NEW WHITELAND TOWN COUNCIL

APRIL 4, 2006

MEETING MINUTES

 

Town Council President John Perrin opened the meeting at 7:03 p.m. with the pledge to the American flag. Council members present were Scott Alspach, John Perrin, Don Harris, Joe Noonan and Terry Spencer.   Also present were Attorney Stephen Watson and Clerk-Treasurer Maribeth Alspach along with Department Heads Jim Lasiter, Mary Facemire, Brian Hedrick, Ed Stephenson and Office Manager Cindy Yates.   Councilman Alspach offered the opening prayer. 

 

MINUTES

Member Noonan moves to approve the minutes of the March 21st meeting.  Motion seconded by Councilman Harris.  Vote 5 affirmative.

 

OLD BUSINESS

Special Census

Clerk-Treasurer Alspach states that she sent a letter with the questions the council wanted answered last week but has not received a response back yet.

 

NEW BUSINESS

Mock Terrorist Disaster Planning Exercise Update

Johnson County Emergency Management Director Tug Sutton states that a mock terrorist disaster drill has been scheduled for Saturday, May 6th at Break-O-Day Elementary School.  This drill will involve not only emergency response personnel from various agencies and municipalities but also Johnson Memorial Hospital.  The State is funding a large portion of this exercise and requires that it must be a terrorist scenario and it must be a regional drill which encompasses Marion County and the surrounding doughnut counties.  The New Whiteland Police and Fire Departments will be the first responders.  They will notify or request a Haz Mat team to assist once they have determined the type of incident they are dealing with.  The drill will not be critiquing our Police and Fire Departments but will be testing the mutual response team. Sutton states that with proper documentation the Town will be eligible for reimbursement for any over time, fuel, or equipment needed for this exercise.  Cannot pay for regularly scheduled employees but if additional employees are called out those wages could be reimbursed. Sutton has victims lined up for this drill. The drill will test the system and the procedures of various departments as well as the hospital.

Councilman Harris asks the estimated length of the drill.  Sutton states people will begin arriving around 7:30 a.m. and the exercise is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m.  The area should be cleared by 11:00 or 12:00 noon.  A P.O.D. (Place of Dispensing) will be set up inside Whiteland High School where Johnson Memorial staff members will be treating victims and dispensing fake medications.  This part of the exercise should be from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Councilman Perrin asks about the scheduled soccer games at Break-O-Day.  Sutton states the drill was moved from the Middle School to Break-O-Day due to Little League games.  Sutton has spoken with Clark Pleasant School Corporation and been told that the soccer games will either be cancelled or postponed until after the drill is completed on May 6th.

Councilman Perrin asks if this drill will inconvenience our residents.  Will people be able to get in and out of their subdivisions? Sutton states they will try and set up off the road as much as possible.  They may need to divert or redirect some of the traffic flow but people will be able to get in and out of subdivisions.

Councilman Alspach asks if weather will be an issue.  Sutton says no – the drill will take place no matter what the weather.

Councilman Perrin asks if the dispatchers will be briefed prior to the exercise.  Perrin states regardless of publicity people will panic and call the police department when this happens.  Lt. Stephenson states they are drafting an operational plan currently.  There will be a 2nd dispatcher on duty that day.  Sutton says they will pay for that extra dispatcher.  Stephenson will present the plan at the next meeting.

 

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Perrin asks how this drill will affect the Public Works Department.  Supt. Lasiter states he has been told that for this drill they will only need to assist with barricades.  This disaster will not involve or impact the water system.  Mr. Sutton states that for this event they will not fully utilize the Public Works Department but in a real event their services would be invaluable.  Sutton encourages the council to participate because in a real event they would be called upon to make certain necessary decisions.

 

Condemned/Abandoned Structure

Attorney Watson notes that this issue was discussed at the last Plan Commission meeting.  Watson has researched our Unsafe Structure Ordinance and would expect the Plan Commission to pursue necessary legal action to bring the property into compliance.  Councilman Spencer states that the property being discussed is located at 461 Parkview Drive.

 

Fire Department Update

Chief Hedrick met with the architect at Pace Engineering last week and should have copies of the revised plans in 2 to 3 weeks.  They have also been able to salvage their laptop computer and will be installing it in the command vehicle so that they can utilize their Fire Pro and Fire Look software.

 

Signage Request

Public Works Supt. Lasiter presents a copy of a proposed sign that the residents of Hilltop Commons are wanting posted at the entrances of their subdivision to deter crime.  Lasiter adds that Lt. Stephenson has approved the proposed format.  Lasiter states that he could post the signs on existing speed limit sign posts and that the Homeowner’s Association would pay for the signs if the council approves.  Lt. Stephenson states he has spoken with a representative of the Homeowner’s Association and states that these signs do not give the residents permission to become vigilantes – they still would need to contact the Police Department and report any concerns or suspicious activity.  Lt. Stephenson is concerned about posting signage with copyrighted logo belonging to Crime Watch.  The Crime Watch program has specific requirements and these residents have not complied with the program guidelines.  Stephenson does not want to give the impression that the town is sponsoring a Crime Watch area in one subdivision but not making it available in other neighborhoods.  Marvin Witzerman, 1035 Hilltop Commons, is present representing the Homeowner’s Association and presents sample sign designs.  President Perrin asks if the council can have until the next meeting to research the copyright implications.  Witzerman agrees.  Attorney Watson recommends that the Uniform Traffic Control Manual be consulted to verify that this type of signage is permissible. Also to check sign size requirements and/or limitations.  Supt. Lasiter has done this.  Watson further recommends that the council retain the right to remove the signs at their discretion if the signs are posted in the right of way. Witzerman asks if the signs were posted outside the right of way in the common area, would the council have any concerns or objections. Watson says Witzerman or the Homeowner’s Association should check with the Zoning Administrator as they may be required to apply for a sign permit.  Lt. Stephenson adds that he has no problem with Neighborhood Watch groups if people are interested in organizing them.  Councilman Spencer asks about size restrictions for the proposed signs.  Supt. Lasiter says they would be made the same size as the existing speed limit signs.  Council President Perrin states he will contact the vendor with questions about the copyright logo and call Mr. Witzerman tomorrow.

 

LEGISLATIVE

Ordinance 2026

Attorney Watson presents the ordinance that amends the text of the Zoning Ordinance by adding a new zoning classification of General Business Manufacturing (GBM) without allocating this

classification to any specific property.  Attorney Watson summarizes the text of this ordinance that

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will allow /provide additional flexibility for future development.

Watson notes that the Plan Commission held a Public Hearing on March 28, 2006 and is sending a favorable recommendation to the council.  Passage of this ordinance will require only a single vote of approval by the council.

Councilman Noonan moves to adopt Ordinance 2026 on first reading and is seconded by Councilman Spencer.  Vote 5 affirmative.

 

Ordinance 2027

This ordinance to revise the meter deposit policy has been tabled for Attorney Robbins to complete his research of pertinent regulations.  Clerk-Treasurer Alspach states that all of the council members have received some additional suggestions on this proposed legislation and would ask that they review those and the recommendations made at the last meeting to determine if any changes or compromise should be made.

 

Ordinance 2028 and Ordinance 2029 are ordinances that need to be in place by the end of April per an agreement we have with IDEM.  PW Supt. Lasiter explains that these are two (2) of the three (3) ordinances required as part of our Stormwater Phase II plan and the NPDES permit.  Lasiter believes this is just the start of the State transferring more of their responsibilities to the municipalities and entities providing utility services.

 

Ordinance 2028

This is the Stormwater Management Ordinance for the Town of New Whiteland.  Councilman Harris moves to adopt Ordinance 2028 on first reading and is seconded by Councilman Alspach.  Vote 5 affirmative.

 

Ordinance 2029

This is the Erosion and sediment Control Ordinance for the Town of New Whiteland.  Lasiter explains it addresses illicit discharge – prohibiting individuals or entities from putting anything into the creek.  Councilman Spencer moves to adopt Ordinance 2029 on first reading and is seconded by Councilman Harris.  Vote 5 affirmative.

 

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Marvin Witzerman, 1035 Hilltop Commons, states that he is President of the Hilltop Commons Homeowner’s Association and asks what New Whiteland’s plan is for expanding the boundaries of the town.  President Perrin states this has been frequently discussed and the council wants the town to grow but they want controlled growth.  They are not looking for more starter homes.  Upscale housing or business and industrial growth would be most welcome.  There are no new subdivisions being planned or discussed at the present time.  Mr. Witzerman suggests annexing ground before the surrounding municipalities do.  Perrin states that anything we annex we have to be able to provide utilities and services to.  Witzerman states he heard that New Whiteland had the chance to annex the Kroger retail area and opted not to do so.  Councilman Spencer states we can only annex area that is contiguous with our existing boundaries – Mr. Witzerman’s information is incorrect.  New Whiteland would love to have had the opportunity to have that development or one like it. Witzerman states his Association members are concerned over potential lost tax revenues if New Whiteland doesn’t annex more area for future development. President Perrin notes that the best tax revenue comes from business, industry, or commercial development.  The residential tax impact is miniscule.

 

President Perrin states that Marshal Bill Withers retired effective March 10, 2006.  Interviews have been scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on April 6th.

 

 

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Being no other business the meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

____________________________

Maribeth Alspach, Clerk- Treasurer

 

 

 

Approved: _____________________________

               John Perrin, President