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Plan commission okays amendment


The county is one step closer to being done with regulating piers after the LaGrange County Plan Commission sent a proposed amendment to the county’s ordinance on to the commissioners with a positive recommendation Tuesday.

The proposed changes will now go before the commissioners at their July 2 meeting.

If approved, the amendment will strike the word “piers” from the county’s auxiliary use table. The net result will be that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will have authority over pier placement on lakes, and there will be no need for pier placement requests to come before the LaGrange County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

At Tuesday’s public hearing, several people spoke in support of the amendment. Only one person spoke against it, saying that by turning the decision over solely to the DNR, residents would lose the ability to express their concerns to the county.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Bob Shanahan noted that the vast majority of the county would not see a change in how piers are permitted or placed, as the piers are on the property owners’ land. Only in a few areas, such as Big Long Lake, where piers were requested for locations not connected to the property owners’ land, was the county variance process applicable. “There are only three or four locations where this situation exists,” Shanahan said. The amendment would not lessen property owners’ rights, he added.

The commission’s legal counsel, Lisa Bowen-Slaven, told the commission that the county’s variance approval process was an additional regulation. “The intent of the ordinance was not to regulate the placement of docks. That’s the DNR. The county regulates land use and that was the main concern, the use of the land, traffic in those areas and other concerns,” she told the board.

In other business:

Koenig, LLC and AME Resources, LLC, were given preliminary approval for a major subdivision in Shipshewana. The development by Levi King and Alvin Miller is just north of North Street and will include extending Morton Street to North Village Drive.

Ben Miller’s site plan for a soft pretzel bakery and store at SR 5 and Berkshire Drive in Shiphewana was approved, pending BZA approval on a land use variance request at the June 25 meeting.

Samuel and Ruby Beechy of 9360W 400S in Topeka had an application for a furniture shop addition approved.

An application for a parking lot expansion for Therma-Tru Doors at 8055 N. SR 9 in Howe was approved.