Residents Concerned About Short Term Apartments Downtown

Several Crothersville residents were on hand at last week’s Crothersville Town Council meeting to voice concern about a downtown business being renovated into apartments.
James Puckett, owner of the former Masonic Lodge located at the corner of Howard & Armstrong Streets at the stoplight in Crothersville has been renovating the former lodge building into efficiency apartments. More recently the former lodge building had been rented by a couple of churches.
Reacting to rumors, residents told the council that the single bedroom apartments were planned to be leased for short terms—by the month, by the week or by the day.
Some residents express opposition to such a facility downtown.
“If they are going to be rented by the day or by the hour just what kind of people is that going to attract and is that the kind of thing we ought to have in our downtown?” asked Ralph Hayes. “My grandchildren frequently go to the Subway and they would be riding their bikes right next to that building. Why doesn’t Crothersville have zoning to protect us for this kind of thing?”
Town attorney Travis Thompson explained that the matter of zoning has been discussed several times over the past number of years.
“The problem is the cost,” said clerk-treasurer Nalona Bush. “There must be a master plan developed and maps drawn to where residential, business and industry can locate. And we have to look into the future and plan for future business and residential growth and where to allow that. Then after a plan is drawn up then local zoning regulations are put together. Then to enforce the zoning ordinances, a local zoning board has to be established. And all that costs considerable money.”
Councilman Bill Nagle concurred, “Zoning has been discussed several times during my time on the council and it always comes down to the cost. It is expensive to start and the costs are ongoing.”
“Several years ago you passed an ordinance keeping Sexually Oriented Businesses out of Crothersville, doesn’t that apply?” asked Hayes.
Thompson explained that one bedroom apartments rented for short terms do not all under the definition outlined under the local SOB ordinance.
“So there is nothing that can be done to stop this?” questioned Hayes.
“Not from the town of Crothersville’s standpoint,” said Thompson. “The county board of health or state fire marshal’s office may have some regulatory power, but without zoning, the town of Crothersville does not.”
In other business, the council
•Approved allowing the Gary Solsberry to construct a driveway on Main Street for a rental home as long as the driveway did not interfere with surface water drainage.
•Approved applying for a grant from Indiana Rural Development to help pay for renovation at the wastewater treatment plant to help pay for bringing the plant into compliance with IDEM concerning Combined Sewer Overflows.
•Approved hiring Kyler Blevins and Keith Cox as part-time summer help.
•Discussed allowing an informal Christmas decoration committee to come up with plans and funding for getting holiday lights installed and stored each season.
•Approved a sewer adjustment for S-Tech Machine & Welding following a water leak.