Francesville plans for re-establishing plan commission, board of zoning appeals
Francesville Town Council members are working to protect the town against potential zoning issues or possible litigation as they have agreed to re-establish a plan commission and board of zoning appeals.
Council members invited Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer and town attorney Justin Schramm to attend the April 2 town council meeting because of the uproar regarding the possibility of wind turbines being built in the county.
Origer said regardless of whether the council wants to create a strict or lenient ordinance regarding the wind turbines, they will have to dictate setback minimums for safety reasons.
As the way the Francesville zoning ordinances are written, if a request was made for a zoning change, it would be left up to the decision of one person. The town has the option to follow their own ordinances after creating a plan commission and BZA, adopt the portion of the county zoning ordinance regarding wind turbines, adopt the county unified zoning ordinance as a whole, or create their own wind turbine ordinances.
The county plan commission is currently reviewing the portion of the unified zoning ordinance to determine if any changes are needed. At this time Origer is unsure which direction the plan commission and county commissioners will take but he thinks the ordinance regulations will become stricter.
If the town were to adopt the county ordinance, the town plan commission and town council would still have authority over zoning issues. Another option for the town is to give their zoning authority to the county that would then oversee any zoning changes or exceptions.
Members of the plan commission and the BZA are appointed by the town council president and the county commissioners. A plan commission must be established to administer any changes that would be made to the zoning ordinance and a public hearing would be held in regards to that amendment to collect public opinion. The town council would have the final decision on any amendments but that cannot be done without the recommendation of the plan commission.
Francesville Town Council President Andy Durham questioned town attorney Justin Schramm as to whether the council should look at updating the somewhat dated zoning ordinances. Schramm said it doesn’t appear that the plan commission and the board of zoning appeals were ever established with an ordinance.
Durham said if it were easy to pass an amendment to the zoning ordinance, the council would do it quickly but the council wants to make sure the process is done correctly.
The council agreed to move forward with re-establishing the plan commission and the BZA in accordance to an ordinance.
Councilman Kyle Trent asked if Origer could keep the council updated on any changes the county may be making to the wind turbine portion of the unified zoning ordinance.