July 10, 2014
The Ellettsville, Indiana Plan Commission met in regular session on Thursday, July 10, 2014, in the Fire Department Training and Conference Room located at 5080 West State Road 46. Terry Baker called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Dan Swafford led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll Call: Members present were: Terry Baker, President, Russ Ryle, Vice President, Dan Swafford, Pat Wesolowski and Sandra Hash. Don Calvert and David Drake were absent. Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo and Associates, Town Engineer, and Darla Brown, Town Attorney, were also present.
Approval of the Minutes – June 5, 2014
Terry Baker entertained a motion for approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on June 5, 2014. Russ Ryle so moved. Dan Swafford seconded. Motion carried.
The Pines Subdivision Final Plat, Parcel No. 53-04-10-211-011.000-013, 53-04-10-211-002.000-013, 53-04-10-211-003.000-013, 53-04-10-211-004.000-013 and 53-04-10-211-005.000-013, Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo & Associates, Inc.
Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, explained this is a final plat approval for the Pines subdivision. The property will be platted for individual ownership. Adjacent property owners have been notified.
Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo & Associates, Inc., explained this is a plat to divide the duplex units into single family units. This does not make changes to any of the public improvements. Originally, the lots were numbered one through five. Now, they will be numbered 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and so forth. It is a simple split of the lots and they are requesting approval of the subdivision.
Pat Wesolowski asked if one side needs a roof after it’s sold will the adjoining unit have to also put on a new roof. If one person wants to put siding on a house, does the other side have to put it on their house? Mr. Coppock replied sometimes the exterior components are included in the homeowners’ association documents.
Bill Holdeman, Petitioner, stated the units would be individual ownership. Each owner will have the prerogative to do the outside colors as they choose. It would be advantageous for them and their neighbor to cooperate. The roofs have been replaced in the last year or so. They’re probably 15 to 20 years away from having to replace a roof. With individual ownership they did not want to do a homeowners’ association. Since they are contiguous to each other it is in everyone’s best interest to have something that flows together. He can’t dictate to a homeowner what color they should paint their house or what the shingle color should be. Mr. Wesolowski asked if there is a designated strip if one side wants to paint their side a different color. The way they’re designed they’re divided between the garages. Mr. Coppock added they’re split at the lot line. Mr. Holdeman thinks having single owners is great. Mr. Wesolowski asked if they agree to the final plat will the Town be liable if one unit leaks water into the other side. Darla Brown, Town Attorney, replied this is just the plat and the owners will have to work it out.
Vicki Holdeman spoke with Mike Carmin, their attorney, and it was their understanding they could either set up a homeowners’ association or when the units are sold they can put restrictions in the deeds such as the siding and roof have to stay the same color. It was their intent the outside should remain the same. If somebody doesn’t repair their roof and the other side does there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Dan Swafford asked if they’re existing units. Mr. Holdeman answered they’re existing. Mr. Swafford asked if they’re being divided because they were rentals. Mr. Holdeman replied they have been and are currently rentals. They want to eventually turn them into zero lot lines and single family homes.
Pat Wesolowski likes the idea of putting it in the deed. Can they put a stipulation in the plat? Mr. Coppock replied no. Mr. Swafford asked if the streets and sidewalks are current. Mr. Coppock answered yes, they were built in 2003. Ms. Hash thinks they were built in the late 1990s. Mr. Swafford asked how many lots there will be. Mr. Coppock answered 10. Mr. Swafford asked if there is any green space. Mr. Coppock answered there are yards between the units and there is a detention area at the rear of the property.
Norman Wampler doesn’t have any real concerns. He lives on Oak Street which backs up to the corner of the Pines. How many individual buildings are there? Ms. Holdeman answered five. Mr. Wampler asked how many units are in each building. Ms. Holdeman answered two. Mr. Wampler asked if they intend to sell each individual building. Ms. Holdeman replied they don’t intend to sell them but they would like the option to do so. Now an investor would have to buy it as a duplex. If they get it zoned single family they could sell them individually if they want to. Mr. Wampler asked if there will be new construction. Ms. Holdeman said no.
Connie Griffin clarified they do not have to rezone the property.
Terry Baker entertained a motion to approve the Pines subdivision final plat. Dan Swafford so moved. Pat Wesolowski seconded. Roll Call Vote: Terry Baker – yes; Russ Ryle – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Pat Wesolowski – yes and Sandra Hash - yes. Motion carried 5-0.
Comprehensive Plan Town of Ellettsville, Indiana
Russ Ryle has been in communication with Terry Baker and the rest of the Plan Commission members drafting possible revisions to the Comprehensive Plan. They had a grand list of points but they were in no specific order. So, he listed them in three categories: (A) Items that prove critical to the continued existence of the Town; (B) Items critical to the Town providing expected services to the citizens; and (C) Items critical to preserving the character of the Town.
A. Items that prove critical to the continued existence of the Town
1. A tax basis adequate to fund Town operations and services.
2. Intergovernmental coordination with county, state and federal bodies whose laws and regulation supersede Town codes.
Comment: Anything the Town does is below the authority of the federal government, state and county. Ms. Brown said it will depend on the situation. Certainly the Town’s code is going to be superseded by federal or state bodies. The Town still has home rule.
3. Continually updating plans for the future needs of our Town.
Comment: The needs of the Town has changed over its 175+ years and will continue to change.
4. A quality school system identified with our Town.
Comment: Two things statewide and nationwide seem to make Towns stay on the map versus Towns who will fade away over time. They have an independent school system and a community identity around the school system.
5. A Town post office identifying our Town as a viable community.
Comment: They hear comments such as where does Bloomington end and Ellettsville begin? The obvious visual limits of the Town will be constantly changing. Beginning at Walnut and Arlington Road and driving through Ellettsville, there is no really point where you can say you’re out of Bloomington and in to Ellettsville. The Town has to maintain an identity as to Ellettsville. The post office point is from a business standpoint. If a town is going to have its own recognizable economic community and center it needs to have a zip code. If there is a major change to any of the above mentioned items they would have a hard time saying Ellettsville can continue to exist as a Town.
Pat Wesolowski said the last time the section on Town services was updated a survey was sent out to a random group of people asking what they’re looking for. It would be beneficial to know what the citizens in the community want. Most of the people in Ellettsville think the federal government doesn’t want a bigger post office but the people didn’t want it. Ms. Hash stated the people who live on Mr. Ryle’s side of Town need to go to 10th Street in Bloomington to pick up packages. Mr. Wesolowski remarked the survey stated people will stay in Ellettsville for lunch but will go to Bloomington for dinner, weddings and graduations. There has to be a reason for this. Mr. Ryle commented most people who live in Ellettsville don’t work in Ellettsville. People don’t come back to Ellettsville for evening meals because of the vast amount of food services within driving distances. There are people who live in Ellettsville and commute to Indianapolis. Technology and transportation have changed lives and living patterns which impacts the Town. Mr. Wesolowski stated there has to be a reason for people to stay in Ellettsville. Does Ellettsville need a major chain restaurant, skating rink or gathering place? Ellettsville is a bedroom community and the tax base is from housing. Mr. Ryle stated the future is getting a tax base from commercial development along the State Road 46 corridor. Ms. Hash stated the Fall Festival built a nice shelter with a stage at the park which is rented out as well as the three across the street. The Town is lucky to get eight to ten rentals a year. If people try to rent a shelter through Monroe County Parks and Recreation at Flatwoods, which is farther out, it is competitive. Mr. Baker remarked as a planning and zoning board they have no control over what businesses come in. If a business comes in they have the option of looking at it. They can’t dictate a business must come to Ellettsville. Ms. Hash stated they can invite businesses. Mr. Baker said businesses have to want to invest here. The Town’s infrastructure has to be good before they can get that type of business. Mr. Wesolowski said Bloomington, Indianapolis and Martinsville have committees who go out and look for businesses to come into their area to upgrade their facilities. The Town should have economic development. Mr. Baker advised economic development has nothing to do with planning and zoning. Ms. Hash attended a Chamber of Commerce meeting and they voted to form an economic development commission to coincide with the Chamber of Commerce and it will be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their goal will be to try and bring more business into Town.
Connie Griffin advised Indiana Code 36-7-4-4 outlines the duties of the Plan Commission. It also states “. . . policies dictating the welfare of our citizens, and planning responsibilities will focus on policies designed to encourage health, safety, convenience, and welfare of our citizens when writing the 2014 Ellettsville Comprehensive Plan.” She is getting back to the basics. The Comprehensive Plan is outdated. They need to go through it a step at a time because they tend to go all over the place and will be on it forever. They need to think about a public hearing. Surveys are very subjective and it has to be conducted by an independent person. There are a lot of negatives to the survey mentioned by Mr. Wesolowski. She tried to conduct a survey and it was disastrous. Ms. Griffin presented a draft of her version of the Comprehensive Plan. She is proposing they take each classification and review it. If they start with a better platform they can get through it better and efficiently and will have a good plan.
Terry Baker likes the plan because it gives a road map to follow. Ms. Griffin said they need to be compatible with Monroe County’s Comprehensive Plan because they also look at what Ellettsville needs to work on. Eventually, the Town can become a part of the long range transportation plan within the county and city planners. When there is more MPO money the Town can tag onto a project coming its direction. She reiterated the Town needs to remain compatible with its Comprehensive Plan and look at the same issues. She thinks it will get them to Point B a little quicker. Mr. Baker remarked they need to get moving along on it because it will be next year before it’s completed. It will be a better document than what they have now and it will be consistent.
Sandra Hash attended a meeting on July 9, 2014, and the county is drafting new ordinances for planning and zoning. Business is the best growth because the Town is hitting its circuit breaker tax limits. A business increases the Town’s assessed value and doesn’t require a lot of public service. It doesn’t gain tax dollars for the Town but distributes it among more people which lowers the rates and would help keep us under the circuit breaker numbers. The county is trying to discourage subdivisions outside of the urban area to keep it country with individual estates. This could will bring more people to Ellettsville. If they’re contiguous they may voluntarily annex since the Town’s rules are less restrictive than the county and city. Mr. Baker added the Town is more approachable and listens to their ideas. Mr. Ryle stated the Town has less of a bureaucracy. Mr. Wesolowski asked if someone is in the county, has 50 acres contiguous to the Town, wants to subdivide and wants to come into the Town can they be denied. Ms. Griffin answered yes, it is one of the policies. Urban sprawl is not compatible to Ellettsville because it is expensive to get infrastructure to it. Ms. Hash added the Town has reached the point where it should be thought about more. The fiscal plan states it’s not impacting their services but in truth it is. When they do a subdivision it adds sewer to the waste plant, more water has to be provided and more roads plowed and patched. The subdivisions are turned over in good condition. So, it may be 10 years before the Town would have to start working on it. With the tax restrictions in the constitution, it will start playing into their decision. That’s why it’s more appealing for a commercial development than a subdivision. With housing there is definitely expense to the Town for providing the services. Mr. Baker added it also spreads the police and fire departments thinner.
Pat Wesolowski asked if a reason has to be given if the Town doesn’t want to annex someone. Ms. Brown answered there is a procedure that has to be followed. If homeowners want to petition for annexation, the Town Council could turn it down. Then if they still want to be annexed there is a procedure they could go through in court. If the people who want to be annexed can show that the Town can provide the services the court can order the annexation. Mr. Wesolowski stated as an example he has 50 acres he wants to keep as farmland. Then ten years later he changes his mind, wants to subdivide it and legally could. Mr. Baker said he would have to go before the planning and zoning board. Ms. Brown advised the Town would consider whether or not the Town could provide the services to that area and that would be one of the arguments. Ms. Hash said if the plan would pass and the parcel the county wanted to preserve, was contiguous to the Town and it followed through, the county wouldn’t be happy with the Town. Mr. Ryle stated everybody wants the things that benefit them but nobody wants the things that cost them money. Ellettsville is going to have an expanding population. The Town is based on a transportation system with a series of roads laid out in the 1840s for 16 farmsteads per square mile. A subdivision is easier on a transportation system than downtown Bloomington with four to six story apartment buildings. There’s no place to park or drive. It’s going to be an automotive world for the next generation or two. He challenges the Town could stand the expense of not geographically spreading population growth because they don’t have the transportation facilities. They have never discussed the previous versions of the Comprehensive Plan going back to 1963 and written by people looking at the world when they were growing up and the world they wish it would still be. They need to be looking at the world of 2037 and 2040. That world is going to be lower income working families, relative to the cost living, more people per household, more single parent households, more households of divorce and other restructuring, more immigration, and a lot of things that potentially change what they would like to think Ellettsville is going to be in terms of preserving its character. Writing a plan for the world of today has its futility points. They need to be planning for the world of 2040 and 2050. Mr. Baker said in an ideal world that’s right but they cannot see what’s going to happen in the future. Mr. Ryle agreed in principal but there are things they can see. Mr. Baker continued. It’s a living document to be reviewed every year which is the only way to keep up with it. Mr. Wesolowski believes they are looking ahead but don’t have the resources to figure out will happen in 30 years.
Terry Baker entertained a motion to adjourn. Dan Swafford made a motion to adjourn. Russ Ryle seconded. Terry Baker adjourned the meeting at 7:00 p.m.