County looks to bring zoning under one code

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Officials are setting out to bring about 1,900 land parcels in unincorporated Hancock County currently governed under an old zoning code into the current set of regulations.

Letters from the Hancock County Area Plan Commission are heading out to the approximately 1,600 affected landowners. Public workshops are also coming up where planning officials will be available to answer questions.

The county currently operates under a zoning code adopted in 2007. For certain properties, however, a previous zoning code adopted in 1993 applies.

When the current code was adopted in 2007, the Hancock County Board of Commissioners decided to allow landowners who had paid to have their properties rezoned be governed by the code that was in place at the time of that rezoning.

“They’re not that different, but they’re different enough that there’s some stuff that was in the old code that’s not in the new code, and there’s stuff in the new code that’s not in the old code, so you’ve got to parse through it,” said Larry Strange, deputy director of the Hancock County Area Plan Commission. “So we just are trying to bring them all together.”

Plan commission staff proposes rezoning the parcels zoned under the 1993 code with a logical replacement zoning designation consistent with the 2007 code.

Planning officials intend to mail landowners who would be affected informing them of the matter and inviting them to public workshops and a public hearing.

“We want to give those people an opportunity to understand what this change might mean for their property, which basically means whatever guidelines were in the old code are gone; they have to adhere to the new code,” Strange said.

The changes among zoning designations wouldn’t be extreme, he added.

“Based on our evaluation, we’re matching it to the most closely similar zoning,” Strange said. “Residences are going to go to residential, commercials will go to commercial, industrials will go to industrials.”

The public workshops are slated for 4-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 and 21; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at the Hancock County Annex, 111 American Legion Place, Greenfield. The workshops will have a drop-in format and county planning staff will be available to provide information and assistance.

Officials hope to have a public hearing on the proposed changes at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Annex. During that hearing, the county area plan commission would determine whether to give the changes a positive recommendation to the county board of commissioners, which would have the final say.

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