County BZA Hears Variety of Cases in Marathon Session
ABOVE: The Shelby County Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday unanimously approved plans to redevelop the existing highway garage property on N. Michigan Road, to be known as the Shelby County Complex, which will house the highway department and county recycling district facilities. The current highway garage and fuel station will remain on site.
The Shelby County Board of Zoning Appeals handled a few contentious matters at Tuesday’s meeting, along with some unanimous approvals.
Half of the two hour meeting was spent discussing what to do about a home under construction at 5879 N PR 660 W, Fairland. The home, owned by Danny and Maria Rigdon, had an approved site plan that included an approximately 3,000 square foot two-story single family residence with a three-car attached garage and four-foot-tall crawl space.
But a county building inspector recently noticed walls for a complete basement. Now, the petitioners are asking to have a basement below the Flood Protection Grade in a Special Flood Hazard Area. According to the petition, the Rigdons plan to add fill dirt around the perimeter of the structure to qualify for removal of the home from the Flood Hazard Area. A representative for the homeowners said they are motivated to complete the requirements, which he said would eliminate the current need for flood insurance.
BZA members were nonplussed with the chain of events, several noting that the petition seems more like asking forgiveness rather than permission. The representative admitted it was “a bad situation” and blamed the incident on a “miscommunication.” He said that once digging started, they had to go down to a certain depth to get soils suitable for footers.
County planning staff had recommended denial of the proposal since the need for the variance is “self-imposed due to development of the property not in compliance with the approved Site Plan,” but said if the BZA approved it, they should implement several stipulations, such as limiting use of the basement to storage. That provision, as BZA members noted, is virtually impossible to enforce upon completion of the home.
After discussing various options, such as filling in part of the basement, the board agreed to the representative’s request for a continuance.
In other business, a 2-2 tie last month brought Richard Smith back to the BZA, but the results were not in his favor. Smith had hoped to build a 1,600 square foot pole barn at 4310 S. Sugar Creek Road, Franklin. While the accessory structure would not lie within a FEMA-designated Flood Hazard Area, it would encroach upon a Special Flood Hazard Approximate Fringe Area designed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Smith and a neighbor, Jeff Tennell, said the risk of flooding there is negligible. Smith, who said he would not consider raising the structure as a stipulation, has owned the property for 17 years.
While the county planning staff had recommended approval of the development standards variance because the floodplain restricted placement of the pole barn in the rear yard, the staff recommended denial of the floodplain development variance. Part of the property’s front yard sits outside the floodplain and could be used, planning director Desiree Calderella noted.
A motion to vote with stipulations was denied, 3-2. Board members Terry Knudson, Jordan Caldwell and Dave Klene voted no; Jim Douglas and Kevin Carson voted in favor.
During a string of several approvals, the BZA unanimously approved plans to redevelop the existing highway garage property, to be known as the Shelby County Complex, which will house the highway department and county recycling district facilities. The property will include a maintenance garage, salt barn, two equipment storage sheds, recycling office, recycling transfer station, detention basin, landscaping, fencing and parking lot resurfacing and grading. The current highway garage and fuel station will remain on site. The transfer station will sit 20 feet from the property line that adjoins property slated for a detention pond of a new residential subdivision.
“The county is looking at making a very significant investment in this property,” Chris King, with Runnebohm Construction, said of the approximately $11 million to $12 million project.
The BZA approved development standard variances with the stipulation that a landscape buffer be installed between the transfer station and property line.
The board also unanimously approved a petition for Jason Burnett, but his father, Sam Burnett, said the project was likely a no-go given the stipulations. Jason Burnett, 4736 W 1100 N, New Palestine, in Lakeview Estates neighborhood, wants to build a 3,000-square-foot pole barn prior to construction of a small two-bed, one-bath home in the future. But to be in compliance with the standard, the home would need to be approximately 6,000 square feet. The pole barn would be used for storage and a practice basketball court for Jason Burnett’s daughter. The future home would be occupied by Sam Burnett.
The elder Burnett, representing his son, asked the board about the possibility of only constructing a barn on the lot in the event they instead purchase a neighboring home. Board members said they might be open to that arrangement, but Burnett would need to go through the process of purchasing the property and combining the lots before re-applying for a variance.
The board instead approved the petition presented but with the staff-recommended stipulation that the barn not exceed 1,000 square feet and a height of 20 feet. The variance will be void if a single-family residence is not constructed and granted a final certificate of occupancy by April 12, 2025. Mr. Burnett indicated the stipulations would likely halt the project.
The board also unanimously approved a petition from Kerry Estes and Estes Dairy Farm, 10176 N 600 W, Fountaintown, to place a manufactured home on the property. Mr. Estes’ son will be employed by the farm and live in the home, which could be less than 1,200 square feet.
“It’s a crazy time to try to buy a place (right now) when you’re getting married,” Mr. Estes said of his son, “but the more important reason for us is that it gives us someone living on the dairy farm.”
The planning staff had recommended approval of the petition because the home will sit in an area relatively isolated from other development and over 500 feet from the public road.
The board unanimously approved Kenneth and Brittani Willoughby’s petition to allow for temporary occupancy of a recreational vehicle prior to construction of a new single-family dwelling at 4155 W PR 733 S, Shelbyville. The petitioners agreed to an April 12, 2023 deadline for the variance and will transport all black tank and gray tank water to an off-site RV waste dump station. The RV will be under a partially enclosed RV port. The planning staff had recommended approval of the petition.
The board also gave unanimous approval to Robert and Sherry Branson to allow for a recreational vehicle to be parked at 3535 N. Morristown Road, Shelbyville, and a 400 square foot structure to be built to store recreational equipment and personal items. The Bransons intend to use the property for camping. The board’s approval included stipulations that the RV shall be on site less than 180 consecutive days at a time, the RV must be fully licensed and ready for highway use, and that noncompliance with any conditions of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Permit approval or County Floodplain Permit approval shall void the variance approval. The property lies within a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area Zone. The county planning staff had recommended approval of the petition.
The board also gave unanimous approval for Mike Peoples to build a 1,320 square foot garage in a lot adjacent to his home in Morristown’s Blue River Trails subdivision. Several other properties in the neighborhood have similar arrangements, Peoples noted. The proposed location of the garage will provide future owners of the lot the option to attach the structure to a home, the petition said.
Cases approved by the hearing officer over the previous month included the following: a structure in the front yard that is approximately 200 feet from the road at 577 W SR 44, Shelbyville; a front-loading garage more than eight feet in front of a house at 9572 N 300 W, Fountaintown; a new house on the same spot as a previous home closer to the road than typically allowed at 7765 S 250 E, Flat Rock; and a new storage building at the Shelby County Farm Bureau Cooperative Association, 5961 E 200 N, Shelbyville.
The next BZA meeting is Tuesday, May 10, 7 p.m., in the Shelby County Courthouse Annex.
Whip Inflation Now
You can’t turn on the TV these days without hearing about inflation or Putin. Sometimes they are mentioned in the same sentence. Prices are rising. But who’s to blame? Is it President Biden? Is it Putin? Is it the dock workers at the port of Los Angeles? At one time there were over 100 humongous container ships in line waiting to be unloaded. Without a steady supply of inexpensive goods made in China, it isn’t possible to “stack ‘em deep and sell ‘em cheap.” I knew it was serious when the Dollar Store raised prices.
On a positive note, this current round of inflation will allow today’s youngsters to continue the tradition of talking on and on and on about the price of items from their youth. And a fine tradition it is.
When Terry Ogden and I were passing newspapers during the Johnson administration, we were almost millionaires by today’s standards. Totten’s Pure, a gas station located where Speedway currently sells lottery tickets, cigarettes, Big Gulps, beef jerky and gas, was one of our favorite stops.
We would park our Schwinn Sting Ray bikes and head straight to the vending machines. In those days all snacks sold in gas stations were in vending machines. “Real” men worked at the gas stations and were too busy doing real men type work like pumping the gas for customers or fixing cars to sell cokes or candy bars. Gas was only a quarter a gallon. Customers didn’t have to get out of their car. It was “service with a smile.” If a tire was low on air, the man would take care of that too, and for free.
Of course, Terry and I were too young to take advantage of the excellent service or the inexpensive gas. We were busy spending our money in the vending machines. Soft drinks were a dime, and all came in glass bottles. Gum machines would dispense a gum ball for a penny. Peanut machines were also a penny. When you turned the knob on the peanut machine, you had to be ready to catch the peanuts. A handful of peanuts just came rolling out when you turned the knob. Candy bars were all a nickel.
Sometime during the Nixon administration prices started to climb. For a while the candy bars stayed a nickel, but they started shrinking. When inflation really took hold, it wasn’t long before it took a quarter to buy what not so long ago was just a nickel. By the time Gerald Ford took over the country, we were in dire economic straits.
President Ford had a degree in economics and 25 years of experience in the U.S. Congress. President Ford wasted no time in coming up with a plan to whip inflation. It was the W.I.N. plan. The letters stood for Whip Inflation Now! All citizens were mailed a little round lapel pin that said “WIN” in all capital letters. I also remember a few bumper stickers and T-shirts with the slogan.
The “Whip Inflation Now!” program failed. All the five and dime stores like Woolworth’s and Murphy’s were replaced by Dollar stores. Soon everyone got used to the idea of things costing a dollar instead of a dime.
Someday everyone will get used to the idea of things that once cost a dollar costing ten dollars. When that time comes, all the old-timers will go on and on and on about how they remember when a Coke only cost a dollar. Time marches on.
BELOW: Happy Easter from “The Helbing.” Pictured left to right are columnist Meltzer’s granddaughters, Pearl, June, and Rose. Grandpa continued the family tradition of having an Easter egg hunt at “The Helbing.” Unfortunately, Meltzer had to explain to the girls that due to inflation, the Easter Bunny could only put one M&M in each plastic egg this year.
Shelbyville High School softball lost to Yorktown, 2-1, yesterday. Friday’s game went better, with the Golden Bears hitting eight home runs in a 23-4 route of Delta.
Snopes has weighed in on a matter of apparent local importance: an article floating around the internet stating a farmer from Shelbyville, Ind. had been taken to the hospital in critical condition “with an extremely agitated hen more than half-buried in his rectum” has been deemed false. “This is not a genuine news story but a piece of ‘satire’ originally published in August 2020 on the World News Daily Report, an entertainment website known for publishing crude, shocking and entirely fictional stories,” Snopes informs us.
HOOSIER NEWS: Decrying a ‘carnival’-like aesthetic at polling places, the Hamilton County Commission has passed an ordinance limiting the number of campaign signs candidates can post. The measure, effective immediately, limits the signs to two per candidate at early voting sites and one at precincts on election day. The ordinance also restricts the size of the signs to 2-by-3 feet, and they cannot be placed with metal or wood posts, but rather with wire stakes. The measure would apply now to two early voting sites in Carmel, two in Fishers, the Judicial Center and 4H Fairgrounds in Noblesville and one in Westfield. The primary election is May 3. (IndyStar)
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This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.
THIS DAY IN SHELBY COUNTY HISTORY
News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.
20 YEARS AGO: 2002
Southwestern High School members of the Shelby County Youth Council and the school’s student council staged a mock car crash on CR 600 S in front of the school. Students Josh Decker, Nick Stubblefield, Cortnee Sullivan, Heidi Weaver, Ed Pass, Heather Holler, Joel Parker and Laura Parmer played various roles in the emotional event. Youth Council member Melissa Gerline was one of the event’s organizers.
30 YEARS AGO: 1992
A caller to Shelbyville Fire Station No. 1 reported hearing strange noises in the background on the line. “Had the station been invaded with chattering monkeys or weird birds of prey?” The Shelbyville News asked. “Nope. It seems turkey-hunting season will begin soon, and some of the staff at the station brought in their turkey calls to practice during a little slack time.”
40 YEARS AGO: 1982
Lois Westlake, wife of Sheriff Dick Westlake, served ham and trimmings for the traditional Easter Sunday dinner at the jail. But the biggest cheers were reserved for the evening, when she ordered in Big Macs for supper. Many of the prisoners at the moment were teenagers. Speaking of jail food, Westlake had been perturbed a few months prior when a letter to the editor was printed in The Shelbyville News criticizing the jail food. So she called the letter writer and invited the person to drop in for lunch any day, without prior notice. Several weeks later, the person did so, and left with compliments and apologies. Mrs. Westlake said she watched for another letter to The News, but was disappointed never to see one.
50 YEARS AGO: 1972
As in the 15 years prior, local students - 858 of them - attended the Shrine Circus at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum. St. Paul students also attended, and Triton and Morristown students met up with the caravan along the highway. The organizing committee was composed of Martin Luther, Lawrence McCarty, Howard Wise, Jack Pope, Millard Stroup and Maurice Hart.
60 YEARS AGO: 1962
Oscar Fisher, vice president of Kennedy Car Liner & Bag Company, announced his firm had renewed its sponsorship of the Ruth Lyons television program to further promote national sales of Pollysaks, the plastic bags on perforated rolls made locally.
While Robert Leming, assistant cashier, delivered a robbery education program to all employees at Shelby National Bank, Sheriff Edgill Moore and City Police Det. Capt. Leroy Kelley, posing as “hold-up” men, entered the room masked and “armed” with toy guns to the shock of everyone except Leming, who had organized the stunt. The sheriff placed a “buntline special” toy pistol in the back of Bank President Earl Hammond - who Moore said nearly jumped from his chair in surprise when Moore yelled, “This is a stick-up! Don’t anybody move.” Kelley, “armed” with a plastic revolver, “covered” and watched the group while Moore removed articles from Hammond’s pockets. The 30-second hold-up ended and employees were asked to fill out a form describing the criminals. About half gave accurate descriptions, Moore said later.
70 YEARS AGO: 1952
Local Girl scouts sold 7,800 boxes of cookies in the annual fundraiser, Mrs. Mohr announced. Profits from the sale were used for troop supplies, uniforms, troop dues equipment, national dues and camp.
80 YEARS AGO: 1942
Mrs. Casto, 645 Main Street, lost a black billfold that contained $145 - money she was saving for her daughter to have an operation - either in the vicinity of Charles Major school or King’s Pantry grocery. Police asked locals to share any information concerning the loss.
Eight Shelby County draftees were assigned to more advanced training centers. They would depart from Fort Benjamin Harrison. The men were Glen Thibo, Edwin Sermersheim, John Coffman, Ivan Goodwin, Doval Larmore, Raymond Means, Lowell Gordon and Harry Itce.
90 YEARS AGO: 1932
Postmaster George Young organized the development of a comprehensive city directory that would include the names and addresses of all residences and businesses. Since hundreds of letters coming through the post office each day contained no street address, letters were often given to faulty addresses. The directory would help ensure efficient delivery, Young said.
100 YEARS AGO: 1922
Police were asked to search for Ray Borders, 19, and Hazel Lewis, 17, who had apparently eloped and started off for Illinois. The girl had left the Apostolic church during services, which were parents were conducting, on Sunday night to join Borders, who was waiting in an automobile on Pike Street down the road. Borders had been employed at a local furniture factory. Hazel’s parents, who were living on S. Pike Street near Howard St., had come here from the Bedford community. “The minister and his wife are much opposed to the marriage, and desire that their daughter be found and returned here,” The Republican said. (Editor’s note: Hazel Borders died in 1985 and is buried in Morgan County. I could not immediately find record of Ray Borders.)