Roanoke soon to hear report on new design guidelines for buildings

Roanoke's Design Review Committee will soon report on new design guidelines for buildings in Roanoke, says David Harris, a member of the DRC.

Harris gave an update on the committee's progress to the town council at the council's meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The council established the DRC earlier this year, and the committee began meeting in March. Members of the committee include Roanoke entrepreneurs, citizens and members of the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development. The purpose of the committee is to create and propose guidelines that will regulate the design of all new commercial buildings in Roanoke within designated areas and neighborhoods.

"Existing buildings will not be affected by this," Harris said, explaining that current commercial properties will be grandfathered into the system.

Harris cited communities such as Zionsville, Shipshewana and Berne as those that regulate building design. He says that Roanoke's regulations will not be as strict as those communities, but the goal is to help preserve and protect Roanoke's historic character, especially in the downtown area.

Though nothing has been completely hammered out by the DRC, Harris said the committee has several ideas in place, and he expects a draft of all the proposed guidelines later this month. The DRC will then hold a public hearing, tentatively scheduled for early September, for citizen input. After the public hearing takes place, the committee will present its findings to the council for approval and passage.

In addition to the DRC's reports, the Roanoke Town Council discussed the state of several sewer projects with Phil Hibbert of the architectural and engineering firm DLZ. JoAnne Kirchner, Roanoke clerk/treasurer, says the town has only a small amount of money in its sewer fund, which will not be nearly enough to complete the projects. Kirchner says that the purchase of two new ultraviolet water filtration systems "seriously put a dent in savings."

However, the town will be able to use some money from the Sewage Investment Fund, which builds over time. The council agreed to spend $100,000 from the SIF to fund the sewer project from Main Street continuing up Fourth Street. This will allow the town to continue to work on the system, which will comply with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's regulations regarding Roanoke's sewage management.

Marshal Kip Rupert says that vehicular break-ins had occurred several times in the past week, and all of cars that were broken into had been left unlocked. Rupert wanted to remind residents to lock their cars and keep valuables out of vehicles.