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Plan commission executive committee subject of public hearing


The LaGrange County Plan Commission will hold a public hearing at the end of its April 22 regular meeting to take comments on proposed changes to the county’s zoning ordinance, including the establishment of an executive committee.

The idea of an executive committee has been discussed since last fall, with the plan commission deciding early this year to move ahead with the idea.

Under the proposed amendment to the plan commission’s bylaws, the executive committee will consist of three people that Planning Administrator Bob Shanahan can take items to that may have gone before the entire board. In discussing the proposal, Shanahan told the commission that some site plans and requests are fairly straightforward and could be decided upon by an executive committee, allowing for faster decisions on some of those issues.

In the proposed amendment, the executive committee will be allowed to approve: development plans when referred by the planning administrator; emergency matters brought by the administrator or the commission president; review the comprehensive plan and make recommendations to the full commission; zoning ordinance review and make recommendations to the full commission; and fiscal recommendations to the full commission.

Under the proposed amendment, any plan taken to the executive committee that does not get approval by the committee will automatically be reviewed and acted upon by the full commission. Also, any member of the executive committee who votes against any plan brought to them may ask for a full review by the commission.

The three members of the committee must be current plan commission members, according to the proposed amendment.

The public hearing will also include changes to the county’s zoning ordinance.

Among the proposed changes are removing “Guest Quarters” as a conditional use in an L-1 zone. Property owners in L-1 zoned areas can apply for a land use variance for guest quarters, which can be reviewed by the commission.

The amendments would also increase the amount of land that can be devoted to “farm-based businesses,” from two acres to three.

The proposed changes also include changing the requirement for Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) so that all AFO site plans will be submitted to the LaGrange County Plat Committee for review and determination, rather than the plan commission. The change will streamline the process for AFOs, which are smaller, less intensive animal feeding operations and do not require an IDEM permit. AFOs that are rejected by the plat committee can be appealed to the plan commission.

Another change is to make solar panel arrays a permitted use in agricultural districts, with up to 900 sq. ft. allowed.