The Connor’s – Milakis’ Proposal and Why the Fight Continues

    

      As the Rezone Petition makes its way through Area Plan, we want to make clear that the fight is continuing. A legal appeal will be filed in the Indiana Court of Appeals to challenge the town’s approval of the defective Fiscal Plan and consequent annexation, and contest the conflict of interest of councilman Ashley Stevenson. 

 

      Just a reminder of how the Fiscal Plan, which was procured by the developers at their expense, is defective:

      Indiana Code mandates that Fiscal Plans list “specific and detailed” expenses and show “itemized estimates” about their funding source. See the relevant Indiana Code here:

 

     The town has an ordinance that says developers will pay to extend utility lines. See the Ordinance here:

 

     The town’s “Cost Recovery Program” says developers will pay to extend utility lines. See the Cost Recovery Program here:

 

     The town’s “development guide” says developers will pay to extend utility lines. See the relevant pages from the Development Guide here:

 

In spite of the above, the Fiscal Plan adopted  uses the following language under the Capital Improvements for Water Service: “[A]ssuming the annexation and project goes forward, the Town, Developer and adjacent property owners will establish a plan to extend the existing water main to the new area”. Similarly, the language for the Wastewater Service says: “[A]ssuming the annexation and project goes forward, the Town, Developer and adjacent property owners will establish a plan to extend the existing sewer main to the new area”.

 

Besides contradicting the town’s own stated policies and failing to provide itemized and detailed estimates, this wording is problematic in that it implies both the town and “adjacent property owners” will somehow contribute to the cost of extending the utilities that are the rightful responsibility of the developer.  See the Fiscal Plan here. The relevant language is on pages 6 & 7:

 

Council members and their associates have said at various times that “the church will pay to extend to the end of their property” and “the previous council made a mistake in not requiring the church to extend the lines, so now the town needs to pay.” Both of these statements are categorically false. A “Utility Service Agreement” signed by the church and the town makes no mention of any such obligation, and the town’s own “Cost Recovery Program” specifically states that the developer (in the church’s case, the developer is the church) is NOT obligated to extend the utilities to the end of their property. The church sent a letter to the town in June making it clear they will NOT pay for extending any utilities. See the church’s letter here:

 

So WHO is paying to extend the utilities? The developers claim their cost recovery fees, which once the entire subdivision is built will total about $160,000, will pay for extending the utilities.  The fact is, no formal estimates have been obtained for utility extensions, but informal estimates we have obtained predict the cost of the extensions could approach $500,000. It should be noted that the cost recovery fees are based on a set formula and have no relationship whatsoever to the installation costs of the utility extensions. In fact, anyone developing within the current town limits will pay the exact same per acre fees and the town will not lay out another cent.

 

The developer has said they can’t possibly agree to pay for utilities because no one knows what it will cost. The town council agreed to annex knowing state law requires the town to supply utilities within three years, but with no clear plan to extend them and having no estimates for doing so. So how can they decide to proceed with an annexation while exposing the town to the potential liability of paying for utility extensions? And why did they not conform to the letter of our own ordinances and policies?

 

As it stands now, the people of Dayton may be required to pay all or part of the cost to extend the utilities. After all, every dollar we have to pay will save the developer a dollar. We categorically refuse to accept this situation for the people of Dayton without a fight.

 

Another part of the lawsuit is the conflict of interest by councilman Ashley Stevenson.

 

In January 2016, the council decided at a public work session to require one acre lots for any new development south of town. (Note that Mike Harris missed this Saturday meeting, but met in private the very next Saturday morning with Alan Orr, a representative for the landowners, Jan, Inc.) See the 1:02 minute mark of the meeting video:

 

 On February 29, 2016 Milakis Homes obtained a building permit for property located at 7400 Wesleyan Drive, Dayton, IN, owned by Ashley and Lisa Stevenson. See the building permit here:  

 

On March 16, 2016 Councilmember Ashley Stevenson and his wife executed a Quit Claim Deed transferring property at 7400 Wesleyan Drive to Milakis Homes, owned by Greg Milakis, builder/ developer. See the “NOTES” section at the bottom of the county property information here:  

 

On 10/26/16 a Sales Disclosure Form was filed transferring property at 7400 Wesleyan Drive from Milakis Homes to Ashley and Lisa Stevenson. See the Sales Disclosure Form here: 

 

On December 5, 2016, the developers, Greg Milakis and Steve Connors, and their attorney first presented the “Proposed Subdivision” plan for the Jan, Inc property south of Dayton. A significant detail of this plan is the “green space” that adjoins the Stevenson property along its entire southern edge in close proximity to a pole barn and cabin. See the side by side map here:

 

Lot sizes in the subdivision proposed by the developers in December 2016 are considerably less than the 1 acre requirement decided by the council in January 2016, but that requirement was quickly forgotten.

 

We may not be able to stop the subdivision, but we can at least try to make them do it right, and not allow them to force us to pay for the developer’s windfall. Our utilities are being exploited for private gain, but the people of Dayton SHOULD NOT be forced to pay for it. We won’t quit until all legal remedies are exhausted.