The Decatur County Board of Zoning Appeals met on Wednesday.
Frank Schreiner requested a variance from the required 15’ side setback to an existing structure to a 10’ side setback. The petitioner is currently cash renting the farm out, however the renters would like to buy the house and barn. The petitioner would like to keep the shed and needs the setback variance to keep it. The property is owned by the petitioner in Sandcreek Township. Petition 2021-1 was approved.
Mark Fixmer of BEX Farms requested a special exception in an I-2 zoning classification to operate a landfill of approximately 48.4 acres more or less. This would allow the to continue their existing business, not to change operations. Kurt Publo gave a quick presentation of answers to questions that had been asked by the board. They have been in business here since 1991 and have 79 full time employees. Since 1992 there have been 14 homes constructed in the area and sale prices are 24% more than the assessed value. Joyce Brindley believes that after 30 years that they are good stewards of the land and are trying very hard to have a safe business. Jay Hatton asked what happens if it doesn’t get passed and the landfill becomes full. They are required to prepare a closure and post closure plan to IDEM and would then go into post closure care. This would allow it to “settle in” and stabilize. There was a question on whether or not the old landfill that was not built by BEX produces leachate. Yes it does, however it is pumped to the wastewater treatment plant. The question of the landfill ever producing methane or another gas that can be used in their trucks was asked. They said yes one day that could be a possibility. The floor was then opened to the public. Merrill Smith, who is located within a mile of the landfill, believes that the landfill provides the community a safe way to dispose of trash. Smith says the landfill is a clean, environmentally and economically good for the community. If they are unable to expand for future safe disposal, then what will the community do with the trash it creates? Smith encourages the community to look at the values of a safe landfill. Arlene Cook questioned why they were receiving trash from other counties and why Decatur County was allowing this if not for monetary gain. Cook also wanted to know how recycling works and who sorts it. Julie Lowe is concerned about the expansion and what it could do to the water supply and requested that the board deny. Bill Obermeyer said that it still has an odor and he has a log of the days there has been a smell, as well as photos of buzzards around the landfill. He also believes that more outside trash will come in with the expansion. Jay Hatton asked Publo what happens with the recyclables. In Greensburg Best Way only picks up the recycle which then goes to Indy or Muncie where it then gets sorted by both machines and people. Cardboard goes to different areas to be used when it is sorted out. Hatton also asked what would the timeline look like if the vote was positive. After approval, They would then go to the County Commissioners and Highway department to have a road discussion. They would also do investigation work which would take almost a year, which would then be sent to IDEM for approval. All in all the process would take about 5-7 years before the expansion truly started. There was a motion made to vote. Petition 2020-21 was approved 3-2.
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