February 8, 2007




The Ellettsville, Indiana Plan Commission met in regular session on Thursday, February 8, 2007, in the Fire Department Training and Conference Room located at 5080 West State Road 46.  Frank Buczolich called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. leading the Pledge of Allegiance.


Roll Call:   Members present were Frank Buczolich, President; Ed Bitner, Vice President; Don Calvert, Dan Swafford and Sandra Hash, Secretary. Frank Nierzwicki, Director of Planning Services was also present.   Terry Baker was absent and Dianna Bastin was ill.


Approval of the Minutes


Ed Bitner made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 11, 2007 Ellettsville Plan Commission meeting as written.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.


Plan Commission Appointment – Redevelopment Advisory Board


Frank Nierzwicki stated Cheryl Fisher is currently on the Board and has been attending the meetings. 


Ed Bitner made a motion to accept Cheryl Fisher.  Don Calvert seconded.  Motion carried.


New Business


Litten Estates Phase I Replat


Frank Nierzwicki explained the petitioner is requesting a replat in Phase I of lots 8, 9 and 10.  The petitioner would like to increase the size of these lots and move the retention area elsewhere.  The Planning Staff worked with the Town Engineer concerning the proposal and there is no objection to the petitioner’s request. 


Brian Hearne, Hearne Development would like to make a minor adjustment to the drainage and utility easements on the back border of lots 8, 9 and 10.  He has put together a new comprehensive drainage plan for Phase II. M There is now a larger detention area across from Phase I.  The current detention area behind lots 8, 9 and 10 will no longer be needed enabling these lots to have a larger backyard.  It was clarified this detention area will be a grassy area for temporary water and will not be a pond.  No fence will be needed.  Sandra Hash stated the original plan showed a bike path and she asked if there was still going to be one.  Brian Hearne said there was going to be a small path from the multi-family to the commercial area but with the change in the density the need for the path was reduced.  Rick Coppock explained changes in Phase II retention pond includes water quality features such as storm water filtering. 


Art Hayes handed out information on Planned Unit Developments (PUD) which included a PUD from the Town of Fishers.  He asked Frank Nierzwicki if he was aware of Senate Bill 35.  Frank Nierzwicki clarified to Art the subject in discussion now was a replat.   Some items Art Hayes talked about were:

  • Cul-de-sac in Litten Estates having a 45 foot radius
  • Information on subdivision PUDs can not be found in the Town Code
  • Zoning Ordinance referring to a County Comprehensive Plan
  • County ordinance states a PUD requires 25 percent open space; not including residential yards


Frank Nierzwicki informed Art this discussion would be pertinent later when they discuss the thoroughfare plans and updates.  All the documents will be discussed and the conversation will flow better.  Art said “to do this correctly, under our zoning, there should be a PUD in zoning and then referred over to a PUD subdivision ordinance which we do not have”. 


Ed Bitner made a motion that we approve the change of the replat of Litten Estate Phase I as presented.  Don Calvert seconded.  Roll call vote:  Don Calvert – yes; Frank Buczolich – yes; Ed Bitner – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Sandra Hash – yes.  Motion carried.


Edgewood Village PUD Amendment


Frank Nierzwicki updated the Commission on Edgewood Village:

  • Development on the books since 1990
  • Different Developers over the years; current one is Jeff Fish
  • Tremendous interaction between developing team and neighborhood
  • Mustang Drive cleaned of trash and debris
  • A wooden fence installed


Petitioners are asking for a change to the PUD.  There are some patio homes located on an “eyebrow” type of street (a street jets off the main street; extended alley or driveway).  There would be a landscape island between Mustang Drive and this new mini road.  There are some changes to drainage.  The petitioner is requesting to fill the current retention area and then pipe the water around the development.  The patio homes are not in conflict with the current Town Code or Comprehensive Plan.  The ownership of the new street needs to be discussed and determined before the final approval.  The drainage proposal has been reviewed by the Town Engineer (Rick Coppock) and he is satisfied with the plan.  The Planning Staff has worked with the Town Engineer, Edgewood Village neighbors and petitioner concerning this proposal. 


Jeff Fish, new owner and developer of Edgewood Village Phase III was unaware of the history of Edgewood Village until it became available for sale last spring.  The development has had a troubled past and his first job was to reach out to the neighbors.  He went over some of the history and problems with the projects:

  • Trash and debris
  • Drainage
  • Cut through pedestrians
  • Sidewalks
  • Low quality construction
  • Vegetation overgrowth
  • Pavement of Mustang Drive


Some things he has taken care of since purchasing the property:

  • Removal of trash and debris
  • Corrected drainage in Lots 8 & 9 (park lots)
  • Cleared debris from drainage trenches on east end so water would flow
  • Designed and constructed a fence
  • Installed sidewalks
  • Designed projects so Lots 8 & 9 could be reserved as green space or park lots
  • Committed to improving the design; researched  other designs
  • Cleared up 85% of the overgrowth
  • Graded and seeded park area; installed rip rap in the drainage area
  • Met with Street and Utilities Department; identified problems that need to be addressed
  • Hired Bledsoe, Riggert and Guerrettaz to design and incorporate the neighbors’ concerns
  • Does not want to build anymore “cookie cutter” houses; does not want to build anymore condos
  • Building 17 paired patio homes on 34 lots and reserve two lots for green space
  • Committed to designing an area for over 50 age group
  • Design energy efficient homes
  • Create a community environment; installing sidewalks, benches, street lights
  • Low maintenance features on the outside
  • Once street base is put back in condition with available bond money; he is committed to putting in top dressing at the earliest opportunity
  • Working with school; cross country track goes through low area on the north east end by the old retention pond leaving the track wet for long periods after rain;   committed to redesigning the area


Ed Bitner asked what a patio home was.  Jeff Fish said “fancier duplex on one level”.  Ed asked if it will be in writing that lots 8 & 9 will not be built on.  Jeff Fish said the two lots have been offered to the Town as a donation and will be recorded on the final plat.  If the Town does not want them; they will be set aside as easements so they can not be developed on.  It was understood the Parks Department does not want this small part to maintain so it will probably kept in the Homeowners Association.  He explained how they are going to make these homes energy efficient.  The homes will have either a 1 ½ or 2 car garage.  There will be a solid surface for two cars because the set back should be at least 30 feet from the edge of the sidewalk to the garage door.  Sandra asked how the plat is changing.  Jeff answered the lot lines are moving around; some larger and some smaller.  He pointed out on the map which lots were moving and how. He instructed the design team to use the existing electrical, water and sewer lines. He also explained some trees have been transplanted.  Jeff Fish outlined the plans for the “eyebrow” area; maybe consisting of sidewalks, raised mound for planting area, flag poles.  The Homeowners Assocation will take care of the mowing of this area and also snow removal.  He reiterated this was originally platted as a “Retirement Community” with at least one resident being over 50 years of age.  There was conversation regarding street width, lot sizes and repairs to existing buildings.  The original plat was for 40 units and Jeff Fish has brought it down to 34 units and gave up two units for a park.  Ed Bitner applauds Jeff Fish’s work on this project. 


Russ Ryle encouraged the Plan Commission to approve the PUD to enable Mr. Fish to make modifications to improve the problems in Edgewood Village.  Sandra asked which lot numbers were currently built on.  Jeff Fish pointed them out on the map but could not state a “lot number” because they have been changed so many times.  There was continued discussion about which lots were built on by which developer, who owns which lots (Mr. Dunn and Area 10) and which lots Jeff Fish will develop on.  Sandra received a call from Area 10 Agency on Aging’s Jewel Echelbarger with a concern about a retention pond.  It was clarified she attended the meeting Jeff Fish held, spoke with Rick Coppock and was satisfied with the outcome.  There was discussion about the water flow and retention ponds. 


Russ Ryle requested a report on Mustang Drive six months ago from the Town Council and still has not received it.  He spoke about the road repair needing to be done and does not feel this is Jeff Fish’s responsibility.  Edgewood Drive leading up to Jeff Fish’s development is not up to neighboring county road standards; the roads are not even ready for top coating.  The Town needs to get on this for Jeff Fish.  He asked if we will receive any bond money or a performance bond to straighten out Mustang Drive.  Rick Coppock has looked at the roads with Jim Ragle, Frank Nierzwicki and Jeff Fish and there are a lot of areas that need to be removed and replaced due to structural failure caused by time and weather.  Jim Ragle will have to give them a cost of replacing the street and then submit it to the Town Council for action.  Frank Buczolich asked if there was a time line for this.  Rick Coppock said the end March.  Ed Bitner asked if the Town has accepted those roads.  It was answered “no”.   This is the reason Russ Ryle wanted action done last year because every passing month we run the risk of the Contractor Performance Bond not being available.  Frank Nierzwicki is working on a time frame for completion for new development coming into Town so this will not happen again.  Sandra added she is concerned about a bond on this area because Mr. Dunn’s bond was the only bond we had and it was expired.  Frank Nierzwicki went on to say we have not released that.  He had an on site meeting last September with Mr. Dunn’s representative.  Sandra said there is no proof on file, in the Clerk’s office, that any bond in that area has been extended or agreed to in any way. She understands if a bond is opened ended then the developer will ask for the bond to be released but this area had a letter of credit that expired.  Frank Nierzwicki is checking on this and working with the bank.  Sandra does not want to give Jeff Fish false hope there is money to do his top coat when there may not be.  Frank Nierzwicki clarified it is not the top coat but the base that needs to be maintained so when the top coat is applied, the base is there.  The Street Department has been involved with this numerous times but Frank Nierzwicki has not been in contact with them over the winter.   Frank Buczolich asked what is needed from this body for them to proceed.  Frank Nierzwicki said this is a PUD and asked Rick Coppock if there was anything that needed to be added.  Rick said the road matter is a separate internal Town issue.  Russ Ryle recommends the Commission approve the PUD change as proposed.  He also recommends, by the next month’s meeting, the Street Department submit a summary of what is needed to get the sub base in order.  It should also be made clear if there are any bonds or funds available to help pay for the improvements.  It is hard to move forward without complete information.  Frank Nierzwicki will check with Jim Ragle and get the back ground work on this. 


Art Hayes was concerned about the Rural Transit buses turning around on the cul-de-sac which is the same size as the ones in Litten Estates.  He asked how wide are the lots and the front width of the homes on the south side.  Bernie Guerrettaz said the cul-de-sac on Edgewood Drive was designed and built per standards.  His firm is rearranging the lot lines basically to reconfigure the parcel into something nicer than what is there now.  The radius on the cul-de-sac is 40 – 45 feet right of way and that is standard all over the county and the City of Bloomington and it does not impede traffic flow going around.  The widths of the lots on the south side were 58 feet in the original plan but they range between 54 and 59.  The build out scenario is different than the original plan.  Art Hayes asked about the set back lines on the south side.  Bernie answered the set backs from the right of way are 25 feet so they will be 50 feet off the middle of the road and they are using the existing infrastructure roadways the best they can.  Art Hayes brought up a hypothetical situation regarding the parking and there was discussion on that.  There was also discussion about when this development was platted and whether it is a PUD or not.  Sandra asked if there will be grass between the curb and sidewalk.  The question was not addressed.  Russ Ryle stated the houses were being built on crawl spaces and not slabs.  Evelyn Ryle went on to say building on a crawl space will give an advantage to help accommodate the way the land was left behind by the previous developer and the way the water will get to the retention areas.


Ted Robertson, resident Vine Street measured the streets in Litten Estates at 24 feet.  He was just shown the guideline stating the roads should be 28 feet and wants to know who made the decision to narrow them because he measured them himself.  The 50 foot right of way has been narrowed by two feet.  It is not much but feels someone just took it upon themselves to “skimp” this and see if they could get a way with it.  He asked Frank Nierzwicki what was going on.  Rick Coppock explained this was approved under Jeff York’s tenure and they proposed the street size street as part of the PUD.  Bloomington has been in the mind set to put in narrower streets to slow traffic with no on street parking.  Litten Estates’ PUD was approved with 24 feet streets.  Sandra added it was not clear to the Plan Commission, at the time, what was happening until she saw the streets herself.  At that time she asked Bernie why the streets were narrower and it was not explained that way.   Bernie Guerrettaz interrupted and stated Litten Estates is a fabulous project and does not want to compare it with Edgewood Village.  He explained Litten Estates’ street were agreed to and approved at 24 feet.  Bernie Guerrettaz and Sandra clarified Jeff York initiated the Litten Estates project but did not stay to see it through.  Bernie does not want to cloud the issue of the Edgewood Village PUD amendment with the Litten Estates project. 


Ed Bitner made a motion we approve the Edgewood Village PUD Amendment as proposed and he finds it is a very well thought out plan.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Don Calvert – yes; Frank Buczolich – yes; Ed Bitner – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Sandra Hash, before voting made the comment there have been many questions brought up in the last few months regarding planning decisions in the past and it does make you leery.  She hopes everyone has learned from that.  She has seen pictures of the proposed homes and the lots look narrow, but for this type of development, 50 and over, it is an ideal situation.  She agreed if Russ Ryle likes this then it can’t be bad – yes.  Motion carried.


Ellettsville Planning Documents


Frank Nierzwicki gave all the Plan Commission members copies of the different Ellettsville Planning Documents.  He went over the plans:


Ellettsville Comprehensive Plan


This plan was adopted by the Ellettsville Town Council February 25, 2002.  This plan is the guiding plan document for the future direction and the development of the Town.  It was completed with community, Plan Commission and Town Council input.


Ellettsville Rural Community Plan


This plan was adopted by the Monroe County Commissioners July 11, 2003.  The Rural Community Plan’s main purpose is to look at the non-municipal area adjacent to Ellettsville and determining, with local input, future development and use.  The Rural Community Plan brought local citizens, Ellettsville Planning Commission and Monroe County Planning Commission into planning the process. 


Ellettsville Pedestrian Corridor Study


The Pedestrian Corridor Study was completed in May 2000 by Barry Fisher as part of his Senior Project at Ball State.  This study has been commonly referred to as the “Ellettsville Trail Plan” but has not been officially approved by the Town of Ellettsville.  The Ellettsville Main Street Organization and Town used this study for its successful State Trail Grant application. 


Frank Nierzwicki and the Planning Department are looking to update the Ellettsville Thoroughfare Plan in the spring of 2007.  The current Thoroughfare Plan can be found on pages 35 and 36 in the Comp Plan which is the guiding document for development within the Town. The Thoroughfare Plan will update the list of certain streets in Town that are arterial, second arterial, collectors and local streets.  Each street has different standards on widths and other amenities.


The update process will include meetings with Town Officials, the public, area developers and the Plan Commission before a final draft will be up for approval with the Town Council.  There will be numerous opportunities for public input during the planning process. 


Other Studies/Plans


The Ellettsville Community Parks and Recreation Master Plan, East Ellettsville Area Plan and the Ellettsville Design Standards Plan all have important planning goals and concepts but also have not been officially approved by the Town.


The Plan Commission, Redevelopment Commission and Town Council may also want to consider merging these planning documents together in one or two more “comprehensive” documents in the future.  A document more comprehensive in nature is needed for Federal funding and to work with Bloomington Metropolitan Planning Organization for grants in the future.  


Sandra agreed this needs to be updated because the Town Code on requirements for the streets said to look at the Thoroughfare Plan.  The Town Code dictates the devoted right of ways but not the street widths. 


Frank Nierzwicki would like to work on this in the spring with the help of his intern.  He will hold two meetings, some workshops and then bring the information to the Plan Commission.  He will update, not revamp, the comprehensive documents.  Sandra stated the Rural Community Plan is a county plan that could not be incorporated into our plans.


Art Hayes asked about PUDs in the 2002 Comprehensive Plan.  Frank Nierzwicki explained the Comprehensive Plan talks about PUDs in general terms.  The ordinances spell out the details on how the Comprehensive Plan needs to be used.  Art Hayes and Frank Nierzwicki continued to discuss PUD parameters, changes to zoning and ordinances.  Frank stated PUDs are different in all cities and towns.  PUDs are community standards, what they expect and what they want.  More detail will have better results.  Sandra asked Frank Nierzwicki “how do you define a PUD?”  There is no written guideline; it is addressed in one paragraph in the Town Code. A PUD specification is tagged on to new developments but there are no written guidelines.  Frank Nierzwicki said the PUD is in the code but it is very vague and that is what he has been working with.  He explained a PUD is a mix use; green space, tradeoffs with density, having some commercial areas.  The conversation switched to thoroughfare traffic and the different arterial streets.  The Town needs a grid system to have basic service because we are growing.  We need to look at the current street system as a starting point.  Sandra went on to say Ellettsville has grown and it has been developer driven.  We were a small community and operated within the knowledge base we had.  The Town is moving forward; we have a full time Planner.  She reiterated to Art Hayes we are taking steps in the right direction.  The conversation went back to Edgewood Village PUD, green space and Litten Estates street width. 


Frank Nierzwicki asked if there is a preference from the Plan Commission to combine and update these documents.   Frank Buczolich answered; certainly to update that was the intent of the documents to begin with.  They were to be looked at periodically and if needed be altered or updated. 


Redevelopment Status Report


Frank Nierzwicki gave an update on the Redevelopment Commission.  The Redevelopment Commission is looking at designating an area in the Redevelopment Area to become a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) area.  There are few options for local cities and towns to do capital or infrastructure improvements.  A TIF is an area that can make a difference.  The process is:

  • Designate an area that needs to be redeveloped
  • Any improvements; the taxes are frozen (he explained the formula; example if there are 100 units in a square, businesses and developments come in, the tax unit is now up to 2,000.  The TIF would take the new tax rate of 2,000 and subtract 100 (the base) and you come up with 1,900 units.  These units would be used for improvements with the street, sewer, lights, sidewalks, curb and gutter)
  • There would be benefits for housing; low cost housing improvements


The Redevelopment Commission would meet, discuss and designate the area.  The area they are considering is east Sale Street, between the one way pairs, to the Village Inn, across Main Street behind the bank open area to Lakeview Drive including one parcel on the outside of the one way pairs on Main and Temperance.  They are trying to get Main Street improvement requests from the Parks Department, Parks Board, Street Department and Utilities Department that need to be done.   The area they are looking at includes the ball fields, Campbell’s Park and the Street Department.  We want to have development in these areas. Funds received can go to park equipment.  It is not a tax increase.  The increase is from where the tax base is now to where it will be in the future.  They will take the extra income and use it to generate more development.  People that could be affected are other taxing units; the school corporation and library.  They will not lose money; they may not gain money as quickly as they would if there was no TIF district.  The idea behind a TIF district is a development would not have occurred unless there some kind of plan for redevelopment.  The Redevelopment Commission is trying to balance the interest of the town.  The Advisory Committee has a voting member from the School Corporation, Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce.  They are trying to get a consensus and focus point downtown.  March 8, 2007 the Redevelopment will adopt a resolution creating a Development Area and Redevelopment Plan.  There may be a need for a special meeting for the Plan Commission between March 8 and 26 to review the Redevelopment Plan; is it consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.  Is the zoning consistent with what we want in that area in the future?  This is a chance for the Plan Commission and Redevelopment to change the zoning making it consistent with what we want to have done in that area.   He is looking for the resolution to go to Town Council March 26, 2007 for approval.  He went over the timetable and checklist for establishing the TIF area with the final filings in May. 


Ed Bitner read the article in the newspaper and questioned Roy Wever’s property being in the TIF district.  Frank explained this would be an ideal situation having an open field in the TIF; whatever is done to this property would increase the taxes.  Ed questioned the taxes using a hypothetical situation.  The School Corporation and library will still receive the same amount of money.  The TIF district money will be captured for specified amount of time.  Frank explained the Town has more assessed valuation come in over the years; it helps to bring the tax rate down.  The Town does not receive extra money.  Sandra clarified Ellettsville will not get the money; they will capture the money for redevelopment within the TIF district for public improvements.  Frank then clarified the “proposed” TIF district which includes the parcel north of Main Street along the corridor between Electrodyn to the old hotel across from Town Hall would be included.  One parcel, west of Main Street would include Town Hall, Kenny’s down to the library; everything between the one way pairs.  Is zoning consistent with what the Town wants to do?


Privilege of the Floor – non Agenda items


Sandra Hash shared some interesting things she read in the Citizen’s Planners Guide. 


  • How to conduct meetings
  • How to address each other
  • Should not make gestures
  • Stated you should never abstain from voting unless there is a conflict of interest; if there is a conflict of interest then you should not be a part of any of the discussion
  • Indiana Code states you should not be paid for a meeting if you abstain from voting


There was a discussion about voting and conflict of interest.  Frank Nierzwicki gave an example of this with another town.  He then recommended everyone read the section in the back of the Plan Commission training book. 


Art Hayes brought up some different issues:


  • Can the money captured from the TIF district be used as an improvement to stop the flooding in that area?  Rick Coppock explained how the sewer lines ran.  Frank Nierzwicki said sewer lines could be included as an improvement. 
  • He questioned Litten Estates road widths, PUD, PUD ordinances, right of ways and plat.  Rick Coppock explained the road was approved at 24 feet.  Sandra added there were many meetings held with the neighbors and the street width was never an issue.  There was continued conversation and discussion in the audience that could not be deciphered on the tape.  Sandra suggested finding the original maps that were approved and compare them to the final plats.  Frank Nierzwicki said the maps were around but was not sure exactly where they are.  Frank Nierzwicki suggested reviewing the minutes of the Plan Commission meetings in question.  Frank Buczolich said research needs to be done on this.  


Don Calvert would like an update on Jack & Jill Daycare and Springs Valley drainage.  Frank Nierzwicki said both of these issues are up to the Town Council.  Sandra announced nothing has been put on the agenda.  Frank Nierzwicki will call Mike Spencer to see what the next step should be.  Sandra had a gentleman in the office that questioned the TIF district, improvements and did not understand Ellettsville’s reasoning because he loved the sign at Jack & Jill Daycare.  The gentleman went on to comment about the empty businesses on Main Street with run down signs, the old school bus in front of Eagles Landing that looks lousy and pointed out several other properties.  What criteria does the Town use to make judgment calls; why are some things enforced and not others.  Ed Bitner said Jack & Jill Daycare went to the BZA for a variance, was denied and went to the Plan Commission for a change but ended up just putting the sign up anyway.  They blatantly went against the rules.  Sandra informed the Commission there is no public record the BZA denied the variance at this time.  Sandra has no recording or minutes from that meeting. 


Ed Bitner was approached by Roy Wever who wants to know the procedure for subdividing a parcel of his property.  There was discussion about what wanted to be done and the how to go about doing it. 




Ed Bitner made a motion for the meeting to be adjourned.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.  Meeting adjourned 9:54 p.m.