Low attendance issue at Planning Commission mtg.

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

A small board attendance caused some unhappy people at the July 3 meeting of the Ripley County Area Planning Commission. Von McGuire made application to rezone his property at 529 W. US 50 in Versailles from Residential-1 to Local Business. He already has more than three acres of property fronting US 50 that is zoned Local Business. He was asking for the 6.271 acres behind that to also be zoned Local Business.

Adjoining property owner Connie Morris was concerned about the added traffic. She said she had been hit several times just trying to get into her driveway off US 50.

Because there were only seven members of the board voting on the issue, according to their rules, all seven have to vote in favor of a motion for it to pass. When a motion was made to send the item to the Versailles Town Board with a favorable recommendation, the vote was 6 to 1 (Jeff French did not vote) and therefore voted down. After the vote, adjoining property owner Paul Morris stated, “It’s a shame when one person can keep someone from bringing a business into the town.” The rezone will now go to the Town of Versailles to be heard at their July 12 meeting.

Paul Anderson, president of the Ripley County Farm Bureau, spoke to the Commission of division of farm ground in Ripley County. He was concerned because of the people who move into Ripley County and then complain about the farming that goes on around them.

He believes one solution is Confinement Animal Feeding Operations. Anderson said, “In Jefferson County emotion ruled and the elected officials wouldn’t allow those operations in Jefferson County. We don’t want to see that happen here.” He wants to protect agriculture.

Commission President Dave Osborne said in reply to Anderson’s remarks, “We have been working for the past several years on updating our zoning laws. Never once did a representative of the Farm Bureau come to give their opinion. When we have a public hearing, we listen to what the people who come have to say. If you don’t come, you can’t be heard. You need to put butts in the seats.”

Anderson agreed they needed to do a better job of that. He asked if he could get a copy of each month’s agenda. He was told it is listed in the newspaper each month.

Planning Director Tad Brinson reported the Ripley County Commissioners had appointed Assistant Building Inspector Mike Jeffries as the new Building Inspector. They will now take applications for a new assistant building inspector. Brinson also said there were 43 Improvement Location Permits issued in June of this year compared to 53 last year.

Eight of 12 members of the Ripley County Area Planning Commission were present: Kaye Hunter, Roger Lang, Ed Newman, Maureen Sheets, Steve Youngman, Jeff French, Owen Menchhofer, and Dave Osborne. Tad Brinson was present to advise the board. The next regular meeting of the Ripley County Area Planning Commission is August 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Commissioner’s Room of the Ripley County Courthouse Annex in Versailles.

Paul Anderson, president of the Farm Bureau, addresses the Ripley County Area Planning Commission on saving agricultural land.