The Press-Dispatch

February 17, 2021

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, Feburar y 17, 2021 A-7 SCHOOL Submit school news items: Call: 812-354-8500 Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg EAST GIBSON Submit East Gibson news items: Call: 812-354-8500 Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Winslow Elementary School LUNCH MENU HIGH AND MIDDLE SCHOOL Thursday, Feb. 18 Pork Chop, Whole Grain Dinner Roll, Mashed Pota- toes, Brown Gravy, Buttered Corn, Treat, Fruit Juice, Fruit and Milk Friday, Feb. 19 Asian Chicken Bites And Fried Rice, Or Cheese Piz- za, Steamed Broccoli, But- tered Carrots, Sweet And Sour Sauce, Fruit and Milk" Monday, Feb. 22 Pizza, Spiral Cut Fries, Tossed Salad, Fruit Juice, Fruit and Milk Tuesday, Feb. 23 Chicken Sandwich, Broc- coli With Cheese, Buttered Carrots, Fruit Juice, Fruit and Milk Wednesday, Feb. 24 Chicken Strips, Whole Grain Dinner Roll, Mashed Potatoes, White Gravy, But- tered Corn, Fruit Juice, Fruit and Milk WINSLOW ELEMENTARY Thursday, Feb. 18 Barbecue Rib, Bun, Smile Tots, Fresh Brocco- li, Fruit and Milk Friday, Feb. 19 Bosco Cheese Sticks, Marinara Sauce, Hash Brown Patty, Fresh Cauli- flower, Fruit and Milk Monday, Feb. 22 Soft Pretzel, Jalapeño Cheese, Sauce, Crinkle Cut Fries, Buttered Car- rots, Fruit and Milk Tuesday, Feb. 23 Hamburger, Cheese Slice, Bun, Shredded Let- tuce, Sliced Tomato, Sweet Potato Fries, Fruit and Milk Wednesday, Feb. 24 Chicken Nuggets, Whole Grain Dinner Roll, Scal- loped Potatoes, Baked Beans, Fruit and Milk PETERSBURG ELEMENTARY Thursday, Feb. 18 Barbecue Rib, Bun, Smile Tots, Fresh Broccoli Florets, Fruit and Milk Friday, Feb. 19 Bosco Cheese Sticks, Marinara Sauce, Hash Brown Patty, Fresh Cauli- flower, Fruit and Milk Monday, Feb. 22 Soft Pretzel, Jalapeño Cheese, Sauce, Tater Tots, Green Beans, Fruit and Milk Tuesday, Feb. 23 Hamburger, Cheese Slice, Bun, Shredded Let- tuce, Sliced Tomato, Sweet Potato Fries, Fruit and Milk Wednesday, Feb. 24 Chicken Nuggets, Scal- loped Potatoes, Baked Beans, Whole Grain Din- ner Roll and Fruit and Milk Stephanie Shedd's first graders show off their 100th day glasses. Left to right are: Jada Kline, Abi Truitt, Ava Hinton, Reagan Drew, Liam Hook, Caiden Mallory, Addie Sams and Crew O'Neal. Sitting is Alex Meeks. Eastyn Knight has a fun time twisting at the Sock Hop. Liam Hook does the twist at the 50's Day Sock Hop. Jaxon Wibbeler has fun using shaving cream to practice his sight words. Alec Glass is practic- ing his sight words with shaving cream. Gibson County APC splits on zoning ordinance repeal By Janice Barniak Gibson County Area Plan- ning Commission did not adopt an ordinance to repeal zoning after a 2-6 split vote in their meeting Feb. 9, though their consent is not required for an repeal. Attorney Josh Clayborn, at the opening of the meeting, told the board they did not have a formal veto, but APC boards are designed to be an important form of input. Members Steve Obert, Mike Wood, Mike Stilwell, Mike McConnell, Mary Key and Greg Reising were in favor of continuing zoning; in favor of repeal were newly appoint- ed members Cecil "Bob" Allen and Marty Marginet. Survey- or Scott Martin did not attend. Obert said his objection was with the wording of the docu- ment that put the blame for the repeal on the APC themselves by questioning its validity. He said it wasn't an attempt to pass zoning, that it did pass. "We did this," he said. "When I read that, I be- came—I felt it was a disre- spect to these folks' service to the community...For two weeks, building up to this meeting, I gave myself pep talks. Don't get emotional." He felt the wording in the document that the board "at- tempted" to pass zoning was derogatory. "Don't come in and try to discredit the people who sit around this table," he said. "When it comes to this reso- lution, I'm completely offend- ed by it. We had legal counsel all the way through." Board member Mike McCo- nnell said he felt that licensing would give Indianapolis more control over local issues. "You're not going to get a major company to come into county and build on 69 with- out zoning," he said. "The east part of Gibson County needs to be developed for tax reve- nue to help the school." He said Oakland City's schools are on thin ice finan- cially, and he doesn't want the students sent to South Gibson or North Gibson districts. "I know they want to do away with this zoning, but I ha- ven't heard a frickin' good rea- son other than they don't want zoning," he said. He added he didn't have a choice about liv- ing next to a coal mine, with the dozers at night and the way it lowered his property value. "If you do away with zoning, it's going to go down as one of the worst decisions this coun- ty ever made," he said. Commissioner Mary Key said she is in support of zon- ing. "I think we can come to a compromise...there's a way to keep the county protected." Mike Woods said he felt the APC worked to make the zon- ing fit the county well. Greg Reising was in favor of keeping at least some of the ordinance, citing having more local control. "I just don't think we should throw this away," he said. Cecil "Bob" Allen said, as a new member, that the rea- son the two new commission- ers were elected was because people didn't want zoning; he estimated 80 to 90 percent of citizens didn't want zoning. "I disagree with those sta- tistics," said board member Mike Stilwell. "The voting records spoke this last election...I thought it was communism when a board tells you what you can do on your own property," Al- len said. "That was their prom- ise to the voters of Gibson County. That's what they told the voters...and that's what they've done." He said if voters wanted zoning, the former commis- sioners, Steve Bottoms and Gerald Bledsoe, would still be in office. If there were issues with so- lar regulations, the APC had a chance to deal with that, he said. "Why didn't this commis- sion set up rules and regu- lations on solar panels," he asked. Obert said after election, the APC asked themselves whether to take the commis- sion any farther, knowing the new commissioners planned to repeal zoning. New member Marty Mar- ginet agreed with Allen about the voters having spoken. Mike McConnell said if zon- ing were repealed it would be back in the future, though it might take 20 to 30 years. Public Comment Far fewer people spoke during the public comment period; far fewer people at- tended the meeting, possibly due to dangerous road condi- tions. The Star-Times attempt- ed to include all speakers at the meeting. Bob Moore, a CR 150 S. res- ident, said he would like the zoning board to offer protec- tion from the Gibson Solar project. He moved into a house in Gibson County this weekend, only to find out he would be looking at solar panels instead of farmland. "They will wave money. I'm looking for protection for the little guy." He said he wonders how Princeton will continue to grow to the south with the so- lar panels there. Bob Schleter, of Gibson County, said the people's will spoke when the county voted out a majority of the county commissioners. "I think you should follow the wishes of the people," he said. Former APC member April Graper told the board she didn't want to throw away something the county spent so much time and money on. "Yes, I understand we are divided...I understand the fears," she said. Resident Mike Moore, Bob Moore's son, said he's recent- ly built three houses in the ar- ea, and had to do a lot in the way of permits and building correctly. "A company can pay a few farmers considerable amount of money and they can do what they want." No one will want to live next to the solar panels, he said, adding they'd be better placed on former strip mines. "I was run out of my house by a coal mine 10 years ago," he said. "I'm back in same boat 11 years later." Steve Shear, resident of CR50 E., south of Height Chapel, said he was not in fa- vor of solar farms. "You represent us, not these large companies," he said, adding that when Toy- ota came, they represented many more jobs, and it made the loss of farmland worth the sacrifice, but this will have six jobs over the next 35 years, he said. Calvin Davis, of 200 S. 50 E., said he wants to know how much heat and reflection will come off solar panels, how much it will affect traffic. Les Kiesel, of Haubstadt, asked APC members to re- ject the ordinance, despite it not making a difference as to whether county commission- ers would approve or reject it, (commissioners at the last check were two to one in favor of repeal). "I know where they stand. I know the makeup of the com- mission. But I'd like to put them on record," he said. He said two to three years ago, the issue was regulating tur- bines, now the issue is regu- lating solar panels, and that he doesn't know what will be the next issue of the future. "Without zoning, how do you address these issues? " he asked. "Really, you guys had no choice when it comes to protecting the doppler." Craig Pflug, county council member from Oakland City, asked the APC to take their time and consider the "tre- mendous amount" spent on zoning, and see if there was anything in the ordinance to salvage. Mark Floyd, who lives be- tween Poseyville and Owens- ville, was in favor of repeal based on what he saw in Van- derburgh County. "It was notorious what zon- ing did," he said. Kent Maurer was against repeal. "Is zoning perfect? It's not perfect. But what is? But at least for me, I have confidence in it," he said, adding he did not have confidence in licens- ing. Shirley Mills said after building a house a year ago, she's learned she will live next to a solar farm. "I'm hesitant to get rid of a system without something else in place," she said. According to the attorney Josh Clayborne, regulating solar or wind energy will be a moot point if House Bill 1381 is signed. It would override zoning and licensing. While the bill doesn't spec- ify doppler radar, there are clauses he believes would pro- tect the doppler. Those are clauses about television, microwave and de- fense radar systems; howev- er, if it passes, many aspects under safety, from setbacks to shadow flicker, will be gov- erned by the state. A much smaller crowd attended the zoning repeal meeting of the Area Planning Commission Feb. 9. Some of that could have been due to icy conditions, however, the outcome of the meeting would not have a bearing on whether zoning was repealed, so many against zoning stayed home from the meeting. Second Gibson County solar project and tax abatement tabled By Janice Barniak The Gibson County Council tabled a second solar project and its ensuing tax abatement request Feb. 9, so the council can review the proposal. The project is spearhead- ed by Tenaska, the company overseeing the Elliott Solar Project, approved for a five- year abatement last year. The newest solar project, called the Gibson Solar Proj- ect, will be located south of Princeton, with 90 percent of the project in Patoka and the other 10 percent in Union Township. The 2,240 -acre new project would generate 280 Mega- watts, enough to power 50,000 homes a year through peak hours, and would be connect- ed to a Duke-owned substa- tion over its 35 -year life. The company estimated it would pay $249 million in property taxes, create 373 jobs during construction; then hire 3-5 people over the life of proj- ect, while paying $2.5 million total to landowners per year. Two options were given, a five-year traditional abate- ment that would decrease by 20 percent each year, or a five- year 100 percent abatement, with an upfront payment to the county of $1 million in eco- nomic development dollars. The company hopes for a March public hearing and an April decision about the abate- ment. If approved, construc- tion would begin next year, and the solar project would be operational in 2023. Caitlin Cheek, with Baker Tilly, analyzed the tax impact on the county, saying it would result in a $19,000 per year in- crease to the Princeton Fire Territory equipment fund, and a $2,400 increase annually to the Union Township Cumula- tive Fire fund. With the traditional sce- nario, the first year, the com- pany would receive a 100 percent abatement and the amount would decline by 20 percent every year. The com- pany would pay a total of $56,054,910 in taxes over 35 years. With option 2, a five-year abatement, with the full tax amount abated all years, the company would pay a total of $52,987,050 over 35 years, plus another $1 million in economic development to the county. In the first scenario, the company saves $4.9 million in abatements, and in the sec- ond, the company receives $7.97 million in abatements. For taxpayers in Patoka Township, with an approxi- mately $75,000 home, that would be an annual savings of $25.77, but no savings for those with homes over $150,000, after the abate- ments ended. For Union Town- ship, it would be a savings of $5.73 on a $75,000 home, and $22.64 on a $150,000 home, af- ter abatements ceased.

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