Crothersville establishes planning and zoning board

CROTHERSVILLE — Seven Crothersville residents have stepped up to serve on the town’s first planning and zoning board.

Two are from the Crothersville Town Council: Jamy Greathouse and Chad Wilson.

Two are from the Crothersville Redevelopment Commission: Alisa Sweazy and Lenvel “Butch” Robinson.

The final three are from the community at large: Belinda Maxie, Steve Brumett and Robert Wiesman.

The redevelopment commission announced these names during a recent meeting and approved a resolution to adopt planning and zoning. Members Jason Hillenburg and John Riley were absent.

The commission’s recommendation will move to the town council for a vote during a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the town hall.

If that passes, the planning and zoning board will be tasked with developing zoning for the town.

An annexation process is nearly complete, and if adopted, it will nearly double the size of Crothersville.

All of those areas currently are under the county’s planning and zoning jurisdiction, but if the proposal is approved and the town passes a planning and zoning ordinance, then it would have control of what could and couldn’t go in those areas and other parts of the town.

The redevelopment commission recently reestablished a tax increment financing district and accepted the proposed annexation expansion into a new continuous TIF district. That board also discussed setting up planning and zoning.

Looking at other communities’ zoning regulations, Greathouse, who is vice president of the council along with serving on the redevelopment commission, said planning and zoning ordinances range from 50-some pages to as many as 300 pages.

The only other Jackson County municipalities with a planning and zoning ordinance are Brownstown and Seymour.

Crothersville’s next step was to establish a planning and zoning board to create an ordinance that is comprehensive and works well for the town and for future development. The plan would determine what areas are deemed appropriate for housing, industries and businesses.

During the recent redevelopment commission meeting, town attorney Matt Lorenzo said the annexation proposal has received some opposition in one of the areas, but it’s not enough to prevent it from moving forward.

Also at that meeting, a public hearing was conducted to hear questions and comments on a declaratory resolution for reestablishing an economic development area and an allocation area in Crothersville. No one from the public attended to speak in favor of or against it. The commission then passed the resolution.

Soon after a redevelopment commission was established in Crothersville in the fall of 2016, a map was created outlining a TIF district in the town. In early 2017, that was approved by the commission.

It wasn’t until recently, however, the current commission learned a couple of pieces were missed during the establishment process and didn’t make their way to county officials.

The property taxes paid by taxpayers have been going to underlying units, including the town, school and other entities, instead of the redevelopment commission. That’s why it was necessary for the commission to reestablish the TIF district.

A TIF district involves capturing tax money from new industrial development or increased property values in the district and setting it aside to fund infrastructure or redevelopment or provide incentives to promote economic development in a community rather than being distributed to other taxing units.

A TIF gives local governmental entities a chance to complete public safety or quality of life projects that attract investments, which increase the overall property value. The district also could attract capital investment and new residents. It’s a way to get revenue without increasing property taxes.

The redevelopment commission approved a resolution declaring an economic development area and an allocation area in Crothersville during its August meeting, and then the second resolution was presented and passed this month.

The original TIF boundary from the northern part of town to the area of Main Street covered from U.S. 31 or Armstrong Street west to the railroad tracks. From that point south, it stretched from U.S. 31 over to Kovener Street, Park Avenue and Bethany Road and ended just south of the industrial park.

The economic development area will encompass parcels on the list, mainly Aisin Drivetrain Inc., Aisin Chemical LLC and other commercial property on the south side of the town and buildings in the heart of the town.

An EDA is where the redevelopment commission can spend its TIF revenue, while the allocation area involves looking at the parcel list and targeting which investments in the town the commission wants to capture.