The Press-Dispatch

January 10, 2018

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch School Wednesday, Januar y 10, 2018 C- 11 Mrs. Kim Elliott working with Rayleigh McCracken and Wylon Schop- penhorst on their Science. OMA 5th graders made quiz boards for science but incorporated ques- tions from all subjects. Below: Fifth graders en- joying the PES-Winslow bas- ketball game! OMA 5th grad- ers made quiz boards for sci- ence but incorporated questions from all subjects. Pictured are: Ethan Wolfe, Noah Fort, Michael Woods, Kyleigh Earls. Mrs. Hartke's Second Grade Class has been working hard on their STEAM projects. The stu- dents will also write a group presentation using the Scientific Method. Mr. Fears joined the students at recess and gave them some basketball pointers! Mrs. Hartke's Second Grade Class has been working hard on their STEAM projects. The stu- dents will also write a group presentation using the Scientific Method. Otwell Miller Academy LEGAL EAGLES SPEAK OUT GRANT SWARTZENTRUBER "If the APC and Board of Commissioners choose to pro- ceed with the existing pro- posal, we are prepared to file an injunction to stop its enforce- ment and to litigate the legitimacy of this ordinance. We (my clients and I) would prefer to work together and address the issues simply and ami- cably." Swartzentruber's 10 -point legal opinion: • State law requires a Comprehen- sive Plan approved prior to the or- dinance. • The draft refers to the annexation capabilities of Gibson County and contains many "county council" references. • Only nine of the 14 specific zoning districts are described in the ordi- nance in violation of Indiana Code. • Not having a zoning map does not comply with IC 36 -7-4-601. • Site scoring is very complicated and impossible to fairly adminis- ter. • Drainage/floodplain language should be borrowed from Indiana DNR's model ordinances. • The draft fails to recognize re- cently enacted laws on cell tow- er facilities. • The draft fails to recognize re- cently enacted laws on signage, billboards and sign permits. • "Site plan" review process will im- pose significant regulatory bur- dens if applicable to any new ru- ral development. • Subdivision regulation is not pos- sible until completion of Compre- hensive Plan and Zoning Ordi- nance. MIKE SCHOPMEYER "Liberty of one's proper- ty rights and peace are like- wise preserved, rather than di- minished, by a proper zoning plan." Schopmey- er's rebuttals to Dec. 18 zoning com- ments: • Zoning plans do not undermine liberty, but rather protect the own- er's property rights • Zoning plans do not grow out of control unless citizens allow it. The plan will be amended to ad- dress issues, but has checks and balances, and includes public hearings. • Neighbors' voluntary covenants cannot replace zoning; it only takes a few refusals to affect prop- erty rights. • Lack of zoning has caused cur- rent traffic issues and can improve traffic patterns and create a larg- er tax base by enticing investors. • Zoning and unemployment do not negatively correlate—Adams, Elkhart and Lagrange have some of the lowest unemployment and are zoned. • Zoning plans should not be dis- counted only because it origi- nated in Germany. It was adopt- ed in America before the World Wars, and was not a reason for ei- ther war. • The plan has not been kept a se- cret—local newspapers have writ- ten front page stories, radios cov- ered the meetings, which publish advance notice. • Zoning does not harm food pro- duction but protects it by keeping out landfills and harmful chemical industries. • Zoning cannot be voted on by ref- erendum—the state would have to pass a law to permit the referen- dum. • Zoning alleviates fear by making public the plan for local land use. ZONING Continued from page 11 might buy something made overseas, then the money goes back out," he said. "Ag- riculture takes a raw prod- uct and makes a finished project, and keeps the mon- ey here." Mike Brewster, super- intendent of East Gibson School Corporation, said he's not going to pretend he knows ins and outs of zoning, but he does know schools. Right now, the general fund paying for teachers, etc., generates money from state sales tax, not local property tax. Local property taxes are no longer a source of general fund revenue, and schools need students. "Zoning means contrac- tors, contractors mean houses, houses mean fami- lies, and families mean chil- dren," he said, in support of the zoning ordinance. Tony Wolfe, Indiana Farm Bureau worker for 22 years, said he supports some kind of land protection for farm- ers. "Done right, this could get county-wide support. A lot of people forget this is to protect my farm. If someone wanted to build a smelting plant next to my farm, they could do it," he said. That said, he believes that it's un- fair to impart regulations on one part of the county—on the I-69 corridor—but not on the others. He said animal farming regulations around the state have been hard on livestock producers, singling them out and making it difficult for family farmers to ex- pand, giving an advantage to corporations with attor- neys on standby. The site scoring for agri- cultural expansion is biased when there's not a similar regulation for mining and in- dustrial expansion, he said. Dave McKinney, of Fran- cisco, asked people to stand who were for and against zoning, and pointed out more people in the audience were against. He said that it would be unfair to make it sound as though an equal number of people were speaking for and against when he sees the split as closer to 80 -20 or more against. Randy Kiesel said he's had businesses affected by zoning, and is against it. "I understood democra- cy is for the people, by the people, of the people...I'm against zoning on principle." Bob Schleter read a let- ter from another member of anti-zoning, and in it, the person said "many in Gib- son County just want to be left alone...We have free- dom rarely enjoyed by oth- er counties...Zoning will tear down those freedoms." Matt Page, of east Gibson, is against zoning because he said as a licensed contractor in Evansville, he saw prices increase after zoning, and doesn't see the need for it here. Tom Vieke expressed con- cerns about how the sewer would be handled if I-69 de- veloped. Along the three exits, he said only Oakland City, Fort Branch and Haub- stadt can handle additional sewer. Mackey, he pointed out, was a place that could not. He also urged waiting for full completion of the inter- state. Terry Unfried, former Fort Branch dentist of 40 years, said he is against any government agency trying to say they know better than local business. "It doesn't really affect me that much, it doesn't help Terry Unfried," he said. He said that he keeps hearing housing is a prob- lem in the county, but there have been several develop- ments and houses built in the last 25 years. "I feel it's a cure for a prob- lem that does not exist," he said of zoning. Daniel Lefler urged slow- ing down zoning. "The other thing I have to say is I'm not fighting this zoning because I want to, I'm fighting it because I have to." He said many people in Mackey, Somerville, and Buckskin are on fixed in- comes and won't be able to afford increased costs. "To me, that's not Chris- tian," he said. Robin Overbey, who is in the semi business, said that for those who laughed when someone suggested a strip club might locate next to a church, "go to Wheatland, Ind. There's a strip club near a church." People have to change, he said. "If I did what my grandpa did, I'd be in an outhouse." As a person in the truck- ing industry, he's subject to regulations on semi ex- haust. "That's progress, it's ben- eficial to the air everyone breathes," he said. Jeff Seibert said he did not support the ordinance be- cause it isn't tied to a com- prehensive plan. "It was not good enough to adopt in 2009," he said, calling it "outdated and ir- relevant." He compared the diffi- culty of repealing the ordi- nance after it passes to the trying to appeal the A fforda- ble Care Act. "I think that if we take the time to work together, we can promote growth for years to come, not for short term for special interests," he said. Larry Michel, who lives on a Union Township farm- stead in Fort Branch, advo- cated a slow down on zon- ing, and said he did not be- lieve zoning would solve the problem of too few students in the schools. He expressed concerns over the cost, and suggested the money would be better spent addressing the coun- ty's drug issues. Arvin Schurmeier, fifth generation livestock farm- er, said he worries about be- ing able to expand, especial- ly because there are already Indiana Dept. of Emergency Management rules to follow. "I'd like to pass on my farm to my heirs," he said. "I didn't ask for the highway to come. It's been a struggle ever since. I've been to East Gibson schools, I graduated from East Gibson," he said. "What I'd really like to see is something to improve our life and our quality of life." Gary Michel said that the growth on I-69 doesn't justi- fy the zoning, and asked why not zone the whole county to its current uses, including the highway. "Bring public along and follow their desires," he urged. COMMISSION COMMENTS The board is considering bringing in a person from the Posey County Planning Com- mission, to talk about how zoning, which they adopt- ed 12 years ago, has affect- ed them. Attorney and zoning spe- cialist Mike Schopmeyer wanted to point out some ways the draft was changing. First, he said references to drainage are being dropped and will be left to the drain- age board. The commission plans sep- arate meetings for the coal, oil and gas industries to ad- dress their concerns. "We expect to have anoth- er draft out before the next meeting. It won't be perfect either," he said. "I hope we have at least some movement on key issues." He said he'd like to start the next meeting with a sta- tus report. Steve Obert, a commission member and farmer, said that he felt some citizens distrust the board. "We're not as blessed as some of you to see this in black and white," Obert said. "We're here trying to learn from you." Mike Stilwell, Gibson County Council appointee and former businessman, said he thought the county needed a plan for growth. "As long as it takes...I'll be at every meeting," he said. Greg Reising, a farmer, said he would commit to this process, regardless of wheth- er it takes a year or two years. "I'm at ground zero, I fight this traffic every day," he said of having land along the cor- ridor. "People say we're sit- ting on a gold mine—we didn't buy that land to sell it...we've got to get this right. There's no going back from this once this starts." Planning and Advisory Commission president John Feutz seconded that he was committed to the process as long as it takes. When a person in the au- dience asked if the board will consider not zoning, he said that option was still on the table. "The ultimate decision may be nothing," he said. Commissioner Stephen Bottoms said that months ago, he had stated he'd like to be able to get things done in January, but his desire to be efficient was about keep- ing costs down. He is also willing to spend time, but wants to be mindful of keep- ing costs down. Mike McConnell, advisory member and Francisco farm- er, said he's also in no rush to get this done, and April Graper said the evidence the board was not rushing could be seen in the fact the board is willing to bring in other ex- perts for input. The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Toy- ota Events Center at Gibson County Fairgrounds. Darrin Gottman, of Owensville, is worried that with zoning he would have to ask a committee's permission to start a business or build a fence.

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