A small lot on the edge of the town limits of Leesburg is one step closer to be rezoned from agricultural to commercial. During its regular monthly meeting March 4 in Warsaw, Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission recommended approval to rezone 1.72 acres on the southeast corner of the intersection of School Street and SR 15 in Leesburg.
Leesburg Partners wants to develop the lot for general retail use, said Andrew Rossell, engineer. The proposed entrance to the lot would be off School Street and the entrance off SR 15 would be closed, he said.
There are recycling bins on the lot now, which had been on property leased from Phend and Brown before the property was sold. Rossell noted the bins could possibly be relocated elsewhere in Leesburg.
County commissioners will consider the petition at their March 24 meeting.
In other business, the APC recommended approval for a rezoning for Edd Allen to rezone four residential lots from residential to commercial on Mill Street, just west of US 30 in Pierceton. Attorney Steve Snyder represented Allen and said his client purchased the property as an investment and wants to develop the property commercially, though there are no specific plans at this time. An existing house will be converted into commercial use, he added.
Snyder said commercial use of the property makes more sense than anything else because much of the surrounding property is zoned either commercial or industrial.
Sam Lehman, adjacent property owner, said he wanted to know more specific plans because of concerns about water drainage. After discussion, it was determined any commercial development would require a drainage plan but if the property remains residential and houses are built, no drainage plan would be required.
Snyder noted his client has no intention of adding any structures presently, but that could change later. Pierceton Town Board will consider the petition at their April 13 meeting.
Also on the agenda, approval was recommended to rezone two platted lots from public use (for the old Syracuse Pentecostal Church) to residential at the intersection of Harrison and Pearl streets in Syracuse. Presently both the church building and a parsonage next door are empty.
Dan Slone purchased the property and said he simply wants to be able to rent the buildings to anyone even if they are not affiliated with a church. Syracuse Town Council will consider the petition at their March 17 meeting.
In other business, the APC was again caught up in a discussion repeating itself constantly about public right of way vacations connected to a water’s edge at a lake. Time Frame Properties LLC wants to have a small 10-foot strip of a public way vacated on the north side of Syracuse Lake near Northshore Drive in the Indian Hill subdivision, originally platted in 1935.
County commissioners allowed 15 feet of the same strip to be vacated in 2011, but as a compromise left the 10 feet. Snyder, representing the petitioner, said the owner wants to have an existing structure removed and build a new house.
He noted there is a 30 foot drop from Northshore to the edge of the water and it interferes with public use of the right of way. As he has in the past with numerous other road vacation petitions around lakes, Snyder emphasized because of riparian rights, only lakefront property owners are actually allowed to go into the water to use it. He said the public can use the right of way to go to the water, but can’t go in it.
Dan Richard, area planning director, noted this is the only one of eight platted public ways on the north side of Syracuse Lake that hasn’t already been vacated. Nearby property owner Judy Shoemaker said she and her neighbors have used the public way to access the lake.
The APC recommended denial of the petition and it will be considered by county commissioners March 24.