As three proposed building projects wait to start in the area of SR 5 and Berkshire Drive south of Shipshewana, the property owners want the town to help resolve long-standing water drainage problems.
Kenny Chupp from E&S Sales spoke to the town council Thursday evening about plans being considered to handle the area’s drainage problem to allow the planned construction to start.
Chupp said that the landowners would like to fund the project, along with some funding from the town. It is estimated that around 2,000 feet of new drainage tile would have to be laid, with a rough estimated cost of $20,000 to $40,000.
The property owners were seeking a letter from the town noting its support for the proposed work so that the property owners can go to the county for approval. County Planning Administrator Bob Shanahan told the council that the letter should include plan details, specifications, and the proposed cost sharing. The county wants to see the area drainage corrected before more construction happens. “We don’t want to go off and develop sites individually and end up with a problem,” Shanahan told the council.
The council approved a letter noting their agreement and asked town attorney Kurt Bachman to work with the property owners on what each party will do. They also authorized work with the town’s engineering firm, DLZ, to move ahead with the project.
Shanahan also updated the council on another issue in the Berkshire Estates area, where a landowner had a driveway created through a wetland area. The Army Corps of Engineers inspected the site and determined it was isolated wetlands. However, IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) “saw it differently,” Shanahan said, and may require the owner to undo the work.
Shanahan said that the property owner had bought an additional 18 acres in an attempt to have access to the area he wants to build on, but could not get an easement to access that side from a neighbor.
In other business:
The council decided not to proceed with setting up a town-wide Economic Revitalization Area (ERA). The idea was to include all of the town as an ERA so that businesses moving into or expanding within the town limits would have a more streamlined process for tax abatements.
The county had previously declared all unincorporated areas an ERA to make the abatement process quicker. But Bachman pointed out that, while it made sense for the county to do this, it didn’t have as much benefit for the town. He noted that the town could potentially grow through annexation and would still need to go through all the steps for abatement for any areas added after this resolution.
It was announced that the town’s public hearing on the 2013 budget will be during the August 23 meeting at 6:30 p.m.
Town residents were reminded that if they want to drive gold carts on town streets, they still need to get inspected and stickered.