Leesburg Joins County Plan Commission ‘Immediately’

The Leesburg Town Council joined the Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission Monday. The zoning map and how its zoned is pictured, with Maple Leaf Farms property being fully commercial as the only change. Photo by Amanda Bridgman, Times-Union.

Leesburg Town Council Monday unanimously approved the town’s zoning map and to join the Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission, effective immediately.

The council voted to join the Commission at a special meeting in December after the council had a history of receiving planning complaints. Council members Doug Jones, Christina Archer and Tom Moore said the Council’s hands are tied when it comes to handling those disputes. Some of those complaints included complaints of a dog kennel being run out of a house, residents running a deer processing plant out of their home and a mobile home request.

At the council’s January meeting, more than 20 residents showed up to voice their complaints about the town joining the county’s plan commission. Many of those residents expressed concerns of “more government restrictions,” “more paperwork” and “losing the small-town feel.” Area Plan Director Dan Richard was present at that meeting to answer questions and said Mentone and Sidney are the only towns in the county who are not joined with the county’s plan commission; Warsaw and Winona Lake each have their own.

Richard also was present at Monday night’s meeting and, after the council approved the map, he asked for a date that the town would join. Archer moved to make it official, effective immediately after Monday’s vote. Moving forward, Leesburg residents will have to obtain permits from the county’s plan commission before making any new additions to their property, and there is now an online permitting process available to make it more convenient.

The only change to the map that was approved was turning Maple Leaf Farms’ property at 101 E. West Church St. into a completely commercially zoned property. The baseball fields behind Maple Leaf – which are owned by the company – are used by the town’s little league teams at no charge by Maple Leaf. The town wanted to make sure that area was zoned commercial in case Maple Leaf ever wants to add on to the building, Archer said.

Also Monday, the council:

• Heard from Street Commissioner Craig Charlton that in the past 30 days his department has issued two parking warnings and 10 parking ordinance violations for parking on the town streets between 3 and 5 a.m. The illegally parked cars make it hard to remove snow, Charlton said.

A Leesburg resident walked into the meeting late and demanded to know why Charlton “snowed in” a lady’s vehicle. The man said he doesn’t know the woman who owns the vehicle that had snow plowed up “6 feet high at all of her car doors,” but said he dug her out.

The man further demanded to know if “snowing in” a vehicle is the punishment for parking illegally, because he thought it was just a fine. Charlton told the man that the vehicle in question has been issued several warnings and violations, been impounded once before and as a matter of fact, the woman owes more than $1,000 in fines from refusing to move her vehicle. Charlton said he has done everything he can to try to get the woman to understand she cannot park there, and that the apartment complex where she lives in that area has a parking space for her to use.

“The snow has to go somewhere,” Charlton said, saying that he did not “snow in” the woman’s vehicle with any malicious intent, but rather, he was plowing the streets between 3 and 5 a.m. so people could access the downtown businesses and post office and that’s just the result of parking illegally.

The man was then asked to leave the meeting after standing up and using profanity.

• Heard from Sewer Superintendent Derek Tenney that he issued two violations to two separate addresses for flushing excessive amounts of feminine products.

• Heard from Eric Ivory, an account representative with Himco Waste-Away Service Inc., that the company plans to submit a bid for trash removal later this year when the town’s contract expires.

Ivory said he came to the meeting to introduce himself, and he pitched a recycling option the company offers. The council thanked him for coming and said they believe several residents would like to have a recycling service that is different from the county’s drop site that they offer in town now.

The next Leesburg Town Council meeting is 6:30 p.m. March 8 at Town Hall.