Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

October 8, 2013

Planning panel makes recommendation

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — The Batesville Advisory Plan Commission decided what to do Oct. 3 about a proposal to accept Chateau Boulevard and Shelley Avenue issue was tabled.

Last month several members were concerned because Chateau Boulevard stopped abruptly instead of having a cul-de-sac so large emergency vehicles could turn around.

Attorney Henry Pictor, representing the neighbors, passed out a Chateau Commons plat to BAPC and Batesville Board of Zoning members that was recorded Dec. 8, 2008. It stated, “This plat meets all minimum requirements” in Indiana Code 36-7-4 and was signed by the Batesville Board of Works Dec. 4, 2004, and city building commissioner Tim Macyauski Dec. 4, 2008, and also BAPC President David Raver.

“The plat has all necessary approvals,” Pictor maintained. “For you to now come back and say you want something else to be done I think is not due process. Chateau Boulevard does come to a dead end, … but … it was inspected and approved.” He observed other Batesville subdivisions have dead ends. The attorney said a cul-de-sac “might be nice, but is that fair to these folks?”

Raver clarified, “We did not deny adopting it as a city street. We discussed it. No action was taken.” He explained BAPC would make a recommendation about accepting the streets to the city council, which has the final say.

Raver said first BAPC gives overall approval for a mixed-use unit development plan, then phases must be OK’d as details are worked out. He recalled that initially, a physicians clinic was supposed to be built across from Chateau of Batesville. Planned apartments were actually constructed as duplexes.

According to Mayor Rick Fledderman, “The original plan … was for Ivy Tech to be located there” so the dead end street would have been expanded into a college entrance. “Right or wrong, I think we’re obligated … to take these streets over ... I don’t think it’s fair to the residents to be penalized” because plans changed.

BAPC member Kevin Chaffee repeated thoughts he expressed last month. “The plat clearly doesn’t meet the city’s development standards.” He disliked Chateau Boulevard’s 90-degree turn and dead end. “You’re going to have a hard time taking any fire trucks or emergency vehicles … there’s nowhere to turn around when you get to the end of the road. I just don’t think it’s fair that a developer profits from building a road to lesser standards than the city requires” and taxpayers end up paying to improve it.

Pictor said if a blaze breaks out in a single-story duplex, “there isn’t going to be a hook-and-ladder truck going back there.” Fire Chief Todd Schutte contended, “A ladder truck may go back there to reach houses away from the road.” Jeanne Siefert, Chateau Boulevard, reported, “We’ve already had a fire truck out there” and it negotiated the curve and dead end.

Chaffee asked, “Is there property available for a small turnaround?” Macyauski replied, “Forty feet at the end of the road to the property line.” Chaffee said he and his neighbors had to pave their gravel road before they were able to turn it over to the city.

Raver observed, “Where the answer lies, we’ll find out. The city council will make the decision.”

Fledderman made a motion to recommend to the council that the streets be accepted into the city and members agreed 4-1, Chaffee opposed. The mayor said, “It’s not the first time we’ve had to correct and assume responsibility for mistakes that have been made.”

After the vote, Pictor showed members an old ordinance that said streets intending to go into future neighborhoods could be finished with dead ends. He said BAPC approved Chateau Commons in 2003, but the developer did not have it recorded until 2008 when lots began to be sold to save having to pay property taxes for the five years in between.

Schutte reported, “Developers … don’t like the size of our nice, big cul-de-sacs,” which must be 120 feet in diameter, according to a more recent city ordinance. Older cul-de-sacs here are between 45-75 feet, too small for large vehicles to handle. The International Fire Code minimum standard is a 96-foot diameter, he said. “I’m asking if you grant a variance to keep it to that minimum.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Two more topics • Randall and Vanessa Ellis, 315 W. Central Ave., applied to the Batesville Board of Zoning Appeals for a side yard setback variance. "We would like to add a carport with a storage shed onto our garage," she explained. They said they talked to neighbors and no one objected. The president explained the city ordinance requires a minimum of 6 feet from the property line and they asked for 3 feet, which would line up with the house. BBZA member Ken Wanstrath asked for a drawing, but the couple didn't have one. The board agreed to the variance. • RomWeber Flats developer Bruce Rippe said, "There's been an ongoing discussion about having an area for residents ... to go outside and smoke because the building is nonsmoking" after complaints about groups of residents smoking on sidewalks and at South Street Park. Architects recommended constructing a 14-by-4-foot structure similar to a bus stop shelter in the apartments' parking lot facing the park. BBZA member Darrick Cox said, "I would like to applaud your efforts in trying to make this happen … I would think this would be helpful." Because it will be on private property, The mayor pointed out, "There is nothing in our ordinances that allow it or disallow it."