Rezone back up for vote

Bartholomew County Plan Commission members again will consider rezoning about 42 acres of farmland near State Road 46 and U.S. 31 for commercial use, a move that several neighbors oppose.

The commission will meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Columbus City Hall council chambers to consider the request from property owner Bruce Nolting.

One of the concerns from the neighbors is Nolting has not shared why he wants the land rezoned for commercial use or what the future land use will be.

Nolting said he had no comment when asked by The Republic what he planned to do with the property if it was rezoned.

Plan commission members voted 4-2 in favor of rezoning the property during a Nov. 12 meeting, but county rules require five favorable votes to send a recommendation for approval to the Bartholomew County commissioners. The request was first on the plan commission’s agenda on Oct. 14, when it was continued to the next meeting.

At the Nov. 12 meeting, plan commission members Zach Ellison, Tom Finke, Phyllis Apple and Lisa Moore voted to approve the request. Rick Flohr, a Bartholomew County commissioner, and Jorge Morales voted against it. Two plan commission members, Don Meier and Jason Newton, recused themselves from voting. Commission member Kris Medic was absent from the November meeting.

The acreage has been used as farmland for years, and neighbors have told the plan commission in public hearings that any commercial development — particularly involving more trucks — would be a safety and noise issue.

Bruce K. and Bonnie J. Nolting purchased the property from Jerry Schnur in 2013 for $300,000 as vacant land.

At the Nov. 12 plan commission meeting, Schnur told the plan commission he opposed the rezoning. During the sale, Schnur told plan commission members he was reassured by Nolting that the land would continue to be farmed.

Potential commercial uses for the property if zoned commercial could be auto-related businesses, retail stores, farm equipment sales, a restaurant or office or other options.

If you go

What: Bartholomew County Plan Commission

When: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: Columbus City Hall council chambers, 123 Washington St.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.