KOSCIUSKO — The Kosciusko Area Plan Commission spent most of the meeting held this afternoon, June 5, discussing final plats.
The first plat discussed was for Paradise Acres, a four-lot residential subdivision off of Dogleg Drive West, Syracuse. The four lots range from two to 15 acres. Because of the lot sizes, they were exempt from having to do the full-blown drainage review.
The commission unanimously approved the final plat with no comments.
The second plat involved a lot more discussion. This plat involves seven lots inside the second edition of Ryerson Green, off of Washington Street in Pierceton. Preliminary approval was done in October 2018, with a few conditions. One of the conditions specified that the existing 20-foot wide sanitary sewer easement through lots 11 and 12 be vacated and relocated.
Area Planning Director Dan Richard explained that the petitioner Daniel Cone has worked with the town of Pierceton to allow them to leave the easement located through lots 11 and 12, despite the original approval condition. An email was presented from former Town Manager Chip Hill stating that the town “would be okay with allowing the easement to remain as is.”
Commissioners spent a long period of time discussing how the easement would make it difficult to place a home on the lot.
“I’m totally confused about why they would want to leave that existing utility across those lots,” said Commissioner Larry Coplen. “They basically created two lots that are unbuildable.”
Petitioner Daniel Cone assured the commission that he would be able to fit a small house on the lots. It was explained that the cost to move the easement, estimated at $60,000, “far exceeded” what they will be able to sell the lots for.
There was still concern about what would happen when future homeowners want to add on to their homes or how if homeowners have anything put on the easement, such as a driveway, it would be torn up at the owner’s expense if the town needed access to the sanitary sewer pipes within the easement.
“I worry about the future and the next, second or third set of owners and what’s being placed on them,” said Richard. “I certainly understand the costs and all that, I get that. I’m just a little bit concerned when you look at and start to calculate the usable area or buildable area of those lots.”
Coplen added that “It’s not good planning to approve lots like this … If you can’t justify the expense then I suggest you either find someone else to develop it and sell it or whatever. This is just so weird to accept this and it’s not good planning from our point.”
A motion was made to allow the final replat as presented with the condition of a letter of approval from the Pierceton Town Board and a bond established to ensure the roadway is completed. This motion did not pass with four members voting in favor and three against.
A second motion was made to allow the approval of the final plat for lots 13 through 17 and separate lots 11 and 12 for further discussion and possible changes, along with the road bond established. This motion passed unanimously.
“I think it behooves you to get that thing moved,” said Richard to Cone. “I think you’re creating a poorly planned situation that’s just going to cause problems in the future.”
The commission also approved an ordinance amendment to increase the zoning, subdivision and mobile park filing fees. The amendment also adds fees for improvement location permits where previously there was no fee.