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 Public Hearing on Town’s Plan Set for Monday

October 17, 2007 - The Knightstown Plan Commission will hold a second public hearing Monday evening on a comprehensive plan for the town's growth and development.

The commission held their first public hearing on the plan Monday, October 8, and had intended to vote on its adoption that night. However, on the advice of the town's attorney, commission members agreed to hold a second hearing before voting on whether to approve the plan and send it to the town council for its consideration.

Attorney David Copenhaver told the plan commission that a comprehensive plan should include a map showing proposed development areas. He explained that the importance of this map would be in determining whether future development is consistent with the objectives of the comprehensive plan. The plan's lack of a map had also drawn the attention of one of the three members of the public who attended the October 8 hearing. Even before Copenhaver addressed this issue, Darryl Keesling told commission members he didn't see how they could vote to adopt a comprehensive plan that did not include a development map.

"How can you adopt a plan and not know exactly what you're going to be doing?" Keesling asked.

Knightstown business owner Ron Short told the commission that its members have "half a century of do-nothingess to overcome." He also said efforts to plan for the future have frustrated by the "raging apathy" of many in town.

"We all feel the same way," said Erma Keller, the commission's vice president. Noting that planning for the town's future growth and development is "a mammoth undertaking," Keller said she was also frustrated by the lack of interest by town residents and hoped that at least 15-20 people would have attended that night's hearing.

Toward the end of the October 8 hearing, town resident Terry Guerin told commission members he thought there are a lot of people interested in what they are doing. He said a lot of people have questions and concerns but they just don't show up for meetings and public hearings.

"I don't get it either," Keller said. "We've noticed that at our town board meetings as well … where we just don't get people involved."

"Maybe you ought to limit the speaking time that's available," Guerin jokingly suggested, alluding to opposition in the community to restrictions the local school board has placed on public comments at their meetings.

Keller told The Banner yesterday that she appreciated the small public attendance at the October 8 hearing, but hopes more will attend the second hearing Monday night.

"I'm always concerned when citizens aren't interested in the prospective plans for growth and development," Keller said. "Growth represents shared responsibilities and less of a burden on the few. A comprehensive plan also protects the town and area's natural assets while growing our commerce and housing."

Monday's public hearing will be held in the town council chambers at Knightstown Town Hall, 26 S. Washington St., at 7 p.m. A copy of the plan, which sets forth specific goals for town planners to strive toward over the next 20 years, is on file at town hall and available for the public to inspect during regular business hours.


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