From now on, anyone wanting to build a “barndominium” in New Castle city limits needs to turn their eye to the edge of town.

A barndominium is a metal building, like a barn, that has living quarters inside.

The new residential building choice has been a conversation at city council meetings since April. The council voted in December to restrict new barndominiums to properties on the city limits, near agriculture land.

The New Castle Planning Commission issued a positive recommendation on the proposed regulations in January.

Before the final vote Monday night, city council member Mike Guffey asked for some clarification about the new rules.

“What if I want to use steel-rib siding on the structure, on a house?” Guffey asked.

City attorney Joel Harvey said the proposed ordinance does not address siding material.

“It prohibits the barn-shaped structure people that are putting in,” Harvey said.

Harvey said the new ordinance will not impact the types of garages or outbuildings that New Castle property owners want to build.

It only effects buildings that are going to be used primarily for living purposes.

The council approved the new rules 6-0; Lynn Perdue was not at Monday’s meeting.

Indiana Utiility Regulatory Commission

The council also voted 6-0 Monday to accept Ordinance 3920 on first reading, removing the city’s water utility from Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) jurisdiction.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is an administrative agency that hears evidence in cases filed before it and makes decisions based on the evidence presented in those cases. The Commission also serves as a resource to the legislature, executive branch, state agencies, and the public by providing information regarding Indiana’s utilities and the regulatory process.

More information is available at

Changing the utility jurisdiction through local ordinance will allow the New Castle City Council to establish all local water rates and charges, rather than have those decided by the IURC.

“They (the IURC) do absolutely nothing for us,” Mayor Greg York told the council Monday. Even so the city’s department heads have to meet IURC reporting deadlines each year.

Utilities Office Manager Mark Stacy said hundreds of previous IURC members have pulled out of the organization.

The city is not expecting to face any penalties for leaving the public utilities commission.

The city council will consider and possibly vote on Ord. 3920 again over the next two meetings.

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