LAGRANGE — A change in the ordinances that govern storage buildings and garages built on back lots that ring many LaGrange County lake properties was soundly defeated by a 3-0 vote at Dec. 30’s LaGrange County Commissioners meeting, much to the delight of the more than three dozen lake residents who filled the meeting room.
The proposal, part of a package of 21 proposed changes to LaGrange County’s zoning ordinances, was wildly unpopular with residents of local lakes. The proposal would have limited the size of those backlot buildings to a single story and would have prohibited plumbing within those buildings.
Commissioner Terry Martin said after the meeting he had received almost 100 telephone calls after a Dec. 16 public hearing on those changes asking him to vote no on the proposed change.
“I only got two calls in favor of the proposal,” Martin said.
A crowd of more than 130 people — mostly lake cottage homeowners — packed the county meeting room Dec. 16 when the plan commission held a public hearing on the proposals. The plan commission ultimately opted to forward the back lot building ordinance to the commission with no recommendation.
Commissioner Larry Miller quickly warned those at Dec. 30’s meeting that the meeting was not a public hearing, and no one from the audience would be allowed to address the proposals.
With little fanfare and little discussion, the commissioners voted to reject the proposed change to backlot buildings, saying they couldn’t support a proposal the plan commission forwarded to them without a positive recommendation.
Martin said he simply couldn’t support a measure that the plan commission couldn’t recommend for approval.
“It’s planning and zoning’s job to regulate all that stuff, not us,” he explained.
In other matters, the commissioners approved spending $6,000 to put a new roof on the Ark Animal Rescue and Adoption animal shelter. A portion of that county-owned building is leaking, putting the building’s furnace at risk.
The commissioners also approved spending more than $2,000 to repair a portion of the roof at the LaGrange County Highway Department garage. A portion of that building is roofed with shingles, and those shingles are decaying and curling, said Ben Parish, the LaGrange County Highway Department supervisor. Those shingles will not be replaced with a new metal roof.
The commissioners also approved making several changes to the LaGrange County Courthouse, including replacing several hanging fluorescent lighting fixtures with more modern LED fixtures that have been designed to better fit the 150-year-old architectural style found inside the courthouse. They also approved repairing the concrete steps that lead to the courthouse. Gary Mast, the courthouse maintenance supervisor, told the commissioners that those steps have cracked over time and now allow water to seep into the building. The repairs will resurface those steps to make them look almost new and stop any water from leaking into the building.
The commissioners also approved a LaGrange County Council on Aging’s request to purchase a new transit bus. The COA operates the LaGrange County Area Transit company.
Mast said those projects would be completed early next year.