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Bremen Town Council Meeting 8-11-14

by Amy Wenger on August 13, 2014

Town Attorney Anthony Wagner summed up the matter quite succinctly, in addressing an issue that he observed "has taken on a life of its own" around Bremen.  Is it permissible for James "JB" Brown to build a shooting range on his rural stretch of property?  That was a question that the members of the Bremen Town Council worked diligently to clarify during their Monday evening session.  Brown has expressed a desire to create a shooting range on land owned by his family around the vicinity of 3rd Road, which lies south of Bremen.

In order to forge ahead with the project as it is being supposedly designed to function, Wagner said that Brown will have to obtain a special exception use permit, which would allow him to operate and maintain the site as a place for training purposes in conjunction with BCI Defense, an ancillary of Bremen Castings, Inc.  Brown has alluded to conducting such workshops in the foreseeable future, via announcements distributed on social media.  However, the shooting range apparently was originally touted as being exclusively utilized by family members for private and recreational use.

Wagner said that there was question as to whether Brown's property is situated within Bremen's town limits, and to which entity he must answer to with regards to securing the proper permits, whether that issue belongs to the discretion of town or the county.  According to the current zoning ordinances, anything that lies within a two-mile radius of the center of town would still fall under the jurisdiction of Bremen government statutes.  Brown's property does fall within that radius.

Neighbors who reside in that region, meanwhile, have expressed their displeasure with the subject by consulting with an attorney, a measure that the Brown family has also employed.  Concerns have been raised as to the safety and potential hazards of airborne ammunition, particularly in a region that is heavily populated by farmers.

Wagner notified the council that after such time as Brown completes the application process to be approved for a permit, public hearings will then be required to take place during a 60-day window of time.  There is expected to be an update to the ongoing topic at a future town council session.

To Flouridate or Not to Flouridate?
Alex Mikel, Superintendent for the Water Department, launched the initial points of discussion as to the advantages or challenges of adding flouride to the water supply at the proposed water treatment plant.

On a related note that ties in with the planning stages of the new plant, Mikel shared that two aquifers have been located, both of which could potentially serve as test wells for surveying the quality and composition of existing water at those sites.  One aquifer was discovered at approximately 50 feet below ground level, while the other was found about 40 feet down.  Peerless-Midwest would be the company responsible for the testing, while Commonwealth Engineering is the firm acting as a consultant for the design and construction of the new facility.

    Mikel said that Commonwealth Engineers has approached the project with the suggestion of adding flouride to the systems at the new treatment plant, and although it is not currently mandatory, it is highly recommended.  Mikel noted that the current water plant does infuse a small amount of flouride into the town's current water supply.

    Several council members questioned the necessity of such a measure, and wondered if it might be worthwhile to invite input from area dentists, along with a representative from the health department, to discuss the benefits and risks of flouridation.  It is hoped that someone would be willing to make such a presentation at an upcoming meeting of the council.

    In other business matters, the council:
    - Approved the selection of Trevor Mikel as the town council's appointee to the Bremen Public Library board.  Mikel's term will be four years in duration, ending in 2018.

    - Chose two individuals to round out the Bremen Police Commission.  Democrat James Emans and Republican Charlie Hiester will be seated to fill in two vacancies.  Rick Graverson's role as a temporary commission member comes to an end with this action, but councilman Michael Leman will remain on the commission as a liaison representing the town council.

    - Heard a report from Director of Operations Trend Weldy, stating that he has asked for the assistance of Beer and Slabaugh of Nappanee to generate an estimate for demolition of the former Lebermuth building on South Center Street.  Weldy said that he is hoping to have quotes ready to present by the next council meeting.

    - Approved a recommendation from Police Chief Matt Hassel, authorizing the promotion of Keith Fraine to the position of Assistant Chief of Police, effective immediately.

    - Received word from Fire Chief Matt Neher that there will be an open house, along with a pancake and sausage breakfast, to be held at the police and fire departments on October 4.  Neher said that several features would be made available throughout the day, which is designed to coincide with the Farmer's Market taking place the same day.  Among the attractions that folks can see include rescue dogs, "drunk" goggles, extrication equipment, and the fire house.  The cost for the pancake and sausage breakfast is through a donation basis, and will run from 7 to 10 a.m.

    The next meeting of the Bremen Town Council will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, August 25 in the council chambers of the Bremen Town Hall.


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