Letter: Delay Big Woods rezoning request

To the editor:

The recent request by Big Woods to expand to Firecracker Hill is worth more than a glance.

When a property is to be rezoned, there are steps that must occur in order to be heard by the Area Plan Commission. These steps are rules put in place to ensure neighboring properties and county residents are aware of new development. The idea is to plan your community so that is can be just that — a community!

There is a deadline for applications and all information must be received by 2:30 in the afternoon on the deadline date.

To be placed on the Jan. 24, 2017 APC docket, Big Woods and their representatives would have to have all information turned in by Dec. 19. Upon reviewing the application and subsequent documents, it appears that ONLY the nearly blank application and a cellphone picture of the plan was turned in by Dec. 19.

The letter from the Town of Nashville for water and sewer service is dated Dec. 20. The letter from Duke Energy, dated March 22, 2016, gives service availability for a “residential property.” (The date of this letter shows this has been planned for some time, which negates the necessity for the “rush” on the docket, unless the intent was to slip it in during the holiday season.)

The letter from Indiana Natural Gas Corporation is dated Dec. 27, and finally, the letter from Ed Ryan, co-owner and member of Red Truck LLC (Big Woods) is dated Dec. 21 and provides only SOME of the information required on the application.

The final page of that application (which has the property owner signatures and DATE of application) was turned in on Jan. 3. So technically, the application date was Jan. 3.

Carrying this further is the fact the town council (meeting set for Jan. 19 at 6 p.m.) and town utilities, the owners and representatives of Big Woods, and the county Planning Director, Christine Ritzmann, all allowed the item to be placed on the Jan. 24 Area Plan Commission docket, when clearly the steps to do so were not met by Dec. 19.

Which brings us back to planning a community.

We have 11 establishments that currently sell and/or make alcohol in a town of 750 people. Do we truly need another location to make liquor in a county already saturated?

I do not think we do. And especially when those involved in the attempt to create it do not even follow the rules set by our government to do so.

This is underhanded, and those involved, including elected officials, should be made to answer why this was done. Perhaps they thought we would all be too busy with the holidays to notice?

What a shame it is to live in a place where there is no rest, even during a time of family and goodwill toward all, without the necessity to have one eye open for shady business deals and government officials who don’t even follow their own rules!

I ask Christine Ritzmann, area planning director, to do the right thing and place the Big Woods rezoning request on the February docket, to allow more citizens to be aware of another sneaky attempt to grant more special favors and exceptions to Big Woods.

This is much more than a request for business expansion; it is an illustration of what is wrong with people who think the rules don’t apply to them. And we, as citizens, will end up holding the bill for our government official’s short-sightedness.

Tricia Bock, Nashville

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