Redevelopment Commission 08/23/2018

The Charlestown Redevelopment Commission met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, August 23 at 9:00 am. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (5:34) available at the end:

  1. Call to order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and roll call – Members present were Bob Hall, Eric Vaughn, and George Roberts. Ted Little and John Spencer were absent.
  3. Minutes from previous meeting, current claims, and payroll allowance docket from 8/6 to 8/19 combined into one motion for approval:
    • Motion to approve made by George Roberts
    • Seconded by Eric Vaughn
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  4. Items of Business
    • Springville Manor mortgage partial releases – two additional houses now require mortgage release. Bob Hall asked for approval to release Springville Manor, LLC from Lot 24 and Lot 9.
      • Motion to approve releases made by Eric Vaughn
      • Seconded by George Roberts
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • Invoice approval for GTK Landscape and Tree Service – Bob Hall asked for approval to pay $3,720 and $3,985 for a total of $7,705 for sod work at Springville Manor.
      • Motion to approve payment made by Eric Vaughn
      • Seconded by George Roberts
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous Approval
    • Invoice approval for Boehl, Stopher, and Graves, attorneys representing the City of Charlestown in the “slumlord lawsuit”* in the amounts of $8,304 and $9,669 for a total of $17,973.
      • Motion to approve payment made by George Roberts
      • Seconded by Eric Vaughn
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous Approval
  5. Mayor Update – There might be a need for a special meeting in two weeks. ARC will present their plan for the Renaissance I to the Common Council on Tuesday, September 4 to ask for approval. The process will need to be handled much like that of Springville Manor and the Hospital where they need to adopt the plan, send to the plan commission, back to the council, and then returning to the redevelopment commission. They will need to adopt the bond on the project as well. If there is a need for a special meeting on the first Thursday of the month the Mayor will notify the members.
  6. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Eric Vaughn
    • Seconded by George Roberts
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio available here: 

***NOTE***- The phrase “Slumlord Lawsuit” is a direct quotation from Bob Hall and not the words of the author.

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Board of Public Works 08/20/2018

The Charlestown Board of Public Works met on Monday, August 20 at 9:00 am for a regularly scheduled meeting. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (12:10) available at the end:

  1. Call or Order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a quorum and roll call: Members present were Bob Hall and Ben Ledbetter. Ted Little was absent and on vacation. Also present were city attorney Michael Gillenwater and Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer
  3. Approval of previous meeting’s minutes, current claims, and payroll allowance docket from 07/30/2018 to 08/18/2018 combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Bob Hall
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  4. Items of Business
    • Retirement of Officer Chuck Ledbetter – Chief Keith McDonald submitted copies of Officer Ledbetter’s formal resignation letter with an effective date of September 5, 2018. Officer Ledbetter has served the police department for 28 years and three months. He spoke to the board to explain that conditions and national opinion of police officers have impacted him in ways that have motivated him to seek this resignation. He will be sworn in as a reserve officer   on September 17th. He will accept a full time civilian position concentrating on working with evidence and assisting investigators. Mayor Hall and the board thanked Officer Ledbetter for his service.
      • Motion to accept resignation made by Ben Ledbetter
      • Seconded by Bob Hall
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • Update from Shane Spicer – Mr. Spicer distributed a claim in the amount of $75,213 on behalf of Temple and Temple for site work performed at the Community Crossings/403 road project into Pleasant Ridge. He said there was no need to approve the claim today, but wanted the board to have an opportunity to look over the details. Mayor Hall asked for a motion to approve the claim in today’s meeting.
      • Motion to approve claim made by Ben Ledbetter
      • Seconded by Bob Hall
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • Update from Mayor Hall – Bob Hall explained that the city has entered into condemnation proceedings for three parcels of land that sit behind property where the road needs to be built. None of these lots have houses or structures on them. They were originally part of the rail system that transported people from Pleasant Ridge to the Ammunition Plant. Two of the three owners (or their heirs) have contacted the city and agreed to sell. As of today the city has not been able to identify heirs to the third lot. Mayor Hall said that claims being made that the city is taking homes from people on these lots are untrue since the lots are empty.
  5. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Bob Hall
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio available here: 

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Eminent Domain Public Hearing – September 4

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The City of Charlestown’s Board of Public Works will have a public meeting on Tuesday, September 4 at 9:00 AM to hear arguments for and against the use of eminent domain to take three properties. See the notice below for details on the properties affected.

“NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING Notice is hereby given, pursuant to Indiana Code ^ 32-24-2-6, that on August 6, 2018, the Board of Public Works and Safety of the City of Charlestown, Indiana passed Resolution No. 2018-R-7 stating its intention to acquire all interest in and over three (3) unimproved parcels of property situated in Survey No. 117 of the Illinois Grant to Clark County, Indiana by eminent domain, which parcels are respectively owned by Alan B. Moore and Jill G. Moore, husband and wife (Parcel No. 18-85-32-0), Leto B. Christian and Ruby I. Christian, husband and wife (Parcel No. 18-85-10-0), and McMichael Four, LLC (Parcel No. 18-85-11-0). None of these parcels fronts on a public roadway but each has an address of County Road 403 in Charlestown, Indiana. If acquired, these parcels will be used for the right of way for utilities and a public roadway. The description of the property proposed to be taken is contained in the Resolution, which can be found at the Charlestown Clerk-Treasurer’s Office at 304 Main Cross Street, Charlestown, Indiana 47111. The Board of Public Works and Safety of the City of Charlestown, Indiana will conduct a hearing on September 4, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in the Common Council chambers of the Charlestown City Hall, 304 Main Cross Street, Charlestown, Indiana, to receive or hear remonstrances from persons interested in or affected by the proceedings. Michael A. Gillenwater City Attorney Charlestown, Indiana.”

City Land Grab or “Redevelopment”?

Under the leadership of the current administration the City of Charlestown is pursuing a 38794508_10217566067885903_3029581647545630720_nseemingly unprecedented land grab. In addition to the purchase of approximately eleven properties fronting Market Street between Main and High Streets for the original Renaissance Project, yesterday Mayor Hall and the Redevelopment Commission agreed to begin the purchase process for an additional 10 acres involving multiple properties fronting Highway 62 and bordering Harrison and Madison Streets (see map for possible impacted properties). This new massive purchase has been named “Renaissance II.” The administration is determined to remake the image of Charlestown according to an imagined utopia and is sacrificing free market enterprise and private property rights in the process.

Two of the major properties in this most recent purchase announcement have previously had buyers including a private individual who wanted to build apartments at one, and a private company that wanted to install a candle factory in the other. Unfortunately, rather than allow the free market to operate unimpeded, Mayor Bob Hall’s restrictive zoning rules and refusal to allow variances have cost the community important tax revenue.

Instead of allowing the free market to bring growth to Charlestown, the Mayor has removed all of these high tax-base properties from the tax roles entirely!

This is an alarming hypocrisy considering Mayor Hall’s argument against purchasing the Kid One building on the square for the police station based on the fact that doing so would remove the property from the tax base and have a negative effect on the city (see notes from that meeting HERE: Council Meeting 08/06/2018).

Perhaps more alarming than the city purchasing property from willing sellers is their use of eminent domain to steal property from us. Although Mayor Hall has previously said that he wasn’t going to use eminent domain, documents filed in the County Courthouse on July 16, 2018 show that the city has begun the acquisition process of having 58 acres behind Ridge Road in Pleasant Ridge condemned for eminent domain proceedings. Why does the Mayor want these properties? For a park. He has wanted them for a very long time. See the minutes from a Redevelopment Commission Meeting on October 19, 2009 where Bob imagines a ski resort, lake, and cabins in the spot:

Couch Farm

In addition to using eminent domain to taking this land for a “park,” city attorney Michael Gillenwater announced at Monday’s Board of Public Works meeting that the city is also beginning the same process to take three lots behind Clark Road in Pleasant Ridge so that John Neace can complete the road access from 403 onto the hill for his planned development. (See notes from that meeting HERE – Board of Public Works 08/06/2018).

I am not opposed to growth. I am not opposed to new businesses in town. I have become extremely alarmed, however, at the methods used in the name of “redevelopment.”

Questions to consider:

  • Why is the administration removing important tax revenue and expecting us to make up the difference?
  • What source provides funding for these purchases? Bonds? TIF districts?
  • How will you feel playing in a park or skiing down a hill on land that was stollen from your neighbor?
  • When will the administration take care of those who are here NOW instead of planning for a new population in the future?

Dance with the folks who brought you, Mayor….take care of Charlestown First. 


58 Acre eminent domain acquisition document here: doc02913420180716155603

 

Redevelopment Commission Meeting 08/09/2018

The Charlestown Redevelopment Commission met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, August 9 at 9:00 AM. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (11:04) available at the end:

  1. Call to order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call: in attendance were Ted Little, Eric Vaughn, George Roberts, and Bob Hall. John Spencer was not present. Also present were the City Attorney and Deputy Clerk Treasurer.
  3. Approval of prior meeting’s minutes, claims, and payroll docket from 07/22/2018 to 08/05/2028 were combined for consideration.
    • motion to approve made by Eric Vaughn
    • seconded by George Roberts
    • no discussion
    • unanimous approval
  4. Item of Business – Renaissance II Project
    • Mayor Hall noted that at the last meeting the board approved beginning the process to purchase the property owned by L&M Bag company off of Madison and Harrison streets. In addition to these properties, Mayor Hall notes that Clark Nickles would like to sell his property in the same area which includes land across from Charlestown Landing including the train restaurant and land around his office on highway 62. MackDaddy’s is also interested in selling. Combined, there would be approximately 10 acres of property available with these purchases. The Mayor has letters of intent to sell from all property owners who approached the City to purchase their properties. The City needs to get two appraisals and offers will be made based on the median amount of the two appraisals. If the property owner decides not to go through with the sale then the property owner pays for the appraisals. Clark Nickles wishes to close on the property at the beginning of the year. L&M Bag Company wishes to close on the property as quickly as possible. The Mayor is asking for the Redevelopment Commission to approve the ordering of these appraisals so the purchase of these properties can proceed.
      • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
      • Seconded by George Roberts
      • No discussion
      • unanimous approval
  5. Update on Renaissance I Project (Main and Market Street)
    • Phase I will be from Main Street to the alleyway and will include luxury apartments and a regional coffee shop. Renderings of the buildings will be available, including financial information, at the meeting in two weeks.
    • They will need to go through the removal of the TIF from that area and then reapply the TIF like they did with the hospital and need to do that process quickly since the developer wants to break ground this year.
    • Other properties in the new Renaissance II area will need to be combined and then be placed into a TIF district.
  6. Update on Police Station
    • The foundation has begun
    • On the topic of keeping or demolishing the building – Mayor Hall wishes to keep the building as a historical building. He noted that it is an aged building, though and that it might need to be demolished.
  7. Adjournment
    • motion to adjourn made by Eric Vaughn
    • seconded by George Roberts
    • unanimous approval

Full audio (11:04) available here: 

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City Council Meeting 08/06/2018

The Charlestown Common Council met on Monday, August 6 at 6:30 pm for a regularly scheduled meeting. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (32:51) available at the end:

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance led by the Charlestown Little League Softball team, winners of the Indiana State Championship for the second year in a row.
  2. Invocation – L.C. McCawley from the Charlestown Church of God
  3. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – In attendance were Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, Tina Barnes, and J.T. Cox. Also in attendance were Mayor Bob Hall, Attorney Michael Gillenwater, and Deputy Clerk Treasurer Nancy Rogers.
  4. Approval of Agenda
    • Motion to approve made by J.T. Cox
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  5. Approval of prior meeting’s minutes, claims, and payroll allowance docket from 07/02/2018 to 07/29/2018 combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by Brian Hester
    • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  6. Public Comment
    • Claude Rottet – Represented a few taxpayers who believe that building a new police station is a waste of money when existing space such as the Kid One building on the square are available. Mr. Rottet believes that renovating an existing building would be a more economical approach. He said that the police station should be visible to everyone, not tucked away on a side street. He was disappointed in the decision to build an entirely new building.
    • Treva Hodges – Spoke on behalf of 27 residents who submitted a letter requesting that the council consider revising a 1995 animal ordinance that prohibits the keeping of chickens in the city limits. This group of residents requests that the council consider allowing chickens in a limited capacity to include hens only (no roosters), require a permit prior to purchase, set rules for enclosures and cleanliness, and establish penalties for noncompliance.
    • Maggie Wild – Asked the council to consider amending the 1995 animal ordinance to allow the keeping of hens in the city limits. Before Ms. Wild learned that chickens were prohibited she bought a few chicks and has raised them with her children. The chickens are not a nuisance and have become valued family pets. She said she and her children will be devastated should they have to give away their pets.
  7. Comments from the Council
    • Council Member Ted Little spoke on the issues raised in public comment
      • Police station – Other boards explored the use of the old Kid One building and determined that it would have been too expensive to use this property for a police station. Parking at the building is an issue and would interfere with the post office. Much study went into the police station and officers were included in the process.
      • Chickens – Other councils have been asked to consider changing the animal ordinance to allow chickens and have always declined to do so. He will not consider bringing the issue forward again and will not vote in favor of it. He does not believe that the majority of people in town will want chickens in town. He said you can buy a house in the county if you want chickens.
      • Council decisions – What you see in this council meeting is only a small part of the work that goes into the creation of an ordinance. Council members meet with an attorney to guide them in the creation of ordinances.
    • Mayor Bob Hall
      • Police Station – The Kid One building is actually three different buildings with three separate floor levels on different grades. The cost to purchase the building was $660,000 so the city did not purse the purchase because doing so would remove the property from the tax roles and result in a negative cost to the city. The building has been bought by a private company for development of a medical office complex. It would have cost approximately $500,000 to renovate the building. The Police Chief was involved in the design of the new station. Parking would have been a problem because it would need to be in back and require a new road access. The Kid One building would interfere with Founders Day activities. The actual cost to acquire and use the building would have been the same as what is being spent on the new building. The new building also meets the historic design standards established by the city.
      • Chickens – One question is “Should they be available?” The good side of the argument is that allowing chickens promotes self reliance, which many people want. Many people that the Mayor has talked to about the issue said it “might not be a bad thing,” but when asked if they wanted their neighbors to have them the answer was no. The mayor also said that changing the ordinance would take time and effort to manage, but that it is the right of the council to bring it up.
    • Council Member Mike Vaughn – Mr. Vaughn asked if Tony Jackson could speak on the issue (but he did not). Mr. Vaughn said that when he was passing out flyers about the new park in Glendale he spoke to some people in the neighborhood who were not fond of the idea. He said if chickens are allowed then people might also want goats or cows and asked where it stops. He also mentioned that the bird flu might be an issue.
    • Mayor Hall (2nd address)
      • Dog Park is scheduled to open on August 30th at 6:00 PM and will be named after Charlestown Veterinarian, Dr. Warner. The website will be available for registration next week. Fencing starts tomorrow.
      • Glendale Park – ground has been broken for work on the park with an anticipated opening by Labor Day
      • The Parks Building is being resurfaced with a new external facade and should be finished by Labor Day
      • The sidewalks on Monroe Street are in the process of being built.
      • Renaissance Project – ARC development will provide renderings for Phase I by the end of next week. The design will include luxury apartments, a major regional coffee retailer and a commercial area.
      • Water Utility Sale – the appeal has been submitted and the city anticipates a positive outcome in November or December on that issue. At that point the closing will go forward and allow IAW to take over the utility.
      • New street signs and stop signs are on Highway 3 and are scheduled for Park and Monroe before moving to Glendale
    • Council Member Tina Barnes asked if now is an appropriate time to ask that the council amend the 1995 Ordinance animal ordinance. Mayor Hall explained that it would first need to be added to the agenda. Council Member Brian Hester said that he is researching the issue and would like time to do so.
  8. Adjournment – Mayor Hall entertained a motion to adjourn
    • Motion made by J.T. Cox
    • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio (32:51) of the meeting is available here: 

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Board of Public Works 08/06/2018

The Charlestown Board of Public Works met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, August 6 at 9:30 am. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (6:29) available at the end.

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Members present were Ted Little, Bob Hall, and Ben Ledbetter. Also in attendance were Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer and City Attorney Michael Gillenwater
  3. Minutes from the previous meeting, current claims, and payroll allowance docket from 07/15/2018 to 07/29/2018 were combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  4. Update from City:
    • Tony Jackson, Building Inspector – no update
    • Shane Spicer, Engineer – The Community Crossings road project at highway 403 has resumed and has an anticipated completion date of October. The Board should expect a financial claim to be submitted soon.
    • Michael Gillenwater, Attorney – The Community Crossings road project requires the acquisition of three parcels of land behind Clark Road that were vacated back to the owners after the railroad no longer needed them. Mr. Gillenwater has sent a letter to the property owners to let them know that the City wants to purchase these properties and has not received a response. He asked the board to consider a motion that will allow him to advertise a public meeting and notify the property owners of the City’s intention to acquire the properties for the road project.
      • Motion made by Ted Little
      • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous Approval
    • Donna Coomer, Clerk Treasurer – no update
    • Mayor Hall
      • The Dog Park has a planned opening date of August 30th. Mayor Hall entertained a motion to name the dog park after Charlestown veterinarian Dr. Warner.
        • Motion to approve name made by Ben Ledbetter
        • Seconded by Ted Little
        • No Discussion
        • Unanimous approval
      • The police station has broken ground and a structure is expected to be in place by December with a completion date next year.
      • Glendale park is under construction
      • The Parks storage building is being resurfaced and will be completed by Labor Day.
  5. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio available here: 

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