A request from Area Plan Commission to rezone a residential property in Pierceton turned into a heated debate at last night’s town council meeting.
It started out amicably enough. Dan Richard from APC brought the proposal to the board. The tract of land, situated just south of US 30 near Mill Street, is currently zoned residential, but is surrounded by commercial property.
Richard said Area Plan unanimously recommended the rezoning, but with a caveat. The tract is the lowest point in the area, which raised some concerns regarding drainage. Richard’s recommendation was to allow the rezoning, but drainage would have to be addressed before the property could be developed for commercial use.
The current property owner, Edd Allen, wanted the property rezoned so that he could sell cars at the lot. His attorney, Steve Snyder, told the council that Allen planned to renovate a small house on the property and put a gravel overlay atop the lot. No significant drainage improvements were planned.
Town Manager Chip Hill voiced his concern. “The soil is very unstable in that area,” he said, also citing the significant work neighboring businesses had to do to build in the area.
Snyder stated that, should additional drainage problems arise, Allen would address them. However, the council was not comfortable with that approach.
“We ain’t putting a Speedway in over here, or a Paragon,” Allen said in defense of his business plan. “All I want to do is improve the property. If you don’t want me to improve the property, I’ll sell it, and it’ll stay the same.”
Ultimately, the town council and Allen could not reach an understanding, and the rezoning request was denied.
Also at the meeting, there was an update on the upcoming Pierceton Days festival that was brought up at last month’s meeting. The requested dates, July 31 through Aug. 2, were confirmed. Also, Town Marshal Tim Sammons said he checked with INDOT about moving the event’s car show back to SR 13. Sammons said INDOT outlined what was needed to make the location change happen, and that information was passed along to Kim Rose.
Fire Chief Matt Brubaker announced the annual fire department fish fry would be at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 2.