The Washington Times-Herald

July 23, 2013

City almost throws wrench in county storage plans

By Nate Smith Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — Daviess County’s plan to rent a vacant storefront to temporarily solve its storage issues ran into a snag from the city.

During Monday’s Commissioners meeting, the commissioners were told by a city official the space they are renting at 103 E. South St. may not be properly zoned. Board of Zoning Appeals President Don Spillman, also a news reporter for WAMW-FM, said if the county were to make the once-storefront a warehouse, commissioners might need a variance.

“If it is a warehouse in a commercial area, you may want to look at city zoning,” Spillman said. “If you are storing stuff in there, that is a warehouse.”

And the city agreed, for a time. Building Commissioner Terry Wininger told the Times Herald after the meeting the building was zoned C-1 and the county would have to get a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Several minutes later, that decision was reversed.

Wininger said city zoning law clarifies storage facility versus warehouse. Since the county will be using the building for storage with people coming in and out and not just as a warehouse, the building fits city code.

During the meeting, commissioners were taken aback by the revelation, but entered into a lease with the building’s owner John Mangin. The lease calls for $600 a month for a year, with options for multiple years if needed.

“It will probably be OK,” Commissioner Tony Wichman said about the zoning issue.

The storefront will hold files from county offices that will be moved from the old county garage on S.E. Third Street after recurring issues of spiders and bats were found among the county’s files the state requires the county to keep. A month ago, the clerk’s office stopped sending employees there to retrieve files in the garage.

Earlier this month, the commissioners said a new storage and office building should be constructed next to the courthouse that would solve the office and storage issues the county faces. Currently, several county offices are housed in converted homes near the county courthouse, each with their own issues.

A committee comprised of Commissioner Mike Taylor and officeholders to suggest solutions to the issue started meeting last week.

Septic system

Pete Aldrich with Lighthouse Recovery Center came before the commissioners to report a problem with the septic system on the grounds of the old county home. The county helped the Lighthouse put in the septic system three years ago and has since then turned over control of the system to the Lighthouse.

Aldrich said there is an issue with trees growing in the pond near the septic system, and he was not sure how to remedy the situation without disturbing the vegetation. Some of the vegetation is needed on the pond as it acts to help digest some of the waste.

The commissioners have kept funds in their budget in case it was needed. They told Aldrich they would look into the situation on what it would take to get rid of the trees.

Summary Box: A zoning appeals board member told the Daviess County Commissioners on Monday a building that would temporarily solve storage issues may violate city zoning code. The county was later found to be in compliance.