The agenda was light for the regular monthly meeting of the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission today in Warsaw, but the APC did approve a resolution as part of the process to establish a tax increment finance district just outside of Milford.
TruPointe is developing property for an agricultural processing facility near the intersection of CR 1400 North and CR 100 East just outside of Milford. Kosciusko County Redevelopment Commission asked the APC to approve a resolution that will be part of the process to establish an economic development area, or a TIF.
Dan Richard, area planning director, said the APC’s role is to determine if the proposed uses of the property conform to the county’s comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinances.
Lee Harman, chairman of the APC, asked Richard if there was anything the planning commission should be aware of. Richard said he felt comfortable with approving the resolution because TruPointe has demonstrated a willingness to address concerns. He cited, as an example, one of the planned entrances and exits to the facility is across 100 East from a residence and concerns were expressed that truck lights would shine into the home when trucks exited. “They (TruPointe) committed to making it an entrance only,” Richard said.
APC member Kevin McSherry noted it would be a good idea to install a sign prohibiting the use of engine brakes on trucks. “When the driver lets off the gas, the compression goes through the exhaust and that makes a lot of noise,” he said. Such a sign would require the approval of the county commissioners.
Ultimately the APC approved the resolution, though planning commission members Chuck Haffner, Larry Coplen and Keith Hardy were not present. It is only one part of the process to establish a TIF.
It was not on the agenda, but the APC did briefly discuss a request made a few months ago by the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation to amend the ordinances governing lakefront access and developments, otherwise known as the anti-funneling ordinance. Matt Sandy, assistant planning director, gave a presentation to the APC showing examples of a few lakefront properties and how they could be affected if their developments were approved under the amended ordinances.
WACF is asking for the amendments because of what they feel is excessive commercial development along lakefront properties. Oakwood has been cited as an example.
The proposed amendments would address commercial developments, which are not currently addressed in the anti-funneling ordinance. In addition, when calculating the total number of feet for lakeshore development, WACF wants channels or inlets to no longer be included as part of the contiguous footage.
And, for commercial establishments such as restaurants, only one docking space would be allowed for every 250 square feet of service area of the business.
For one example, Sandy noted The Lodge subdivision at Lake Wawasee, already given approval under the current ordinances, was approved for more than 120 units, but under the proposed numbers would only be allowed to have 92 units and none with lake access.
Richard said it took a long time to agree on the current anti-funneling ordinance and amending it would also require a significant amount of time. Dick Kemper, APC member, said the focus of the anti-funneling ordinance is to prevent someone, for example, who owns a 100-foot lot on the lakefront “to funnel people through it to get lake access.” He said he is concerned the county would be dealing with pier issues, normally handled by the Department of Natural Resources.
Harman asked Richard if there is any timetable concerning the proposed amendments and Richard said there is not.
APC meetings are normally held at 1 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month in the commissioners room of the county courthouse.