Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Business

July 6, 2010

Monument business gets OK

--- — Jeremy Miller hopes to buy a 7-acre property at 464 Township Line Road, its northern end, and live there with his family in the farmhouse. He wants to operate a Batesville Monument business in the existing pole barn. Because it is in a Residential-2 zone, Miller asked the Batesville Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance July 1. Six to eight engraved grave markers would be on display in front of the building "so customers could see examples of our work and craftsmanship," Miller said. About 30 stones would be kept inside until the back lot near I-74 is developed for storage. Attorney Doug Wilson, representing the applicant, discussed two issues that might concern neighbors. “Is there going to be increased traffic that is inappropriate for the area?” he wondered. Miller told Wilson he would be “very, very happy” if he could sell 100 monuments each year, equating to two customers a week. Miller plans to transport the stones himself from a Georgia quarry in a pickup truck with an 18-foot trailer. “I don't want tractor-trailers there. It doesn't benefit me financially.” He couldn’t promise semis would never make deliveries. The attorney asked Miller if the business would be noisy. An air compressor located inside a room with four walls inside the insulated building would be used to do the engraving. Miller performed a sound test, walking to two of the nearest residences. “If you were not listening for it, you wouldn't hear it.” He said the compressor would not be used constantly. It takes between a half hour and three hours to engrave each stone. Many of the 11 attendees who live nearby expressed concerns. Jan Holm, 36 Morton Way, said he doesn't want big delivery trucks cutting through Hoosier Heights and damaging the road. Dave Maple, 12 Daimler Court, asked why Miller’s business wasn’t going in the industrial park. Wilson reminded him the applicant would not only work, but also live there. Bill Wintz, 52 Pine Grove Drive, worried noise would increase if the operation morphed into manufacturing – cutting the markers. “Being in the business for many, many years, I know that buying them prefinished cuts down on your revenue.” Miller replied, “Cutting, shaping and sizing stone is far beyond the scope of what I care to do.” Mike Coleman, 62 Pine Grove Drive, said if the variance was granted, he wanted a noise restriction and asked for a berm or fence between his property and Millers to avoid living next to a "cemetery look." Trey Clifton, 13 Daimler Court, imagined the business’ growth. “How many employees do you intend down the road to have there?” Miller said just partner Stephen Meyer and himself. Jeff Wanstrath, 61 Pine Grove Drive, said he’d prefer the existing house and outbuilding to a large structure, such as a church. Wilson predicted the property “is going to change in the future and something else is going to go in there.” BBZA President David Raver posed a question: “Is this a better outcome than other potential outcomes?” He said neighbors would have to weigh the proposed business against the possibility of a developer constructing maybe 20 small homes on that acreage. BBZA member Jim Hortemiller was worried the occasional heavy truck could make holes in roads. Raver countered, “Do garbage trucks go back there?” BBZA member Doug Amberger said too many restrictions could be detrimental to the business. Raver noted Miller would “have to decide if it’s workable.” He added that any stipulations would have to be enforceable. The board approved the variance with these restrictions: air compressor can only be used from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; compressor will be sheltered to minimize noise; no stone cutting allowed; residential look of buildings will be maintained; no additional buildings will be constructed without BBZA approval; no more than eight stones can be placed facing Township Line Road; a berm, fence or staggered double row of pine trees will be placed 15 feet from the property line of Pine Grove Drive residents; semi deliveries will be minimized with the preferred route being Lammers Pike to Township Line Road. BBZA also OK’d a variance for two signs: a a maximum 12-square-foot boulder placed in a location near Township Line Road approved by Building Commissioner Tim Macyauski; and a 6-foot-tall-by-20-foot-long stone sign on a 3-foot professionally landscaped mound at the edge of the I-74 25-foot right of way. If Miller wants the second sign lighted, he will have to appear before the board again.

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