The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

September 9, 2013

Commissioners table zoning proposal

A sweeping ordinance to bring zoning to rural and unincorporated areas of Daviess County was presented to the Daviess County Commissioners at Monday's meeting, but was tabled for at least another two weeks. The ordinance was put on hold after questions were raised about coal mining and outdoor advertising provisions.

"As a mining company we had some concerns," said Michael Owens with Solar Sources. "We have sizable land holdings and investments in the county and want to be certain we can access those."

The county's planning advisory committee has worked two years and held at least a dozen meetings preparing the ordinance, but received very little public input. It wasn't until the new law was ready for the commissioners to vote that objections began to surface. "That's the way all of it has gone," said Commissioner Michael Taylor, who was a member of the advisory committee. "I can see where we may need to make some adjustments."

Solar Sources asked that some changes be made to expand the special use provisions that allow for mining. Under the proposed ordinance, a special use could only be obtained on land that is zoned agricultural. "We often have mines that will take in some homes," said Owens. "The mining exception needs to include residential and other possible areas."

The company also wanted clarification on property that is part of inactive mines. "We have a couple of those in the county. Inactive mines would be grandfathered in," said committee chairman Dennis Helms.

Solar Sources also wants to be certain the news zoning lawas will force them to spend more money. "We've done a lot of work in Vigo County and have spent a mint on legal fees for coal we already have commitments on," said Owens. "We don't want to spend money to mine land we already have leases on."

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