April 10, 2006




The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met in regular session on Monday, April 10,  2006, at the Fire Department Training and Conference Room.  Patrick Stoffers called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Lisa Creech led in prayer.  DJ Smith and his Boy Scout Troop led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Roll Call:  Members present were Patrick Stoffers, President; William Evans, Vice President; Phillip Rogers, Lisa Creech and Dennis Williamson. Mike Spencer, Attorney and Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer were also present. 


Supervisors Present:   Jim Ragle, Jim Davis, Jay Humphrey, Frank Nierzwicki, Mike Farmer and Jeff Farmer were present.  


Approval of the minutes


William Evans made a motion to approve the minutes for the regular meeting of March 27, 2006.  Lisa Creech seconded.  Motion carried.


Action to Pay Accounts Payable Vouchers


Lisa Creech made a motion to pay the Accounts Payable Vouchers. William Evans seconded.  Motion carried.


Proclamation for the Exchange Club


Lisa Creech read the Exchange Club Proclamation in its entirety stating child abuse is a serious and growing problem.  The Exchange Club of Ellettsville, through its support of parent aide programs, parenting classes and community service activities, is making significant progress in stopping this crime. The Ellettsville Town Council hereby proclaims the entire month of April shall be observed as Child Abuse Prevention Month and urge all citizens to use this time to better understand, recognize and respond to this grievous problem.


Lisa Creech made a motion to adopt the Exchange Club Proclamation making the entire month of April Child Abuse Prevention Month.  William Evans seconded.  Motion carried.


Dennis Williamson announced the Exchange Club meets on the second and fourth Tuesday at the Mexican restaurant.  The meeting is open to the public and it is “Join the Exchange Club” month. 


Animal Shelter Inter local Agreement for Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007 between Ellettsville and Monroe County


Patrick explained this has been discussed briefly in previous meetings with the Additional Appropriations.  This is an agreement for Animal Shelter services with Monroe County.  The contract total is $23,532.48 paid in four equal installments (June 30, 2006; December 30, 2006; June 30, 2007; December 30, 2007).  This was negotiated in a series of meetings that Patrick and William attended with the County Commissioners in February and March.


William Evans made a motion that we adopt the Animal Shelter Inter local Agreement for Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007 between Ellettsville and Monroe County.  Phillip Rogers seconded.  Motion carried.


Ordinances on First Reading


Ordinance 06-08 Annexation of White Oaks (Peters Property 4.07 Acres)


This is being tabled by the request of the owners of the annexation area.


Ordinances on Second Reading


Ordinance 06-07 Zoning Change for Capitol Avenue Apartments from C-3 to PUD


Frank Nierzwicki, Director of Planning Services, requested outline plan approval for zoning change on Capitol Avenue from C-3 to PUD.  There have been previous discussions at numerous meetings.  A color site plan had been distributed. 


Bernie Guerrettaz, Bledsoe, Riggert & Guerrettaz, requested outline plan approval for the Capitol Avenue project.  This is the second meeting before the Town Council; there have been two neighborhood meetings and two meetings with the Plan Commission.  The Sims read the conditions in the ordinance Mr. Spencer prepared and agreed to them. The purpose of this petition is to construct ten apartment buildings on the Sims’ property.  They are proposed to be platted into separate lots.  The multi family use proposed is in line with the C-3 zone classification of these parcels.  The setbacks of the adjoining properties meet the C-3 zone and additional landscape buffers are illustrated where the units fall adjacent to the adjoining home sites.   Topographic surveys have been completed on the property as well as evaluating the boundary lines.  Mrs. Rowse, neighbor to the south east of the parcel, has asked legitimate questions.  She indicated there were some iron pipes near the north east corner of her property.  We staked a foot to eighteen inches north of those.  The center of gravel driveway shows up in both her deed and the Sims deed.  There is no deed overlap.  There was a storm water review and approval by the Town Engineer.  The utility approvals are on their way and will be finalized with the construction drawings.  They have met and implemented the concerns of the Town Engineer all the way through the process.  They will be filing for an Indiana Department of Transportation driveway permit.  The process will continue after receiving outline plan approval.  There have been correspondences with INDOT and the recommendations have been limited to widening the intersection within the right of way about twenty-four feet and checking the alignment to make sure it meets their alignment criteria, which it does.  He reviewed some major points discussed at the last meeting:

·        Providing emergency access to the east

·        Filing for Rule 5 permit for erosion control

·        In the process of design

·        Mailboxes will be relocated

·        Utilities on site will be underground

·        Sims agreed to widen Capitol Avenue to 22 feet

·        Agreement to sidewalk connectivity as indicated in the Town Ordinance

·        Platted easement along the south eastern portion of the property

·        Capitol Avenue Apartments have been proposed, discussed and fall within the guidelines of the C-3 zone at a density much less than prescribed

·        The site will maintain a minimum of 100 parking spaces

·        They have met with neighbors, Town Officials, State Reviewers and Independent Utility providers

·        The Sims are content to commit to the conditions as presented to the Plan Commission

·        The plan presented has received a significant level of review by a wide range of individuals

·        The Sims propose to construct a project consistent with the goals of the ordinance


Dennis Williamson asked if the stone marker will be moved.  Bernie is hoping to avoid moving the business sign.


Doug Norton reiterated this is a sensitive issue.  There are two points of view; the Sims desire to develop this property for financial gain and all the good people who want to improve their property.  This property is unique to the Town with its country like feeling.  He described what he thinks initially happened; there was a piece of property beyond the highway fringe that was zoned C-3 that should not have been.  Along SR 46 there are businesses of all types.  At some point he feels we failed when this property was zoned C-3 rather than R-1.  He understands that legally “we have brought a knife to a gun fight”.   There is a right and wrong place for everything.  This is the right place to develop, it is a beautiful area to develop but it is the wrong place to develop 40 apartment units.  Presently there are only six families living in this area.  Several times in the past few weeks he has waited at the end of Capitol Avenue waiting to turn left and wished he could call someone to ask them to sit with him to see the problem.  He has to trust the people they elected to make the right decision for him.  It is a great area to develop and he does not deny the Sims the right to develop this property.  There is a right way and wrong way to develop.


Dan Swafford would like another way in and out instead of just an access for emergency vehicles.  He was told this was not feasible but a good reason was never given.  Is there not enough room?  Is it too expensive?  The traffic is going to be horrible.  He asked Bernie why this can not be extended since the emergency vehicles are worried and concerned about getting in for safety sake; he is concerned about getting in and out just living there.  The neighbors paid to have the street black topped out of their own pockets; if this was in the Sims future, he would like to have some kind of compensation for that.  There was also a neighborhood association; what happened to that?  Was that voided when the street was turned over to the town?


Ronnie Harth has reviewed the minutes and list of items.  He feels the Sims can do what they want with their property but he would like it reduced.  The traffic is bad and you can get rear ended coming from either direction.  The plans are still coming in so why would the Plan Commission approve this?  His opinion is the Ellettsville Plan Commission ignored everything the neighbors said and everything went the Sims way.


Barbara Rowse agreed with what Dan and Doug said.  Her main concern is the safety with all the vehicles added to this development.   She showed The Journal front page story of the Sims development; then she pointed out a picture of a wreck coming out of Capitol Avenue underneath the story.  She would like another way in or out; perhaps connecting to Lakeview so there would not be so much traffic coming down Capitol Avenue.  She also agrees with Dan on being reimbursed for the paving of the road even though they do use the road.  If they would have known the Sims were going to develop these apartments, they would not have paved the road.


Robbie Bex lives in the back (not on Capitol Avenue) but off of a driveway she feels was taken away from her involuntarily.  She agrees with Barbara on the traffic.  She also believes the Sims have been deceitful, lied and hostile to get this development pushed through.  Ten apartments are too much.  She would like the Council to look more closely before making a decision.


Chris Sims addressed the concerns.

  • Regarding Doug’s comment on the zoning:  in similar areas C-3 is common zoning for that type of area adjacent to a five lane highway.
  • They have done all they could to address the neighbors concerns throughout these meetings.
  • Regarding the road issues:  they have agreed to widen the road substantially, put in sidewalks, curbs and gutters.  The road improvements will far outweigh what has already been done. 
  • A traffic study was completed by Frank Nierzwicki and he found the traffic will be well within what is considered normal guidelines.
  • They tried to meet all the criteria laid out in the ordinances by the Town.
  • It is their intention to put together a real quality development.
  • When the development is complete; a lot of the concerns won’t be a problem.
  • They will continue to work with the Town and neighbors to make sure there are no problems.


Jessie Smith reiterated what Mr. Sims said about doing everything he can to see the concerns of the neighbors.  If this is the case, then why has Mr. Sims lied since the beginning?  Why did he get mad and why was he deceitful?  Citizens should not be lied to in order for others to gain.


Frank Nierzwicki added for the record, there are eleven stipulations on this development.  They have worked with the neighbors and with the developer/petitioner for many months. 

  • Agreed to have a Neighborhood Association
  • Sample lease was given to the Plan Commission and will be updated annually
  • Stipulation on street improvements – sidewalks
  • 10 units can be developed with a provision if the market conditions do not warrant this it can be stopped at 8 units
  • Time limit on completion no occupancy permits will be issued  there after


Lisa Creech asked Frank to clarify emergency roads.  Frank verified there is an emergency access point on the north east side of the property to be stubbed as an emergency connection to the east connecting to the Burrell property.  It will be a 12 foot asphalt linkage with break away barriers for future connections (trail or pathway) it is large enough to support emergency vehicles.  It will connect to the Burrell property but not as a road.  Lisa said the big issue is “connectivity”.  She agrees there should be a secondary road for the number of vehicles.  Frank does not know how the Burrell property will be developed but will work with that developer to at least make sure it has emergency entrance potential. 


William Evans asked if the Utilities and Fire Department were taken to the property.  Frank said there was a Development Review meeting with the Fire and Street Department.  Some corrections were done on the radii in the area to make sure the Fire Department can get in and out.  Rick Coppock was involved concerning the hydrants.  William asked if a site study was completed from SR 46 going to the south east.  He went on to say in the Planning Code there is a site distance that is defined.  Frank said the site distance is when the driveway permit is permitted; that is handled through INDOT and not the Town of Ellettsville when there is an entrance onto a state highway.  Lisa questioned if INDOT would consider a light signal when they conduct a site study.  Frank said INDOT would have to warrant it; they would look at traffic and the amount of traffic in a potential intersection.  He gave an example if there was 95% of the traffic running one direction; that would not be enough to warrant a light signal.  There would have to be interplay with other traffic. 


Sandra Hash added that she was the no vote at the Plan Commission.  She spoke with Mike Cornman regarding the accessibility and he said the 12 foot asphalt path would be sufficient for emergency vehicles but would not be sufficient for a road.  INDOT did a study for the new highway and Lakeview Drive did not have enough traffic to warrant a light so Capitol Avenue, on its own, will never warrant a light.  Mike Cornman suggested if there was a connector road accessing Lakeview Drive, then this new development with the Burrell development could possibly increase the count to warrant a light at Lakeview. 


William Evans asked how the density on a C-3 zoning compared to this.  Frank said on a C-3 zoning there could be 17 units per acre.  The difference between a C-3 and a PUD is with a PUD there are negotiations with the developer on the type of improvements, green space, sidewalks and side paths.  Capitol Avenue has been accepted into the Town’s street system. 


Ed Bitner, Plan Commission member stated he was not present when the vote was taken.  He was not in favor of this plan as drawn.  He was scheduled to be out of town for the meeting, Plan Commission members knew he was going to be out of town, he sent e-mails out voicing his concerns and they voted on this that night anyway.  He would have voted against it making it 4-2. 


Kenneth Rowse has attended every meeting and nothing has been brought up about security.  Mr. Sims says he will screen everyone who goes into the apartment.  Mr. Rowse stated Mr. Sims will “screen the money”.  With that many people there needs to be security.  There can not be children and neighbors in that kind of habitat.  He would like Mr. Sims to know this is how he feels about security.  “If the shotgun means everything than the shotgun will be it”.


Doug Norton approached the podium again.  Anytime there is a business whether it is a developer or convenience store, there are no guarantees.  With the amount of apartments being built in Bloomington, what are the guarantees these 10 units will be filled?  He wants to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood.  It can be done.  He questions what will happen when two or three apartment buildings are built and money gets tight and not enough money is coming in.  One way to generate funds this would be to turn it into government subsidized housing.  That would immediately draw more people to your units.  He would like the Council to make some type of notation of this.  He would like some guarantee this will not happen in our neighborhood. 


Chris Sims has talked to the Town Marshal and was assured they have enough staffing to take care of this project.  Lisa Creech questioned if the Marshal actually said this because she disagrees.  Chris Sims remarked the statistics show Ellettsville has a low crime rate.  Lisa feels the citizens are taking care of everything on their own.  Chris commented on the government subsidizing statement; it is their intention to avoid that if all possible.  He does not think it is legal to try and block government subsidized housing.  Their lease is extremely strict when it comes to screening tenants.  It is to their best interest to find the best tenants.  They want to build a quality project.  He will do what he can to keep the building well kept; the tenants live according to the lease agreement and stay within the guidelines.  He feels they are within what they are allowed to do.  He wants a community feel and not big buildings.  This is within the Town limits and they will do whatever they can to make sure it is done properly. 


Bernie Guerrettaz, land surveyors and design engineers for this plan, reiterated a C-3 project is not going in.  They are putting in an R-3 project.  Patrick clarified this project is less than what could be done.   Bernie informed the Council the Sims pulled back from what they could do.  They have agreed to additional infrastructure on the side and the emergency access to the east.  Forty units on this property are not excessive for this scenario.  The reason there is not a thoroughfare going to the east is because this is only 3.8 acre piece of property.  They are trying to keep this development in the middle and not pinched on the sides going up.  He stated Mr. Bitner was at the first Plan Commission meeting but the plan he saw at the first meeting is not the plan that is before the Council this evening.  They have improved the infrastructure, slid buildings back and put in landscape buffers on the north west and south east.  The pedestrian trail has been adjusted and a sidewalk has been added.  He will not commit to any three way ingress egress intersection in and out of SR 46 because he does not know how the State of Indiana will look at it.  They have not asked for two lanes out and one lane in; they asked for widening it to 24 feet.  There has been significant review on this.  He has not spoke with the Town Engineer with any concerns.  This will not be 10 building dropped on this property at once.  They are respectfully requesting outline plan approval for Capitol Avenue Apartments.


Lisa Creech asked if they have been in discussion with the Burrells or are they in such a preliminary state.  Bernie said Chris spoke with Flavia Burrell in August and they were discussing what the uses were for the properties.  He has not heard from Flavia or Tim at all.  Flavia asked Bernie what Chris was doing with his property and that was the last he heard from her on this project.  Sandra told Lisa she spoke with Flavia and she was not sure if a connecting road would be feasible for her development.  There is a considerable sink hole somewhere in that area.  Flavia did not discuss it a lot but she was aware of the walking path but was not sure she wants to connect at all being a little concerned with the traffic herself.   Sandra asked if the path in front of the back houses would support a road in the future.  Bernie is not sure because anything can happen.  His understanding is one of the ideas is open green space and park like area.  He looked at the number of cars leaving at the peak hours and concurred with Frank 100% on those numbers. 


Frank Nierzwicki will strive to work on connectivity.  He suggested that the Sims and Burrells meet and coordinate projects.  He will continue to do this throughout Ellettsville to get developers to work together for the common good of the Town.  Sandra asked if the 12 foot path were connected one day if it could be used by vehicles temporarily in case of an emergency.  Frank said 12 feet is the bare minimum to having an access road with the surface.  It could be short term if it were connected. 


Lisa Creech announced she feels for both sides.  She feels for the neighborhood not wanting a transient type resident area next to their house.  But if something fits the zoning and it complies, then it needs to be there.  She likes hearing there will be a neighborhood association.  She agrees you can not prevent government subsidized housing.  Mr. Sims could be asking for worse; this falls within the parameters of the law so this will probably be there and we will have to make it work.  Communications needs to be opened between the neighbors and the developer to help in this situation.  If you do not like what is going on around you then you will have to put your house up for sale or learn to live with the situation.  One of her concerns is the security.  We do have a good Police Force and great Reserve Force and they do the best job they can. 


William Evans agrees with what Lisa said about this being well within the confines of the Town Code.  Doug gives us a good reason to keep this a PUD rather than C-3.  The Town has a lot more control with a PUD.  It is extremely hard for everyone involved to work together on something like this because you will never come to exactly what you all want.  The best case scenario is Mr. Sims deserves to develop his property.  He does not think the market survey will ever support that many apartments and that is another reason to keep it a PUD so the Town has some control over what does goes on later on.  William also mentioned the Town will be receiving five new Reserve Officers increasing the number from 15 to 20.


Phillip Rogers made a motion to accept Ordinance 06-07 Zoning Change for Capitol Avenue Apartments from C-3 to a PUD.  William Evans seconded.  Motioned carried.


New Business


Utilities Demonstration


Ed Bitner handed the Council a rolled up newspaper and water faucet handle.  He first spoke of a new development going in years ago that he opposed due to flooding, what his opinion was and what was done about it.  Then he empathized with the Capitol Avenue residents because he was in a similar situation.  He spoke about some of the construction that took place and the problems he had three years ago with the Utilities Department.   He then gave his “utilities demonstration”; he demonstrated how the newspaper delivery person threw the paper hitting the outside water faucet handle causing it to turn on.  The newspaper delivery person agreed he made a mistake and agreed to pay the excess water charges.  He lost approximately 3,000 gallons of water.  On February 27 he filed a “Customer Action Report” at the Utilities Department to have the sewer charges taken off.  On the “Customer Action Report” “No action taken” was written.  Ed stated the sewer charges were single digit dollars.  He is asking the Council to waive this charge.  He filed the appropriate papers, asked someone to come out to look and no one came.  He then brought up the Special Meter again; the price for a water only meter being $240 if you have a special meter or not.  The Council thanked him but had no further comments.


Supervisors’ comments


Mike Farmer of the Ellettsville Utilities stated they have been working on the Utilities building to make it more environmentally correct for the employees.  They have more space but need office furniture.  The present furniture is very outdated.  He has taken three quotes on work stations that will fit the employees and the type of work they do.  The quotes were for $14,850, $10,624 and $11,840 not including chairs.  Maxwell’s who quoted $11,480 will include nine chairs in their price.  Mike would like to accept Maxwell’s quote because it better suits their needs and it is a local business.  Patrick informed Mike $25,000 is the purchasing threshold and he is allowed to make that purchase.  Mike agreed but considering the amount of money he wanted to let the Council know. 


Lisa Creech made a motion to accept the quote from Maxwell’s for $11,840.00 for the Utility and Town Hall.  Phillip Rogers seconded.  Motion carried.


Patrick appreciated Mike’s courtesy.  Mike said the furniture should arrive in 3-4 weeks and everyone is invited to come see it.


Frank Nierzwicki reviewed the Plan Commission meeting from Thursday, April 6.  One item they discussed was “Let There Be Light”.  An ordinance was passed, that will come before the Council on April 24, 2006, concerning lighted signs in Ellettsville and also the size of the signs to be proportional with the frontage of the building.  There were other sign issues to work on which will be discussed at the next meeting.  They are looking at having different parking zones within the Town adding more flexibility with the issue on the parking.  They possibly want some areas to have on street parking.  He announced the Monroe County Planning Department and the City of Bloomington Planning Department has invited Ellettsville Plan Commission and the BZA members to a joint training session May 4, 2006 in Bloomington.  There will be a speaker.  He thanked his colleagues from Monroe County and the City for the thought and efforts.  He will be out of town Thursday through Monday (April 13 – 17). 


Sandra Hash announced the League of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers annual conference is April 23-27.  Normally it falls on a week when there is not a Council meeting but with Easter weekend, the conference was moved.  Her assistant, Marion Swindle, will be sitting in for her at the next Council meeting April 24 and will be covering the office.


Dennis Williamson thanked Jim Ragle and the Street Department for removing the downed trees from the storms.  He was curious about the number of meetings that have been held in the Fire Department conference room since it was completed December 4 2004.   There were 2 in 2004; 146 in 2005 and estimating 200 for 2006.  The conference room was a good investment for the community.


Lisa Creech apologized for missing the last three meetings.  She has been looking for employment in Texas and North Carolina.  She has also been ill.  Sandra has been communicating with her and has been kept a breast of things.


William Evans announced May 13, 2006 will be “Bulk Trash Day” at the Monroe County Solid Waste District Rural Sites.  He thanked all the employees of the Street, Fire and Police Departments for what they have done the last two weeks with all the storms.  He also spoke with Chuck Jacobs last week and will be adding five new Police Reserve Officers.  They have checked into the insurance and the increase would be nominal for what it will be worth.  He also wanted to mention he and Patrick were suppose to attend the Farm Bureau Forum this evening but felt this meeting was more important to attend. 


Privilege of the Floor – non Agenda Items


Amy Phillips of the Richland-Bean Blossom Youth Sports League asked for permission to close Park Street for the Youth Sports kick off April 28 and 29;  Friday evening and most of Saturday.  Patrick clarified we have done this before.  William confirmed with the officers in attendance that it was all right with the Police Department and questioned if there was anything else going on that weekend. 


Lisa Creech made a motion that late in the evening Friday, April 28 through the early afternoon hours of Saturday, April 29 we allow RBBYS to barricade the roads adjacent to the ballparks for their Baseball Appreciation Days.  William Evans seconded.  Motion carried.




Patrick Stoffers adjourned the meeting at 9:12 p.m.