This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A blizzard and some meetings

On Saturday we had a beautiful spring day. People were out, dressed in shorts. The park had a group of kids playing soccer and the playground equipment was entertaining a bunch of little kids

Today we are having a spring blizzard. The precipitation  started as rain in the early morning hours and then turned to snow. The wind may be the cause of power outages in many places. The forecast is for eight inches to a foot of snow. Area schools are closed and even the library is closed. This is a good day to stay at home. On the bright side, it is not bitterly cold, much of the snow will melt in the next few days, and the days are getting longer.

On Monday the Jasper County Planning Board met. It had two items on the agenda. First, it considered a rezone of a property near DeMotte. The owner wanted to rezone from A2 to R2, which would then allow the lot to be split so her daughter could build on the back half. A neighbor objected, but one of the members noted that the whole area was residential so the rezone would not change the character of the area. The Board approved the change, but the woman has additional regulatory hurdles to pass before she can build.

The other item on the agenda was the Unified Development Ordinance. Though this meeting had been advertised as a public hearing, there were only four or five people in the audience and they had little to say. The discussion of the Board was about wind farms and how far they needed to be from the Jasper Pulaski area so they would not interfere with the cranes. After discussion, they decided not to go with a mile rule but to define the area from 400N to 300W as the protected zone that would not be available for wind turbines. In addition, any wind farm proposal would need to undergo an environmental study, and that might make even some areas outside that zone protected. One environmental goal, energy that does not use fossil fuel, comes into conflict with another environmental goal, protecting wildlife. (The cranes came back just in time for the blizzard. I saw hundred in fields when I went to DeMotte on Tuesday.)

In response to a question, the Board said that the main effect of the changes to the UDO would not be to make it more or less restrictive, but to make it clearer. They had gotten rid of things that did not make sense for the county (the original was drafted largely by a consultant) and modified items that experience had shown had problems. The Board approved a motion to send the ordinance to the Commissioners who have final say.

On Tuesday night the County Council met for its February meeting. They approved three supplemental appropriations and heard a reports from the airport manager and the tourism coordinator. They also discussed bills before the state legislature that will affect the county. Next month they will begin discussion of the Local Option Income Tax. Because of possible changes at the state level, any decision on the matter may have to be made in the June meeting or earlier.

When I started writing this the streets by my house were still black. Now they are white.

Update: As of 10:00 Saint Joseph's College canceling the remaining classes of the day.

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