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January 26, 2017 Meeting Minutes


JANUARY 26, 2017  5:00 P.M.





PRESENT:  Council; C. Arlene Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, Lynn M. Bontrager, J. Mike Wilcher, Tad T. Hite.  Staff; Mike Sutter, Kurt R. Bachman, Ruth Ann Downey.  Public; Ervin M. Yoder, Larry M. Yoder, Jerry O Yoder, Larry Fetters, Guy Thompson, David Bontrager, Melanie Sutter, Gene Yoder, Ernest Lambright, Denis Fedarow, James Hilgendorf, Bob Schrock, Mel Yoder, David Mullet, Marvin Yoder, Bill Miller, Scott Miller, Elmer Schwartz, Jacob Bontrager, Sylvia Shayler, Phil Heyerly, Fran Hostetler, Kenny Stutzman, Alton Bontrager, Isaiah Lehman, Erik Mellinger, Andre Yoder, Susan Juszczak, John Gingerich, Alvin Miller, Ernie Yoder, Larry Miller, Glen Mast, James Gingerich, Ray Miller, Perry Miller, Jake Kuhns, Beth Thornbarg, Lora Gates, David Shetler, Norman Christner, Devon Beachey, Brian Lambright, Michael Christner, Jacob Miller, Casper Hochstetler, Mervin D. Yoder, Mahlen Lambright, Chris Schlabach, Rachel Yoder, Andrew Yoder, Thomas Yoder, Mark Griffin, Ryan Riegsecker.


Council President C.A. Lazzaro called the meeting to order, noted that all Council Members were present and asked everyone to sign in.  Agendas were available.


INVOCATION & PLEDGE:  J.M. Wilcher gave the invocation and E. Mast led the pledge.


MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to accept the agenda with flexibility.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


C.A. Lazzaro asked for corrections or additions to the December 8, 2016 Council meeting minutes.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the December 8, 2016 Council meeting minutes as written.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


SECOND READING CARRIAGE FOR HIRE ORDINANCE:  C.A. Lazzaro noted that most of the people present were here regarding the Carriage For Hire Ordinance.  We will allow comments this evening.  Please give your name and address before speaking.  We would prefer to hear from people who live in the Town of Shipshewana or who own property within the Town of Shipshewana.  The proposed Ordinance will not regulate the Amish Buggies it is only seeking to regulate carriages for hire.  Please keep your comments to three minutes or less.


Ryan Riegsecker of 205 E. Middlebury expressed surprise about the Ordinance.  We have had a Carriage business for 25 years with no major issues, I read about the Ordinance in the Goshen News and felt blindsided.  No one reached out to the Carriage Owners to let us know the Ordinance was being worked on.  I called and requested a copy of the proposed Ordinance and received it by e-mail yesterday.  This is a ten-page Ordinance I shared it with the other Carriage Owners, no consideration was given as to how it would affect business.  This Ordinance is patterned after ones used in the larger cities, this is not a one size fits all issue.  I agree with requiring proof of adequate insurance but I’m concerned about the horse poop bag requirement.  Now it is just for the Carriages for Hire a year from now you will want all horses to have the horse poop bags.  One year ago, the Town supported the County poop bag Ordinance.


Bill Miller of Route #2 Middlebury, IN reported that 90% of our rides go out of Town, we pick people up at Yoder’s Department Street.  The Town should consider making an attraction of having someone clean up the horse manure.  This is unfair.


Glenn Mast of 1320 E. Country Lane, a carriage driver for Riegsecker’s pointed out that a lot of people take a buggy ride to see the Town, safety is a top priority for us.  Manure is cleaned up at the four way and we try to keep the area where the horses are parked clean too.


Kenny Stutzman of 115 N. High Street pointed out that common sense goes a long way.  With the proposed regulations, you will put people out of business, it could put me out of business.  The poop bags don’t make sense, on Mackinaw Island you see a guy go around with a poop wagon picking it up.


Scott Miller pointed out that the bags are not natural, it would take a lot of training.  You would need time to go back to the training stage.


Keith Lambright, Shipshewana Auction business owner for 40 years, this is a tourist town, if you don’t bring people to Town, who will pay the taxes.  Look at who pays the taxes the people who come don’t have a problem with the horse manure.  I love the tourist they are my income.  What about treating everyone the same, pay attention to the tourist, tourism is what makes this Town go.


Bob Schrock of 815 N Van Buren Street reported that he had worked with Terry Martin when the County was considering the diaper issue for the horses.  The horse’s reactions were not favorable, if you move forward with this Ordinance for Carriages for Hire I would like the Council to write a letter to the County saying you are not in favor of a Countywide diaper ordinance.  This Town must be a horse friendly community, especially with the MEC coming to the area.  Look at the number of businesses that use horses in their advertisements, it doesn’t matter what the business is.


Larry Fetters of 145 N Harrison Street, Lasting Impressions.  My wife, daughter and I have been owners of a business in this community for the last 20 years. Over the years, we have experiences horse waste being dragged into our store and have had to remove it, clean it out.  We pay to have the streets swept, when it rains tons of waste from the streets runoff into the storm sewers that goes to the ponds, streams and lakes.


Isaiah Lehman and Eric Mellinger of a proposed Pedi-cab business requested that the Ordinance be halted and reworked.  This Ordinance was not intended for Pedi-cabs.  Isaiah Lehman asked what he could do.  I. Lehman had just received the Ordinance; we are not a hazard, and we are not just tours, we are a transportation system, a novelty.  The age requirement of 18 years is not necessary, our insurance covers anyone 15 years old and up.   I wanted to provide jobs for high school students.  With the insurance requirements, approved routes, and initial business cost, this Ordinance is not suited for Pedi-cabs.


Mr. Miller asked why the $200.00 annual fee was just for Carriage Operators and not all businesses in Town.


Phil Heyerly 3740N 720W, Shipshewana of Riegsecker’s Inc. pointed out that there are only four Carriage For Hire Operators in Town maybe a total of a dozen horses, hundreds of Amish horses come through Town daily.  We’ll clean up our manure the next step will be to require diapers on all horses.  I am disappointed in the process, the fact that none of the Carriage Operators were notified.  I hear that a Festival Ordinance is coming that will impact more businesses, we should have more input.  I’m not saying it is not needed it is just wrong not to have input.


Bob Yoder of 435 S. Van Buren Street.  I have customers who have buggies and I have to deal with the manure too.  I pay a guy to take care of it.  We can find ways to get the streets cleaned. I appreciate that it takes funds to deal with the streets and the manure.  I am a successfully business owner, I deal with all types of people.  You are here to operate the business of the Town and public relations is a big part of it.


Elmer Schwartz of 445 N Morton Street.  I have been a Riegsecker carriage operator for the past 9 years.  Having the carriage horses wear diapers will not make major changes in the amount of manure on the streets.  For the horses to wear diapers it would take major changes, we do weddings in other Towns and I can only take certain horses because they will not all wear the diapers.  It would take major time and training for the animals.  Our drivers do clean up the manure.


Larry Yoder of 4370W 200N, LaGrange.  I am happy to be a part of this great community people from all over the country come to experience Shipshewana.   We have a positive local economy, they don’t come for four lane highways, etc. but to browse the family owned businesses and farms.  The key is working together.


Marvin Yoder of 120 N. High Street reported that he works on the Boardwalk and many tourist stop and talk to me with many good comments, they love the Town.  Shipshewana stands alone, don’t ruin it, the Amish name is advertised and draws many of the visitors.


Judith Yoder of 170 N. State Street commended the Council for their pro-active approach to the safety issues.


There being no further public comment C. A. Lazzaro asked for comments from the Council Members.


J.M. Wilcher expressed appreciation for the comments and agreed that we are one community and hopefully we can work together.


  1. Bontrager reported that she had asked for the second reading so we could hear from the community and thanked those who came.


  1. Hite thanked everyone for coming and for the feedback. We want to try to make the Town better and want your opinions, we want to do our best to keep everyone safe.


  1. Mast thanked everyone for coming and pointed out that at the Essenhaus they have carriage rides on their property where they do use the horse diapers.


  1. A. Lazzaro asked for a motion regarding the Carriage for Hire Ordinance.


MOTION:  J.M. Wilcher made a motion to table the Carriage for Hire Ordinance, taking into consideration notes from the public comment and go from there.  L. Bontrager seconded the Motion.  E. Mast opposed the motion.  Motion carried.


Andre Yoder of 300 S Van Buren Street, Yoder Department Store requested opportunity to speak.  C. A. Lazzaro explained that the time for public comment had been closed and requested anyone with further comments regarding the Carriage For Hire Ordinance to put them in writing to the Council.  L. Bontrager recommended contacting individual Council Members with your concerns.


C.A. Lazzaro thanked everyone for coming out and noted that comments made this evening will be taken into consideration as we continue to work on this Ordinance.


PARK BOARD RENTAL RATE AMENDMENT:  M. Sutter referred Council Members to their paperwork and pointed out that the only change to the rate schedule has to do with the Ball Diamond Concession Stand Restrooms.  Last season the restrooms were only open if there was a little league game.  Occasionally we have larger groups rent out the park such as Highland Ridge for their company picnic, they also bring in port-a-pots for their event.  Now they can rent the ball diamond restrooms at an additional cost of $70.00.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to approve the Amended Park Board Rental Rates as submitted.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


CLOSING DOCUMENTS FOR SALE OF SHIPSHEWANA EVENT CENTER TO BLUE GATE HOLDINGS LLC:  Attorney, K. Bachman reported that they had been working with Financial Solutions Group and Bluegate Holdings regarding the transfer of ownership of the Event Center.  The transfer is scheduled for February 1, at 1 p.m.  Between now and then there are several documents that will need to be signed by the Redevelopment Commission and the Redevelopment Authority that have to do with the establishment of an Escrow Account and Defeasance of the 2014 bonds.   A report has been prepared by Financial Solutions Group, Inc. dated January 12, 2017 regarding the Taxable Lease Rental Revenue Refunding Bonds of 2014.  Preliminary sale and closing documents have also been prepared.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to accept all the financial documents regarding the sale of the Event Center as presented by legal counsel.   T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


  1. Bachman reported that a Resolution has been prepared for the Council’s consideration approving the option to purchase the Event Center. Discussion followed.




Said Resolution having been designated as “III-C-1-a(3)” and having been read in full, and the provisions of the same having been considered by the Council, Council Member L. Bontrager made a motion, seconded by Council Member E. Mast, that any requirements for a second or third reading be waived and that all rules of the Council, which unless suspended, might prevent the final passage and adoption of “III-C-1-a(3)” at this meeting, be suspended and that said Resolution be placed on its final passage.  Motion carried.


“III-C-1-a(3)” having been read in full was then placed upon its final passage, and on call of the roll the vote for the adoption of said Resolution was as follows:


AYES:  Lynn M. Bontrager, Elmer J. Mast, J. Mike Wilcher, Tad T. Hite, C. Arlene Lazzaro

NAYS:  – 0 –


There being present at said meeting at least two-thirds of the members elect of the Town Council and “III-C-1-a(3)” having been passed after unanimous suspension of the rules, the President thereupon declared said Resolution to have duly passed and adopted.


MOVE MEETING TIME FOR FEBRUARY 23, 2017 COUNCIL MEETING:  C.A. Lazzaro reported that the SRMA Annual Dinner has been scheduled on February 23rd to begin at 6:15 p.m. at the Blue Gate Restaurant.  By moving the staff meeting to 4 p.m. and the Town Council meeting to 5:00 p.m. it will allow Council Members and staff the opportunity to attend the annual SRMA dinner.  J.M. Wilcher reported that he would not be at the February 23rd Council meeting.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to move the Council meeting time from 6:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the February 23, 2017 Council meeting.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


STORM WATER & PARK BOARD APPOINTMENTS:  M. Sutter reported that we have been looking for individuals who would be willing to fill vacancies on both the Storm Water and Park Boards.  Your Clerk-Treasurer has been talking to her neighbors and has found two people who are willing to serve, we will have one vacancy left to fill on the Park Board.    Discussion followed.


MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to approve the appointment of Sherry Knowles to the Storm Water Board and Joe Knowles to the Park Board and for the Council to sign the Appointment & Oath forms as presented.    J.M. Wilcher seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


FINANCIAL REPORT:  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for the January 1, 2017, Fund, Appropriation and Revenue Reports and reported that we still have not received Final Budget approval for the 2017 Budget.  In your paperwork is an updated Board and Appointment List for 2017. A motion to approve the Claims Registers and Adjustment Journals as submitted would be appreciated.   Discussion followed.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the Claims Registers and Adjustment Journals as submitted.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


TOWN MANAGER REPORT:  M. Sutter had nothing further to report.


ATTORNEY REPORT:  K. Bachman had nothing further to report.


C.A. Lazzaro recommended that the Town Council set up a workshop to further discuss the Carriage For Hire Ordinance that was tabled this evening.  M. Sutter recommended setting the work session for Wednesday, February 1st.   Discussion followed.  A Council Workshop was set for 3 p.m. on February 1st.


C.A. Lazzaro asked for any further business to come before the Council.   There being no further business C.A. Lazzaro asked for a motion to adjourn.


MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to adjourn.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.