December 3, 2015
The Ellettsville, Indiana Plan Commission met in regular session on Thursday, December 3, 2015, 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. Don Calvert led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll Call: Members present were: Terry Baker, President; Russ Ryle, Vice President; Don Calvert, David Drake and Sandra Hash. Scott Thomas and Pat Wesolowski were absent. Kevin Tolloty, Planning Director; Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo and Associates, Town Engineer, and Darla Brown, Town Attorney, were also present.
Approval of the Minutes
Terry Baker entertained a motion for approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on November 5, 2015. David Drake so moved. Don Calvert seconded. Motion carried.
Petition for Voluntary Annexation of 4501 N. Outback Road (1 Acre); Petitioner: Jeff VanHorn; Case No. PC 2015-14
Kevin Tolloty, Planning Director, explained at last month’s meeting there was a discussion on the proposed use of the property. The property will be zoned C-1 and will be used for a print and graphics shop. Preliminary plans show it being built as far south as possible due to the floodplain.
David Drake commented their concern was a C-3 zone is so extensive that 20 years from now someone could come along and do something inappropriate on a residential stretch of road. Ms. Hash asked when it’s time to approve the development plans, will there not be on street parking. Mr. Tolloty answered that is correct.
Terry Baker entertained a motion to forward PC 2015-14, the voluntary annexation petition for 4501 N. Outback Road to the Town Council with a positive recommendation and a C-1 zone. David Drake made a motion to forward PC 2015-14, the voluntary annexation petition for 4501 N. Outback Road to the Town Council with a positive recommendation and a C-1 zone. Russ Ryle seconded. Roll Call Vote: Terry Baker – yes; Russ Ryle – yes; Don Calvert – yes; David Drake – yes; and Sandra Hash - yes. Motion carried 5-0.
Petition for Subdivision, 7700 W. State Road 46 (244.69 Acres); Petitioner: Smith Brehob & Associates, on behalf of Chapel Hill Wilderness, LLC; Case No. PC 2015-15
Kevin Tolloty, Planning Director, explained this is a re-plat of seven parcels on to two lots. Currently, Smithville Communications (“Smithville”) has a facility on the property and the remainder is undeveloped. There is no intention for any of it to change and zoning will remain the same. Everything up to the Smithville building is zoned A-1. The parcels cross a township line so there may be another parcel created by default.
Terry Baker entertained a motion to approve Case No. PC 2015-15, the petition for subdivision for 7700 W. State Road 46. David Drake made a motion to approve Case No. PC 2015-15, the petition for subdivision for 7700 W. State Road 46. Don Calvert seconded. Roll Call Vote: Terry Baker – yes; Russ Ryle – yes; Don Calvert – yes; David Drake – yes; and Sandra Hash - yes. Motion carried 5-0.
Petition for Subdivision, 8439 W. State Road 46 (31.92 Acres); Petitioner: Paul Cummings, on behalf of the Fred Ponton Estate; Case No: PC 2015-16
Kevin Tolloty, Planning Director, explained this is a subdivision for the future Hoosier Energy property which was annexed in October 2015. The property will be split into two parcels.
Sandra Hash asked if the zoning will remain the same. Mr. Tolloty replied yes, it will be zoned A-1. Mr. Baker asked if this is where the solar farm will be located. Mr. Tolloty answered yes, on the future Lot 2. Mr. Baker asked how they will maintain the grass on the solar farm.
Paul Cummings, Hoosier Energy, thanked the Plan Commission for their time. If the parcels are subdivided they will purchase the property early next year. They have had a lot of work done on the front end, topography maps have been prepared and some engineering has been done. Construction of the solar farm is to start in late April or early May with an estimated completion date in August. It will be fenced in. They’re undecided on how to maintain outside of the fence but it will either be mowed or farmed. They have an operation and maintenance agreement for inside the fence to be mowed two to three times a year depending on how high the grass gets. In other words, it will be maintained like a hay field. Ms. Hash asked if the solar panels will absorb and not reflect the sun so there will not be an issue with drivers on State Road 46. Mr. Cummings answered typically solar panels convert the sun into electricity and absorbs almost all of the light. There is a solar farm next to the airport and he has discussed this with them. The airport said there is not an issue. Mr. Ryle asked the height of the solar panels. Mr. Cummings replied it depends on topography. On level ground they are about eye level. Only half of the lot will be covered with solar panels. The panels will tilt 45° in the morning and evening to follow the sun and they move throughout the day. Mr. Ryle asked how close the panels will be to the road. Mr. Cummings answered that has not yet been determined. They want to maintain optionality for future expansion. They will probably be 100 feet from the road. Mr. Ryle stated it is his understanding the plans are approved by the state and not by the Plan Commission. Mr. Cummings said the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has jurisdiction but not an active review. Mr. Ryle asked if Hoosier Energy will have a public information session. Mr. Cummings replied they will have a dedication ceremony late next summer. REMC will be the one to answer questions. Each coop has a different strategy.
Larry Neidigh assumes the 31 acres is all the property. Is Hoosier Energy buying 28 acres or all of it? Mr. Cummings answered they are buying Lot 2 with 23 acres. Mr. Neidigh asked how many panels there will be and their size. Mr. Cummings replied there will be 4,320 panels, approximately 315 Watts and approximately 3’ x 5’. He doesn’t have the exact measurements because they haven’t been procured yet and they can vary within a few inches by the manufacturer. Mr. Neidigh asked how the land is zoned. Mr. Tolloty answered it is zoned agricultural. Mr. Neidigh asked if the zoning will change. Mr. Drake answered it will remain agricultural. Mr. Tolloty added the panels are permitted in an agricultural zone.
Don Calvert asked if Hoosier Energy employees will build the solar farm or is it contracted. Mr. Cummings replied they contract it out.
Terry Baker entertained a motion to approve Case No. PC 2015-16, the subdivision petition for 8439 W. State Road 46. David Drake made a motion to approve Case No. PC 2015-16, the subdivision petition for 8439 W. State Road 46. Don Calvert seconded. Roll Call Vote: Terry Baker – yes; Russ Ryle – yes; Don Calvert – yes; David Drake – yes; and Sandra Hash - yes. Motion carried 5-0.
Planning Department Updates
Kevin Tolloty, Planning Director, presented a summary of the Steering Committee. The surveys have ended. They have received approximately 70 surveys. Denise Line has put together a process for deciphering the answers and putting them into a spreadsheet that makes sense.
Kevin Tolloty, Planning Director, presented examples of signs for public hearings. Mr. Ryle asked the dimensions of the signs. Mr. Tolloty answered they’re 3’ x 2’ which is the same size as the sign being used now. Mr. Baker likes the sign with a large space for the telephone number. Mr. Tolloty agreed. Essentially, the sign states public hearing, telephone number and website. He wants to do this next year. Mr. Baker commented something simple is better than trying to put too much information on a sign. Mr. Ryle asked if the idea is to have a sign that can be reused at a different location. Mr. Tolloty answered yes. Mr. Ryle thinks it might not hurt to put a street address on it. Mr. Baker noted the sign will be placed on the property that is the subject of the hearing. Therefore, no address is needed. Mr. Tolloty wants to keep the sign as simple as possible so they can be reused and save money in the long run.
Plan Commission Comments
Sandra Hash thanked David Drake for his years of service to the Town of Ellettsville. He will really be missed. Mr. Drake stated he may be back by a different appointment.
Russ Ryle announced December 9, 2015, is the official opening of I-69 from the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division to State Road 37. He has heard comments from commuters that going through Martinsville is a nightmare. They are using the Ellettsville bypass, also known as State Road 46 to Spencer and north on U.S. Route 231.
Terry Baker entertained a motion to adjourn. Russ Ryle made a motion to adjourn. David Drake seconded. Terry Baker adjourned the meeting at 6:34 p.m.