“Staff believes that resubmittal of the application is premature, without addressing the pertinent public health and safety concerns of traffic problems and road improvements, sanitary and waste water treatment and the ability of local emergency services to adequately serve the proposed development,” Acuff said.
Oakley’s attorney, Scott Phillips, pushed back on criticism by neighbors. He said in 15 years there have been no noise complaints until recently when three were reported and there have only been 13 crime-related calls and two to three EMS runs to park since 2015.
He told the commissioners at the preliminary approval stage the developer is not required to provide in-depth environmental and traffic studies. He said if the commissioners deny the preliminary plans it would “would constitute a regulatory taking” of Oakley’s property and expose the county to a lawsuit.
“A much more prudent approach is to approve the application,” Phillips said. “The zoning commission will review each and every final phase and if we don’t meet the requirements for storm water, traffic and all the other engineering things that are supposed to be done at the final stage, we will not get out permit.”
An attorney representing multiple neighbors warned the commissioners Oakley has not always followed the rules, constructing buildings without permits, hiring under age workers and host of other alleged infractions.
“The majority of Madison Twp. residents oppose this zoning change,” attorney Joe Lucas said. “Small business owners, day laborers, skilled tradesmen, attorneys, farmers, township trustees and even a former fortune 500 president all came as Madison Twp. residents and spoke in opposition,” he said about previous hearings. “Why is that, well a number of reasons come to mind, Land of Illusion and Mr. Oakley have been bad neighbors for a long time.”
The commissioners had no questions and said they would have a decision soon.