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February 18, 2014

Developer withdraws zoning request for Floyds Knobs property

Apartments were planned for the 19 acres on Old Vincennes Road

NEW ALBANY — Several residents showed up at Tuesday’s Floyd County Commissioners meeting to voice their opposition of a proposed zoning request from Thieneman Group LLC. But they didn’t have to leave their seats. The developer, Don Thieneman, said all that needed to be said.

Thieneman told the commissioners he was withdrawing his request for the zoning change of 19.42 acres from General Commercial to Multi-Family. Thieneman had hoped to build 152 apartments on the land in the 5000 block of Old Vincennes Road.

The Floyd County Plan Commission rejected the request by a 6-1 vote last month.

However, the commissioners have final say on all zoning matters since the plan commission is only an advisory group.

Thieneman will now have to wait a year before reapplying for the zoning change. He can change the scope of the development sooner, and bring it back to the plan commission.

While he voluntarily withdrew the motion, he was not happy with last month’s vote, especially since Floyd County Planner Don Lopp endorsed the zoning change. Thieneman said he worked with Lopp for eight months on the proposal.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” he told the commissioners. “You have a true urban planner who I worked with and you don’t listen to him. It’s very disturbing.”

Thieneman said some of the issues that were brought up by concerned residents during last month’s hearing have been ignored too long and need to be addressed like the drainage problem along U.S. 150 and the outdated traffic plan for the area. He called some of the comments made by those opposed to the proposal as “distorted.”

Since he verbally withdrew the request, the commissioners were not required to vote on the zoning request.

But some in the audience, like George Mouser, wanted more answers.

“I don’t see how this is legal for him to withdraw the proposal at the last minute. He is planning on coming back with another proposal within the year,” Mouser said.

Since the property is already zoned commercial, Thieneman could come back with a new proposal within those zoning requirements at any time.

“He if comes back and wants to put a steak and egg or something commercial there, then he can bring it to us,” Commissioners President Mark Seabrook said.

EXTENSION LEASE

The commissioners approved a new five-year lease for the Floyd County Extension Office, located in the Purdue Research Park along Charlestown Road.

The space for the office will go from 900 square feet to 564, and the rent will be $10,000 less each year.

VOTING AREA

Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton will be allowed to use the old commissioners office in the City-County Building to set up a voting machine, and for early voting prior to the May 6 primary. She said she will also store the new voting equipment in the room.

Floyd County Attorney Rich Fox, a member of the election board, said early voting may also take place in Floyds Knobs this year, possibly at Mount Saint Francis. He said one is needed since Floyds Knobs residents would have to travel to Greenville, Georgetown or New Albany to vote early.

INSURANCE ISSUES

Floyd County employee Cheryl Mills said some employees are being forced to pay upfront for tests under the new health insurance plan.

Mills said one woman in her office was told to pay $400 prior to a test at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services or  “go home.”

“You are the purchasers of the county’s insurance and you need to be aware of this,” Mills said. “I am sure you don’t want it on your conscience if someone is denied and life or death test.”

Fox said the county and the hospital have always had an understanding that no county employee would have to pay upfront for services. He said the misunderstanding may be a hospital issue and have nothing to do with the insurance. The commissioners said they would look into the matter.

 

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