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Montgomery County Commissioners Approve Comprehensive Plan, Bane Announces Resignation

Taylor Haggerty

Montgomery County finally has a comprehensive plan for economic development. Commissioners approved a proposed plan for implementation at their meeting Monday.

The document is a set of guidelines based on surveys and research of the community. Without such a plan, Indiana counties can’t enact zoning or planning. Residents have voiced concerns over the changes zoning might bring to the community. And even on the day it was passed, commissioners heard testimony for and against the plan.

Montgomery County Commissioners have said zoning is a potential solution for the debate concerning wind power in their community, and wind farms were the focus of public comment.

North Montgomery School Board Trustee Kathy Crawford interrupted commissioners just before they voted on the plan to ask if any research had been done on how turbines might affect nearby schools.

Commissioner Jim Fulwider responded.

“You can ask anybody sitting here, we’ve had presentations from both sides about what the opinions are and what they think the effects are, and what professionals think the effects are,” Fulwider says. “So yes, the answer is yes.”

But Crawford says she doesn’t feel that that answers her question.

“It wasn’t a question in regards to, had there been discussion and had they spoke with the people who are for wind farms and who are against,” she says. “I wanted actual studies.”

Fulwider says the county has been thorough in developing the plan, which Commissioners approved unanimously.

Commissioner Phil Bane also announced his plans to step down later this month. His last day will be April 15th.

Bane announced his plans to resign during the meeting – but didn’t get far in his prepared remarks.

“We’ve, uh, Sally and I have been married for 49 years, and I’d like to welcome,” Bane began, before handing the letter off to fellow commissioner Jim Fulwider.

Fulwider took over reading Bane’s letter, which outlines a time Bane had to return to Crawfordsville from a vacation for a 15-minute meeting – an event the letter calls “the final straw."

“It’s not fair to my family, to my fellow commissioners and to the tax-paying public," Fulwider read for Bane. "Bottom line is, there’s just too much going on at this stage of my life to dedicate my full attention to this job.”

Meeting attendees – even some who’ve been unhappy with his stance on wind farms and thought about finding someone to run against him -- offered a standing ovation after the remarks.

Bane says he had a plan at the start of this term to accomplish a few important things, but he knew he likely wouldn’t get through all of his goals.

County Republicans will hold a caucus to elect someone to fill in for the remainder of his term.

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