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November 8, 2012

Subdivision reps seek wall guarantee from Cobblestone

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Area Plan Commission was yet again the scene of sometimes heated discussion Wednesday night concerning Cobblestone Crossings, a south-side property development.

At Wednesday night’s meeting in the Vigo County Annex, representatives of the neighboring subdivisions of Woodgate and Viscaya Point asked that Cobblestone agree in writing to seven points — most concerning the construction of a wall between Cobblestone apartments and neighboring homes, something Cobblestone has previously agreed to build.

Mike Poinsett, president of the neighborhood organization battling against the Cobblestone development, asked that Cobblestone also commit to a larger “buffer zone” between future apartments and Viscaya Point and homes in Woodgate not currently neighboring Cobblestone buildings.

Michael Bireley, a Cobblestone official, and two attorneys representing Southern Indiana Investments, which owns the development, attended the meeting, at which Cobblestone was seeking a change in the current zoning status. The Area Planning Department professional staff gave that zoning change a favorable recommendation; however, the commissioners are not bound to follow that recommendation.

Several residents of Woodgate spoke to the Area Plan Commissioners asking for a timeline for the wall’s completion, larger buffer zones or both.

An attorney for Southern Indiana Investments said Cobblestone has already invested up to $20,000 on the proposed wall, for which he gave a completion timeline of up to 12 months. Some residents of Woodgate and an attorney representing the neighborhood association said they felt that was longer than necessary.

Norm Froderman, a member of the Area Plan Commission who has stated he has an ownership stake in Cobblestone, recused himself from the discussion but remained in his seat with other commissioners.

The meeting was well over two hours in length and tempers were getting short around the two-hour mark. The Tribune-Star went to press before the meeting concluded.

The Area Plan Commission, a 14-person body of appointed and elected officials, is charged with making zoning recommendations in the county. Their recommendations are given to the Vigo County Commissioners or the Terre Haute City Council. Those two elected bodies have final say on whether a zoning request is approved or not.

Zoning matters involving Cobblestone Crossings must ultimately be approved or rejected by the Vigo County Commissioners.

n Also Wednesday night, the commissioners gave an unfavorable recommendation to a proposed zoning change to allow for the construction of a new Dollar General store on North Clinton Street in the area of Sky King Airport. About a dozen people showed up at the meeting to voice opposition to the new store. The zoning request will be discussed by the Vigo County Commissioners at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 13  during the meeting in the Vigo County Annex.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or Arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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