Complex Zoning Vote Considers Ag, Airplanes, and Ailing Children

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The Kosciusko Area Plan Commission voted unanimously to deny a rezoning request for property to change from residential to agricultural status. News Now reported that the impetus for the change is due to a tower project proposed for the land, which has been historically used for agricultural purposes.

 Steve Snyder, an attorney for the landowner, said the residential zoning status places restrictions on what can be done with the 10.76 acres of land. 

Snyder added that the property is too small for residential development, and with no sewer available, the cost to develop residential would be prohibitive. For the AT&T tower project to move forward — to fill in a dead zone gap — the land has to be zoned agricultural or commercial. 

 Plan Director Dan Richard said a Verizon tower exists closer than the two-mile setback required by county ordinances. He added that AT&T would need BZA approval for an exception to the tower and also for a variance on the location.

Per regulations, various providers would need to co-locate on the tower, and Richard questioned why AT&T couldn’t co-locate on the nearby Verizon tower. Snyder said Verizon has a covenant with the property owner that prohibits carrier co-location.

 Plus, there’s a concern over the location’s proximity to an airport. “This is within the airport approach zone for the runway that runs east-west, mainly, and we haven’t had anything from FAA or the local airport on what impact” a potential tower could have on the approach, he told News Now. Snyder noted that any tower built will comply with FAA regulations.

Snyder said if the zoning is approved and the tower goes in, his client will offer the property to Magical Meadows, which provides therapeutic riding programs for children, youth, and adults with physical and developmental disabilities, at no cost.

 A neighbor who owns land adjacent to the property said he’s against a tower. With that, the commission voted 7-0 to deny the rezoning request.

December 9, 2019

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