By Tim Ashley
WARSAW — A good portion of the regular monthly meeting of the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission Wednesday afternoon, March 2, in Warsaw, was a presentation given by Matt Sandy, assistant planner, on proposed revisions to the county flood control ordinance.
Sandy, also the flood plain administrator for the county, said the revisions are essentially being driven by changes in state requirements. “It’s a pretty comprehensive change throughout the whole ordinance,” he said.
Leesburg has joined the planning commission and has some flood plain areas. Several definitions in the ordinance are being dropped because they are no longer relevant.
Sandy said probably the biggest change is dropping the word “cumulative” out of the definition of what is allowed when improvements or remodeling are done to homes located in flood plain areas. This now means “each project will be looked at in its own merits,” and considered separate instead of cumulative as it was previously.
The ordinance allows for improvements of up to 50% of the assessed value of the home. This only applies to remodeling and not building an entirely new home.
Lee Harman, chairman of the APC, asked how it is determined when a project is finished. Sandy said when the building permit is marked “closed.”
Mike Kissinger of the APC, who is also the county surveyor and familiar with flooding issues in the county, said “no one really understands the ordinance” because it is so complex and is 46 pages in length.
The planning commission voted to send the revisions on to the county commissioners for final approval.
In other business, the APC recommended approval for Gregory Kralis to rezone slightly more than 10 acres from agricultural to agricultural II on the north side of CR 510N at the intersection with CR 350E near Oswego in Plain Township. All of the allowed sell-offs for the property have been exhausted so now a rezoning with a plat is required for any further subdividing of the property.
Attorney Steve Snyder represented Kralis and said Kralis plans to subdivide the property into three lots. One lot will have the existing house and the other two lots will be a little more than 1 acre each and be sold off.
Snyder said the area has developed residentially and is now as much residential as it is agricultural. He gave an example of a “barndominium” nearby, or a barn that has been remodeled for residential use.
A property owner who lives to the southwest objected to the petition because “it (property) just keeps getting divided further and further” and feels the property behind the property in question will be blocked and the access cut off. “I would like to see it keep being farmed,” he added.
Another remonstrator said she is concerned about safety and traffic and noted she has had to call for an ambulance three times for motorcycle riders who ran off the road because it is a dangerous curve.
In rebuttal, Snyder said Kralis only intends to have the three lots and not subdivide the property anymore.
The petition will be considered by the county commissioners at their March 15 meeting.
Also on the agenda, a preliminary plat was approved for an agricultural II subdivision for Alison Powell. The property is located on the north side of CR 900N, east of CR 500E in Turkey Creek Township near the stone gate entrance to Quaker Haven.
Family property was left to two sisters and they plan to have homes built on the property.
In other business, the APC voted to have a complaint considered by the Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals concerning boats being stored in the marine mechanics shop building utilized by the Wawasee Community School Corporation just off Sycamore Street in Syracuse. The building is located directly behind the central office of the school corporation and is used for teaching students how to repair boats of various types.
Sandy said a complaint was received because boat storage is not a permitted use in a public use district. He also noted the boats are currently being stored in a flood plain area and would have to be moved a short distance away.
The Syracuse BZA will consider the case as an exception at an upcoming meeting.
And it was also noted during the APC meeting a public hearing on the county comprehensive plan will likely be held at the April 6 APC meeting.