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

Monday, February 8, 2016

First meetings, Feb 8 2016

The  County Commissioners met for their February meeting on Monday, February 8th. Before looking at some highlights of that meeting, I would like to mention that the draft Unified Development Ordinance that the Planning Commission will discuss at an public hearing later this month is available on-line. You can get a copy here. Warning: it is 332 pages long.

For me the most interesting bit at the meeting came as the result of a question from the public about a proposed wind farm in Barkley Township. He said that a company from Texas has been signing contracts with farmers about installing turbines on their land. This does not mean that a wind farm will be built but rather seems to be the first step in the development. If not enough farmers or the strategically located farmers sign up, the project gets dropped. Only then will the next steps of getting required permits and approval go forward. There is also interest in a wind farm for Carpenter Township. Maybe something will happen and maybe not.

There was also an exchange between the two Commissioners who were at the meeting and members of the public about the frost law. One person, who was on the agenda, runs a business which plows snow for Rensselaer businesses. He said that their pay loader exceeds the 8 tons that must stay off the roads during enforcement of the frost laws but this piece of equipment is needed to clear parking lots. Another citizen said that her farm transports grain to a buyer in Lake or Porter County and that the delivery dates are contracted several years out. She wanted to know how the law affected her and what she could do to comply and yet still make the contracted deliveries. During the discussion Commissioner Maxwell noted that it was not just paved roads that are damaged when ice is melting, but that gravel roads also suffer a lot of damage.

The Sheriff was late to the meeting and because an executive session was scheduled for 10:30, he only delivered a copy of a report. He was delayed because the mist of the morning had frozen on roads in the north part of the county and had caused hazardous driving. One of the accidents caused by the treacherous road conditions had resulted in a fatality.

Other tidbits from the meeting: Animal Control is working on getting the minutes of its Board meetings on the county website. The director of Emergency Management is applying for  a grant that would allow the county to purchase a sand bagging machine. The airport has both a waiting list for hangar space and empty hangar space--the hangars built before WWII do not work well for modern planes. The airport also would like to have the runway lights off when they are not being used rather than dimmed. An approaching plane can turn them on remotely. Two new members were appointed to the Airport Authority Board, one replacing a member who did not want to be re-appointed and the other filling a slot that had not been filled.

Finally, there was a lengthy discussion about the leaning tree of Deer Park (which is an old subdivision in the north part of the county). The tree is threatening a structure on a neighboring property, but it is not clear who owns the property that the base of the tree is on. The neighbor says it is not his land but county land. The county may have an easement for a road that was never put in and will never be put in. 

The Drainage Board meeting in the afternoon talked about tiles and ditches and unless you are an affected landowner, none of it was very interesting.

A post from a few weeks back mentioned a new gas station being constructed in Monon. The station is a Casey’s and it has had its ribbon cutting


The tree on the second floor of the Court House is now decorated for Valentine’s Day.

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