, Indiana, containing 7.64 acres more or less; more commonly known as 4903 E Luse Rd, Monticello.

 

President Anderson announced there would be time limits imposed as listed in the handouts to move the meeting in an expedient direction. Director Rogers stated that the office received twelve phone calls since the last correspondence with the Board, 11 opposed, 1 in favor of the rezone and five letters of which the Board has copies. Also, he has provided the Board with two lists; both are from the use chart, one detailing what is allowed in an A-1 zoning district and what is allowed in an I-2 zoning district. Director Rogers indicated that the A-1, I-2 documents were provided so that the board members could decide the relevance of conditions that would be created by already permitted uses in comparison to potential conditions which might be created by I-2 uses.

Applicant:

Rick Roach stepped forward to address the Board. RAKR Farms owns Waste No Energy, LLC. RAKR is an acronym for the last names of the four owners. Mr. Roach’s family has a long farming history in White County. His son and son-in-law are returning since securing their college degrees, to White County to help run the family farming operations. This will be the sixth generation of White County farmers in the Roach family. He is passionate about this technology. It is an opportunity for the community to expand. This location, although being just 1% of the cost of the project, is of extreme importance. The nearby substation is already there, the road network is in place, the area is slated for industrial development and this will help attract new business to the area. Much of the opposition is operating on misinformation.

Brian Crist, Attorney for Waste No Energy, LLC: The proposed is an urban digester. It minimizes any odor for surrounding properties. WNE, LLC has submitted written commitments to be recorded with the rezone to control what can be done on the land in the future to protect nearby property owners. He went through the five points on the rezone ballot and explained why each should be construed as agreeable. This area was slated for industrial expansion, not residential, by the City of Monticello in 1997 and in 2010 by White County Economic Development. The upcoming airport expansion will close Luse Road on the east side of Sixth Street for the new runway. An urban digester, providing renewable energy and heat, is core to infrastructure. It would have no impact on surrounding properties, no open air storage, no open air lagoons and they have a landscape plan that enhances the visibility of the land.

Opposition:

Cynthia Harmon, Attorney for Move the Digester: We have a petition with 900 signatures and copies of all the letters to the Editor. The Zoning Ordinance requires support of the Comprehensive Plan. The Comp Plan encourages development of compact industrial areas and the elimination of spot zoning.

Jay Claussen: Need to stick to the rules and guidelines of the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. Digesters should have list of specific requirements to meet for rezoning and should be classified as ethanol or bio-fuel processing.

Dr. Larry Pampel: Perception is as critical as reality. We (Whyte Horse Winery) are losing event bookings because of the perception that there might be odor. Prevailing winds are from the south/southwest. All digesters have problems. It’s just a matter of time.

Ron Gronwald: Read the definition of I-2 in the Ordinance; began reading the uses allowed in an I-2 but Dr. Anderson stopped him. The board has this information. He then quoted parts of the Comprehensive Plan stating the encouragement of compact industrial areas and the elimination of spot zoning.

Jan Hall: Has been selling real estate since 1994 and lives one mile east of the site. Conformity results in maximum property values. Spoke with realtors in Wooster, Ohio where there is an anaerobic digester and they all said they would not put it near a residential area. Elected Board members should realize they’ll not be re-elected if they vote in favor of the rezone.

Attorney Harmon: There is no language in Indiana Code regarding spot zoning. The court in 2009 says spot zoning is singling out of one property over others of the same in the area for special zoning. This is not in the best interest of the majority.

Phil Gutwein, President of White County Board of Aviation Commissioners: My concern is for the safety of the pilots. The plan says a retention pond is not likely; this leaves the possibility open. The lake is to the east, we don’t want to increase the hazard on the west. The FAA could call in our grants if safety becomes a factor. The airport must have a hazardous plan for safety to minimize hazardous wildlife problems.

Kathleen Gross: I am a candidate for White County Council-at-Large and a 12 year resident. We need a compromise. Would any of you want one of these in your back yard? Commissioner Greg Bossaer answered, I have an open air digester within a mile of my home and it’s just fine. Ms. Gross said, oh. You must vote for what is best for the county.

Jim Prummur: I have 39 years experience with anaerobic and aerobic digesters. There will be hydro-sulfide. It is very corrosive, but can be scrubbed with chemicals. When pumping into trailers, gas will release into the atmosphere.

Robert Frost, lives south of airport on Airport Road: Lived up north with aerobic and sometimes anaerobic digesters. The smell would get so bad that one time, for a town festival, we had to spray perfume in the air to combat the odor.

Applicant:

Connie Neininger, White County Economic Development Director: The 2011 Economic Development Strategy lists White County’s assets as unique towns, alternative energy leader, location, lakes and tourism. Industrial growth is the best way to increase the tax base. If not in this area, where does the Board want such growth?

Attorney Crist: This is not spot zoning; the issue is in line with county and city growth. The Monticello Wastewater Plant is just as close to the winery and closer to residential neighborhoods and it is an open air facility, yet there are no complaints from residents.

Dan Mattanello, US Biogas General Manager of Engineering: Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable gas. Scrubbable? The bio process injects air into the digester. Hydrogen sulfide has a “rotten egg” smell. Gases are combusted inside the tank. No hydrogen sulfide is produced.

Opposition:

Attorney Harmon: If you let an I-2 into an agricultural area, how do you deny others that are more undesirable? Ask the developers to consider other areas. This is not considered to be in the best interests of the county.

Rich Nicholas: Wooster has no manure in or out so should not be compared with this disgester. Truckers can be careful, but accidents happen. We don’t have a problem now, we don’t need one.

Wayne Reedy, Engineering graduate Purdue University: Thirty-seven years experience. There will be hydrogen sulfide. Will have emissions from engine and flare. There will be potential emissions from accidents. Hydrogen sulfide causes illness in adults and children such as headaches, coughs, upper respiratory, nausea, and sleepless nights.

Charlie Vaughan, summer resident 50 years, summer property owner 20 years: We have one chance to get it right. We have all the risk for something that’s not wanted for all time. Economic Development – Monticello’s life blood is tourism. If it gets through here, you’re stuck with it forever.

Julie Gutwein: The 2011 Economic Development Strategy (pg 74) calls for hospitals and life sciences industry in this area, not I-2.

Applicant:

Dave Jordan: Mr. Jordan began by thanking Director Rogers for his presentation at the library. The opposition is driven by fear – everything is going to go bad. As a developer, Sixth Street out is all spot zoning. The Roach’s are good people, willing to sell their own personal land for development in the county. There are 900 against this, where are the other 22,000 people in the county? This is a $5 million project. White County schools just cut $400,000 from their budgets. We need economic development to make things happen for the county. The EPA regulations placed on businesses today are very stringent and will be more so placed on these guys. Move the digester? If this is so dangerous, it doesn’t belong anywhere in White County. We have the opportunity to go one way or the other. We must promote from within. Monticello won’t attract $50 million companies. We have to build from within our resources. Brandywine has not lost weddings this year. Last year they booked 3 weddings averaging 300 – 350 people each; this year 11 are booked. If events are down, events are down, not because of the proposed digester. At this point there was a disturbance and security stepped forward as Rich Nicholas began shouting questions at Mr. Jordan. President Anderson told Mr. Nicholas to step to the podium and be recognized if he’d like to speak. Mr. Nicholas agitatedly demanded of Mr. Jordan as to why he was coming out now in favor of the project, was he an investor? Mr. Jordan calmly stated that Dr. Pampel approached him on the first day of the protest and asked for Mr. Jordan’s support. Mr. Jordan said he did not know where he stood, he would have to investigate. Upon investigation, Mr. Jordan determined he was in support of the project – no hard feelings, he’s still friends with objectors, just a difference of opinion.

Opposition:

Larry Sanson: All digesters are there to support that facility.

Board:

Commissioner Richard Lynn asked Director Rogers a question regarding Mr. Rogers opinion on whether or not this was spot zoning. Director Rogers responded that spot zoning is elusive; it has different meanings to different people; in his opinion this is not spot zoning, just the nature of the beast. In Monon there are a couple I-2’s west of town and one south and east of town, surrounded by R-2’s in all directions; in Monticello there are some I-2’s on North Sixth Street surrounded by B-2’s and A-1’s; there is no I-2 industrial corridor in the county; the Zoning Ordinance sets up spot zoning; in 2008 the Zoning Ordinance provided for A-2 zoning of which there was none in the county; now all A-2 zoning is spot zoned, similar to I-2, therefore, it is spot zoning by design so our office does not classify it as spot zoning. Mr. Lynn then asked Mr. Rogers opinion on property values. The response: if the digester performs as promoted, there will be no ill effect on property values; if the digester does not perform as promoted, it will effect property values. Mr. Lynn’s last question dealt with whether this is an appropriate use; Mr. Rogers responded that this is not a digester issue, it is an I-2 issue; if the goal is to not allow an I-2 zoning in any area where there is a residential district, meaning where there is any single family dwelling, I don’t know where in the county you would put this thing; in White County almost all I-2’s are in close proximity to residential areas; it is this Board’s decision as to whether that is acceptable; the applicant’s property is surrounded by A-1 zoning with a B-2 further west and an I-1 further north and R-2 out further yet; it appears the city and the county have designated this as an industrial corridor; the office does not consider this an inappropriate zoning. Is a digester appropriate? According to our use chart, it is. The use chart permits a commercial digester in an I-2 zoning district. It does not require a special exception use to be determined by the BZA; it does not require a digester to be an accessory use to on ongoing operation; it permits a commercial digester as a stand-alone use in an I-2 zoning district. The use chart has been reviewed and adopted by all the legislative bodies in the county, therefore if you determine an I-2 zoning is appropriate for this parcel, it is a foregone conclusion that a digester is appropriate. Our office is not promoting one position or the other, we’re simply trying to clarify for you how we interpret the Ordinance in our office and that is our statutory authority, that is our job, to interpret the Ordinance it’s the Board’s job to determine if we are correct.

 

President Anderson asked if there were anymore questions. Don Ward motioned to vote on the petition. Dave Rosenbarger seconded. Denny Sterrett asked if the motion included the written commitments of the applicant. Don Ward said yes.

Attorney Diener: The action of the Board tonight is strictly a recommendation to the legislative body, not a final decision. The White County Commissioners have the final decision.

Director Rogers announced that it takes six votes one way or the other for a recommendation. If there is a recommendation tonight, our office will certify the recommendation and it will be taken to the White County Commissioners on March 19, 2012 at 8:30 am. The Commissioners will have 90 days to act on the recommendation. Result: 11 votes cast; 4 grant, 7 deny

 

Findings of Fact:

  1. The proposed rezoning is consistent with the goals, objective, and policies of the White County Strategic Plan and any other applicable planning studies and reports, as adopted and amended from time to time. 9 agree; 2 disagree; I think I-1 would be better in this area; county plan for industry on S 6th Street

  2. The proposed rezoning is compatible with current conditions and the overall character of existing development in the immediate vicinity of the subject property. 5 agree; 1 no opinion; 5 disagree; Again, I don’t think heavy industry should be put in this area; residential/light industry I-1 is along Freeman Road

  3. The proposed rezoning is the most desirable use for which the land in the subject property is adapted. 1 agree; 3 no opinion; 7 disagree; Again, I-1 would be more advised; too close to residential and hospital; the development plan calls for light industry along the south corridor of Monticello

  4. The proposed rezoning will not have an adverse effect on the value of properties throughout the jurisdiction. 4 agree; 3 no opinion; 4 disagree; It has the potential to impact values; probably temporary only; in the short term but if the digester works as proposed no; heavy industrial not good for area

  5. The proposed rezoning reflects responsible standards for growth and development. 5 agree; 3 no opinion; 3 disagree; There is potential to impact property values and the APC has the responsibility to provide for the conservation of property values; not heavy industrial

 

The non-favorable recommendation will be sent to the White County Commissioners to be heard at their March 20, 2012 meeting at 8:30 am for a final decision.

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There being no further business, President Anderson adjourned the meeting at 10:10 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

____________________________

Donald W. Ward, Secretary

White County Area Plan Commission

 

 

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Joseph W. Rogers, Exec. Director

White County Area Plan Commission

 

 

Document Prepared By: White County Area Plan Secretary, Gayle E. Rogers “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.” _________________________________________________