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Zoning waivers suggested

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Columbus Fraternal Order of Police is planning to build a new lodge on an eight-acre parcel at 2120 W. County Road 450S.

Members of Fraternal Order of Police 89 Earl L. Brown Memorial Lodge have been planning for the move since the group purchased the land in May 2011, FOP President Alan Trisler said.

Columbus Plan Commission members approved recommending a zoning change for the property from industrial to public/semi-public, which Trisler said is better suited for a police lodge.

The plan commission also recommended approval of three waivers of the zoning ordinance development standards.

Variances included a slight reduction in the minimum driveway width, and a waiver of the requirements for driveway curbing and sidewalks, which do not exist on any other properties in the area.

Property records show the building was purchased by the FOP for $236,500. The previous owners, Kocolene Marketing LLC, paid $400,000 for the parcel in 2008.

The FOP plans to build a new lodge building with about 2,500 square feet of space, or roughly the dimensions of a medium-sized home, Trisler said. It is expected to cost about $200,000.

“It’s a small building, way back from the road, and is certainly not deluxe by any standard,” Trisler said.

Trisler said lodge members wanted property that they can call their own.

“We are looking for a home for our officers to meet, relax and hopefully have officers from other departments come for meetings and training as well,” Trisler said. “Here we can put money into a building and not be putting it on somebody else’s property.”

The current FOP lodge is located on Carr Hill Road on property owned by the White River Broadcasting Co., which operates several local radio stations, including WKKG and WCSI.

The lodge is named for the Indiana State Police trooper who is the only police officer to die in the line of duty in Bartholomew County, on Aug. 31, 1955.

“We still plan to maintain that small building, but that is a handshake agreement with the company that owns that building, and they like having us there,” Trisler said. “This property became available, and the owners also liked the idea of having police officers there, so they sold it to us below market value, which is good for us because we don’t have deep pockets.”

The FOP has already demolished a building on the site that was previously used as a day care center.

Construction only is expected to take a few months and should be completed later this year.

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