County Council meeting. On Monday night the Jasper County Planning Commission met with several items on their agenda, All the properties had been on past agendas. The first was a rezone in Wheatfield township from local business (LB) to general commercial (GC). The land owner wants to build storage lockers. The properties on both sides of the property in question are zoned GC and the Commission granted the request. However, in order to build storage lockers, the owner will need a variance or special exception form the BZA.
There were two people wanting approval for subdivisions. One wanted a three-lot subdivision and the other a two-lot subdivision. Both had been before the Commission before getting the zoning changed from A1 to A2. One had also gone before the BZA to get an exception or variance, I think for frontage. There is a lot of red-tape involved if you want to build a house in the county. Getting the zoning changed takes one meeting, and then getting a subdivision approved so you can actually build the house is another. Plus there are other hurdles, such as having a soil test to make sure the lot will handle a septic tank.
Another item that returned was a request from the northern part of the county for a rezone from residential to agricultural. (The backstory is here.) The landowner had gotten the required archeological report, which said that there was an Indian burial site on the property. He said that he would be required to leave that area undisturbed. There were heated words during the public comments. The Commission wanted to see the archeological report and they were allowed to look at it but not keep it; the document is to be kept private to prevent looting the site. The vote on the rezone was 4 in favor and 3 against, which means the item goes to the Commissioners without a recommendation.
The last item on the agenda was a discussion of procedures. The members looked over a draft that was drawn from procedures used in other counties. One interesting comment was that if a couple of the recent requests had not specified what the land owner wanted to do, the request would have been easily granted. Both of those cases will be on the Commissioners' agenda on Monday.
On Tuesday evening there was a presentation by Teen Challenge about establishing an addiction recovery facility in Jasper County. Much of the presentation went over what was discussed in an earlier meeting. Two groups in attendance were CASA volunteers because many of their cases arise because of addiction and the Jasper County Woman's Giving Circle. Rein Bontreger presented a check for $1000 to the Jasper County Recovery House as a way to get the project going. (See the nice picture in Thursdays Rensselaer Republican.) He had had the best sales day of his career selling tee shirts at the Little 500 last weekend and wanted to share some of the proceeds. The cost of the program would be about $75,000 a year, which the law enforcement people said was very cheap considering the legal cost of dealing with the addiction problem. (Jasper County had 22 reported overdose cases during the three days around Christmas.)