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Greene County Plan Commission Say Land Plan Needed

Last updated on Sunday, January 27, 2013

(BLOOMFIELD) - The Greene County Advisory Plan Commission has been working on a draft of a land-use planning/zoning ordinance since 2010.

Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports, as to what kind of language the proposed ordinance contains, that's still a mystery.

A draft document was completed in August 2012, however, it's still not ready to be viewed by the public because it hasn't gone through a legal review. That's what Greene County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Joan Bethell said at Wednesday afternoon's meeting of the Greene County Plan Commission.

The document has been disseminated to Plan Commission members and two new Greene County Commissioners - Ed Michael and Nathan Abrams - received their copies.

Both commissioners said they would hold off judgment on the document and comment until they've had a chance to read through it.

Commissioner's President Rick Graves served on the Plan Commission until Dec. 31, 2012 when Abrams replaced him.

The three-member County Commissioners will make the decision on whether a land-use-plan document is adopted.

The Plan Commission also had a rather embarrassing moment to start it's meeting Wednesday.

Plan Commission member Rob Kendall, from Linton, was seated at the board table waiting for the meeting to start when he was informed by board secretary Brianne Jerrells that his term had ended Dec. 31. The commissioners had replaced him in early January with Beech Creek Township Trustee and Greene County Republican Party Chairman Otto Prow.

Kendall had not been notified of the change, but he gracefully said, "Excuse me, I'll be happy to leave. I thought I was supposed to be here. I got an email (from Jerrells) that said to be here."

He added, "Nobody told me my term was up. I'm OK with it either way."

Kendall, who served about two years, decided to stay at the meeting and contributed his thoughts on the importance of passing the land use planning ordinance.

He was blunt in his remarks about the future of the Plan Commission, if the County Commissioners opt not to adopt the recommended land use planning ordinance.

"If you (the commissioners) are against it, we are wasting our time," Kendall said. "There is no reason to beat a dead horse."

He believes enforcement of zoning/land use regulation needs to be supported by the commissioners and funded by the county council.

Kendall called the proposed ordinance "a starting point" and it can be amended as time goes on.

He said adoption of the ordinance will get taxpayers the services they deserve and will get property owners and developers to follow some standards or they won't be issued a building permit.

Plan Commission President Garry Heshelman says having an ordinance is important to help control what kind of businesses might locate along the I-69 corridor, to ensure that subdivisions are properly designed and built with roads that meet county standards, to help police and make sure septic system were installed properly and safely; to establish a system of issuing building permits so county officials can track new structures and get them on the tax rolls.

Plan Commission member Chris Cornelius, a farmer from rural Switz City, says he's been vocal in his opposition to land-use planning since he was first appointed as an original member about three years ago.

Cornelius also pointed out that he doesn't feel pressured to adopt a land-use plan just because Greene County is among only eight in the state that has not adopted an ordinance.

Jackson Township Trustee Paul Trampke said for him passing a land-use plan makes sense, especially when you consider the various subdivisions that are spring up -- many that are not following any kind of guidelines.

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