At its March 24 meeting, the Kosciusko County Commissioners heard a number of Area Plan Commission items, namely a vacation of a public right of way in the Indian Hill neighborhood near Syracuse Lake in Syracuse.
A related matter came before the commission in May of 2011. At the time, the commission opted for a compromise, and only vacated a portion of the roadway, leaving a 10-foot strip for public access.
The petitioner, Time Frame Properties, requested that the remaining strip be vacated. According to the petitioner’s attorney, Steve Snyder, the property owner has plans to demolish the house currently on the lot and construct a new one.
The reason for the vacation is to make room for a larger residence on the property. If road were not vacated, the new house would likely be built closer to the shoreline.
Snyder argued that this would not cut off access to Syracuse Lake, as there are three public access points. He also noted that the vacation would not interfere with any other property owners accessing their own properties.
Several people came before the commission to remonstrate against the vacation. Dan Richard of the Area Plan Commission recommended that the vacation not be granted. Judy Shoemaker, who owns the property across the street from the public way in question, spoke out against it.
“I’m against having this public right of way limited,” she said. “I do use it, I have used it, I have gone into the water and have not been arrested for doing such.”
Attorney Jack Birch spoke on behalf of another remonstrator. He noted that the issue was already settled, based on the same issues, in 2011. He argued that the public way is a value to everyone in the neighborhood. He also noted there were other ways of addressing the construction issue, such as requesting a setback variance, thus the requested vacation was not the property owner’s only option.
Ultimately, the commission took the Area Plan Commission’s recommendation and did not grant the vacation.
The commissioners also had three other plan commission items on the agenda: a vacation of a portion of Elaine Drive near Marathon Industrial Park in Wayne Township for the Animal Welfare League; a rezoning near Leesburg of a 1.72 acres from agricultural to commercial for the purpose of building a retail store, and a vacation at Merry Woods subdivision near Milford. All of these items were approved.
Also at the meeting, the commissioners approved the reappointment of Bob Marccuilli as the representative on the Lakeland Regional Sewer District board. And Scott Tilden had two items from the Kosciusko County Highway Department.
One was submission of the annual operational report, Form 16, for 2014. The commissioners accepted it. He also had a letter of understanding for the official detour route around the construction at the Walnut Creek bridge. This was also accepted.