Zoning – West Robertson Road – For the Record

SummaryGiven the formal complaint by the Mitchells to the decision made by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on Jan 29, 2020, the county judge will now review the process that supported the decision by the BZA which may require that they re-hear the request for a special exception and/or determine that a zoning change may be needed. The hearing is scheduled for Nov 17, 2020. 

Nonconforming Uses, aka “Grandfathered Uses” in Zoning

  • The county zoning ordinance was passed in “1965”.  Property Deed identifies the transfer of property on Oct 29, 1964. The business identified as “Masonry and Digging Contractor.” (Information provided to the BZA – see below).
  • “A nonconforming use is generally defined as a land use or structure that was legal when established but does not conform to the standards of the current zoning ordinance.” The pre-existing structures cannot be expanded or enlarged without approval from the Planning Office.
  • A decision to grant a nonconforming use must be supported with evidence – such as a deed and documentation as to the type and nature of the business.

Oct 28, 2020.  Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Meeting.  The BZA board rescinded the decision they made at their Jan 29, 2000 meeting that allowed for a special exception for an industrial park. The BZA was provided with erroneous information and have acknowledged that it is illegal for an industrial park to operate inside an area zoned as residential (R2).

At the Jan 29, 2020 meeting, Christina Buccos went before the Board seeking a special exception for “general industrial” use to keep running a business that has been operating for two generations

Those in attendance supporting the Buccos’ were under the impression that the business could be “grandfathered” in or have the support of neighbors.  These are not legal options.  It is not unusual in the county for landowners to overlook zoning laws and ask for any approvals after the fact.

Guidance: INDIANA CITIZEN PLANNER’S GUIDE Part 2: Board of Zoning Appeals Basics
by KK Gerhart-Fritz, AICP.  Developmental Standards Variance Criteria per IC 36-7-4-918.5

  • (1) the approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals,
    and general welfare of the community
  • (2) the use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the
    a variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner
  • (3) the strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result
    in practical difficulties in the use of the property

May 13, 2020Facebook – Brown County Matters, by Sherrie Mitchell. Judge Wertz denied the motion by the BZA attorney to dismiss.

Mar 11, 2020.  Facebook – Brown County Matters.  Notification of formal complaint to the APC and BZA.

Mar 7, 2020.  Facebook – Brown County Matters by Sherrie Mitchell, Volume of truck traffic.

Mar 4, 2020, Facebook – Brown County Matters  – Zoning Overlays – County GIS Map by Sherrie Mitchell. Response by Tom Reoch, GIS coordinator

  • Tim J. Clark  CULTURE: The “culture” in the county that has been expressed at county meetings has been that people can generally do what they want with their property. If there is a complaint, then property owners can apply for a special exception or a zoning change. This issue started with a complaint by a neighbor. Upon further analysis, it was determined that the law governing the approval of the exception may not have been followed. It was also discovered that Board member (s) were appointed to the BZA in violation of Indiana law. Given the formal complaint, the county judge will now review the process that supported the decision by the BZA which may require that they re-hear the request for a special exception and/or determine that a zoning change may be needed.
  • Tim J. Clark . The PROCESS: The County Comprehensive Plan (meets minimum standards required by law), provides the guidance for zoning. The commissioners are “accountable” for the process. The Planning Director and GIS Coordinator work for the commissioners. The “voters” are “responsible”  for the performance of the commissioners.

Mar 3, 2012. Democrat. Zoning decision under review; member resigns, By Sherrie and Benjamin Mitchell filed a petition for judicial review on Feb. 21, asking that the court clear the special exception which the BZA granted for the Christina Buccos property on Gartner Drive in January.

Mar 2, 2020. BZA Meeting. Statement of Fact 20200302185331927

Feb 29, 2020. Democrat.  COUNTY NEWS: Speed limit reduced; update on courthouse remodel  By Sara Clifford

  • An ordinance reducing the speed limit on West Robertson Road to 30 MPH was approved unanimously by the Brown County Commissioners on Feb. 19.
  • The speed limit will be reduced on West Robertson from State Road 135 North to Richardson Drive east and westbound. The speed limit maximum will be 30 MPH unless weather or other conditions require a lower maximum speed limit.

Feb 24, 2020. Democrat.  Business gets OK to keep operating in neighborhood By Sara Clifford

  • A Brown County family has been granted the proper zoning permission to keep running the business it’s been running on its property for at least two generations.

Christina Buccos went before the Brown County Board of Zoning Appeals on Jan. 29 seeking a special exception for “general industrial” use. Her family formed Shady Oaks Logging LLC six years ago, but a log yard has been housed on Buccos’ 130-plus acres since before the county had a zoning code, according to Planning Director Chris Ritzmann’s research. Buccos was asking for the special exception for 3 acres of her land, all of which is zoned FR (forest reserve).

Buccos’ land is on a private road, Gartner Drive, which abuts West Robertson Road.

Feb 21, 2020. Facebook – Brown County Matters, Legal Complaint.  Sherrie Mitchell.

  • My husband and I, represented by Michael Carmin (attorney in Bloomington), filed a request for a judicial review in the Brown County Circuit Court, Judge Mary Wertz. If you read the article in the Brown County Democrat a few weeks back, you are aware that the Brown County BZA approved a logging yard in a residential neighborhood. This is absurd. This sets a precedent for our county and would allow industrial parks in every residential neighborhood. This has to be stopped.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s