New city council, mayor kick off 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008
John Lanie is sworn in Tuesday night as a member of the Greencastle City Council. Newly elected Mayor Sue Murray administers the oath. This is Lanie's second term on the council and he will continue as president of the board.

Discussions were brief and reports kept to a minimum as a newly elected Greencastle City Council and Mayor completed their first meeting of 2008 on Tuesday evening.

It took right at an hour for council members John Lanie, Jinsie Bingham, Mark Hammer, T.J. Smith and Adam Cohen, under the watch of Mayor Sue Murray, to work through the agenda, which included the approval of monthly claim dockets, annual organizational matters and a single ordinance.

Council members voted unanimously, on first reading, to approve ordinance 2008-1, changes to the city's zoning standards. The changes will be brought back to the council next month for a second and final vote.

Changes included a decrease in the setback minimum for mini-barns and other secondary structures in mobile home parks. The current zoning ordinance requires a minimum of 10 feet separation between mobile homes and secondary structures, but the council voted to reduce it to 5 feet.

City Planner Shannon Norman said she was seeking the change to make it easier for mobile home owners to comply with the ordinance. She said the reduction in the setback line will still allow room for emergency personnel to respond in the event of a fire.

A second change approved by the council involves signs in the city. Language was added to state that the use of scrolling, flashing or animated message boards is strictly prohibited.

Signs that alternate between the time and temperature, such as are typical in front of banks, are still allowed, as are the signs used by the Putnam County Fairgrounds and Furniture Awarehouse.

A third change included in the zoning ordinance relates to temporary, outdoor sales events. The current zoning ordinance allows outdoor sales events for a period of 30 days, up to two times per year.

Council members voted to reduce the allowance to 10 consecutive days, up to three times per year. Additionally, they approved allowing temporary auto sales in the General Business II zoning district and at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.

Auto dealers must get approval from the city planner and fair board before hosting a sale at the fairgrounds, according to the amended zoning ordinance.

There were other changes to the zoning ordinance, which are detailed in the full document, copies of which can be obtained at city hall.

In other business, the council:

* Approved John Lanie to serve as board president.

* Approved a list of board appointments. Each year, council members agree to serve as representatives on various city boards and committees, in addition to serving on the city council. The following appointments were approved:

* Plan Commission -- Mark Hammer

* Park Board -- John Lanie

* Economic Development Commission -- Jinsie Bingham

* Tree Board -- T.J. Smith

* Cable Access Board -- Adam Cohen

* Chamber of Commerce -- City Attorney Laurie Hardwick

* Putnam County Foundation -- undecided

* Main Street Greencastle -- Adam Cohen

* Development Center -- Jinsie Bingham

* Putnam County 911 Board -- T.J. Smith

* Fire Department -- T.J. Smith

* Cemetery Board -- Jinsie Bingham

* Park Board -- John Lanie

* Police -- Adam Cohen

* Street Department -- Mark Hammer

* Wastewater -- T.J. Smith

* Planning Department -- Mark Hammer

The council also:

* Approved the request for the DePauw Bicycle Club to host a race at Big Walnut Sports Park on March 2. The race will run a course around the park, using the newly paved access road through the park, in addition to CR 275 East and CR 150 South, and the west Sports Park Access Road. The estimated 300 participants are projected to be in town, utilizing hotels and restaurants as well. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Learned that the city received its final tax draw from the county on Dec. 28.

* Voted to keep the monthly city council meetings at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at city hall.

The meetings are open to the public.

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