(Dearborn County, Ind.) - Dearborn County leaders may soon be considering changes to county zoning laws and maps.
The Bright Beacon reports that Dearborn County Planning and Zoning Director Mark McCormack asked county commissioners about making updates to the county's zoning code. McCormack said zoning updates should occur about every five years, but Dearborn County has only been applying so-called “band-aids” to its zoning ordinance since 1997.
Since 2010, a 29-member zoning committee has been meeting to address issues and deficiencies in the county’s current zoning ordinance.
The committee’s proposed changes include expanding the zoning district classifications from one type of residential zoning to three: Residential Rural (R1), Residential Single‐Family (R2), and Residential Multi‐Family (R‐3). Also, the Highway Interchange classification would be eliminated and incorporated into the General Business District classification.
Manufacturing Districts 1, 2, and 3 would be reclassified as Light Industrial (I-1), Moderate Industrial (I-2), and Heavy Industrial (I-3). McCormack said in an executive summary of the proposed changes that the Industrial classification would be more inclusive.
A minimum district size for all Agricultural and Residential zones would be eliminated. The district minimum size for Moderate Industrial (I-2) Districts would be cut in half.
Farmers and their work activities could be protected under another proposed change. Any person or developer building or purchasing a home within a quarter-mile of an Agricultural zone would have to agree to a clause stating that the “understand that this residence/subdivision will be built in a predominantly agricultural area and that farming operations, to include livestock operations, will be practiced in the area of this residence/subdivision.” The new landowner or homebuilder would be agreeing to not bring a claim against any farmer in the area, unless that farmer has been negligent.
A fifth change highlighted by McCormack would alter requirements for landscaping in buffer yard – landscaping used to block the view of another property – allowing them to be more flexible in terms of design and installation.
Another proposed zoning change could reduce setbacks. The setback distances could also remain the same as they have since 2001, McCormack said.
The Dearborn County Plan Commission met Monday to discuss the proposed changes further. No action has been taken by the plan commission or county commissioners.
More information on the Dearborn County Zoning Committee's proposed zoning and map ordinance updates can be found online at http://www.dearborncounty.org/Government/County-Offices/Planning-Zoning/ZoningCommittee.