The Washington Times-Herald

March 27, 2013

Developers looking for zoning changes

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — A developer asked the Washington City Council Monday for their opinions on a new family fun center.

Developer Scott Dyer asked the council if they would change the zoning on a piece of property south of the Walmart Supercenter behind a strip mall development. Currently, the land is zoned residential but Dyer wants it to be commercial.

On that land, Dyer plans to build a 12,000-square foot center that he described would be a "Chuck-e-Cheese on steroids," with amusement rides, arcade games and a concession stand that will draw parents and children from other communities.

"We will bring a lot of additional people to our area," Dyer said.

He also plans to build a 50-space parking lot for the building and access roads from both the strip mall and Sunnyside Road. Dyer said he has a decision to make by April 2 whether to build in Washington or purchase an existing facility in Indianapolis. Currently, he owns a similar facility in Bloomington.

"I hope that I don¹t find any resistance," Dyer said.

He said at repeated times the city¹s Plan Commission did not seem interested in his development. City Building Commissioner Terry Wininger informed the council the board voted 4-3 with four members absent, for Dyer's request to rezone.

Wininger said there was hesitation with Dyer¹s plan because he did not have a site plan and has to ask for a variance to build a metal building on the site.

Council members said they were for the development.

"I don't see a problem with it if you jump through the hoops," Councilman Mike Singleton said.

Mayor Joe Wellman said the rezoning ordinance will be on the agenda for the council's next meeting on April 8.

Waterworld tickets

The council heard a first reading of an ordinance that will change prices at the Waterworld of Washington this summer.

The largest change is the elimination of family passes from the water park and replaced with a book of passes system.

According to the ordinance, the fees will be:

 Single pass (Ages 4 and up) $3

 Single pass (Ages 4 and under) Free

 Book of 20 daily passes $45

 Book of 50 daily passes $100

€Day Care and YMCA passes (20 visits) $200 There will be no slide fees but sliders have to be over a certain height.

Wellman said there were problems last year about the family passes, as who was covered in the family pass.

Purchase of a book of passes saves money and the daily pass goes to $2.

The ordinance will be voted on at the council's April 8 meeting.

Street signs

During the Board of Public Works meeting, several requests were brought forward for street signs.

The first was made by the Walker family on W. Hefron Street. They asked for stop signs on Hefron for N.E. First, Second and Third streets.

Traffic there has become unsafe and Councilman Blake Chambers agreed. He said the need is there for signs, especially near Washington Catholic schools.

"It's not a speed issue, it's a visibility issue," Chambers said.

Police and Street departments were tasked to look into the issue.

In an unrelated request, Washington Catholic asked for two sets of reserved parking signs. The first set was for a set of reserved parking signs near Our Lady of Hope Church for Sunday only. The second set was for reserved student parking near Washington Catholic High School. The parking spaces are to be raffled off during WC's Gala Event fundraiser on April 20.

The board approved the requests, and also approved the request for two handicapped parking spaces for Sunday only in front of First Baptist Church at 100 E. Walnut Street.

A final request was made for a children playing sign on Washington Avenue.

Several sets of children play in the street and have become a traffic hazard. The sign will be looked into.

Off-duty weapons

Councilman Jim Greene asked about the feasibility of purchasing smaller weapons for off-duty city police officers to carry at all times.

Greene believed there is a safety issue with recent mass shootings and if an off-duty officer is there, he or she can help.

"It's a major concern, you never know." Greene said.

Asst. Chief Todd Church, attending the meeting for Chief Mike Healy, said many officers do carry off-duty weapons in some form, and several departments do require officers to carry some type of weapon off duty. He also said the police budget is thin due to the purchase of 18 new radios.

Wellman said it is something the city can look at in the future.