Hoping adjoining property owners in North Webster can reach an agreement, Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission voted to table a preliminary plat petition by Tim Hine until the Feb. 5 meeting.
The Jan. 8 meeting of the APC in Warsaw was the first of 2014 and the first since November because there was not a sufficient enough agenda to hold a December meeting.
Hine is petitioning the APC for a preliminary plat for a residential development on a tract of ground slightly less than 8 acres on Blaine Street at the intersection with Linda Lane in North Webster. Hine wants to downsize and make his property easier to maintain.
Hine shares a private drive with adjoining property owner Jon Sroufe and the property is near North Webster Elementary School.
Sroufe remonstrated against the petition and noted the property has already exhausted the “three split rule” and he feels a 50-foot easement on the preliminary plat is not needed. “I do not want the tract split off,” he said.
Dan Richard, area planning director, said it is normally the developer’s choice whether or not an easement is part of a plat. But he added a goal is to limit the number of drives coming off roads. The easement would be from Hine’s property line to the north.
Some members of the APC suggested centering the easement on the property line and allowing each owner to have 25 feet. Eventually the APC decided it is best to give Hine and Sroufe time to try to reach an agreement so the petition will be heard again at the Feb. 5 meeting.
In other business, the APC recommended to not approve a roadway vacation petition by William and Beverly Long at Hoffman Lake. Richard noted the planning office became aware of the situation when someone complained there is a campground on a public right of way. The Longs have owned and maintained a campground for 44 years and assumed they owned the property where the right of way is located.
Richard Helm, an attorney representing several remonstrators living at Hoffman Lake, said the Longs do not have “squatter’s rights” and don’t pay taxes on the property. “They can’t just take over a street that is a public right of way,” he said.
Both public ways are located on the north side of CR 300N. After discussion the APC felt not only would vacating the roads cut off a public right of way, but it would also hinder access for emergency vehicles. Chuck Haffner of the APC made a motion to “strongly oppose” the vacations and the APC voted 5-2 not to vacate. County commissioners will consider the petition at their Feb. 25 meeting.
In other business, the APC recommended approval to define a residence will be used as a group home on Pierceton Road near Stonehenge Golf Club. Bill Fawley, with his attorney Adam Turner present, asked the planning commission to determine a proposed use for the home would make it a group home and allow it to be a permitted use under the county zoning ordinance. Fawley said he wants to open a residential rehabilitation facility for meth addicts.
Turner said Indiana Codes do not place restrictions on a group home setting when mental illness is involved. There was some question as to whether a drug addiction could be connected with mental illness, but the APC did vote in favor of the group home definition and there was no remonstrance against the request. The house is not close to the road, is not within a town limits and is not in the middle of a neighborhood.
Also on the agenda, the APC recommended approval of a rezoning petition from Dr. Edward and Deborah Boyts to rezone slightly more than 1 acre from agricultural to either agricultural II or residential. The property is located on 8 Square Road, east of CR 175E in Plain Township and north of Chapman Lake. The Boyts own residential property at Chapman Lake, but want to build a pole barn on a separate piece of property to use as a storage building.
There was some discussion about whether the Boyts want to build another house on the 1 acre, but Deborah said they want to downsize and have no intentions to build another home. County commissioners will consider the petition at their Jan. 28 meeting.
APC officers for 2014 will remain the same as in 2013: chairman, Lee Harman; vice chairman, Haffner; and secretary, Dick Kemper.