WARSAW — A contentious zoning dispute involving Blue Barn Berry Farm of Syracuse has been resolved.
The company had been working through a series of zoning issues since June in an attempt to continue operating as an event venue.
Last month, the Kosciusko County Commissioners heard arguments from both sides in the matter of the Blue Barn Berry Farm after a petition was filed by Blue Barn Berry Farm, located at 9139 North CR 300E, Syracuse, to rezone 8.16 acres from a Residential District to an Agricultural District.
At that time, the commissioners made the decision to table the issue for a month to give those involved an opportunity to work together to reach a compromise.
On Tuesday, Oct. 15, during the Kosciusko Commissioners meeting, Attorney Jack Birch, representing Blue Barn Berry Farm, announced that an agreement had been reached.
“I’m happy to tell you that after virtually a month, as late as 10 o’clock last night, we were able to reach an agreement,” Birch said. “We have voluntary conditions that we would propose to attach to the rezoning request and based upon that, the remonstrators that have spoken have agreed to withdraw their remonstrance, both to this and to the BZA process based upon all of the conditions we have committed to go forward with.”
“That is correct,” Attorney Steve Snyder confirmed. Snyder represents three sets of property owners who were initially opposed to the rezoning.
“The conditions are detailed,” said Snyder. “They satisfy the remonstrators, and if they are accepted by the commissioners and adopted as voluntary conditions, then we will withdraw the remonstrance of the rezoning and will not remonstrate against the request for commercial recreation.”
“That’s the best news I’ve had all day,” said Commissioner Vice-President Brad Jackson.
The agreement includes 17 detailed conditions that involve items such as landscape screening, an erosion control study and traffic study, access to Lake Jacob via the boat ramp and limitations for scheduling, additional structures, music and bright lights. No outdoor events will be allowed Monday through Thursday and no live music/bands are allowed.
The Commissioners accepted the voluntary conditions and the recommendation of APC to rezone the land.
In other matters, Kosciusko Area Bus Service General Manager Amanda Landis presented the 2020 grant operating and capital grant request and a purchase agreement for a new minivan and a medium transit bus for next year. Both were approved by commissioners.
Friday will be Landis’ last day as KABS director as she moves on to pursue a different job opportunity. According to Landis, no replacement has been selected as of this time, although several promising candidates have applied.
“It’s been a joy serving in this role the past two years,” Landis said.
The commissioners approved a resolution presented by County Clerk Ann Torpy confirming that they are open to Kosciusko County becoming a vote center county. Under the vote center system, any registered voter in the county can vote at any vote center in the county.
Torpy said this is just the first step in the process and the change request would need to be approved by the Secretary of State.
“I think that’s the future. We need to embrace it,” Conley said.
Torpy’s request to purchase e-poll pads that coincide with the voter center program was also approved.
County Administrator Marsha McSherry submitted two quotes involving chimney damage at the courthouse. Both quotes were from Masonry Solutions, Wabash. A quote for $3,750 for repair work on the exterior of the courthouse was approved. A quote in the amount of $3,480 for interior work was also approved.
McSherry also received approval to accept a bid for emergency work to replace the paging system at the Kosciusko County Work Release building. That system was destroyed by a lightning strike about two weeks ago. McSherry has received one quote, but is attempting to obtain another. The Commissioners gave approval for McSherry to accept an appropriate bid to replace the system.
Commissioner Bob Conley called for a moment of silence in remembrance of former sheriff Alan Rovenstine, who passed away Oct. 10.
- Assistant Plan Director Matt Sandy received approval to move forward with the process of permitting software that can be utilized by the plan commission and other departments and would tie into the current GIS system. Sandy said Schneider Geospatial is the system they are currently looking into.
- Commissioners approved a MACOG Brownfield Coalition Memo of Agreement, recognizing Kosciusko County as part of the coalition.
- County Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden recommended that Bluebird Acres in Van Buren Township, near Milford, be approved for county maintenance. This was approved.
- County Systems Administrator Robert Momeyer requested and received approval to purchase 30 new computers for the sheriff’s office using funds from the EDIT 911 account, for a total cost of $36,627.
- The next regular meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29.