With no new housing subdivisions being built in the county and land rezoning requests submitted infrequently, Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission in recent months has found itself considering several roadway vacation petitions.
During the regular monthly meeting July 11 in Warsaw, the APC considered two more road vacation requests. David Metzger’s petition to vacate a platted public way in the Mort’s housing addition to Barbee Lake was reconsidered by the APC.
The petition was submitted for the June meeting of the APC but was inadvertently advertised as a relocation and vacation. The APC at that time voted to recommend the road be vacated and relocated.
But when the petition was submitted to the county commissioners the petitioner made it clear he only wants the road to be vacated. The commissioners then said the petition must be re-advertised and reconsidered by the APC.
Steve Snyder, attorney representing Metzger, said his client wants to combine three lots he owns together into one. Metzger had a drainage way installed, Snyder said, and is willing to keep it if necessary.
Dan Richard, area planning director, said the technical committee reviewing the petition prior to the APC meeting recommended the road not be vacated. “They are concerned the drainage would be lost and also any public access,” he said.
Similar to last month, the APC debated the petition. Richard noted it is clear there are major philosophical differences about what constitutes true public lake access. Some APC members feel the lack of any public response — there were no remonstrators against the petition in either June or this month — indicates the road should be vacated.
Ultimately, though, the APC voted 4-3 to submit no new recommendation to the commissioners. Board members Bob Conley and James Moyer were not present. The commissioners will consider the petition at their July 31 meeting.
In other business, the APC unanimously recommended approval for a roadway vacation in Lake View Park near Lake Wawasee. The road parallels Eli Lilly Road and is not far from the CSX railroad line. Three petitioners submitted the vacation request — the Flanagan, Needler and Pahud families.
Snyder noted this is a continuation of a process where several other nearby property owners have already requested, and had approved, road vacations. “We are close to being finished with this,” he said. “There may be about six to eight other property owners involved.”
County commissioners will consider the petition at their July 31 meeting.
Also at the meeting, the APC did discuss a proposed ordinance amendment that would allow storage warehouses as an exception on properties zoned residential. Temporary structures used in conjunction with public improvement projects or declared emergencies would be permitted if the proposed site is acceptable and neighboring uses are not adversely affected.
No vote was taken because the APC wants to see more details and a more specific definition provided for what constitutes storage warehouses.
Another ordinance amendment could possibly be considered involving subdivision developer signs. Richard said the planning office had received a complaint from a realtor about a sign still standing in front of a developing subdivision that had been in place more than two years. Richard noted the county ordinance allows such signs for only two years or until at least 50 percent of the lots are sold in the subdivision.
He said the planning office will study the ordinance and may at some point consider an amendment to the ordinance.