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 Knightstown Planners Vote Again on Plan

November 7, 2007 - Members of the Knightstown Plan Commission have voted, for a second time, in favor of a comprehensive plan for the town's growth and development.

At the conclusion of a well-attended public hearing held October 22, the six commission members present voted unanimously in favor of the plan, which will now be sent to the Knightstown Town Council for its consideration. The town council could vote on the plan as soon as November 21, its next regularly scheduled meeting.

The plan commission's first vote on the plan, which sets out proposed goals for the town to meet over the next 20 years, came during a special meeting in September. However, because a required public hearing had not been held prior to the vote, the commission agreed to meet again October 8 for that purpose.

While members had intended to vote following the October 8 public hearing, on the advice of their legal counsel, they opted to hold a second public hearing. Their attorney had encouraged them to include a map showing proposed development areas and zoning classifications in their plan before voting.

Two weeks later, on October 22, the plan commission appeared to have everything in order. Commission Vice President Erma Keller presented a map of Knightstown and surrounding areas that had been obtained from the county, and she went through county zoning classifications that were being recommended for inclusion in the town's comprehensive plan.

The map Keller presented featured numerous notations showing proposed zoning for areas within one mile and two miles of Knightstown's boundaries. The zoning classifications, which had been taken from the Henry County Development Code, include an Agricultural District, a Flood Plain District, five different residential districts, four types of business districts and Light and Heavy Industrial districts.

Plan commission and town council member Valerie Trump said that the plan is "just a vision" and "not set in stone." She added, "We think if the community is going to grow, this is the way we'd like it to grow."

Going west out of town on U.S. Hwy. 40, Trump said planners envision some small businesses, as well as residential development near Knightstown High School. Heading east out of town on 40, she said there could be a small industrial park near where Ernie's and the Dollar General Store are located, as well as additional residential development and a possible recreational areas near Raysville and Peaceful Valley.

As for development north of town on S.R. 109, Trump said planners would like mostly residential usage all the way to Grant City Road, with the exception of four acres currently zoned for commercial use. She also mentioned the possible development of the old east-west railroad corridor south of U.S. 40 into a walking trail going toward Dunreith.

Keller said members of the plan commission had "worked pretty hard to identify a dream." She also said that the plan was intended to "protect Knightstown."

Roger Hammer, who lives north of Knightstown, asked why the plan commission wasn't also looking southward for expansion and development. Keller said that crossing the county line presented additional issues.

"I moved to the county to live in the county," Hammer told commission members. "I didn't move there to live in town."

Commission President Clyde South explained that the night's public hearing was not to address annexation issues. Instead, he said it was about adopting a plan that could determine whether the town or the county has the right to control growth and development in areas lying within a two-mile fringe around Knightstown's borders.

"We have to convince them this (plan) is as good or better than their plan," South said. He cautioned the public not to get too worked up over annexation issues, saying that likely wouldn't be happening anytime soon.

"We certainly need the jobs," remarked one citizen in attendance. "Business development should be the key focus." He also suggested that planners take into account the true tax advantages of annexing outlying areas.

A copy of the comprehensive plan approved by the plan commission is on file at Knightstown Town Hall, 26 S. Washington St., and available for public inspection and copying during normal business hours. The next meeting of the Knightstown Plan Commission is Monday, November 26, at 7 p.m. in the town council chambers at Town Hall.

CORRECTION ON THIS STORY (PUBLISHED NOV. 14)  - A story on Page 3 of last week's Banner mistakenly attributed a comment made by Larry Stockton during the Knightstown Plan Commission public hearing on October 22 to Roger Hammer. Actually, Hammer was responsible for the quotation in the next to the last paragraph of the story that was attributed to "one citizen in attendance." The Banner apologizes for its errors and any confusion or inconvenience they may have caused.


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