Busy night for the Batesville City Council: Zoning amendment, water main repairs, Ramsey Mountain purchase, and more discussed

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Article by Teisha Bagwell

The Batesville City Council met for nearly two hours Tuesday night in regular business tackling a lengthy agenda.

On behalf of the city council, Mayor Rick Elumbaugh recognized John and Michael Shetron for their Eagle Scout projects that benefited the city.

John’s project created way-finding signs for areas near Batesville High School and Riverside Park. Michael’s project provided bicycle racks for the Batesville Aquatics Park and Community Center.

An ordinance to amend the Batesville Zoning Code was adopted and an emergency clause added to expedite the process. The direct matter related to this change stems from the newest hotel in Batesville located on Harrison Street. Owners originally wanted to build a residence for the manager to be able to live on-site. However, at the time of the hotel’s planning, the zoning code did not permit a mixed-use facility.

The addition to the zoning code defines and allocates an accessory facility serving as permanent living quarters for the purpose of maintaining the grounds and/or for security reasons.

A change to the city’s zoning map was adopted bringing the former location of a law office on Boswell Street, across from the former Citizens Bank headquarters in the same zone as the neighboring property.

City Engineer Damon Johnson presented the City’s Engineer Report, updating the council of the progress of ongoing projects. Johnson also reported two water mains east of Walmart burst Tuesday morning causing issues in that area’s water service.

The lack of water storage due to the re-surfacing of the Eagle Mountain tank made correcting the issue and restoring service more difficult than usual. The water main bursts were attributed to the dramatic change in the weather overnight Monday into Tuesday morning.

Residents in the Eagle Mountain area may notice their water to be cloudy or even white, but Johnson assured the council that is due to excessive air in the water lines, and the water is safe to consume.

The issue of deciding on firefighter residency requirements was brought forward during the Mayor’s Comments portion of the meeting. Over the past couple of months, the Public Safety Committee has worked closely with the Batesville Fire Department (BFD) about the residency requirements of firefighters for the city. (Review the most recent coverage of the issue here.)

Councilmember Scott Fredericks motioned to enact a resolution keeping the current residency requirement in place until the end of 2020. The resolution was approved and the council will re-visit the topic next year and re-evaluate the needs of BFD.

Mayor Elumbaugh asked the permission of the councilmembers to enter into an agreement to visit with a group of business leaders that purchased a 19-acre tract of land on Ramsey Mountain at an auction this week.

It was noted that the purchasers’ intention is to preserve the property for future generations, and they would like the city of Batesville, city of Southside, and Independence County to partner in taking ownership of that land.

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