Town board hears concern about grass ordinance
Versailles okays zoning request

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

About an hour of the Versailles Town Board meeting was taken up with a re-zone discussion. Von McGuire was asking to re-zone about six acres he owns at approximately 528 W. US 50 in Versailles from Residential-1 to Local Business.

McGuire already owns about three acres in front of the property, which is already zoned Local Business and wants to add the Local Business designation to the additional six acres.

McGuire explained he plans to lease the property to the Department of Child Services. This government agency is restructuring and dividing the private partnership from the state run services. The private partnership will continue to stay at their present location on Highway 421 in Versailles next to Gilpin Monument.

The state run part of the Department will lease McGuire’s property and plans to add onto the present building creating 5,100 square feet. McGuire said this will create from eight to 13 new jobs. He has met with Bob Williams of the Indiana Department of Transportation and received verbal approval for his sub-minor driveway permit to put in an auxiliary lane.

Adjoining property owner Janice Avedissian was not opposed to the re-zone, but she was concerned that the road and construction would create a water problem. Neighbor Connie Morris also shared her concerns about the added traffic. McGuire responded, “My entry will be the saftest entry.” In the end, the Versailles Town Board voted to grant the re-zone.

Tom Day was concerned about the “grass ordinance.” Day said he appreciated what the town was trying to do to clean up the town, but was concerned that the $500 fine per day was too steep. Day brought up several scenarios where someone might be on vacation or in the hospital and not be able to mow their grass and be fined thousands of dollars.

Board member John Holzer explained that what they had been doing for years was not working. He said the town regularly mows grass for about ten properties in town and the property owner gets a bill for about $275 a year. “We are not in the business to mow grass,” said Holzer. “This is intended for the people who abuse the system.”

The board was adamant that they were not going to change the ordinance. Because of some incorrect reference numbers, the first reading of the “grass ordinance” had to be read again. That would make the final reading at next month’s meeting.

Jerry Gilpin came into the meeting after attending the South Ripley School Board meeting. He said he was told he was not in any official capacity and the school board wanted to meet with the town board to discuss the sports complex issue. Gilpin said he felt this was a stall tactic by the school board. Board member Sue Meisberger said she would contact Superintendent Ted Ahaus.

Town Superintendent Kevin Hensley said the chipper is beyond repair. A new one will cost between $35,000 and $42,000. The town will apply for a grant for the cost of the chipper. An open house was set for the new water treatment plant for Saturday, August 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Ted Spurlock announced there was 50,000 yards of topsoil available from the Honda plant for free. The town would just have to haul it. He will get costs.

The cost for Crowe-Crizek to do the water rate increase study is $8,000 to $9,000. The 2007 budget has been approved by the state.

The bill for the repair of the new lift station was $7,300. It was reported that the lift station had been installed incorrectly. The bill for the repairs will be sent to Roy Holman who originally installed the lift station.

Marshal Joe Mann reported he investigated five accidents in June, assisted 67 citizens, and made 20 arrests.

All three town board members were in attendance: Sue Meisberger, Jim Taul and John Holzer. Clerk-Treasurer Ted Spurlock was present to advise the board. The next regular meeting of the Versailles Town Board will be August 9 at the Versailles Town Hall.

Von McGuire, stands before the Versailles Town Board with his plans explaining his needs for a re-zone for property he owns on US 50 in Versailles. The board granted his request for the property to be zoned Local Business instead of Residential-1.