Unfavorable recommendation on rezone; petitioner withdraws from council agenda


FORTVILLE – The Fortville Plan Commission gave an unfavorable recommendation for a rezone for about 7 acres on the west end of Broadway Street at their meeting March 26, causing the petitioner to withdraw from the council agenda Monday night.

The current property has a mix of uses, such as heavy commercial use with a repair shop; commercial use with a contractor on the site; agricultural use due to a farm field; and residential use with a brick home on the property.

Concerns about this property maintenance and upkeep have been expressed by town officials and residents at past meetings.

Adam Zaklikowski, building and planning director, introduced the request for the rezone, which would change from commercial neighborhood (CN) and business-1 (B-1) to industrial light (IL). The owner of the property is TFG Properties LLC; Chris Badger with Badger Engineering is the petitioner.

Zaklikowski said that since they received the unfavorable recommendation from the plan commission after discussion, the petitioner withdrew “presumably because it probably wouldn’t be approved by the town council.”

Zaklikowski said for this particular case, code enforcement officials had discovered that work on an existing structure on the property was being remodeled without a permit for use of heavy truck repair. After reviewing the zoning ordinance, Zaklikowski said that truck service was not allowed in CN zoning, but if the property is to be zoned IL, and a special exception is acquired from the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), the used could be allowed.

“The owner would also like to have the ability to store semi-trucks on the site and the adjacent property to the east,” said Zaklikowski at the meeting.

Zaklikowski also noted during the plan commission meeting that the Wellhead Protection Overlay, which prohibits truck service centers, but does allow auto repair facilities if the floor is constructed of a material that forms “an effective barrier to prevent fluids from migrating into the ground water.”

Badger said they have received a state permit for work but are waiting for the final permit, given upon if the rezoning is approved.

The rezone request went to the town council March 18 and some members expressed concerns, stating that the owner has owned the property for about 10 years and has not been well-maintained. Zaklikowski said that from a staff perspective, there have been some code enforcement cases with property maintenance in the past.

Zaklikowski said that there have been no letters of remonstrance. However, Mark Pressley, owner of Moon Drops Distillery, expressed concerns about the proposal. Pressley said he has intentions of expanding, but right now with the neighbors and looks of the property around him, he could expand in Greenfield just as easily.

“It’s got to be a lot better than just dumping dirt and trash, letting people do things without permits,” Pressley said.

Others mentioned that they don’t believe semi-truck parking would be a good use of the area.

Zaklikowski also said the proposed use would not exactly follow the comprehensive plan, showing the area identified as CN, but the use could be construed as “heavy commercial” use.

Zaklikowski said the staff recommendation would be to grant a favorable recommendation to the town council for the rezone with conditions. Those conditions are to have no semi-truck parking on the parcel; have the front yard dirt/gravel areas paved as well as the back yard to the southern fence line due to the Wellhead Protection zone within six month of approval, with the addition of an Aqua-Swirl system; the front yard landscaping and public walkway shown be constructed within one year of the rezone approval; and the building shall be connected to town water and sewer.

After the rebuttal portion from the petitioner on the comments and concerns, the plan commission gave the unfavorable recommendation for the next town council meeting. However, the item on the town council’s Monday agenda was withdrawn.

“We all share the same goal of trying to ensure a clean and attractive Town,” said Zaklikowski in an email, adding that the plan commission had good analysis and discussion on the rezone request.

Zaklikowski said the petitioner will try for a use variance from the BZA.