2013-08-22 / Front Page

New Building Ordinance And Fee Schedule Adopted By Owen Board Of Commissioners

Neighbors Complain Of Cannon Noise At Owen Valley Winery
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

County residents and contractors working on new and existing buildings will be subject to an updated ordinance and fee schedule in the near future following Monday’s approval by the Owen County Board of Commissioners.

It was noted that the new ordinance and fee schedule only applies to county residents and not those living within the town limits of Spencer.

Commissioners Donnie Minnick and Tony Voelker voted in favor of the changes, with Marc Ruble casting the lone vote against the ordinance and fee schedule changes. The county ordinance will take effect after 30 days.

A few examples of the fee increases include a 1,500-squarefoot barn building permit, which previously cost $100, will now cost $150; a permit to construct a 1,500-square-foot house increases from $150 to $228; a permit to build a 1,000-square-foot home addition increases from $135 to $150; a permit to build a 500-squarefoot barn from $50 to $100; and an electrical permit from $50 to $75.

While no permit is currently required to demolish a structure, once the new ordinance goes into effect after 30 days, all demolitions will require a $20 permit.

Permit renewals will also increase, from $25 to $50.

The commissioners also scheduled a Building Task Force work session for Wednesday, August 28, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room, located on the second floor of the Owen County Courthouse.

The board was later visited by Mark Heirbrand of Ameresco who spoke about county utility and energy savings at county buildings. In related news, the board voted 3-0 to allow James Zellman and Honeywell Building Solutions to perform the same assessment and provide its findings as well before the commissioners further pursue any large-scale, cost-saving measures at the county courthouse, security center, EMS station, recycling center or armory building.

The commissioners later voted 3-0 in favor of a pair of special event requests, first for the 46th annual Hilly Hundred, set for October 18-20. The board also voted 3-0 to approve the 37th annual Spencer Lions Club Apple Butter Festival, set for September 21 and 22.

A Timber Ridge Road neighbor dispute was also brought before the board by resident Steve Dean, who provided the commissioners with a neighborhood petition and letter complaining of a propane fueled cannon firing often between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. at the Owen Valley Winery. The cannon is reportedly used to scare away birds from the vineyard.

Dean made mention of the anxiety being felt by nearby neighbors of the winery, which is brought on, he said, by the cannon’s blasts.

In response, county attorney Richard Lorenz noted that the Indiana Right to Farm Law, Indiana Code 32-30-6-9, prevents the commissioners from having any jurisdiction over an agricultural operation such as the winery. Lorenz said the matter would need to be one for the court system to determine whether or not the cannon is an unconventional method of farming.

Revisiting a previously tabled request from Gosport resident Burl Garrett to place a stop sign at the intersection of 9th Street and Romona Road in Gosport, the commissioners voted 3-0 to deny the request.

Continuing with county roadway business, the board spoke with highway department superintendent Joe Pettijohn concerning ongoing work.

Pettijohn said work on county bridge #34 on Owl Hollow Road would be finished and open for travel on Wednesday. In a related topic, Pettijohn estimated an additional 60 loads of fill dirt would be needed to complete the approach work for bridge #174 on Lingle Road.

Pettijohn also mentioned ongoing road maintenance including chip and seal work on Front Street in Quincy, paving work on Timber Ridge Road and the upcoming milling of Stogsdill Road. Brush crews will also be active throughout the county for the next few months.

In an update on the Owen County Robert E. ‘Bob’ Clark Recycling Center from new director Jeff Hodges, the commissioners were told the center has began collecting glass among its recyclable items.

Hodges also noted that very few tires are being brought to the center to be recycled. The commissioners noted that the current trailer in place to collect tires has been at the center for five months and is currently only halfway full. The board directed Pettijohn to fill the trailer with any tires that have been collected by and stored at the highway department and to have Hodges make arrangements for the trailer to be exchanged for an empty trailer.

In an update from Owen County EMS Director Cris Lunsford, the board engaged in a brief debate concerning the donation of EMS services for the upcoming Apple Butter Festival quad races and demolition derby, to be held at the Owen County Fairgrounds on Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21. The board ultimately voted 2-1, with commissioner Voelker voting against the motion, in favor of waiving the $250 fee for the county fair board.

Also related to the EMS, the commissioners voted 3-0 to sign a perpetual highway easement with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) for drainage on the EMS property, located along State Road 46 West in Spencer.

Owen County EMA Director Jack White also came before the board with a purchase agreement for new batteries to service the county’s 11 emergency weather sirens at a cost of $4,290 from Owens Communications. The board voted 3-0 to approve the agreement.

Hearing a request from the Owen County Tourism Commission, the commissioners voted 3-0 to appoint John King and Pam Hey to the commission.

The Owen County Board of Commissioners will meet again on Monday, September 3, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Room, located on the second floor of the Owen County Courthouse.

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