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Economic Development Committee Meeting Minutes 2016

Meeting Minutes

02-25-2016 Economic Development Committee

February 25, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING  
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the February 25, 2016, Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Mark Barenie, John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, Nick Georgiou, William Keith, Richard Setlak and Kelly Stoming. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present.

ELECTION of OFFICERS:

Election of officers was held (unintelligible). Mr. Georgiou was voted President. Mr. Keith was voted Vice President. Mr. Setlak was voted Secretary.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN/THOROUGHFARE PLAN-Status Update.
Mr. Kil stated that the Plan Commission, prior to holding another public hearing, would like input and a recommendation from the board. After the plan commission public hearing, they will make a recommendation and then it will ultimately go to the Town Council for approval.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the traffic thoroughfare study is now incorporated into the comprehensive masterplan. Mr. Kil stated the comprehensive plan includes the thoroughfare plan and the EDC’s recommendation should be made based on one unit.

Mr. Kil stated the EDC should review the master plan and make any recommendations or changes and ask any questions. Mr. Kil stated everyone is looking for input from the EDC before they proceed forward.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there are any other questions on the compressive plan or thoroughfare plan. There were no other questions.

B. REVIEW of POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS and RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS.
Mr. Kil stated the EDC should review the draft for the Boyer project. Mr. Kil mentioned it includes a site plan, site information, and things of that nature. Mr. Kil stated eventually the EDC’s input will be asked regarding the Boyer project. Mr. Kil mentioned there are other residential projects that are at the plan commission level or going to be at the plan commission level but those won’t necessarily come to the EDC. Mr. Kil stated that a commercial project of this magnitude and this nature requires some input.

Mr. Barenie added there will be some updates and changes to each and almost every document in the Boyer project manual.

Mr. Georgiou asked when it’s at a point where it’s proposed to move forward would they be asked for a recommendation before it goes to Town Council. Mr. Kil stated the Town Council is requesting that the EDC takes some action on this and make a formal recommendation to them. Mr. Kil reiterated that the economic development agreement is a work in progress.

Mr. Barenie asked if the recommendations this board will make to the Town Council are similar to how the Plan Commission or BZA makes recommendations. Mr. Kil stated it will be along the same lines. Mr. Kil reiterated that the Town Council really wants the input of this board and this gives the project a chance to be vetted on a couple levels.

Mr. Barenie stated that sometimes the Town Council will accept their recommendations as is and other times there will be tweaks and adjustments.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any items to note on residential developments that are public and worthy of comment. Mr. Kil stated the Schilling Development “The Preserve” has been in front of the Plan Commission. Mr. Kil mentioned there are a couple units in the Gates (Gates Unit 10I) and Eden’s Cove on the Town Council’s agenda tonight.

Dancing Waters is moving forward. Greystone is coming in front of the Plan Commission shortly.

(General discussion ensued.)

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. DeYoung mentioned he has been asked to speak at Pathway Church on March 9, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. regarding a review of what the EDC does and some of the projects going on in the community. Mr. DeYoung stated Mr. Georgiou will also be in attendance. Mr. Georgiou mentioned they will review the consensus items with Mr. Kil to make sure everyone is on the same page.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil asked the board to acknowledge the 2016 meeting schedule so that he and Ms. Hernandez can get a notice out. Mr. Kil asked if the fourth Thursday of every month is okay with the board. Mr. Georgiou responded, “Yes.”

B. STAFF

No comments

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou opened the floor for public comment.

Joe Hero 11723 South Oakridge Drive:

Mr. Hero stated the Town of St. John has adopted too many TIF districts. He stated the people that benefit from TIF districts are not the residents of St. John. It hurts the schools and requires the tax payers to pay for more police and fire. Mr. Hero stated we need to revise the TIF districts to zero. TIF districts should be used in places like Gary, Indiana where you are not in a “hot spot.”

Jerry Swets 9490 Joliet Street:

Mr. Swets asked Mr. DeYoung if the March 9th meeting at Pathway Church is a public meeting. Mr. DeYoung stated it is not a public meeting and was just requested by the church. Mr. Swets stated he is interested in getting a better handle on what direction the EDC would like to go in for the Town and also give some input on what the citizens would like.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith stated he would like to see orderly commercial development done right.

Mr. Swets stated he is here because the comprehensive plan had a big “X” on his house. Mr. Swets mentioned he would like to see this Town grow as well with good, balanced growth. The problem is when it’s out of balance. It’s not comfortable and not convenient. Input from residents would be beneficial. Mr. Swets stated he realizes this board is only advisory but this board is the business leaders of this Town and their ideas carry some weight. Mr. Swets mentioned he looks forward to sharing his input and ideas with the board. Mr. Swets stated that if there is ever an “X” on anyone’s house, they could join his group.

Mr. Keith stated that he doesn’t know there is an “X” on anybody’s house except for one where traffic has to flow. He stated there was a concept drawing because the residents were asking for more of “x” “y” and “z”. In an effort to give the residents some options, they put out a “concept car”. If it makes it through all the checks and balances, it goes to production.

(General discussion ensued.)

Jerry Koster 9194 Eggert Lane:

Mr. Koster agrees with what’s being said with these gentlemen tonight. Mr. Koster stated he get anxious with the commercial side of it because he has been here for a number of years and it seems like the last three years he sees a car wash and Kmart. He states he hears nothing of what’s going on but it seems like 41 is not progressing to become beautiful. We see vacant commercial properties and he has a tendency to say why would anyone want to come here to live or shop. Mr. Koster mentioned he is hopeful to learn something and give input into what’s going on here.

Mr. Georgiou stated the EDC has been meeting as an advisory committee. The advisory committee initially came about through an outreach attempt from the Town Council to the Chamber of Commerce. The EDC’s mission is to foster and promote growth and development that’s consistent with the growth of the Town. Mr. Georgiou stated that Rt. 41 and the improvement and commercial development is one of their high priorities that they’d like to see developed.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Hero stated that with the history of St. John, there was a time they were going to develop Bingo Lake. Mr. Hero mentioned they came in with a very nice picturesque landscaped plan. They were going to build a tin-cup restaurant. They got everything re-zoned for the tin-cup restaurant which went nowhere. Then that whole area became basically a landfill for what Mr. Hero considers not suitable material.

Mr. Hero mentioned that today what you see there is a development or extension of Lake Central Drive. Mr. Hero states that is a total screw-up. They changed the direction of 41; you have to swerve away. Mr. Hero mentioned he asks himself, “Who is the beneficiary of Lake Central Drive extension east?” There is a very dangerous exit there. There have been fatalities in that area previously. Mr. Hero states the development of Lake Central Drive could have been used to connect to Golden Pond and alleviate the people that live in that subdivision from having to come out in a hazardous area.

Mr. Hero states it’s good to have all these great ideas but our problem is we don’t have competent people doing the planning. The big issue is traffic. Mr. Hero states we should focus first of all on how the Town is managed from the top down. Mr. Hero mentioned everyone should get together and restructure the management of this Town. It has been poorly managed for 20 years and everything we are doing now is piecemeal and patchwork.

Mr. Georgiou stated Lake Central Drive extension did allow On Golden Pond residents to now access the light at 41. Mr. Keith stated it might not be as clearly marked as it needs to be due to construction. Mr. Georgiou stated there are signs that direct you to the intersection at the light.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked for any additional public comment. There was no additional comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou closed the meeting at 5:46 p.m.

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

03-24-2016 Economic Development Committee

March 24, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the March 24, 2016, Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Mark Barenie, John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, Nick Georgiou, William Keith, Richard Setlak. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Kelly Stoming was absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: February 25, 2016

Mr. Georgiou stated the February 25, 2016 meeting minutes had been distributed and asked for any comments or a motion.

Mr. Setlak mentioned the title of the minutes stated “commission” rather than “committee”. He requested to amend the minutes.

Mr. Georgiou asked if that was a motion by Mr. Setlak to approve the minutes with that change. Mr. Setlak said yes. Mr. Keith seconded the minutes. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0/1) Ayes --- six. Nays---none. Ms. Stoming was absent.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN/THOROUGHFARE PLAN-Status Update.

Mr. Kil stated all committee members have seen the master plan and that the Plan Commission held an initial public hearing where they accepted input. Mr. Kil stated another public meeting would probably need to be held. Mr. Kil suggested the EDC committee takes another look at the comprehensive plan again. There was some concern about the town center being included, how it would look in the plan and removing the houses. Mr. Kil stated a recommendation would be needed to the Plan Commission and then the Plan Commission would make a recommendation to the Town Council to adopt it.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked if the public hearing was concluded or if there will there be a continuation. Mr. Kil responded that we would advertise for a brand new public hearing.

Attorney Austgen stated that public hearings are advertised and noticed and that was conducted in October of last year. It was continued until November of last year and has been deferred from that time until now.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith recommended that when the EDC considers whether to exclude or include the town center to keep in mind that area was the original down town. He stated it's a commercial corridor and always has been from the inception of the town but was never completed properly from 100 years ago. He mentioned that the Town has a chance to form the future to do it right now.

(General discussion ensued.)

B. REVIEW of POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS and RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS-Status Update.
Mr. Kil stated Greystone is coming before the Plan Commission which is a Schilling Development. He also stated Providence Bank, at the southwest corner of 101st and Calumet, is going to be in front of the Plan Commission and BZA.

Mr. Kil mentioned Lake County is looking at improvements at 109th and 41. They are looking at an intersection improvement at 109th and Calumet. Mr. Kil stated he informed Lake County that we, based on the traffic study and Greystone, are looking at a traffic signal at 101st and Calumet.

Mr. Setlak asked whose responsibility it is between 101st and White Oak and Calumet. Mr. Kil stated that was the Town's responsibility.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked if anything ever came of the Circle K proposal. Mr. Kil stated he has not heard back from Circle K just yet. Mr. Kil mentioned they have a long way to go. Mr. Georgiou stated he was present for the Plan Commission meeting where Circle K proposed a retail center and gas station at the southeast corner of 93rd and 41.

C. Boyer Development Package-Status Update & Review.

Mr. Georgiou opened it up for discussion and comments for the Boyer Development plan.

Mr. Setlak asked if INDOT is the approval person for the light at 96th. Mr. Kil stated that was accurate. Mr. Kil stated they should know the preliminary plan was discussed with INDOT in a three hour meeting. INDOT did agree with the logic behind what was being proposed. Mr. Setlak asked if that would be a cross-walk as well. Mr. Kil said, “Yes”; it will be a pedestrian cross-walk with buttons. Ms. Fezler asked if there would be a median in the center for pedestrians. Mr. Kil stated no engineering has been done. There hasn't been one inch of work on this other than a conceptual layout of roads. This will be something that will come out during the design process.

Mr. De Young asked if the residents who state they will be impacted with the circle have agreed to any compensation. Mr. Kil stated that there hasn’t been one offer made to one resident. There has only been one property that has been appraised and that's it. There are a lot of properties that have to be appraised but they haven't been able to get past the first one. Mr. Kil reiterated not one offer has been made; nothing. Mr. Barenie asked if there was consideration of a third appraisal for Mr. Parada's house. Mr. Kil stated they haven't looked into that.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. De Young commented that there should probably be a lot more advertising done ahead of time and to spend the money to get good PR out there about the benefits that all this is going to have on the community. Mr. De Young stated this was one of the biggest comments at the meeting at the high school. They had the wrong idea of what's happened without exact facts.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Barenie stated the financial part of this project includes Boyer putting in about 34% of the buildings upfront. Mr. Barenie stated this is important to know that Boyer has “skin in the game.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil reiterated that the EDC agreement that's in the book is a work in progress.

Mr. Georgiou stated that 96th Ln from 41 all the way back to Joliet intersection will be a public road that the Town will maintain and take care of.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith mentioned that he spent some time with Google Earth and he feels it's going to be a bit of cluster. Mr. Kil mentioned when you see the proposal for Circle K this will be addressed. Mr. Kil also mentioned these are just rough sketches and that the EDC will weigh in on the design.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou mentioned there was a reference to a traffic study for the shopping center. He asked if this is in progress. Mr. Kil stated that nobody has been authorized to proceed at all. Mr. Kil reiterated this is a conceptual design and that there are more questions than answers at this point because we don't know how we will proceed just yet.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith stated that three people have told him to watch out for Boyer because he knows how to push the limits of getting everything he wants at the expense of the unintelligible.

Attorney Austgen stated this is legitimate and the timing on this project will be on a drop-dead or unintelligible where Boyer antes in so that he can't ante out.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Barenie asked what kind of guarantees as we go through the process will we have regarding having engineers vetted. Attorney Austgen stated this will be a part of and subject to the development agreement. It will have the EDC's review, the Plan Commission's review and Town Council's will check off and that the developer's financing agreement that will accompany it.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. BOYER DEVELOPMENT TRAFFIC STUDY-Status Update
Mr. Georgiou stated the traffic study status update was just received two days after the last EDC meeting. Mr. Georgiou mentioned the report shows in more detail the two options at Joliet St. It shows the median barrier at Joliet and 41 that prohibit left turns in both directions.

Mr. Keith asked if there was any official plan on the table for a partial round-about. Mr. Kil stated it was in the book.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Barenie stated one thing to look at is the difference between the full round-about and the “Y.” Mr. Keith stated if we didn't do the circle the amount of traffic going east­bound on Joliet that would be going through that “Y” would be awkward but would still work because there wouldn't be that much traffic. Mr. Kil stated they believe it will work but probably isn't the optimal solution. Mr. Keith stated he's still in favor of the circle. Mr. Kil stated all options are in there for consideration.

Mr. Georgiou stated he drives this way back and forth and is enamored by the Cline and 77th Circle round-about, which is absolutely incredible for alleviating congestion. Mr. Georgiou stated the round-about is a great solution.

Ms. Fezler stated she also likes the round-about idea because she drives Cline quite often and it eases traffic; traffic flows so much better. She mentioned it seems like a “win” for us.

Mr. Kil mentioned that the circle that's drawn here is the exact same size as it is in front of the church.

(General discussion ensued.)

Ms. Fezler asked about the raised median to avoid left-hand turns onto Joliet. She asked if it would be raised higher because the one on 231 by Franciscan...

Mr. Kil stated it's not just a hump; you can't just get over it.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou stated to be prepared for next month's meeting to both incorporate the traffic study, which was just received including the package we have. He mentioned to make sure you review in detail because at next month's meeting we will be looking to make a recommendation with any comments.

(General discussion ensued.)

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Setlak stated he wanted to take a step back a little bit and look at the development agreement specifically as it relates to the Malt Brothers. He mentioned it appears they are prohibited from moving back in. Mr. Kil stated that's a negative; St. John Malt Brothers is actually one of the first buildings to be built. Mr. Kil stated it's on the drawing. Mr. Setlak mentioned the development agreement states that it prohibits any craft brewery or establishment. Mr. Kil stated this will be cleaned up.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. DeYoung mentioned that on March 9th, he was able to speak with the Pathway Church. He stated he went over “St. John Open for Business” and some demographic studies. They discussed some of the traffic issues in Town. He was trying to get the word out there and let the residents know that we are trying to be proactive about this. Bill Keith's promo video was a huge hit and very well received. Mr. De Young suggested the start of a ministerial association in the community where there is a representative of all the different churches; this would be good PR work for the Town on some of these new projects.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated they are looking at ways to make sure that we get the word out to the community. Mr. Kil asked if Mr. Georgiou if he wanted to help with PR on this project. Mr. Georgiou agreed to help.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. De Young asked what the time frame was on this project. Mr. Kil said he would be ecstatic if we could be breaking ground this time next year.

(General discussion ensued.)

B. STAFF

Mr. Georgiou asked for any staff comment. There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for any public comment. There was no public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Keith made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0/1). Ayes---six. Nays---none Ms. Stoming was absent.

(The meeting adjourned at 6:02 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

04-28-2016 Economic Development Committee

April 28, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the April 28, 2016, Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, Nick Georgiou, William Keith, Richard Setlak and Kelly Stoming. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Mark Barenie was in attendance at 5:14 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: March 24, 2016

Mr. Georgiou stated the March 24, 2016 meeting minutes had been submitted and asked for any comments or a motion.

Mr. DeYoung made a motion to accept the minutes as written. Ms. Fezler seconded the minutes. The motion was carried by voice vote. (6/0/1) Ayes --- six. Nays --- none. Mr. Barenie was absent.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN/THOROUGHFARE PLAN-Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou stated the comprehensive master plan/thoroughfare plan was submitted and a public hearing started last November. Mr. Georgiou stated this will be re-advertised for public hearing. Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil for an update of when a schedule might come up.

Mr. Kil mentioned he imagined the public hearing would probably be sometime in June or July. Mr. Kil stated he will have to run this past the Plan Commission to find out when they would prefer to have this public hearing. Mr. Kil reiterated the public hearing would most likely be sometime this summer.

Mr. Georgiou asked for any other questions on the comprehensive master plan. There were no additional questions or comments.

B. REVIEW of POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS and RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS-Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if there were any updates regarding a subdivision that was up for approval on Calumet recently. Mr. Kil stated the only thing that was up for approval at the BZA was Providence Bank. Mr. Kil mentioned Providence Bank passed the BZA and got a favorable recommendation. Mr. Kil stated Providence Bank will be building at the southwest corner of Calumet and 101st and this is on the Town Council agenda tonight for a formal action on the special exception/variance of use request.

Mr. Georgiou asked about the Schilling subdivision on 109th or Calumet. Mr. Kil stated phase one has received primary approval and that would be the development that will occur on the east side of Calumet. Mr. Kil stated the Town Council is also going to consider approval to start the engineering and acquire the right-of-way for the intersection improvement of Calumet and 101st for the traffic signal. Mr. Kil reiterated it is just preliminary to start right-of-way acquisition and engineering for consideration tonight not actually bidding of the project. Mr. Kil stated this has to be coordinated with Lake County for a light at Sheffield and some other things that are on the route.

Mr. Georgiou asked for any other questions. There were no additional questions or comments.

C. Boyer Development Package and Traffic Improvements-Status Update

Mr. Georgiou stated they initially thought they would be discussing this at more length today. Mr. Georgiou mentioned they understand there will be a more detailed approval schedule that Mr. Kil is developing that will involve presentations formally to this committee along with the Plan Commission and Town Council. Mr. Georgiou stated that at this point, they will be waiting for that formal schedule and that tentatively there was supposed to be a presentation at next month’s EDC by Boyer.

Mr. Kil stated it goes hand-in-hand with what we are doing with the big box tax appeals and asked Mr. Georgiou to fill everyone in.

Mr. Georgiou stated he was at the last Town Council meeting where Mike Weiser and Melody Kikkert discussed the impact of big box tax appeals that have started to domino throughout the area and in particular Hobart and Merrillville saw some significant tax dollars that were reduced. Mr. Georgiou mentioned this significantly impacted the towns with the tax income they had. Mr. Georgiou stated this is being seriously looked at by the Town here. Mr. Georgiou mentioned since TIF funds are paying for a lot of improvements throughout these multiple towns, that the tax appeal process and the potential impact to the Boyer development are currently under financial review with the Town’s financial analyst, Cender, so pending all that, that will affect how the schedule for the development goes forward.

Mr. Kil stated the first ones up will be Lowes in Schererville and Merrillville so we will be watching those carefully. Mr. Kil mentioned that on or about July 5th the Galleria in Dyer is going in front of the IBTR. Mr. Kil stated we will watch that pretty closely, and right now, the only thing in St. John that could potentially be affected could be the Target. Mr. Kil stated we just want to see what kind of trickle-down effect we have. Mr. Kil mentioned our FA is in the process of reviewing the entire 41 corridor, which would be a TIF 1 District, and he is looking at the taxes being generated and how the AVs can be affected by the appeals to determine what would be a worst-case scenario if they won all their appeals. That would give us a baseline as to what we can do and what we can’t. Mr. Kil stated we are fortunate that we have no TIF debt right now so we are able to plan accordingly and not be caught behind the eight ball. Mr. Kil mentioned that’s why this is kind of put off because we have to have those numbers before you can make any kind of intelligent decision as to what kind of debt you can issue or any kind of schedule of repayment or things of that nature.

Mr. Keith stated there is a business he is trying to attract to St. John and they would be building a new building in one of the industrial areas. Mr. Keith asked if there are incentives to do that.

Mr. Kil stated the only incentive for an actual individual business would be a tax abatement. Mr. Kil mentioned we typically don’t do a lot of tax abatements and they only really entertain those in the industrial area never on Route 41 or anything like that.

Mr. DeYoung stated whoever is interested should talk to the RDC and ask about the 504 loans because a new business coming in can come into a community with 10% down and they have long term loans at low interest rates.

Mr. Setlak asked Mr. Kil if this tax stuff only applies to businesses within a TIF District. Mr. Kil stated it doesn’t make any difference and the only reason we use TIF as an example is that’s what sees the biggest impact. Mr. Kil mentioned the bottom line is if the assessor keeps reducing the assessed values, that directly impacts the taxes. Mr. Kil stated the problem that everyone is running into is when the commercial starts going down; the residential is going to start going up. Mr. Kil stated this is why we have joined with different communities like Schererville, Merrillville and Hobart because we are the ones that are most affected by this. Mr. Kil mentioned the county has hired an appraiser and agreed to fight this on our behalf and there are bi-weekly meetings that he attends in Merrillville where they all sit and discuss this.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked for any other comments relative to Boyer or the big box tax appeal. There were no additional questions or comments.

Mr. Georgiou stated he failed to include old business from last month on the agenda regarding County presenting potential improvements at 109th. He asked for any comment or update on that.

Mr. Kil stated he is waiting for Commissioner Scheub to schedule a meeting with St. John, the County Highway Department and the Director of the County Plan Commission. Mr. Kil mentioned they had an informal meeting two weeks ago to talk over the entire corridor route going down 109th up Calumet out to Exchange and 101st. Mr. Kil stated they know what the Town is looking at and the developments that are impacting that route. Mr. Kil mentioned we know they are looking at 41 and 231. Mr. Kil stated they thought the best thing to do is get another meeting together with Commissioner Scheub.

(General discussion ensued.)

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Georgiou stated he has no new items but mentioned that the Rt. 41 INDOT improvement started. Mr. Georgiou asked what the schedule is and what’s going on with the Rt. 41 improvements.

Mr. Kil stated they are doing the patchwork they need to do and curb cuts; it’s all preemption work to the paving. Mr. Kil mentioned it’s his understanding that it’s going to be a little more than a patch job in front of Aspen Café. Mr. Kil stated this was supposed to be done last year and it starts at 135th Ave. in Cedar Lake and runs through Rt. 30 in Schererville just before the Walmart light. Mr. Kil stated they are resurfacing and surveying for a center turn light.

Mr. Georgiou asked if anyone else had any new business. There was no new business.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou passed out the EDC annual schedule.

B. STAFF

Mr. Georgiou asked for any staff comment. There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for any public comment.

Bryan Blazak 9299 Franklin Drive

Mr. Blazak stated he had two simple questions. The first is why has St. John approved TIF districts all the way to 231 before we have any idea as to what is going to go into that development’s process.

Mr. Blazak then stated he has been at the meetings with the Towns of Schererville, Hobart, Valpo, Cedar Lake and on and on who have been meeting about the TIF problem and the assessment problem. Mr. Blazak asked why nobody on this entire committee is present there to understand and talk with the people.

Joe Hero 11723 South Oakridge Drive

Mr. Hero stated he has attended two of these TIF district meetings. Mr. Hero stated when we look at the future, we have to look at what is the financial basis and how valid is the ability, considering an appeal to happen, that these places can make their bond payments because in the end, if they don’t make their bond payments, the Town has to make the bond payments.

Mr. Hero said we should hire attorneys and financial people to make an analysis for us before we allow this TIF district to go forward. Mr. Hero stated we need to have someone be accountable for the sins of the past if that’s what this turns out to be. Mr. Hero mentioned he thinks the Town should hire a special attorney to investigate if there has been any malpractice in the way these TIF districts have been set up by accounting firms, legal firms or anyone else involved. Mr. Hero said if there is a liability to the Town or cutback because of the trickle-down effect, we can look at which contractors we have hired for advice and see if they are responsible for any maleficence or malpractice on how these TIF districts were set up.

Mr. Hero mentioned in the future, we need to look at ways to prevent the problem in terms of do we want to make the developer sign a contract and if there is shortfall, the developer is liable because he’s the main beneficiary; he’s the one getting the deal. Mr. Hero said that fighting these appeals is a band aid; the root cause is when the TIF district is not properly set up to sustain itself.

Mr. Hero went on to say Dyer, St. John and Schererville are now facing this issue and all we are doing with these TIF districts is competing with each other. Mr. Hero mentioned these three towns are the hot areas in the county and we don’t need the TIF district. Mr. Hero stated a solution to this is problem is to stop doing TIF districts because, in the end, we have given somebody a tax abatement in a TIF district and, for a period of time, it did not generate enough money to pay the bond and the Town paid the bond payment.

Mr. Hero mentioned we are under the tax cap now and all this is going to push it up to the tax cap, and, if that’s not enough, then we will have to do a special bond to make up the difference or lay off people.

Mr. Keith mentioned that he disagrees with a comment Mr. Hero made where the developer is the only person that benefits. Mr. Keith stated he’d like to think that being able to shop at Stracks in St. John and see people and kids from around Town employed at our local business is a benefit for the community. Mr. Keith asked Mr. Hero when someone comes in with a nice development, doesn’t that benefit the community?

Mr. Hero stated we are in a place where people want to come. Mr. Hero mentioned we are the Town that is growing and this Town has the potential of growing to 70,000 people. Mr. Hero said these businesses want to be here; they don’t need this incentive because they will come anyway. Mr. Hero mentioned that is his point and he has been saying this for years. Mr. Hero stated he is not disputing that everyone benefits when a business comes but they will come anyway.

Gerry Swets 9490 Joliet Street

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Swets asked Mr. Kil if the new draft of the master plan is available for the public.

Mr. Kil stated the draft to the master plan is on the website. Mr. Swets stated the thoroughfare plan is but not the master plan.

Mr. Kil: The comprehensive plan? Mr. Swets: Correct. Mr. Kil: The draft of the comprehensive plan is basically the same draft. Mr. Swets: Okay, so, that hasn’t changed since the last revision back in October? Mr Kil: They made a revision after the main public hearing at Lake Central.

Mr. Swets stated it’s nice that there is a public comment section but he thinks this meeting as well as the Town Council puts that public comment section after all the decisions are made which is silly because if you are looking to make a decision and you truly want input from the people of the Town, he would think you want the input before the decision was made.

Mr. Swets mentioned this big box plan is a little scary. The big boxes can use three different criteria when appealing their tax processes and that’s what got this whole thing started. Mr. Swets stated we have such a wide variety like Target is in the $75-$80 per square foot range and KMART which is in the $35 per square foot range, so Target wants what KMART has even though it’s a dark box instead of an open box. Mr. Swets mentioned another issue is where they negotiated with the Walgreens in all of Lake County and $120 per square foot. Mr. Swets went on to say if one gets to drop down to $35, you know the Walgreens is going to want to follow along. Mr. Swets then addressed Mr. DeYoung by saying he would assume Mr. DeYoung would ask for the same break being a businessman. Mr. Swets mentioned it’s going to trickle down all the way to the smaller businesses. Mr. Swets stated anything the EDC can do to modify, eliminate or manage the TIFs better would be greatly appreciated.

Mr. Setlak mentioned he didn’t understand the connection because, regardless of if they are in a TIF or not, they can file this appeal. Mr. Swets stated that was correct and his concern is when you are in a TIF. Mr. Setlak stated he understands the greater impact if you are in a TIF if there is a bond.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked for any more public comment.

(General discussion ensued.)

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Setlak somoved. Ms. Fezler seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Ayes---seven. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:46 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

05-26-2016 Economic Development Committee

May 26, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the May 26, 2016, Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:02 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Mark Barenie, John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, Nick Georgiou, William Keith, Richard Setlak and Kelly Stoming. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: April 28, 2016

Mr. Georgiou stated the April 28, 2016 meeting minutes had been submitted and asked for any comments or a motion to accept.

Mr. Setlak so moved to accept the minutes. Mr. DeYoung seconded that motion. The motion was carried by voice vote. (7/0) Ayes ---seven. Nays --- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN/THOROUGHFARE PLAN-Review and Recommendation.

Mr. Georgiou stated this is a comprehensive plan that the committee has been involved with for quite a long time and is a guideline to be utilized as the Town grows, which is projected to grow significantly. Mr. Georgiou mentioned the last version was previously posted on the website and dated October of 2015. Mr. Georgiou confirmed with Mr.Kil that there was a previous public hearing and that no action was taken. Mr. Kil confirmed that statement and stated that another public hearing needed to be scheduled in front of the Plan Commission. Mr. Kil stated the Plan Commission and Town Council would like a recommendation from the Economic Development Committee prior to scheduling a public hearing for the comprehensive plan.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr.Kil to confirm that the Thoroughfare study from February 26, 2016 would be considered as part of the comprehensive plan. Mr. Kil confirmed.

Mr. Georgiou noted this is not a public hearing and that there is public comment at the end of the meeting. Mr. Georgiou asked for any other comments or questions on the comprehensive master plan or thoroughfare study.

Mr. Barenie stated that based on the activity of the potential Boyer development, he would be in favor of the comprehensive plan moving forward, if the town center, at this point in time, was removed from the plan. Mr. Barenie stated he feels the Boyer development would provide shopping and various restaurants and one undertaking, at this point, would be a substantial undertaking. Mr. Barenie mentioned that if there was another group down the road, the comprehensive plan could be updated at that point. Mr. Barenie reiterated that it should go forward without it at this point.

Mr.Georgiou asked for any questions or comments.

Mr. Keith stated he used to ride his bike and play baseball at Civic Park when he was a kid 50 years ago and he still doesn’t have a sidewalk from his house. Mr. Keith mentioned he raised four children and three of them are in California and one is moving to Crown Point. Mr. Keith said in his life time, he could never go to the park safely and now his kids are all raised and gone, so let’s kick the can down the road one more time for another generation to handle a nice downtown area. Mr. Keith stated Joliet Street is the original downtown.

(General Discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith stated the concept we have is only that, a concept. Mr. Keith expressed he is not in favor of taking the town center out of the comprehensive plan. Mr. Keith mentioned they don’t have to move forward with it but people should know we have a plan for the future.

(General Discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith noted he has another 15 years to work and then he’s going to be retired and still not going to see a nice place where he could walk from his house to eat at a restaurant.

Mr. Barenie responded that he would like to be able to walk to a golf course but it’s not going to happen with the way our Town is spread out. Mr. Barenie stated 95% of our residents aren’t going to be able to do that.

Mr. Keith stated the idea is to try to connect it all and he likes the thoroughfare plan because it makes more connections with the streets and a bike path plan that’s supposed to come through to keep us all a little more connected in the community. Mr. Keith mentioned it’s a shame that kids have to take their lives in their hands to get to the park.

Mr. Barenie stated Joliet, 93rd, and on the East side, there are plenty of streets that do not have sidewalks.

(General Discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked for any other questions or comments.

Mr. Setlak asked Mr. Barenie if he was saying to drop the town center from the comprehensive plan. Mr. Barenie stated to move forward with a majority of the plan except for that part.

Mr. Georgiou stated the original comprehensive plan was done 10 years ago. Mr. Kil stated it’s over 10 years now, but every 10 years they try to update the comprehensive plan. Mr. Georgiou stated in the original comprehensive plan, which was done by the site planner, the town center was identified from the railroad tracks in the Aspen Café area through 93rd and down toward the Town Hall. Mr. Georgiou mentioned the Town is growing and the population is increasing fast and the projection of where the town center is moving to is a consensus from the public survey that was done of a significant amount of people favored the town center around the 93rd and 41 corridor. Mr. Georgiou added it was also anticipated there would be a lot of development up and down 41 which is starting to happen. Mr. Georgiou recommended that five years from now, this is revisited because this is not code; it is just guidelines for the Town to consider as they move forward.

(General Discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith stated that the EDC’s task is how to make St. John an attractive place for business and residents; they go hand-in-hand. Mr. Keith mentioned every great place to live has good shopping, schools and restaurants. Mr. Keith added he doesn’t want to get off track and the goal is to try and have a plan so that we attract more high-quality business and residents. Mr. Keith reiterated this is why he is in favor of having the town center in there and maybe it needs to be clear that this is a concept. Mr. Keith said they aren’t taking away people’s home or using eminent domain to do this.

Ms. Fezler stated the survey results were very telling and the downtown area is what people who live here now are looking for. Ms. Fezler mentioned the town center should be in the plan.

Mr. Georgiou asked for any other concerns or comments on any components of the comprehensive plan or thoroughfare study.

Mr. Keith asked how soon the new roads in the thoroughfare plan would begin developing. Mr.Kil stated a lot of it is development-driven and that the Town Council is looking into a Road Impact Fee. Mr. Kil mentioned that the comprehensive plan and the thoroughfare plan are both long term plans for the community but we might as well have a plan or guideline for when developers do come in.

(General Discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked for any other comments or questions.

Mr. Barenie responded to a comment about revisiting this plan on a regular basis. Mr. Barenie requested it be documented that it is reviewed. Mr. Barenie stated the Boyer project is going to be the biggest development we have and once it’s complete, there is going to be a lot of information that will be used on what’s going to go into this town center. Mr. Barenie mentioned we don’t want to have a bunch of redundancy; we don’t want to lock into one thing and have some duplication. Mr. Barenie added the idea of the town center might change once we have this other development in and it may need something else or some other shape.

Mr. Kil stated there is no time limit on comprehensive plans. Mr. Kil mentioned in four years, the Town Council can say to work with the EDC on a new comprehensive plan update. Mr. Kil added it was a standard in the industry that every 10 years seems to be a logical time to update. Mr. Barenie stated he thinks that’s ridiculous. Mr. Kil responded that there is not a set time; they can be told to revisit in a year and they would revisit it. Mr. Barenie mentioned it should be reviewed on an annual basis at a high level but at least on a three-five year basis because a lot of things change.

(General Discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou asked if there were any further comments or questions. There were no comments or questions.

Mr. Georgiou asked for a recommendation or motion for the comprehensive master plan and thoroughfare plan to be recommended to the Town Council with an approval or otherwise. Mr. Barenie made one correction in that the recommendation goes to the Plan Commission.

Mr. Keith recommended that comprehensive plan dated October, 2015 and thoroughfare plan dated February 26, 2016 goes through, as presented, to the Plan Commission. Mr. DeYoung seconded the motion. Mr. Georgiou noted there was a motion and a second and requested a roll call. Ms. Hernandez performed roll call as follows: Mark Barenie, “No.” John DeYoung, “Yes.” Gina Fezler, “Yes.” Nick Georgiou, “Yes.” Bill Keith, “Yes.” Richard Setlak, “Yes.” Kelly Stoming, “Yes.” The motion was carried by voice vote. (6/1) Ayes---six. Nays---one.

B. REVIEW of POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS and RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS-Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if there were any updates on commercial developments or general comments. Mr. Kil stated Providence Bank will be building on the southwest corner of 101st and Calumet. Mr. Kil stated the Town Council has authorized the installation of a traffic signal at the location of 101st and Calumet. Mr. Kil mentioned Providence Bank will be participating in the construction of the project. Mr. Kil stated they are in the process of looking for engineering and there will be a need for land acquisition. Mr. Kil mentioned that Leon Heldt owns the southeast corner. Mr. Kil stated he had no further updates on commercial or residential developments.

(General Discussion ensued.)

C. Boyer Development Package and Traffic Improvements-Status Update
Mr. Georgiou stated the Boyer development package was expected to move forward. Mr. Georgiou mentioned the town, when they received the presentation, regards property reassessments, impacts, TIF funding, etc., undertook a separate financial study that delayed the Boyer project to coming before the EDC. Mr. Georgiou stated the revised schedule should be issued in the next few days. Mr. Georgiou added that Boyer will be making a presentation in front of the EDC in the June session and that the entire approval schedule will be released either prior to or with the presentation. Mr. Georgiou stated the EDC will be expected to make a recommendation to the Town Council and Redevelopment Commission, in a subsequent meeting. Mr. Georgiou noted the comprehensive plan and the Boyer project will both have public hearings associated with each project.
NEW BUSINESS:
Mr. Georgiou stated he has no new items.
REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:
A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou asked if anyone board members had any reports or correspondence. There was none noted.

B. STAFF

Mr. Kil noted that a remonstrance was received against the October, 2015 comprehensive plan. He stated it was received from Mr. Gerald Swets.

(General discussion ensued.)

It was corrected that there were four or five submitted to the Board. Mr. Georgiou asked if they will be appended to the meeting minutes. Mr. Kil answered he would probably append them to the minutes and would supply them to the Plan Commission with the recommendation of the EDC.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou stated the meeting was open to public comment. Mr. Georgiou noted he is aware of the public comment ordinance in place and that he has been generous with time in the past as the last meeting was very orderly. He asked residents to state their name and address for comment. Mrs. Hernandez stated there is a sign in sheet to follow for order of comments.

Robert Birlson, 9520 Joliet Street

Mr. Birlson stated he has several comments on the comprehensive plan. He has no objections to the town center, but there are many people who came here without there being a town center. Mr. Birlson mentioned many people come here for the good schools and the rural setting and not a town center. He expressed his concern for his home and those who live in the historic area of Thiel Street and Joliet Street at the expense of building a town center. Mr. Birlson continued that he agrees with Mr. Barenie that they should wait on the town center as being part of the comprehensive plan until the Boyer project is done. He recommended the town center be on 93rd Avenue, so the town can potentially use the school parking lot for town center parking. He noted his family was one of the original twenty families in St. John, so they have history here and they love this area.

Mr. Birlson stated his second comment on the thoroughfare/comprehensive plan was U.S. 41. It proposes several lights on U.S. 41. Traffic lights relieve traffic incidents, but they do not relieve traffic congestion. They create traffic congestion. He recommended limiting access to U.S. 41 with frontage roads or corridors from the shops. He also recommended doing that by re-routing Joliet Street down Industrial Drive across the railroad tracks and then come in right by Strack and VanTil’s. Mr. Birlson said he knows it is difficult to build across the tracks, but it is something to try to avoid putting another traffic light in. He referred to U.S. 41 in Highland as a nightmare to get through.

Ms. Hernandez called Irene Doughty. Ms. Doughty had no public comment.

Ms. Hernandez called Melanie Stotmeister. Ms. Stotmeister had no public comment.

Randy Stotmeister, 10760 Thielen Street

Mr. Stotmeister stated he has one question. He referred to Mr. Keith’s comment that the comprehensive plan is not written in stone and that he made a good point about obtaining properties that are for sale. For instance, K-Mart is for sale. It may take several years of litigation to obtain, but there is time. He noted that east of U.S. 41, where the comprehensive plan places the town center, is full of winding roads and train tracks and that adding public facilities and shops would just create traffic. Mr. Stotmeister suggested putting the town center in the K-Mart. There is easy entrance and exit. He stated that we do not want to be like Highland, IN. Mr. Stotmeister worked at Pepsi-Co for 30 years and constantly tried to avoid that area due to traffic. He expressed his concern for St. John to really think about what we have and what we can do with it. We do not want to have traffic like Highland or U.S. 30 and U.S. 41 in Schererville. He continued by agreeing on the Town purchasing property for the future and that we should really consider looking at the K-Mart property. He believes it is perfect for the type of area the residents want.

Mr. Keith responded with a rebuttal and stated that the K-Mart property is not big enough for a downtown area. Mr. Keith mentioned it would be nice to see someone do something with the property, but from what he understands Sears owns K-Mart and Sears has some type of holding on that property. Mr. Keith said he believes the dilemma everyone is having is that when he was a kid, he used to play ball on 93rd or Hart Street and never have to move unless a tractor was coming through. Mr. Keith stated that is what his parents loved about this town and that is why they stayed here, but that is gone now because everyone wants to move here. Mr. Keith stated there is a dilemma from having a nice classic community that everyone wants to move to, but everyone can’t fit. Mr. Keith mentioned that there are outside influences asking, “Why aren’t there bike paths? Why aren’t there better schools? Etc.” Mr. Keith stated it is hard to juggle listening to what residents say and making everyone happy. Mr. Keith mentioned they issued a survey and put a lot of time into making that survey, but still not everyone responded. Mr. Keith commented that it is similar to a presidential election where only a small percentage of people actually vote for the leader of our free country. Mr. Keith stated we listened to the surveys and everyone wanted a downtown area so a plan was drawn up. Mr. Keith stated he never saw such nastiness in response to just the plan.

Mr. Stotmeister stated he would like to make one more comment. He suggested instead of St .John growing east and west, we should continue growing south and keep it spread out.

(General discussion ensued.)

Ms. Hernandez called Joe Willis. Mr. Willis had no public comment.

Gerry Swets 9490 Joliet Street

Mr. Swets noted he moved out of Highland because he did not like the downtown area. He stated he is disappointed how major significant things were approached with a good crowd of people and the number of remonstrances. He then apologized for not putting his name on it and said he worked very hastily to get the remonstrance in. Mr. Swets continued that a few of his neighbors worked to get those in and he believes it would have been appropriate to get a few comments, to study them, or at least look at them or read them before a decision is made. He then stated he appreciated Mr. Barenie’s effort to get the town center off of the comprehensive plan and to Mr. Keith, his more personal point of view of being able to walk to a restaurant. Historically, the towns we state we want to be like have a downtown area that surrounds a train station. Look at Homewood, Flossmoor. If the train station is left where it is, off of 93rd, that’s where the town center should be. Mr. Swets then stated, option number two is building a train station right off of 109th where there is wide open space. That would also be a great place for the town center. He said he believes that should have been done and considered, as well. He then commented on the idea to review the plans later as disastrous. If he were a business man and bought one or two properties thinking it would be the town center, and then it was suddenly decided to move-the investment is gone.

Mr. Swets then commented on the comprehensive traffic plan that was in place in 2005. It was written in there that the plan should be revised and re-studied every three years, yet the plan hasn’t been looked at in ten years. He stated that will be the same thing that happens to this current comprehensive plan. Mr. Swets said he would like the order of business to be changed around; re-open it up and vote again. Make it continuous. Read some of the suggestions and ideas that some of the other residents have.

Joe Hero, 11723 South Oakridge Drive

Mr. Hero stated he would make it very simple, to the point, and clear. The comprehensive plan facilitated a political movement in order to remove councilmen and to install councilmen who are not in favor of putting the Boyer development in. During that election, the Town Manger has been charged with conversion of putting up political signs that Mr. Hero believes changed the course of the election. Mr. Hero stated he would rather not see the Town Manager here advising about anything, or on any board. We have our town attorney who supported the Town Manger in the Town Council meeting, as to his right to do that. Mr. Hero said he thinks we need to go backwards. What is going to be accused of here is that this was done politically to benefit a development. He continued that the rattling about all the old stuff is bologna in his opinion. People vote two ways. They vote for their political candidates. When that is upset, they aren’t going away. You guys are businessmen. You own stores. You own banks. You work for these people. People will be voting twice. They will be voting at the elections and they will be voting at your businesses. You are going to have a tough time accounting to your CEO’s, your owners, on putting up a plan that appears to be destined. Through the conversion of political signs has upset the balance of the people who appoint you. Mr. Hero stated for that reason he remonstrates against this. In his opinion, the whole comprehensive plan stinks. It stinks to the high heavens. Mr. Hero said if we are so blind to see that, we better wake up. This has deeper implications than what we are talking about.

Mr. Setlak noted to Mr. Hero that Mr. Setlak is not a business owner.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Keith noted he does not own a business in St. John.

(General discussion ensued.)

Teresa Birlson 9520 Joliet Street

Ms.Birlson stated that she lives, and her children are the sixth generation to live, in the homestead on Joliet Street. Ms. Birlson said she has talked to many people. Some who live in St. John and some who have moved to St. John. They have indicated that sometimes they drive down Joliet Street to get to Crown Point because it is the little hometown that they moved into. It has character. The homes are all kept up nicely. They are refurbished and have been taken care of. A lot of people have said that is why they moved to St. John because of the character of the town. Ms. Birlson stated she thinks we should keep that character of the town as a nice little neighborhood. Ms. Birlson continued that she has had many friends say, “If ever a house goes up for sale in your neighborhood, let me know, because I love the character of your neighborhood.” Ms. Birlson mentioned the neighbors she lives near are the tightest community in St. John and she would bet her life on it. If she has friends with kids who want to move into her neighborhood, it says something about the character of the older homes. They are not new homes. They have little nooks. They have things that brand new homes do not. Ms. Birlson expressed that it would be a big mistake to disregard that as an important thing in St. John. She recommended finding another place for the town center.

Mr. Keith commented that we are just an advisory committee and they look at a plan and decide if it should go to the Town Council or Plan Commission. Mr. Keith mentioned the Plan Commission looks at and decides if it has potential and then they would recommend it up to the Town Council. Mr. Keith stated the Town Council, the people who the residents elected into place, would make the decision if it goes forward.

Ms. Birlson commented that the EDC voted to move it along and her personal opinion is to not have it move along. It is taking away the character of something.

Mr. Georgiou commented on the perspective that the decision was made without the consideration of the town consensus. Mr. Georgiou stated that national polls are taken on account of 835 people; the town received 1,100 surveys. Mr. Georgiou said almost 80% favored this particular concept. Mr. Georgiou continued that nobody is taking homes; it is a concept; master plans evolve, and it will continue to evolve as the town grows. Mr. Georgiou stated that is the basis of how we are going forward; there is a consensus that says at this point and time, this is where it’s going to be. Mr. Georgiou recommended that the Town Council look at updating the comprehensive plan and the thoroughfare plan on a more regular basis.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Setlak so moved. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Ayes---seven. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:54 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

06-23-2016 Economic Development Committee

June 23, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Setlak called the June 23, 2016, Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:06 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Gina Fezler, John DeYoung, Richard Setlak, Kelly Stoming, and Mark Barenie. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Nick Georgiou and William Keith were absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: May 26, 2016

Mr. Setlak stated the May 26, 2016 meeting minutes had been submitted. With seeing no questions or comments, Mr. Setlak entertained a motion to approve the minutes as submitted.

“So Moved,” from Ms. Fezler. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion to approve the minutes as submitted. The motion was carried by voice vote. (5/0) Ayes ---five. Nays --- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Traffic Improvements-Presentation
Mr. Setlak stated that there was a presentation from Boyer Development on their project.

Mr. Bruce Boyer introduced himself. He stated he was here this afternoon to introduce their proposed commercial development. The development is located on twenty-three (23) acres on Route 41 and 96th. The property is commonly known as the Standard Lumber property. It encompasses the house to the north of the old Standard Lumber building. It also includes the abandoned car wash, the house immediately south of the car wash, as well as the land behind and to the east of existing the auto-body business. The existing buildings total about 43,000 square feet. There are four buildings.

Everything is planned to be torn down. Mr. Boyer stated the entire site would be cleared and we would finally get rid of that old car wash. There is an existing retention pond on the property. The underlying zoning is a planned unit development from about fifteen (15) years ago, as well as a highway commercial C-2. There is a little portion behind the home on the south end that is presently zoned as industrial. Mr. Boyer said that they will be looking for a complete plan unit development for all the acreage. Again, it covers about twenty-three (23) acres. Boyer development plans on deeding over to the Town the extension of 96th Avenue. Mr. Boyer referred to the drawing and stated that we can see it heads to the east and to the rear of their property. Boyer is setting aside approximately two and one-quarter (2 ¼) acres of land for the storm water detention. They will also be extending Earl Drive to 96th Place- South, and make the connection behind the existing McDonalds. So, we will have a continuous frontage road from north to south that will give access all the way down to the Target and the Stracks.

Mr. Boyer stated that part of their plan for development will also deal with the signage district. They are always dealing with different tenants and sizes. Boyer always likes to include specific signage areas and requirements. Monument signs and shopping center signs will be included in the unit plan package. Mr. Boyer stated he would elaborate on that further.

Mr. Boyer explained that the first phase would include three buildings which totals about 39,000 square feet. At the rear of the property, there will be a new commercial and light industrial building that will primarily house Malt Brother’s Brewery. Boyer will be relocating them from the existing Standard Lumber building to the rear of the property. Malt Brother’s plans are to enlarge their business quite a bit. Their plans include a restaurant, a tap room, a larger production facility, and also a retail store. At the north- east corner of 96th and Route 41, Boyer’s first building will be a multi-tenant and small- tenant building of about 14,000 square feet. At the far south end of the property Boyer will have a free-standing single use retail building of about 7,000 square feet. The first phase will include the extension of Earl Drive, as well as all of the site improvements and infrastructure for the entire twenty-three (23) acres.

Mr. Boyer explained Phase II, building wise, will include a couple of out-lots along Route 41 between the multi-tenant building and the single-use building. It will also include approximately 100,000 square feet of retail along the rear of the property. The total of Phase II is roughly 130,000 square feet.

Mr. Boyer referred to a drawing that showed the proposed south elevation of the first multi-tenant building located at the North-East corner of 96th and Route 41. Mr. Boyer stated that from the drawing we can see it has unique architecture and all brick construction. Each store has individual identity and store fronts. At the far- east side of this building, between the first phase building and the second phase building, Boyer will have a large courtyard. The courtyard will be landscaped and have a common area for both buildings.

Mr. Boyer moved on to the next drawing which showed the single tenant building in the far south end of the property on Route 41. He stated the drawing is just a generic single use retail building. The next slide and the next page showed the second phase multi- tenant building that would be located further east of the first building. The building would be facing south along 96th Avenue. That building will also be a small tenant and multi-tenant building. It will have similar architecture to the previous and all brick construction which is complimentary to the first building. Mr. Boyer stated that this is kind of the focal point of the whole center. As you’re coming north on Earl Drive, the elevation of the two buildings is what you are going to see.

Mr. Boyer stated that the last page is simply a development summary showing all the different lots, the buildings, the extension of 96th Place and Earl Drive. Mr. Boyer stated that they are working with the Town and the staff on the Economic Development Agreement. Together they are starting the process of entitlements. Mr. Boyer stated that they hope to be under construction approximately one (1) year from now.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Boyer to repeat the total square footage of the retail and everything included. Mr. Boyer answered the total square footage is about 165,000 square feet.

Mr. Barenie stated he needed a couple clarifications. Mr. Barenie asked if the square footage given of 2.24 acres for drainage area was standard size or how Mr. Boyer decided to cut that size out. Mr. Boyer answered that the existing pond that is there now, which is tremendously over-grown, is taking a lot of water from the North along the existing rail road ditch. The water is coming across Joliet Road and coming down into this pond. They primarily looked at that and understood that they were going to have to take that water. Mr. Boyer expressed that he personally thinks 2.24 acres is over-sized for the property. The final engineering is yet to be done, but they believe it is plenty of land for the detention area needed for that property.

Mr. Barenie also wanted to clarify that if you looking from K-Mart, the phase farthest west on the property would be Phase I. Mr. Boyer said that was correct. Phase I is on the west side primarily along Route 41, as well as the Malt Brother’s building. Mr. Boyer stated that the difficulty with some of this is that they will have to build the rear buildings first before they can tear down all of the lumber yard buildings and relocate the Malt Brothers. They have to keep Malt Brother’s in business, so it will be a little bit of a time issue.

Mr. Setlak said for everyone to take a couple minutes and have a look at the plans.

Mr. Barenie stated that he knows it is kind of early to talk about the specific vendors, but from a standpoint of restaurants he and Mr. Boyer had talked about eventually more than one being in there. He asked if that was correct. Mr. Boyer stated that they are very preliminary in their marketing. He said that this type of development lends itself to more than one restaurant use. He added that a difficulty in the development world is that every letter of intent and every lease they deal with has a confidentiality clause. So, Mr. Boyer can talk about the use, but he cannot talk about users. Mr. Barenie addressed that in the Town surveys there was a huge response for additional restaurants.

Mr. Setlak asked Mr. Boyer to clarify what the center point with the dotted lines on the drawing was, specifically between Earl Drive and the part that anchors east. Mr. Kil stated that it was shared parking. Mr. Boyer said that was correct. He explained that there is a large parking area between Earl Drive and the retail area. It is a large common parking area that is pretty standard in these types of developments. Mr. Boyer stated that there will be shared parking throughout the entire property.

(General discussion ensued)

Mr. Boyer stated everything in yellow is Phase II, everything in dark brown is Phase I, and everything else is parking.

Mr. Setlak asked if the courtyard is set between the Phase I and Phase II buildings on the North side. Mr. Boyer answered yes, on the very North end. Mr. Boyer added that they like to create a lot of common areas in their developments. They have large and wide sidewalks that are defined and will provide walkability between each building.

Boyer likes to be pedestrian friendly.

Ms. Fezler added that in reference to being pedestrian friendly, one of the EDC members who is not here today had asked about parking. She stated it looks as if there is ample parking, but was interested in the size of the parking spaces. Ms. Fezler wanted to know if they are wide enough, because many people drive large vehicles.

She noted that many of the newer developments in local towns have small parking spaces and it makes it difficult to maneuver in and out. Mr. Boyer answered that it would certainly not be an issue. The smallest they ever go with their parking spots is 9 X 18 which is standard, so they do not typically experience any problems with that.

Mr. Setlak asked anyone else had further questions or comments. There was nothing further.

B. REVIEW of POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS and RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS-Status Update.
Mr. Setlak stated this was for Mr. Kil and asked if he had any updates. Mr. Kil stated that everything is pretty much the same as it was last meeting. Renaissance is underway, and the first phase of Greystone is underway. The first phase of The Preserve will begin later on this year. Residential is moving along.

Mr. Kil shared that Bruce (Boyer Development) is the only commercial development we have right now. Residential is busy and we are still doing well. Mr. Kil added that all of the Utility projects will hopefully be underway after tonight. We will see what the Utility Board does. He reiterated that everything is going well and that Bruce (Boyer Development) is the only commercial development we are entertaining right now.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Setlak stated he had no new business. There was no new business from anyone.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Setlak asked if any Board members had anything to report.

Mr. DeYoung commented on St. John’s ranking as #3 in “Safety & Cities”. He stated our Police and Fire Departments should be commended for keeping the Town safe. He said that it was nice to be recognized in that way. Mr. Setlak agreed.

There were no further reports or correspondence from the Board Members.

B. STAFF

There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Setlak stated the meeting was now open to public comment.

Joe Hero 11723 S. Oakridge Drive:

Mr. Hero stated that he would like to remonstrate against the Boyer Development project for the following reasons. He stated that if you look at 96th as it is now, from the other side of the street, it is not wide enough to support a light. If you look at Mr. Boyer’s drawing at the width of the new 96th Place on the other side, you can see that it is much wider than the west side. To Mr. Hero’s understanding, someone is going to have to pay for the widening of 96th on the west side. He does not believe the taxpayers should support a private individual developer by paying that cost.

Mr. Hero added that he also objects to putting in a light at 96th Place. It is too close to 97th where there is already a light. Look at the current traffic on Route 41. We do not want this to turn into another Schererville development of his. If you go up to Main Street on the border of Highland, there is so much congestion. Mr. Hero believes this light would create a lot of congestion on Route 41 and it would hurt the town. He noted that again, he objects to putting a light at 96th Place because it is too close to 97th Lane. If there was going to be an exit to this property, he believes it should be down 97th and out back behind the rail road track side. Mr. Hero referenced the new comprehensive plan and the potential for six (6) lights starting at the north end of Schilling down to 231.

It will create a clog of traffic in our Town and will hurt the economy of the Town. People will want to avoid coming through. Mr. Hero stated that we need to look at the Highland/Schererville development by Mr. Boyer. It has caused a lot of congestion and we do not want that in St. John.

Mr. Hero stated that he objects to Mr. Kil participating in this whole project since he has been charged by the County prosecutor for the conversion of signs. Of course everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but he objects to Mr. Kil’s participation in this whole project. One of the reasons the St. John Homeowner’s Political Action Committee was formed was to avoid the Town of St. John taking certain properties. The impact of Mr. Kil taking those signs on election eve taints this whole project. Mr. Hero objects to both the project and Mr. Kil’s participation.

Mr. Hero added that his other concern is that there are no detailed plans here as far as parking space. For a development this big, the only way to know if parking is adequate, as Ms. Fezler asked, is to detail what facilities are going to be in there and how many parking spaces will they need. To give a broad rush “ok” to changing this to a different type of PUD that allows everybody to do what they want to do; Mr. Hero objects to rezoning this without detail. What types of businesses will be there will determine the draw.

Mr. Hero stated his next issue is in regards to Earl Drive on Mr. Boyer’s drawings. If you look at Earl Drive you will see McDonald’s at the back of it. Right now Earl Drive is not adequate enough to hold even the McDonald’s traffic. When you come down and around the curve every now and then there is a chance you will hit somebody head on. Earl Drive will need to be widened to support this project to 96th Place. This means taking somebody else’s property to widen that road. Mr. Hero asked, “Who will bear the cost of that? Not the taxpayer’s of St. John I hope”. Mr. Hero said the developer should pay the cost of widening Earl Drive.

Mr. Hero again referenced Mr. Boyer’s drawings. He noticed that where the new Malt Brother’s Brewery will be there are phantom lines that go to Joliet. Mr. Hero stated the issue has not yet been resolved. From the drawing today that is a dead end. On the drawings they saw at the Plan Commission there were phantom lines going to Joliet. There is a lot of controversy about putting a turn around there or any kind of exit there. There are school buses that go across Joliet. Mr. Hero believes this plan is completely inadequate as far as input and output locations. Once this is built, he believes there will be pressure to push through to Joliet. That is the wrong answer. If there is going to be a development there, it has got to be using 97th Lane where there is already a light. As it is now, you can go right to VanTils and then right to Tractor Supply. Earl Drive should be the main entrance, or put a road behind Strack and VanTils that loops back around in a square to Earl Drive. Mr. Hero said that to him the potential of pushing this on to Joliet is totally wrong. Down the road it will be a problem of safety, health, and welfare to the people of St. John, because there will be pressure to put an exit on Joliet near the tracks where school buses go across. Joliet already has its own traffic problems. Mr. Hero again addressed the need for detailed plans.

Mr. Hero asked the Council to remember when someone wanted to put the Tin Cup Restaurant by Bingo Lake. The restaurant never evolved. It had nice renderings and everyone voted to approve, yet it never happened. Before we approve something we need to have more detailed plans. He believes we need to have a conversation with INDOT on the 96th Lane entrance. He heard Mr. Kil at the Plan Commission say that Mr. Kil talked to INDOT and they had a senator there. Mr. Hero would like to know what that conversation about 96th Place was. Mr. Hero said he would like to correct his wording of 96th to 96th Place. He believes this project is premature and it has a lot of defects. If we really want to improve the Town, we have to look to the future and look at details. For all of these reasons, Mr. Hero remonstrates against this project. St. John needs development but it needs the right kind of development. St. John does not need congestion problems because someone did not do their job. In his life he has been a lawyer and an engineer, so he looks at it both ways. A plan should never be approved without detailed engineering.

Trent Vanderzee 9501 Wicker Avenue (Resides in Cedar Lake):

Mr. Vanderzee stated that it is interesting to have two sides here. We have a developer who wants to bring in retail and we have an acknowledgement from a guy on the other side who thinks if we need a retail it should be done well. Mr. Vanderzee said that Mr. Hero is right about the point of the access for the development. The stoplight is too close, between 96th and 97th. He stated that he has a selfish interest by having the property at 9501 Wicker. It aligns directly north where 95th Place or Avenue would come across if it were to cut through to Joliet Street. Mr. Vanderzee approached this when becoming the owner of the property. He was looking into what the long term plans of St. John were as an outside party and looking at what would work, obviously with a selfish interest. As he was looking over the map and the proposed development, it seemed to him that the best way would be to connect Joliet Street to Route 41, which seems to be in the interest of everybody in St. John. There is a problem with that intersection there- high traffic, high accident counts, and so on. It seems to make the most sense to connect in such a way that would cut through directly east and connect to Thielen Street if it just curved up a little bit. That involves a lot of property owners, but he does not think it is outside the realm of possibility with a little bit of work. In fact, Mr. Vanderzee’s property could come into play if we did not want a straight shot. It is an old house; an abandoned house that used to be Once Upon A Time. He noted that the Council is probably familiar with that site. If that road connected through there and connected with Thielen Street, it would function a lot better. Mr. Vanderzee stated that just driving up and down Route 41 you can see how many cars are sitting at 95th trying to come out versus 96th. There are a lot more cars sitting at 95th. Everybody in the subdivisions to the west of there comes out and sits at that corner by the meat shop and that other little developed area by the north side of the K-Mart. It just functions better; as they come east to Route 41 or to Wicker that they end up there. That would be a more natural place to have a stoplight. It is 1,400 feet from that location north to 93rd Avenue. It is 1,000 feet from that location south to the stop light at Stracks, 97th. In the long term plan the recommended distance was at least 1,000 feet, and Mr. Vanderzee believes it is 1,050 feet from 97th to 96th. Mr. Vanderzee added that it is also more central of a location. It spreads out the traffic a little more which the other gentleman (Mr. Hero) was concerned about.

Mr. Vanderzee stated that he saw it mentioned in a newspaper article that one of the interests in putting a stop light at 96th was that it would potentially help the K-Mart. It would make it more desirable for future development. Mr. Vanderzee said however, there is a bank in between 96th and the K-Mart whereas; if you put a stoplight at the corner of 95th you are creating a stop light corner for the K-Mart property; which would even better encourage the development there.

Mr. Vanderzee added that he was just trying to think through everything and maybe give a fresh approach through the eyes of a guy who is not a developer or planner.

Sometimes that kind of approach is a pipe dream with all the property owners involved. He stated that it is kind of a unique opportunity having access to his parcel which backs up to Gerry Swets’ parcel. He noted that this is where Boyer might even be interested in making it happen too. There is a lot of open space there on the back of Louise’s Hallmark. There is about an extra acre of property in the backyard of Gerry Swets’, which Mr. Vanderzee stated he thinks Mr. Swets would be willing to part with. Mr. Vanderzee showed Mr. Swets his layout of this. Mr. Swets did not want to be a trader to the other people in the subdivision who he’s taking the lead for them on trying to combat the overtaking of some of the older historic properties. But Mr. Swets went as far as to take it to Mr. Birlson to show it to him and see if he would have any interest. Mr. Vanderzee said he hoped he was not stating any names the EDC was not familiar with. He hoped the EDC was familiar with the properties, as he knew this stuff has been going on for a while.

Mr. Vanderzee expressed that he understands and can appreciate someone who has a sentimental attachment to their property and what that means for them. The residents of St. John could convince these people to come over to the side of what is in the best interest for St. John in the long term; 50 or 100 years out. Mr. Vanderzee would like to think that they could be somehow talked into and maybe enticed a little bit into understanding that there is potentially some value for them in doing this. Also, it is for the good of St. John of where this street should go. If you are talking 100 years out, where you want to put a stop light-put it where it makes sense. There are obviously other property owners in the middle. Max Groen has got a shop there with some property that would have to be cut through and divided up. Most of the business properties would stand to benefit. Look at the overlay. Boyer’s development, as proposed, could stand and it could actually add more commercial frontage by still having a corner at 96th that is accessible and still have a street coming in there, but without a stoplight. It will certainly accept, readily, right turners, but maybe not as quickly left turners off of Wicker. If you take his plan just as it is; instead of curving up to Joliet Street take it up north through all of these other properties. It would take some work. If someone could manage a meeting of all of the interested parties then maybe we could get them all on board. Mr. Vanderzee re-states that it may just be a pipe dream.

Mr. Kil: Just so the board is clear. You are suggesting that we condemn the houses on Joliet Street and run the road through Gerald Swets’ house and Robert Birlson’s house?

Mr. Vanderzee: No, I think Gerry Swets’ house could stand, his is the nicest.

Mr. Kil: I think that if that is what you are suggesting...I just want the board to make sure they understand exactly what it would take to do this.

Mr. Vanderzee: I am suggesting that Gerry Swets’ house, which is the nicest of the three and has the most money invested in it, could stand. I think it would come through his backyard. Mr. Birlson’s house and Mr. Vangundy’s house would have to be sacrificed for the cause; two historic homes with sentimental attachment.

Mr. Kil: Did Gerald Swets agree to sacrifice his neighbor’s homes? Mr. Vanderzee: Oh, no; No. I am not putting those words in his mouth. Mr. Kil: He didn’t. Ok, just checking.

Mr. Vanderzee: I think he would be willing to see some of his backyard go which is a lesser sacrifice...If his neighbors were willing to sacrifice for the cause too. I don’t think that he believed for a minute that they were willing to sacrifice for that cause. I just only mentioned his willingness to bring it to them as an indication that he wasn’t necessarily opposed, vehemently opposed, to the idea himself.

Mark Barenie: I think he was being nice to you.

Mr. Austgen: Mr. and Mrs. Birlson were here last month to this meeting, and stood up and told us about their fourth generation ownership and their property. They passionately requested consideration that their property be left alone, and that this improvement activity not be considered in any way, shape, or form. They brought their next generation with them, as evidence of their commitment to staying on the property.

Mr. Vanderzee: And I haven’t spoken to them. I understand that is a detriment to this. I don’t see how that affects this proposal as it sits at all or the connection to Joliet Street.

Mr. Kil: (begins) What you’re suggesting is...

Mr. Vanderzee: I am not proposing, no one is proposing taking that house at this point.

Mr. Kil: Everything that you are proposing contradicts everything that we have been told by the property owners on Joliet Street. Repeatedly, I might add. Passionately, also.

Every single thing you’re suggesting completely contradicts what came out of their mouths in public meetings. For...how many times folks?

Mr. Barenie: A year. Mr. Kil: A year or better.

Mr. Vanderzee: The only proposal that has been brought to them, granted it didn’t remove their homes, but the proposal was for a round-a-bout right there by the railroad tracks. Which, I think they looked at as solving a problem in the wrong way. So, I am proposing to them and the people of St. John that they consider solving the problem the right way. I did bring my plans to a city planner who said that makes the most sense.

Mr. Kil: The proposal also includes eliminating all left turns on Joliet Street. Did you know that too, right?

Mr. Vanderzee: Correct. So the traffic from Joliet Street that wants to go south on Wicker would then be steered through...

Mr. Kil: 96th

Mr. Vanderzee: Or 94th or 95th if it were to be that. So, I guess I’m not remonstrating against what’s being done. I think this could be done in addition. I think it should come into play and consideration of the stoplight, and if I’m “smoking something” to even consider it then you’re welcome to think that.

Mr. Kil: I just find it interesting that Gerald Swets is willing to entertain the proposal to take to his neighbors to tear down their homes. I just really find that interesting, if that is in fact what you’re saying.

Mr. Vanderzee: I think it demonstrates that a guy who cares about the Town of St. John enough to lead an effort against what is happening and was willing to take it to his neighbors; believes it is for the good of the Town of St. John. Not for his neighbors, but for the good of the Town of St. John.

Mr. Kil: I just find it very interesting.

Mr. Vanderzee: I’m not a city planner. I just throw it out there for consideration and whatever it’s worth. I think it would be difficult to make it happen. I think there could be a lot of little guys who end up winning with a little bit of frontage on some busy areas. I think it could be done without much detriment to Mr. Boyer who might lose a stoplight corner, but could be part of the negotiations on how the rest of it took place and maybe end up with some additional space to develop too. So, for what it’s worth.

Mr. Setlak asked if there were any more comments. There were none.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Setlak stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Ms. Stoming. Mr. Barenie seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes--- five. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:44 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

07-28-2016 Economic Development Committee

July 28, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the July 28, 2016, Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, John DeYoung, Richard Setlak, William Keith and Kelly Stoming. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Ms. Gina Fezler was absent. Mark Barenie arrived at 5:12 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: June 23, 2016

Mr. Georgiou stated that the first item on the agenda was the approval of the June 23, 2016 meeting minutes. He asked for comments, questions, or a motion for approval.

Mr. Setlak made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted. Mr. DeYoung seconded that motion. The motion was carried by voice vote. (5/0) Ayes ---five. Nays --- none. Mr. Barenie was absent at this time.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements-Review and Action
Mr. Georgiou stated that a presentation was made at last month’s EDC meeting regarding the Boyer Development Project on Route 41. After having that presentation and having reviewed what was presented, the EDC is being asked tonight to discuss and/or make a recommendation one way or another so that the project can be forward to the Plan Commission. Mr. Georgiou clarified it would be a recommendation to the Redevelopment Commission and the Town Council. To Mr. Georgiou’s understanding, the EDC is acting on the concept plan as submitted by Boyer. There are subsequent, off-site developments that are part of the agreement and that the Town will be doing in addition. Tonight the Committee is only being asked to comment, review, and recommend, or not, the concept plan of Boyer Development. Mr. Georgiou asked for any comment or discussion.

Mr. Keith asked if center turn lane striping had been approved. He said he was aware it does not directly affect the Boyer Development, because there will be a {traffic} light, but he wanted to know if the center turn lanes were approved. Mr. Kil answered that INDOT has approved the re-striping of the bi-directional center turn lane from 93rd Avenue north to the bridge. Mr. Keith: That’s it? Mr. Kil: Yes, that is it; they are in the process of surveying the entire stretch of highway right now for a future project to locate a center turn lane, but we are not going to get that as a part of this project. Mr. Keith: So, they are going to line it as it was before? Mr. Kil: That is accurate; yes, with the exception of 93rd north to the bridge. Instead of all the stripes, it will be marked for a bi-directional center turn lane. Mr. Keith said that it is very reckless of the State to do that. He cannot comprehend how they happily take everyone’s tax dollars, but will not give us a safe road to do business on. Mr. Kil said that apparently it is part of a future project, and he has been told near future.

Mr. Keith said his other concern was with the Boyer Project, which he is in favor of, but thought the tie in to Joliet was going to be concurrent with the project to alleviate some of the traffic concern. Mr. Keith asked why invite more people to St. John to do business and just congest the place more? People coming through will maybe want to stop and get a coffee, and then there will be four cars backed up on Route 41 waiting to turn into Dunkin Donuts instead of two. Mr. Keith was not at the last meeting. He did read the notes, but wants to know when the Joliet street tie in to the back of the Boyer Development is going to happen.

Mr. Kil answered that it is part of the off-site projects that Mr. Georgiou had previously mentioned. There are four off-site improvements as part of the concept plan. One of them is the tie in on the south end of the Boyer Project to the Strack’s and Target Development via a frontage road behind the Al’s Auto Body. The other is the traffic improvements at 96th and Route 41. The other improvements are the traffic improvements at Joliet and U.S. 41, and then Joliet and 96th which would be the tie in. Those are the four off-site improvements that Mr. Georgiou was referring to.

Mr. Georgiou added that those are still being itemized and are still being concluded in the development agreement, which is under the authority of the Redevelopment Commission and the Town Council to approve. He noted that it is not what the EDC has in front of them tonight. Mr. Kil clarified that the other agreement does contain what Mr. Keith was just talking about. Mr. Georgiou said the agreement is part of the overall development. Mr. Kil explained that if the EDC were to recommend the Boyer Project, it is not only the project it is also the off-site improvements. It is one package.

Mr. Georgiou said that it was made clear last meeting what is Phase I, Phase II, and what is encompassed in the project. He asked for any other additional comments on the Boyer Concept Plan.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there was a motion from the Committee. Mr. Setlak said he would make a motion to recommend approval of the Boyer Development Plan and Concept Plan as submitted and presented at the last meeting, as depicted in the document. Mr. DeYoung seconded that motion. Motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none. Mr. Barenie was absent at this time.

B. Review of Potential Commercial Developments and Residential Developments-Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil for any progress or updates, and asked for an update on the pavement construction currently going on.

Mr. Kil said that the men are currently working nights. They are planning on striping bi- directionally the center turn lane that is supposedly supposed to exist between 93rd and the bridge. INDOT has been surveying for a center turn lane up and down Route 41. It is part of a separate and distinct project, so it will not happen as part of this resurfacing project. The roads are going to be resurfaced and restriped and that is the extent of this project.

Mr. Kil said that the residential developments are moving quite rapidly. Renaissance, Mill Creek, The Preserve, and Greystone are all moving forward. Mr. Kil did receive the preliminary engineering of the traffic signal at 101st and Calumet. There are some site improvements that are associated with that project that Providence Bank will be undertaking. Then there will be a traffic signal being put in. All of those projects are still moving forward.

Mr. Kil mentioned bids are being opened tonight by the Utility Board for Lift Station 1, which is a key component to our sanitary and sewer system. There are some extensive projects that are going to have to be taken under advisement. As far as Mr. Kil is planning, the engineers will review the projects and then Mr. Austgen will review them with a recommendation back to the Board for the August meeting.

Mr. Kil stated he does not have much to speak about in regards to commercial developments. As far as Mr. Boyer’s project, he does not have anyone coming forward yet.

Mr. Georgiou shared that he had received a letter from the owner of Mama D’s Pizza, the business on the corner of Joliet and Route 41. To Mr. Georgiou’s understanding the same letter was also sent to the Town. Mr. Kil confirmed that he had also received the letter and passed it on to the Town Council. Mr. Georgiou said that the letter was the business owner’s opinion relative to the improvement plans on Joliet and Route 41. Mr. Kil said he has met with the owner of Mama D’s, Mr. Bill Anderson. Mr. Kil said after speaking, Mr. Anderson called him and inquired about there being a left hand turn onto Joliet. Mr. Kil told him that as far as the preliminary design and concept plan, they call for the elimination of left turns on Joliet Street. Mr. Anderson’s concern was that it will stop at least 50% of the traffic down Joliet Street, which is a concern for Mama D’s Pizza. Mr. Kil said that after talking with Mr. Anderson he knows Mr. Anderson is ultimately concerned with losing traffic in front of his business. They also talked about the use of his business and how a pizza place is not typically a destination location. It is not usual to drive by and decide to stop and order a pizza. It is more typical that customers order from home, but Mr. Anderson did voice his concern with the elimination. Mr. Kil said Mr. Anderson is just guessing as far as the traffic impact, but it does concern him.

Mr. Georgiou wanted to note that there were two (2) accidents on Joliet and Route 41 with injuries this afternoon. Mr. Kil said he had not heard anything about them. Mr. Georgiou said they were both within an hour or two time frame. One was on the corner by St. John Liquor’s and one was at the intersection of Route 41 and Joliet. Mr. Kil said that is why it is one of the off-site improvements that are being planned, because it continues to be one of our biggest problem areas.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Schedule Joint Meeting with Plan Commission for Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Georgiou stated that the Comprehensive Plan had a public hearing, and it was deferred to a study session of the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission study session was subsequently contacted by the chair of the Plan Commission, Mr. Michael Forbes, who requested and asked if the EDC would be interested in having a joint study session with the Plan Commission to discuss the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Georgiou’s comment in response to Mr. Forbes is that the EDC has been involved for almost a year and a half with developing the Comprehensive Plan, or at least the groundwork that went into it. So, the EDC would be more than happy to meet with or have a joint study session to discuss the background, what was involved, how it was recommended from the EDC’s side of it, and discuss any questions the Plan Commission may have.

Mr. Georgiou noted that the joint meeting is only on the agenda as an item. He assumed Mr. Kil would schedule or coordinate the joint session with the Plan Commission whether it be concurrent with the Plan Commission study session because the EDC has no study session. Mr. Kil said he had told the Plan Commission that with the amount of people on the EDC and the amount of people on the Plan commission, trying to coordinate a schedule is very difficult. His recommendation is that the joint meeting occurs on one of the regularly scheduled meeting nights. The Plan Commission Study Session is the third Wednesday of every month. The EDC meetings are the fourth Thursday of every month. Mr. Kil recommended that if one of those meetings could be a joint study session that would be nice because then only one board has to coordinate.

Mr. Kil asked if there were any thoughts on his recommendation.

Mr. Georgiou responded that they will not decide tonight, but if the members of the EDC committee could say that August 17th would work then they would piggy back the joint study session to the Plan Commission study session. Mr. Kil said he would address that with the Plan Commission on August 3rd, which is their next regular meeting. Mr. Keith asked what time on August 17th. Mr. Kil said 7 p.m. Mr. Georgiou asked if the joint session would be first agenda or last agenda. Mr. Kil said the joint session would be first agenda. Mr. Kil asked if it would be possible for the EDC members to meet at 6 p.m. if necessary. All members said yes. Mr. Kil confirmed August 17th starting as early as 6 p.m. if the Plan Commission can coordinate with that.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou asked the Board members for any reports or correspondence.

Mr. Keith said there were verbals from a lot of people in Illinois that it seems there is a resurgence of people wanting to move to Indiana. People find out Mr. Keith lives in Indiana and they tell him “so and so just moved to Indiana”, so Mr. Keith believes it is another peak.

There were no other reports.

Mr. Barenie asked if the members would be receiving the document that was met on last Friday regarding marketing. Mr. Kil said yes, as soon as it becomes available. Mr. Georgiou asked if that was something to Plan Commission or outside of this committee. Mr. Barenie said it was more involved in this committee. He asked if the members could get it forwarded to them in draft form. Mr. Kil said he could do that as soon as it comes in.

B. STAFF

Mr. Georgiou asked for any staff comment. There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou stated the meeting was open to public comment.

Joe Hero 11723 South Oakridge Drive:

Mr. Hero stated that he would like to remonstrate against the decision the EDC made tonight about the Boyer development. The first reason for the remonstrance is that he believes the meeting notice for all the meetings tonight was not posted 48 hours prior, as required, on the bulletin board outside. The other part is that by putting this development in there is a dedicated street on the drawing that the Town will have to pay for long term. Mr. Hero believes that when building a big development, the burden should be on the developer to maintain all of the roads on the internal part of it. He said he was unsure if the committee looked at the plans, but they show a dedicated street starting from somewhere on 96th, dead-ending, and going maybe in the future to Joliet.

Mr. Hero stated that he is opposed to the Town paying for a dedicated street from 96th to Route 41 to Joliet.

Mr. Hero asked if anyone had taken soil borings on the 23 acre development. To his understanding from years ago there is a peat-bog that runs from the west end towards the rail-road tracks. He thinks it is important that someone does soil borings to make sure the soil is adequate to sustain whatever is put in there. Mr. Hero recalls that when the apartments were built on the other side of K-Mart there were telephone polls that had to be built on pilings.

Mr. Hero said another problem is the development acreage. He thinks someone should produce the title for the land, so that they own the land as it is going through for zoning change and everything else. He believes the petitioner should be in ownership of the land in order to ask for zoning changes.

Mr. Hero said that the most critical part of this is the blockage on 41. Look at Calumet in Munster or look at where Highland and Schererville meet. The Boyer Development will create total congestion and will push all the traffic onto the side streets. Mr. Hero believes this raises safety issues. He also opposes all of the traffic lights that are proposed.

Gerald Swets 9490 Joliet Street:

Mr. Swets said he would like to comment on the discussions about Joliet Street, regarding Mama D’s and any other businesses he anticipates being built there in the future. Since that is where the Town Center is planned that is where businesses are going to be built. Mr. Swets said that he has seen businesses fail, because there was no convenient way for customers to get in and out. He grew up in Highland and he saw businesses on the corner of Ridge Road open and close repeatedly, because the traffic patterns did not fit. As far as the Comprehensive Plan, we are asking that businesses be built on Joliet Street while also cutting off all avenues to it by not allowing people to turn onto Joliet from Route 41. Mr. Swets agrees that it is dangerous and something needs to be done, but adding more businesses to Joliet is not the answer. Businesses there will fail because of the traffic pattern. Mr. Swets stated that he remonstrates against those decisions and ultimately against the Comprehensive Plan for Joliet Street.

He would like to see the plans moved back north of 93rd where it currently stands on the 2005 Comprehensive Plan. It goes from 93rd north. There is a lot of property over there that can be developed in any way without taking people’s houses away.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the public comment from the public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan was closed or if it was continued. Mr. Kil stated that the public comment was concluded. Mr. Georgiou stated that with the comments being closed, they have already made the recommendation for the Comprehensive Plan. It has already gone beyond the EDC relative to the Plan Commission, so the public comments would be subsequent to the Plan Commission making the recommendation to the Town Council.

Mr. Swets clarified to Mr. Georgiou that the EDC will still be meeting with the Plan Commission to recommend the Comprehensive Plan, so although the public comment is closed, and he can no longer comment on it, the EDC will still be able to comment on it. Mr. Georgiou said that he understands and he stands corrected.

Mr. Keith asked Mr. Swets if he had a discussion with the opportunistic developer that bought his cousin’s old property which was the scrapbook store. He restated his question as asking Mr. Swets if he had discussions with the person who bought that opportunistically about selling some of Mr. Swets’ land commercially to benefit that property.

Mr. Swets said that he did. He said he knew the young man as a child because he went to church with his parents. The young man called Mr. Swets and told him he bought that property and wanted to have a discussion about it. Mr. Swets said he would be more than happy and invited him over to talk. They had coffee and talked for about an hour and a half about what his plans were. Then, the young man said he would like to show him one more option and that option was the road. Mr. Swets said the young man talked about bringing a road in and Mr. Swets said that was ridiculous. Mr. Swets said he asked the young man if Mr. Kil sent him to his house and the man said, “No.” Mr. Swets clarified that he did talk to the young man about selling the western third of his property which is directly behind the property the young man bought and behind the real estate business. He believes it is a 100 X 300 foot square that is just part of his back yard. Mr. Swets said he told the young man he would consider selling that portion, but as far as a road coming through-absolutely not.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So-moved,” by Mr. Setlak. Ms. Stoming seconded that motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0). Ayes---six. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:27 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

08-17-2016 Joint Plan Commission and EDC

August 17, 2016 Joint Plan Commission and Economic Development Committee Study Session Meeting Minutes

PLAN COMMISSION:

Michael Forbes John Kennedy Bob Birlson
Jon Gill Gregory Volk  
Jason Williams Steve Kozel  

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE:

Nick Georgiou John DeYoung Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
William Keith Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler Kelly Stoming David Austgen, Town Attorney
Richard Setlak    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Gregory Volk called to order the St. John Plan Commission Study Session on October 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Mr. Forbes called the August 17, 2016 Joint Plan Commission and Economic Development Committee study session to order at 6:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

BUSINESS:

Mr. Forbes said that first he would like to thank the EDC members for taking time to meet with the Plan Commission tonight. There is no doubt that the Comprehensive Plan has been the topic of conversation lately. Mr. Forbes wanted to get both the Plan Commission and EDC together, so that they may clear the air. He would like them to have a straightforward discussion about what the EDC did as far as bringing together the information. He would like to possibly address the major outstanding concerns about the plan.

Mr. Forbes said that a lot of people don’t know that the EDC was responsible for the compilation of information, and the formation of the comprehensive master plan. This is typically something that would have been done by the Plan Commission, but this time around the thought was to get some fresh eyes on, and that is when the EDC came in.

Mr. Forbes asked that the EDC members talk about what their thoughts were, as far as gathering the information. Mr. Forbes asked that before they do that, everyone introduce themselves, so everyone knows who is who and where they come from.

Introductions:

Nick Georgiou: I am currently the President of the Economic Development Committee. I own my own business here in St. John. I am a local architect and contractor. My business is on Joliet Street.

Kelly Stoming: I work for People’s Bank. We have an office here in St. John. I am also a lifelong resident of the town.

Gina Fezler: I am part of the Economic Development Committee. I am also a resident of St. John for about ten (10) years. I work for First Financial Bank doing business lending.

Jon Gill: I am a member of the Plan Commission. I work for the Town of St. John in the Building and Planning department. I have been a resident of St. John, since 1988.

Robert Birlson: I work for a local civil engineering firm for the last 18 years. I have been doing civil work for the over 25 years-working locally, mostly municipalities. I have been a resident of St. John for the last 18 or 19 years.

Steve Kozel: I work for the Building and Planning Commission, also. I have been in town since 1978.

Mike Forbes: Both Councilman and Plan Commission member. I have been on the Plan Commission for about 20 years now. I was a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals. I have been a resident of St. John for about 23 years.

Greg Volk: I have been a resident of St. John for about 20 years. I am also a Councilman and Plan Commission member. I was a BZA member. I work for Arcelor Mittal in East Chicago.

Jason Williams: Plan Commission and BZA. I work for Pepsi-Co downtown in Finance. I live in North Point, and I have lived in town since 2013.

John Kennedy: I have been on the BZA and Plan Commission for all of five minutes. [Laughter] Thank you everyone. I have been a resident of St. John for 13 years. I work for a firm called American Structure Point. We are a civil engineering and architectural group based out of Indianapolis. We have a local office in Highland.

Bill Keith: I was born and raised in St. John, so I have been here 53 years. I bought my parent’s house, so them before me. I graduated from Indiana University, and worked for the family roofing company for 25 years. Then, I developed a solar powered attic fan that we make out of Warsaw, Indiana and we sell them all over the world. So, that keeps me busy day to day. I am a member of the EDC. I made an unsuccessful run at Town Council several years ago, but now I am on the EDC, and I have been on it for a few years.

Richard Setlak: I have been in St. John for just over eleven years. I am retired. I used to work for a major national government. I just wanted to say that. (Laughter) Anyway, I was an auditor there looking at government contracts. I have been a member of the EDC for a few years now.

John DeYoung: I am a member of the EDC. I have a retail business here in town. I have lived here since 2000, and I am glad to be a part of this group.

A. Review of Comprehensive and Thoroughfare Plan

Mr. Forbes said that we would now get started with the basics. There have been a couple public hearings on the comprehensive master plan. Mr. Forbes asked that the EDC members walk the Plan Commission through some of the steps that they went through.

Mr. Georgiou said he would give some background. When the EDC was initially formed it was more of an advisory committee of the Town, the Town Council, and the Plan Commission. It was an outshoot of conversations between himself, Mr. Forbes, Mr. Barenie, and the Chamber of Commerce about helping to promote business and development in the Town of St. John. So, when we initially formed-most of the members here were some of the original members. Although, Gina has changed.

Mr. Georgiou said they actually went through a very methodical approach to what it will take to attract business to St. John. Plus, what guidelines and plans should be in place in order for the town to orderly grow as it moves forward to what we have been told will be 40,000 people in the year 2040.

So, the very first document that the EDC was involved in was to generate the first promotional document. Mr. Georgiou held it up and said that he hopes everyone has seen it. This was to be used as a document the town could use to promote themselves for economic development and business development. The other offshoot that came off of that document was thought as “Ok, now we can tell people this is an attractive place to come to, but what is the town really looking for. What does it really need?”

Mr. Georgiou said that the next document endeavor they went on was to create the Metro Study Opportunity Analysis. This document is 92 pages long, and again Mr. Georgiou said hopefully all members have seen it. If they haven’t, Mr. Georgiou explained that this document identified: the demographics of the town, the area, what it is lacking, what it could attract as far as businesses, retail, restaurants, and even residential. This identified even residential growth in the town relative to what was initially generated off of the first document. This study became the next wealth of information that the EDC now had at their fingertips to then go forward.

Mr. Georgiou said they knew the Comprehensive Plan was developed around 11 years ago in 2005. So, the next step would obviously be to update the Comprehensive Plan. Now, the mission to think how can we attract and orderly grow development in the town, understanding what are the needs or shortfalls of trying to attract business in the town, was to now update the Comprehensive Plan and see where we have come in 12 years. Mr. Georgiou said the EDC was the basis of meeting with SCB, who did the original plan, and provided input, background, etc., on going forward to what was now generated.

Mr. Georgiou said that he was now going to let Christine (Carlyle) talk. He wanted her to explain in some detail how we didn’t just pull this out and say ok we are going to update this etc. The number one factor was town input. Mr. Georgiou re-stated that he would like her to talk about that, because they were talking ahead of time about how the response was phenomenal. There was a public hearing on the original Comprehensive Plan. There was a public hearing on the last Comprehensive Plan, and as Mr. Georgiou believes around 300 people showed up to the public hearing for this Comprehensive Plan. The feedback in particular that drove what some of the conclusions were was about 18%, where normal response is about 2%.

Ms. Christine Carlyle said our response was actually 20%. Out of the 5,300 residents in St. John, we received a little over 1,000 surveys back. That is really amazing. Mr. Keith asked Ms. Carlyle to please introduce herself, so that everyone knows who she is.

Ms. Carlyle stated that she is with Solomon-Cordwell & Buenz.. She is the Principle and Director of Planning. She worked on the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, and then recently came back to meet with the EDC.

She has been working with them on this Comprehensive Plan that we are all reviewing now. Ms. Carlyle said that their focus has really been to understand what has changed in the community, and where we want to go. She reminded the members that in many ways (regarding) the Comprehensive Plan from 2005, we actually filled out what the original plans were to improve the area, growth ratings that were established that were associated with our water and sewer boundaries, and looking at our commercial corridors.

Understanding some of the feedback that was done from the Metro Study and looking at our demographics we were a little shy of 17,000 people. She added that just so everyone knows, when we started we were at 8,400 in 2004 for the first plan. So, it is pretty amazing growth for this community. People just don’t see that. A lot of places just don’t see that, so it is a real opportunity to shape where we want to go.

That is part of what we were looking at as far as what the town needs. There were definitely needs for housing. There were needs for determining where we want our commercial developments to go, and that’s where the Town Center idea…it started early in the first 2005 Comprehensive Plan. It was a question of it moving around, and there were a lot of conversations about where would be the best location for it. There were discussions about Joliet Street being through the heart and center of the original development of the Town.

So, that was part of what they looked at. In terms of-could it happen there; could we get it away from the heavy traffic of U.S. 41. As well as, since that period of time we have seen a lot of traffic accidents and things along those lines. So, understanding how to improve U.S. 41, and they worked with Mr. Denny Cobb of First Group Engineering. He set the intersections and where the opportunities were for signalization in the future.

But, they just looked at how that might affect our land use and our roads associated with that. Ms. Carlyle said that those were some of the big elements at the time, but that there is a lot of material in there. The plan is really based on quality of life; and improving the quality of life. There is a lot of recreation, a lot of connections, bike trails, and it was an opportunity for taking as much input and putting it in one place, so that we may have a book basically guiding the Plan Commission for the next ten (10) years.

There is nothing mandatory in it. It is really about putting together a list of goals and aspirations, so that when the opportunity comes we can then use it to help evaluate some individuals who have concerns aabout properties. It is really so we can have a bigger picture in mind when we are thinking about what the town is going to be like in ten (10) years. Ms. Carlyle said that actually, most of the time, a comp plan is done within ten (10) years.

If we are on track with what it is that we want, and we are connected to our demographic and what the trajectory is for growth; we would not see beyond ten years. Ms. Carlyle said that that is a quick synopsis.

Mr. Georgiou said there is another piece he would like to append to that. He said that when the EDC concluded their recommendation, it was for the October 2015 version; and the Town was on a parallel track, he is unsure of the details if it was the Plan Commission or Town Council ; but the Thoroughfare Study was not initially a part of the Comprehensive Plan, but since the town was on a parallel track with the Thoroughfare Study it was decided at the conclusion, at least when they concluded this, that it would make sense to append the Thoroughfare Study, because again it was a plan for where the town was going and its street and plans, and where it was going to add that to it.

Therefore, the Thoroughfare Plan was then appended to it, to which he believes was the February 2016 version. Again, guidelines for as the Town grows, what should be looked at as far as streets and thoroughfare approach.

Mr. Forbes said he would like to touch on some of the points that Ms. Carlyle made a little more. He believes there are some of the bigger concerns that have been passed along. The Comprehensive Master Plan is a required document. We are required to have that by the State; but it is not a hard-fast “by the book document”. There was a conversation at the last Plan Commission meeting; some of the people that were remonstrating said that if we put this document out there “you have to follow it”. The attorney was there that night, and he said that we do not have to follow it but we can when we want to. Mr. Forbes said that to him, it goes to the thought that it is a “pie-in-the-sky” ten thousand foot view of the Town.

If we want to focus on something, we can, but we don’t have to. We can use it to protect ourselves if we need to. Mr. Forbes said that is the way he has always looked at the Comprehensive Plan. He added that as Ms. Carlyle said, there are things that do get done, but not everything gets done. Again, going back to the survey, we have based this direction on what the residents of the Town have said.

Mr. Georgiou said that most of those areas were reinforced by the respondents and the majority of input and direction that people had indicated. In particular, obviously the one area that generated commentary was the Town Center, it was like 78%. The Town Center in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan was from Wall Street to 93rd Avenue. And as the Town is growing and it is going more to the South, it was always around the Civic Center. That is what always considered “downtown”, because relative to that (Civic Center). As the town grew and the respondents and having looked at the growth pattern, it is moving just a little bit more South but it is still concentrated around the Civic Center.

Mr. Georgiou explained that again, as things are moving farther South; and as Ms. Carlyle indicated our growth from 8,400 to 17,000 people; the train station was another thing that morphed from the 2005 Comprehensive Plan. As residential development moved South and also the current development, one of the developers came forward; and said this will be in agreement with the EDC and the Town of where the train station will be. It used to be off of Wall Street by Aspen Café, and now it is down by U.S. 231. Mr. Georgiou said to Mr. Forbes that like he said they had envisioned that in five (5) years from now, or for the next census or when this plan is updated again; that it will continue to evolve.

Mr. Georgiou said this is where the EDC believes they are at in the plan, and it is not legally binding in terms of just because we say something should be “here” that it dictates that it is in fact going to happen.

Mr. Keith said that he would like to make a comment about the train station part of it. He said that long story short, he had a conversation with Congressman Pete Visclosky; and some other people about the train, and this whole thought seemed like it was starting to get serious about locating it around the bus barn for Kolling Elementary School, kind of around that area. Then, Mr. Keith heard that they wanted to dead head the train there, or in other words put a service center there. Mr. Keith said that which to him means storing all the cars, and having locomotives running through the night. That reminds him of an industrial area. So, Mr. Keith got into another discussion with Congressman Visclosky and asked that if we were able to identify some other land, would they be open to hearing that. They told him, absolutely. So, Mr. Keith put together another meeting with the Congressmen and a few other people. Some of the committee and commission members were there.

They identified this new land, and it just so happens that it is south side of town along the railroad tracks. The owners of the land were not at first open to the idea of the train station maybe being down there, but now have kind of come around. So, that is how that got put into place. Some of the comments were that it is so congested up there by Wall Street how could we put a train station right up there with the overpass, and Schilling Lumber, and the elementary school. It didn’t seem like that would be a very good place, because it was so crowded, so it moved down South. That may very well be what happens with this whole Town Center, just to alleviate some people’s concerns. For right here and now, for the sake of putting together a plan, we put together this Comprehensive Plan idea with a Town Center; like you would put together a concept car.

The reason they put together concept cars is so that everyone can go to the car show and say what they like and don’t like about it, so the engineers have a chance to realign it, so that when they do come out with a production vehicle it is what the consumer wants. So, we are getting a lot of really good feedback from residents; “they want it” – “they don’t want it”. Mr. Keith said that like Ms. Carlyle said everyone can agree that what everybody wants…Mr. Keith included, that yeah it would be nice to go back to the 1960’s and the 1950’s; and you could play ball in the street. But, that is not reality anymore, so what do we want now. What we want is nice amenities. We want walking paths; we want bike trails. We want a more pedestrian friendly community with sit down restaurants. Why do we have to go to Highland or Schererville to go have a cup of coffee or sit out on a patio? Why do we have to go to Crown Point to do that? Why can’t we do it in our own town? Why can’t we keep the money here and get people spending and attract people from other places to come to St. John and spend some money? So, from and EDC point of view that is kind of how it came around.

Mr. Keith explained some of his background; how he got it, is that he was looking for a community like that. He enjoyed some success in his company, and he thought he is getting out of here. He was born and raised in St. John, and he thought, “I am blowing this popsicle stand”. Therefore, he went to California and spent five years looking for a home in California. Mr. Keith walked into Carlsbad Town Hall. A big shot with the town said to him “hey, you look like you’re lost. Can I help you?”. Mr. Keith told him he was looking for someone to give him an idea of what Carlsbad is all about. The guy took his lunch hour, and he was on the City Council, and took him to meet the Parks Department guy and took him here and there. Then he gave Mr. Keith a two-inch thick Comprehensive Plan. He said they have a moratorium on building permits, because they don’t want to overcrowd their schools. He told Mr. Keith that they have just told developers they are out. The guy told Mr. Keith they don’t know if it will come around in the next generation or not, but they are not developing their city any more, until they can do it comprehensively in cooperation with the school board. It gave Mr. Keith a vision of what we might have here.

So, those were some of his ideas coming back. Mr. Keith said he met with Janet Emerick, former Superintendent of Schools; he stated he has known all the superintendents through the years, and is very good friends with Larry Verracco now; but everybody commented that they feel like there was a big lack of communication with the school. The town is just out there writing building permits, and not communicating that properly to the school. Mr. Keith said that he thinks Lake Central can handle a little bit more growth, so that is a good thing.

Mr. Keith said he is trying to just give all those ideas and some background about what he brings to the table. Which is that, he is trying to look at what St. John is going to look like for his children and grandchildren; and what they want it to look like, because it is our turn to make those decisions. That is some of his background and thoughts he used in putting together his ideas for the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Birlson said that he would like to make a comment. He said that he commends all those on the EDC for putting together this Comprehensive Plan; and all the effort that was put into it, in organizing it, and coming up with all of these ideas. But, when he first looked at the Comprehensive Plan almost about a year ago, he was absolutely shocked to see his house gone in an orange square where a business would be, and most of his neighbors’ homes with these orange squares. Mr. Birlson said that we may be saying that it is a “pie-in-the-sky” or that it is “a plan that might work-might”, but it got a lot of people upset, including himself, to see that.

Mr. Birlson asked that we put ourselves in his shoes; or some of the people in the public audience. If we saw that for the first time we would think wow my house is gone. We don’t matter. You would be shocked too. It is appalling to even see that on a piece of paper; to have that, and now it won’t go away. Mr. Birlson said he wants a Town Center too, just like the rest of us. He wants a place to go. He does not want to have to drive to Cedar Lake or somewhere else to go to a restaurant, or to Munster. He wants to eat here. It would be very nice, but to take people’s homes. Mr. Birlson said maybe he shouldn’t say that, but if someone sells their house and a business buys it; right next to someone who is trying to raise a family, that is just not going to work. Having that kind of traffic coming next door to your house. Outsiders coming into your neighborhood. It is not acceptable. There are other places to put the Town Center, and Mr. Birlson does not understand why the residents of Joliet Street, Thielen Street, and Hack Street, have to be attacked like this. He stated that they are being attacked.

Mr. Georgiou: The original Town Center…you’re basically…we identified the same area…well I didn’t, let me clarify. The original Town Center was North of 93rd Avenue, which is multiple residential locations, etcetera; as a conceptive area where a majority of people in the Town of St. John would like to see a Town Center developed.

And our concepts or areas of relative, or where we compared to was: downtown Crown Point; downtown Valparaiso; downtown Plainfield, Illinois, where residential is mixed in with the Town Center.

Mr. Georgiou said that he thinks that is a key point that needs to be understood. We actually modified, at least what was in the concept plan, of incorporating residences into what would eventually be the Town Center area of the Town.

Mr. Birlson said yes, but we never asked any of those folks. A survey never came out and asked if they would like to have a business next to their house.

Mr. Georgiou said that half of Joliet Street is zoned commercial right now. Mr. Birlson said that he understands that.

Mr. Georgiou said that the other piece he wants to emphasize is that he looks at it as, and he thinks he is logical, but this Town is going to have 40,000 people in twenty (20) years from now. Where is that growth going to be? Where is it going to be funneled to? What is going to happen? Mr. Georgiou said that he works on Joliet Street. He sees the tons of traffic that goes up and down Joliet Street, the accidents right outside of his window etc. And, he doesn’t know that the Town Center may improve that. They are just talking conceptually, as the town grows, to evolve something around the Civic Center, because the majority of the people in the town support that. He said he doesn’t know how else to say that.

Mr. Birlson said that a majority of the people, and he has talked to a lot of people, have said absolutely not when it comes to taking someone’s house. Mr. Georgiou said that we are not taking anyone’s home. Mr. Birlson said but when you show orange squares on a plan that is a start, and twelve (12) out of eighteen (18) homes on Joliet Street, Thielen Street, and Hack Street; are showed to be gone, and that is mind boggling that someone would present that.

Mr. Keith said that he cannot let Mr. Birlson make everyone think that he is the only one who knows what it is like to have an “X” on their house. If you go down to the county records, Mr. Keith said his house, and he thinks all the members kind of know where his house is; he is across from the VFW, the big blue farmhouse. That is his family homestead; and he said as we probably know, now that it is his, he bought it from his parents 28 years ago. On his watch, he has dumped a ton of money into it. He has made it kind of a showplace for the Town. He has restored it back to its original glory, and Mr. Keith said he thinks he has done a nice job. Mr. Keith said he did all of that under a big “X” on his house since the 1970’s, because they want to expand 93rd Avenue from Interstate 65 to Interstate 394 (Illinois). They have talked about it for generations. Talked about making 93rd Avenue; a four- lane, with a center median in it, and yet he did all of that. He didn’t want to.

Mr. Keith stated he even asked Mr. Kil before he started dumping a bunch of money into his property. He asked Mr. Kil, do you know of any plans? Is this back on the books? There was also a big “X” on the Zack’s house next door to his. Mr. Keith said that he knows how Mr. Birlson is feeling and he knows what he is saying, but it never happened.

Mr. Birlson asked then why have this Comprehensive Plan showing a Town Center if it is not going to happen. Mr. Keith said because it is the original Town Center. Mr. Birlson said if it is not going to happen, or if it’s going to take 50 years… if all this property along U.S. 41 gets gobbled up, now we don’t have a Town Center, because we were waiting for Joliet Street, Hack Street, and Thielen Street. Mr. Birlson suggested that we put it in a spot where it can happen.

Mr. Keith said when he was a kid the store was The Royal Blue, which is Mama D’s Pizza. That was the store. They helicoptered groceries there in 1967 from the snow storm. The post office was right across the street, and now it is an aerospace thing. So, hasn’t it always been residential mixed in with commercial. Mr. Keith asked what about Thiel’s Cabinet Shop? What about right across the tracks over there, all those light industrial buildings? Mr. Keith said he is just saying that they were tasked with putting together a quaint idea and see; and they are finding out people don’t want it. If people don’t want it, well they don’t want it. Let’s come up with some other ideas. Mr. Keith shared that somebody came up here before and said, “Well let’s put the Town Center where the K-Mart is”. Mr. Keith asked if that is a good idea.

(General comments from the audience)

Mr. Birlson said the Boyer Development is coming in; that whole area could be worked; and made into the Town Center, but coming into people’s homes. Mr. Keith told the members he is only trying to diffuse what Mr. Birlson is saying, because he himself has had an “X” on his house, and it was a financial decision for him.

(General comments from the audience)

Mr. Forbes announced to the audience to please not interrupt.

Mr. Birlson said that he is not trying beat up the EDC about it. He certainly doesn’t want to, but, it feels like everybody on those streets are being attacked.

Mr. Keith said that was not their intention. It was just a concept, and it was not their intention. He explained that they did not sit there and draw those “X’s”. It was a plan that came. They didn’t sit there and decide that. It was just a concept of what it could look like in the future.

Mr. Keith said that if they did anything wrong it was that they were not sensitive enough to go around to those residents and say “hey here is an idea we are putting together”. So, he will take the blame for that. Mr. Keith said not personally, but as a group.

(Disruption from audience)

Mr. Forbes: Excuse me, Mr. Parada, do not interrupt (bang of gavel). Mr. Parada, do not interrupt again.

Mr. Forbes asked if anyone would like to add anything else to that part of the topic.

Mr. Georgiou said that his frustration is that, and again it is not legally binding and that doesn’t seem to matter relative to the resistance, but he is thoroughly confused, because the statistic is in there. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the respondents of the Town of St. John; which is an interpretation which they take as a majority of the people of St. John; are supportive of the direction of where we went with this Comprehensive Plan. There is always going to be a minority. Mr. Georgiou said he is not downplaying what the concerns are, but again it is a plan. He said he is confused that if a majority of the town wants; and says this is where we want to go when we grow. I guess that he doesn’t understand that we are going to say; and he reiterated again that he is not downplaying concerns of people who live there; because again he works there; but to say well you don’t count.

At some point we vote; the majority takes direction. The majority does this, or the majority does that. Mr. Georgiou said that we have to take it into consideration that if the majority of the residents of St. John are supportive of the Comprehensive Plan; he doesn’t understand why it doesn’t go forward.

Mr. Birlson answered that if that 78% had a statement; that said do you want a Town Center, but it means demolishing homes. Eighteen (18) homes.,.,

Mr. Forbes told Mr. Birlson that he has got to stop going back to that. Mr. Forbes stated that we are “not, I have said this from the very beginning, time and time again, the Town of St. John is not taking anybody’s house”. Mr. Birlson said then okay the developers are.

Mr. Forbes stated that “What was said in the Public Hearing was that “if someone on Joliet Street were to sell their house, the Town may be interested in purchasing it. “IF” and “MAYBE”. “That is IF this plan is ever decided to go forward. It is a concept right now, okay?. I am sorry this drawing came out, because if the drawing looked just like Joliet Street; with everything that we discussed; you guys wouldn’t be here right now. The only reason they are here is because this part of the Comprehensive Master Plan was turned into a political football. You folks were used and abused; by a bunch of wannabe elected officials”.

Mr. Birlson told Mr. Forbes that he is going off track. Mr. Forbes said that he is not, “this is what is going on, this is the reality of it; you just don’t want to hear the story”. That is what is going on. Mr. Birlson said he is going off track, and that Mr. Forbes doesn’t know. Mr. Forbes said that he does know; he knows exactly.

Mr. Keith said that there is a lot of truth to what Mr. Forbes is saying. He said he knows that not from Mr. Forbes; but because he has seen it himself behind the scenes. Mr. Keith said that all anyone has to do is go to Mama D’s and see who shows up to whip everyone into a frenzy; and then you find out what happened.

Mr. Birlson asked the members if they would be worked up and in a frenzy. How about you Jon, or you Steve?

Mr. Kozel said that what he thinks has come out of this; the main thing is that we do not have to follow this plan. We do not have to follow the plan. It is a concept as they say, and there are people in town who have a big concern about having a center. Now where it is going to be located, again it is a concept about where would we want to put it, and once it becomes established that we do and are going to build one, then that will come before this Board, and we can turn around and make that decision.

Mr. Keith said that what he wants to interject is what he said a little earlier, why don’t we locate it down South by the train station. Mr. Keith said to that to roll the clocks back to when he was a little kid and he hated the subdivision that went in just to the east of them in the 1970’s, we hated it. All the neighborhood kids hated it, because that was where they built their forts and rode their bicycles; and brought their shovels out. They would finish their homework and then go out and build jumps on the dirt hills until midnight every night. Where the K-Mart is, there is a story in the Hammond Times about Mr. Keith and his friends. They built a BMX track where the K-Mart is to ride their bicycles. Mr. Keith said that it is very convenient for people that are now in town, that raw land got developed so that they could be here in town, to turn around and say that they don’t want anything else and they want it to move south. Mr. Keith said that he does not buy that argument.

Mr. Birlson said that playing as a kid; and living in your own house, are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Mr. Keith said that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about development. Mr. Keith said that development is going to happen. We just have to do it orderly. Mr. Birlson said development where existing homes are.

Mr. Keith asked Mr. Birlson why he keeps adding fuel to the fire when he knows the facts. Mr. Birlson responded that he does know the facts; and they are 12 out of 18 homes.

Mr. Kozel: “Is it set in stone?”, Mr Georgiou: “No”. Mr. Kozel: “No. It is not set in stone”.

Mr. Birlson: “then change the drawing. Chris is that your name?”. Ms. Carlyle: “Christine, yes”. Mr. Birlson: “Christine, change the drawing then to a different location. All of that will go away”.

Mr. Georgiou: “But, a majority of the people did not want that. They wanted a Town Center built around the Civic Center, at least for a concept for the future of where that Town Center should be”.

Mr. Forbes said to Mr. Georgiou that conceptually it is logical to use Joliet Street, and Mr. Forbes has said it himself before, because it is a mix of Residential and Commercial area. Mr. Forbes said that everybody has got this picture that there is going to be a Best Buy next to their house, or that there is going to be an AMC 16. His understating of this is that is going to be a quiet, walkable,-sit-down kind of area like the Dairy Queen.

Mr. Georgiou said that the words he would describe, because of when they evaluated other similar areas, what they termed as the goal for the Town Center was “Live, Work, Shop”. He will emphasize the word live, because people who can walk to shop, walk to their work, walk in a small Town Center / “Downtown Environment” of the similar areas that we looked at. The residential part potentially could and should be part of that Town Center. That is the concept “Live, Work, Shop”. That is the whole concept.

Mr. Keith added that it is a quaint little area. Mr. Georgiou said that the intent was never “okay we are going to clear this area out and plop in a big commercial strip center”. That was never the intention, and definitely not the definition of a Town Center. Mr. Georgiou suggested that Ms. Carlyle comment relative to what they had talked about as a Town Center.

Ms. Carlyle explained that they looked at a variety of different types communities and what they had for their Downtown / Town Center. There were a number of examples that had what were conversions of houses. You can live in one, and the next one could be the knitting shop, or it could be a restaurant or a café. We looked at a variety of different ways that could work. She said that she does fully understand their point of view, and she thinks that there are many ways we can adapt this image that is causing so much turmoil.

Mr. Birlson said yes, because it is very busy, and he is not saying that this image is the end result. Ms. Carlyle said she thinks what we have on the eastern edge was an incorporation of houses and businesses; while allowing for commercial zoning over time as people opted to do something with it. It would be a place where you could have that environment.

Ms. Carlyle said that we could just bring it closer to U.S. 41, and we would pretty much be within our same zoning. She does not see that it should be such a point of contention, because they are going to be individual choices by people; in their individual homes. It may be something that is looked at over a period of time. It allows us to make the connections as far as sidewalks, streetscapes, and other things today to give that look and feel of having a downtown; although, maybe not having it be all the way down to where they have the original round-about. It goes about half way to there, and then you still have some parking that is internal that allows people to get off of U.S. 41.Then we still have a Town Center that is just a little smaller than this picture.

Ms. Carlyle agreed that she thinks that is doable. She does not see why we have to fight over it. It is going to go through many evolutions and people are going to work through it over many years. Ms. Carlyle noted that there are many other sections of the plan that are really good for looking forward in terms of making other decisions about our park spaces, U.S. 41, intersections, and how we want to deal with all of these other things. Those are big. Comprehensively these are all the decisions that start to make a community.

Mr. Birlson said that he can see what would potentially happen. There would be house “A”, “B”, and “C”. Then “B” sells. Mr. Developer buys it; comes to the Plan Commission and says, “Hey, I want to put this in, and now “A” and “C”, on either side of house “B” in the middle are stuck, because they have a business there. It used to be a house there before, but now it is a business.

Mr. Keith said that the reality is that house “B” probably is not big enough to build any kind of a business. It would have to wait for the cooperation of house “A” and “C” in order to even make it work, so it is never going to happen.

Mr. Birlson asked then again why have a Town Center if it is never going to happen. Mr. Keith said then let’s just live in a dream land and not have anything on paper. He said that the EDC was charged with coming up with a plan that would satisfy what the residents are looking for: more sit down eating, more connection to Civic Park. If you played baseball you play at Civic Park. That is what people were looking for.

Mr. Keith further said the EDC put their collective minds together. They are not dummies. They own businesses, they put their civil engineering and other minds together and they come up with this as a concept; and then some political people got everybody fired up that we are taking their house.

Mr. Keith explained that then Mr. Parada’s house, which just happened to be something totally separate; not part of this, but part of a different development. Everyone used that as a “See, Its true”. “It’s really happening, because we’re going to take his house”. Mr. Keith said to Mr. Birlson that is why he got all worried, and is whipping everybody into a frenzy. He asked Mr. Birlson to please stop adding fuel to this fire. If this is a good idea, then lets vet it out. Mr. Birlson said that is what we are doing. Mr. Keith said to Mr. Birlson that is what we are doing, but he keeps saying things to everyone that are half- truths. We are not taking anybody’s house.

Mr. Birlson said okay, but the Town Center shows a round-about where Mr. Parada’s house is, so that must be part of the plan... just a pie-in-the-sky.

Mr. Forbes said that the “Round-About is not part of the Town Center”. Mr. Birlson referred to the drawing and said that it shows it right there. Mr. Keith said that it is on the plan, but it is not a part of the Town Center. It is a totally separate issue. Mr. Birlson referred to the drawing again and said that the whole area is the Town Center.

Mr. Georgiou said that he needs to emphasize what Ms. Carlyle just said. He said unfortunately he considers this entire discussion on what he sees as, and he is not trivializing, but 2- 5%. This is an important document. Mr. Georgiou said that 98% of this is extremely valuable; actually he thinks 100% of this document is extremely valuable to the Town as it looks to plan for its growth in the future. We are discussing a component of this document that Mr. Georgiou believes represents only 2% of what is in this document. Relative to how the Town should look at this from a Thoroughfare Study, from a Residential / Commercial Development, from a very logical path, the majority of the town members of St. John support this document. He said he does not know how else to state it.

(Audience member asked if she may ask a question).

Mr. Forbes said that she may not, because this is a Study Session. This is an opportunity to listen.

Mr. Kozel commented that since we have such little time. And that most of it has been spent on the 2% instead of the 98%; what part of the 98% would the members like to address?

Mr. Georgiou answered that if we took the Thoroughfare Study, which the EDC was not intimate with that particular problem, he believes that the Town acknowledges that as the Town grows, he added the EDC knew this 10-15 years ago; relative, there are no through streets in St. John. They have known that for 20 years. It is a major headache. They have seen it in Plan Commission meetings as new developments crop up that there are no interconnections North, South, East, or West. That is the Thoroughfare part of it. The EDC spent the majority of their time on the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Georgiou thinks the Town has done a very logical growth pattern, particularly in infrastructure, because otherwise we are not going to grow. Mr. Georgiou said that they have identified that the town will go all the way to 113th Avenue. He asked if that is correct; he is not familiar with what the street it is south of the infrastructure planned. Mr. Kil corrected that the furthest south it can possibly go is 125th, but more likely 117th. Mr. Georgiou said that the plan addresses that, and that isn’t even part of the St, John currently, but the plan addresses it on an infrastructure basis. It goes back to the statement that in 2040 this town will be 40,000 people. This plan outlines that we have a Route 41 corridor. We are going to have, which actually didn’t even exist 15 years ago, the Route 231 Commercial Corridor; which is now in the Comprehensive Plan. It also addresses where the major residential opportunities are, which were identified in various locations. The train station, which was discussed as the other major component moved with this evolution and the growth southward, is also identified and clarified in the Comprehensive Plan, relative to that. Therefore, all those areas are again looked at by the EDC as an orderly, “ look to the future”. This is what has happened. This is where we believe the guidelines should be of where the growth is going to happen in Town, and what the Town Council and Plan Commission should then look forward. If they have a guideline plan, which is in the Comp Plan, that says well this one says it is going to be residential, so were not going to put commercial there.

Mr. Georgiou stated that If you look at the current zoning map of St. John there are areas that Mr. Georgiou said he scratches his head on, because he noticed that the southwest corner of 93rd Avenue and U.S. 41 is zoned Residential, which is St. John the Evangelist’s old church. There are gaps, which is totally out of the purvey of the Economic Development Committee, but the Town Council has to adapt in the future. So when the Comprehensive Plan is put in place and somebody says well wait this is zoned residential but it is U.S. 41 so the Comp Plan says commercial, we can know well that is what it should be. That is where it would be used as a guideline relative to going forward. Mr. Georgiou said that he can’t better emphasize the word guideline or plan concept, but it definitely outlines the projected growth of the town in an orderly fashion.

Mr. Forbes asked that the members switch gears, because the other major sticking point is the discussion on the traffic lights. In the Thoroughfare Master Plan, it calls for six (6) potential traffic lights on Route. 41. Mr. Forbes said that here again we are talking maybe(s). Mr. Forbes explained what he said he has mentioned in other meetings.

There are six (6) potential spots for traffic lights. Depending on growth and development; depends on where one of these traffic lights may go. Moreover, there will be more traffic lights on Route 41. There is no doubt. Mr. Forbes said that he would expect at least two (2).

The thing is that if you put six (6) pins in the map, and say this one is real now. Well, that would affect the one on either side of it. We can say all day long that we want a traffic light here, here, and here. INDOT will say you are not getting one here, you’re not getting one here, and you’re not getting one here. It is just the way it goes. INDOT has ultimate control, but at the end of the day responsible and thoughtful growth requires that we anticipate that there may be a need for traffic lights on Route 41. We need to improve the safety on 41. We will put traffic lights where we have to. We do not want to stop the traffic on Route 41. We want it to keep moving on at a safe and responsible pace. We also don’t want to gridlock ourselves. Mr. Forbes noted that is why he has been pushing for frontage roads since he came on to Plan Commission. He has been working for frontage roads for 19 years. He is very close to getting it, and he is not giving up on the idea.

Mr. Forbes said that everybody compares St. John, our new growth, to that we are going to end up like Highland or Schererville. Mr. Forbes said that we are not going to end up like Highland. We are not going to end up like Schererville up there on Main and 41, because we are going to have frontage roads. We are going to get the traffic off Route 41. Mr. Forbes said that we have been looking at this for a very, very, long time. He said that while this is a new document, this Plan has been going on for at least twenty (20) years to orderly grow the Town of St. John safely; and to not impact ourselves in a negative manner. So again, the argument about the traffic lights is unnecessary.

Mr. Georgiou commented that he actually read that earlier today. Specifically on the Route 41 signalization and what it specifically says is that when you consider commercial growth on Route 41; you should consider that these may be signalized locations. That is the language actually says. He said he agrees with Mr. Forbes that INDOT is not going to let us put in six traffic lights. They have absolute traffic limits and requirements. But as, Boyer Development; or K-Mart comes in, or something else comes in the Thoroughfare Study says that you are probably going to signalize, and you should focus your commercial access around these potential locations. That is all it says. It does not say put in six (6) traffic lights.

Mr. Birlson noted that he wanted to commend; whomever, with the Boyer Development, the frontage road from the Boyer Development all the way down to the McDonald’s. He said “Amen to that”. All the frontage roads down by Strack’s where you can go from store to store without jumping out on the highway. Mr. Birlson said whoever pushed for that, he tips his hat off to them.

Mr. Keith said that is supposed to continue all the way down. He said hopefully you’ll be able to go down to Route 231 on frontage roads, weaving all the way up. He asked if that is the plan. Mr. Forbes said that he hopes. If there is a way he would certainly push for it.

Mr. Forbes asked if there are any other topics anyone would like to bring up. He noted that there is about five more minutes left.

Mr. Keith stated that he would just like to plant a seed. He has heard just in discussion a few times about a possible Impact Fee on developers for road improvement and things. Mr. Forbes responded that they are working on that right now. Mr. Keith said that he would also like to plant a seed about how he has had a hard time sleeping at night with the train traffic that has increased ten-fold over the last several years. He said that everybody that knows him well knows that he barks about it all of the time. Mr. Keith suggested that there are such things as quiet crossings. He knows they are quite involved, but if we could take a look at that as a possible thing that, we can dedicate some time to looking into trying to set aside some funds, so that we can get some quiet crossings.

Mr. Kil said we are attempting our first one right now. Mr. Keith said that the businessman in him says well the trains are running ten times the amount, they are making ten times the money, so they should pay for it. He would be going after the railroad, but he knows they are so federally connected. There would be a hard time getting that done.

Mr. Forbes said that when we initially started talking about the Boyer Development, we started talking about Joliet Street being a quiet crossing. Mr. Keith said that would be a great place for a quiet crossing. Mr. Forbes said that they are working on 77th right now, and Bingo Lake Road. He said they have talked about this numerous times, and he is all in favor of it. It is just a very difficult process. Mr. Keith said that he is aware that it is.

Mr. Georgiou concluded that he hopes they brought some background to the Plan Commission, because the EDC has been working on this thing for probably a year and a half. Moreover, the background that got them to where they went with it, and hopefully it sheds some light.

Mr. Forbes said that the Plan Commission appreciates that. Members thanked one another.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Forbes stated that he would now adjourn the Study Session of the Economic Development Committee and the Plan Commission.

(The meeting adjourned at 6:56 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________
Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

08-25-2016 Economic Development Committee

August 25, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the August 25, 2016, Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, William Keith, Gina Fezler, Richard Setlak, Kelly Stoming, and John DeYoung. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Mark Barenie was absent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: July 28, 2016

Mr. Georgiou addressed the July 28th, 2016 minutes that were in front of the committee today. He asked the committee members if they had any review, comment, or if there was a motion to accept. Mr. Setlak made a motion to accept the minutes as presented. Mr. Keith seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote. (6/0) Ayes --- six. Nays --- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements-Status Update
Mr. Georgiou stated that the first item of old business was a status update. He stated that the Economic Development Committee had recommended approval on the Boyer Development portion of the project and the associated Route 41 traffic improvements.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil to give an update of the calendar for the next steps of this project. Mr. Kil reported that on Monday, a group of several people, including Mr. Kil, met with Mr. Boyer. Mr. Kil said that they try to do a weekly progress meeting to see where they are on schedules and handle any conflicts. The project is definitely going to be moving forward. It is likely that it will be in front of the Plan Commission for a rezoning, which is going to be required of the property at their October meeting. Mr. Kil noted that date is tentative, but they feel confident about October. Mr. Kil told the EDC that the plan is as they recommended intact; there were no major changes to any of that. He explained that Mr. Boyer has work to do with the existing property owners. Mr. Boyer has to start engineering, but the project seems to be on schedule.

Mr. Georgiou asked if that rezoning is from the Plan Commission. Mr. Kil responded that for the rezoning, the public hearing will be held at the Plan Commission and then the Plan Commission will recommend it to the Town Council. Ultimately, the Town Council will have to rezone the property. Mr. Kil shared that Commercial PUD is what Mr. Boyer is going to ask for.

B. Review of Potential Commercial Developments and Residential Developments-Status Update.
Mr. Georgiou asked if there is any update on anything in particular for potential commercial and residential developments. Mr. Kil reported that one development has been to the Plan Commission. That development would be the Circle K with a proposal to locate a new gas station at the southeast corner of 93rd Avenue and Route 41. Mr. Kil said that there also seems to be some renewed interest from Mr. Barry Levin. Mr. Levin owns the property on the northeast corner of 85th and US 41…Bingo Lake Road. Mr. Kil said that he should be meeting with Mr. Levin in the next week, and he would think that he would be ready for a Plan Commission Study Session in about a month or so. Mr. Kil mentioned those are the only two commercial projects, other than the Boyer project, that hopefully in the near future, will be coming in front of the Plan Commission.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there is any movement planned for the Speedway on Route 41, or if it is staying put. Mr. Kil said that he does not have confirmation on any of this, but to his understanding from Mr. Levin’s representatives, they are attempting to work with Speedway. In the past, that has not been met with any kind of enthusiasm from Speedway; they like their store there. The hope is to perhaps relocate them to the corner, and then Levin can go next to them because they do not need to be on a corner. Whereas, a gas station would want to be on a corner. Mr. Kil said that we will have to see their revised proposal and then we would go from there. He has not seen any proposals except for the initial one.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there was any available to public updates on the restaurant at Lake Central Plaza. Mr. Kil responded that Dennis Myers has indicated, and they do have it in writing, that he is going to hold out for a steak and seafood restaurant, upper scale. Mr. Myers is continuing to look for a user. Mr. Kil mentioned Mr. Myers has no problem building the buildings; he just is not going to operate the restaurant. Mr. Myers made that very clear, so he is looking for a user right now. Mr. Kil stated it will be in that category and Mr. Myers has reduced that to writing.

Mr. Keith inquired about the Circle K. He asked if there is a drawing or anything yet. Mr. Kil stated that Circle K did give some preliminary concept plans to the Town. Mr. Kil said that he would be happy to share that with the EDC if they would like to see it. Mr. Keith said that he would like Mr. Kil to share those. Mr. Kil said that he would email those out to the committee but there is no geometry on it and it is preliminary right now.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Georgiou said that it is not on the agenda, but the other update is that the EDC had their joint meeting with the Plan Commission last Wednesday. He said that it was very informative and a very lively discussion. Mr. Georgiou mentioned it is in the Plan Commission’s hands since the EDC already recommended that the comprehensive plan be approved. Mr. Georgiou asked if it is on the calendar yet for the Plan Commission.

Mr. Kil said he has not done the agenda for the Plan Commission yet. Mr. Kil reiterated it is up to the Plan Commission now to make a recommendation to the Town Council; ultimately, the Town Council will have to approve it.

Mr. Georgiou noted to Mr. Kil that he was going to share with the EDC the marketing materials for Boyer Development. Mr. Kil said that they were almost done. Mr. Georgiou said they would expect to see those. Mr. Kil said that Ms. Jenna Ryan was hired to do that, and she is waiting for some final pictures right now. Mr. Kil said that as soon as that is done, he will share them with the EDC.

(General discussion ensued.)

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Georgiou moved on to New Business. He stated he had none, and asked if anyone had any new business to share. There were no new items.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou asked for any reports or correspondence from the Board Members.

Mr. Keith said that he did have one comment since the EDC has talked about center turn lane stuff for quite a while. He recalled from the joint meeting or the meeting before, that the State already confirmed that they were going to do the center turn lane going north of 93rd to the bridge. Mr. Kil corrected that statement in that the State is going to stripe it. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Keith if he knows where all the yellow hash marks are. Mr. Keith said yes. Mr. Kil said that is now going to be marked correctly to reflect a bi- directional center turn lane. Mr. Keith said that is a step in the right direction.

Mr. Keith asked if the survey flags and posts sticking up going south through the business district of Town are because the State is surveying to get the right-a-way. Mr. Kil said that the State has undertaken the survey work, yes. Mr. Keith asked if that is to push forward the idea of the center turn lane in a few critical areas. Mr. Kil said that it is his understanding they are very serious about a center turn lane from Lake Central Drive north to 77th but he does not have any information or confirmation of anything south of Lake Central Drive. Mr. Keith said he just noticed there were a lot of survey markers going south, and he was wondering what that was about. Mr. Kil said to remember that the Town Council authorized the roadway impact fee study, so there are traffic counts going on all over this community. Mr. Kil mentioned those are all those squares on the road, and they will be seen everywhere. Mr. Kil reiterated it is part of the Town roadway-infrastructure impact fee. Mr. Kil noted that the study will encompass the entire community. Mr. Keith said that was his only comment.

Mr. Georgiou asked the board members for anymore reports or correspondence. There were none.

B. STAFF

Mr. Georgiou asked for any staff comment. There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Georgiou stated the meeting was open to public comment. Tom Parada, 9535 Joliet Street

Mr. Parada said that he wanted to know if there was any word of a new and improved revised idea about Joliet Street discussed last week. Mr. Georgiou told Mr. Parada that is part of the Boyer-Town negotiation on infrastructure, and they have no further information on that. Mr. Parada said he just wanted to ask because he would like to stay current on that.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “I’ll so move,” from Mr. Setlak. Ms. Stoming seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0). Ayes---six. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:12 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

09-22-2016 Economic Development Committee

September 22, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the September 22, 2016 Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 4:59 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Gina Fezler, John DeYoung, Kelly Stoming, and Richard Setlak. Town Manager, Steve Kil was present. Attorney David Austgen was present. Mr. William Keith entered at 5:10 p.m. and Mr. Barenie entered at 5:12 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: August 25th, 2016

Mr. Georgiou stated that the meeting minutes of August 25th, 2016 were distributed. He asked for any comment or approval.

Ms. Stoming stated that she would recommend approval of the minutes. Mr. Setlak seconded. The motion was carried by voice vote. (5/0) Ayes ---five. Nays --- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

Boyer Development Project-Status Update
Mr. Georgiou stated that Old Business included the Boyer Development Project- Status update, primarily on schedule. The EDC had previously recommended approval on the re-zoning of this project about two months ago. It has at least gone on with recommendation to the Plan Commission. Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil to provide an update on the Boyer calendar.

Mr. Kil shared that the Boyer calendar called for Mr. Boyer to appear in front of the Plan Commission yesterday evening. He did not. He voluntarily withdrew his petition from that agenda, and he asked to be put-off for one month. Mr. Boyer is still tying up a lot of different loose ends. Prior to coming in front of the board to make a presentation, Mr. Boyer wants to make sure that everything is one-hundred percent rock solid; that there is no holes in this presentation or representation that he may make. So, he voluntarily asked to be put-off for one month. Mr. Kil said that we expect to see Mr. Boyer on October 17th at the study session of the Plan Commission.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil to clarify why it has to go to study session, and why it isn’t for public hearing yet. Mr. Kil told him that he is not going to make the October 5th public hearing, so automatically he is going to be placed on the next study session, just as a matter of business. Mr. Georgiou asked if the anticipation is that the public hearing will be in November. Mr. Kil said that is accurate.

Mr. Austgen explained that part of Mr. Boyer’s responsibilities include tying up the loose ends of all the ownership, so that he may complete an application consistent with the requirements of the Town. He has done most of the work needed. The loose ends have to be done, and he knows it. That is what he is working on.

Mr. Georgiou asked if that is for the rezoning of just the PUD. Mr. Kil explained that the rezoning and the PUD is just, in Mr. Boyer’s case, about eighty-percent of the battle. When you come in to get a rezoning and a PUD you present your architecture, your site layout; everything is approved at one time. The subdivision of the property becomes more of a technical item; how the roads go in, how the drainage is going to be taken care of, and things of that nature. The PUD zoning, just by virtue of how the PUD is structured, is going to be the major part of the project. Mr. Georgiou asked if that is what was supposed to have been done this month that is now projected for November. Mr. Kil said yes, the PUD and zoning. The subdivision will follow after that.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there are any other updates on other projects. He shared that when they adjourned after the Joint meeting, he noticed there were a couple of projects that came up on the Plan Commission Study Session or the Plan Commission; including the “K” gas station. Mr. Kil shared that Circle K, if anyone was at the Plan Commission meeting last night, they have a lot of different items that they have to address, even before they appear in front of the Plan Commission for a public hearing. They have several items that need to be taken to the Board of Zoning Appeals, different developmental barriers, special variances, and things of that nature. Circle-K is quite a way’s away. They have a lot of hurdles to jump through before they even get to the Plan Commission for an approval.

Mr. Kil shared that he had met with Denny Myers and the representatives of Levine. They tentatively reached an agreement whereby; they would be installing the frontage road system all the way from 85th. Mr. Georgiou said that is great. Mr. Kil said that it took a while, but it all worked out. DVG and Landtek have now joined forces and merged. It is all under one roof. Mr. Kil said that he will have to keep the Committee up to speed on that. Again, there are a lot of moving parts to that. Mr. Georgiou asked if a service road entails having to fill in some of the lake or the pond. Mr. Kil explained that it can be done, but it will be close to the pond, yes.

Mr. Georgiou asked if Route 41 INDOT improvements are done. Mr. Kil said that for now, yes. Mr. Georgiou asked again that whatever part of the work that needed to be done, is done. Mr. Kil said yes that is done.

Mr. DeYoung asked Mr. Kil if he would like to give an update on the Lake Central sign. Mr. Kil told Mr. DeYoung there were no updates.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Georgiou stated that his next item is not on the agenda but he wanted to post the Joint Meeting between the EDC and the Plan Commission regarding the Comp Plan, and as the Committee members were all there, it appeared to be only arguments or commentary, almost entirely, revolved around the Town Center. Subsequent to that Joint Meeting, there was a discussion between Mr. Forbes and other about revising the Town Center, which was circulated amongst the EDC Committee. Mr. Georgiou wanted to pass on, just to make a point of order; the EDC has already recommended the Comp Plan as submitted to be approved by the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission can now entirely adopt it, make edits, or whatever recommendations they add to it.

Mr. Georgiou passed out the revised Town Center that was circulated and said he is curious if there are any further comments from the EDC members that Mr. Kil can pass on to the Plan Commission that either reinforce that they are not in opposition of this plan, if that is the case. So, at least the Plan Commission would know that they are okay with the Town Center being revised. Mr. Kil told Mr. Georgiou that he believes he had heard back from Ms. Stoming, Ms. Fezler, and a couple other members. To Mr. Kil’s understanding, the EDC was generally in agreement with the Town Center. It is generally in the same spot.

Mr. DeYoung asked Mr. Kil if he had any comments about it. Mr. Kil said he did not and asked the Committee members if it would be okay if he advised the Plan Commission that the EDC is, in concept, okay with this change. It is the only change; the rest of the document is the same.

Ms. Stoming asked that if somebody did sell and somebody else bought it, would it still be available to use for commercial. Mr. Kil said that this does not have anything to do with the zoning. Zoning would be a completely separate issue. If they wanted to zone commercial and they wanted to request a zone change they certainly could.

Mr. Georgiou clarified that what this new document does not reflect, as was discussed in the Joint Meeting, is that the west portion is already zoned commercial on Joliet Street. Mr. Kil said that is correct. Mr. Georgiou said that to reiterate his frustration at the Joint Meeting, this is a concept, but that didn’t seem to get caught onto by many people.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Kil concluded that he would pass on the feeling from this board to the Plan Commission.

Mr. Kil shared that he and Mr. Georgiou had talked briefly about what other projects the EDC Committee could undertake. They were thinking that perhaps everybody could come up with a proposal that Mr. Kil could take to the Town Council. It could perhaps be some next steps and give the Council ideas for whatever decision they make or come up with. It could be the homework assignment for the next meeting; everybody come up with some ideas. Once they develop a list, Mr. Kil will present it and take it forward to the Town Council.

Mr. Georgiou shared that there were various topics discussed previous to the EDC being a public meeting, of marketing documents and other items for Route 41 commercial development. Those were discussed as part of the documents that they were preparing relative to the market study, the Comp Plan, etc. Mr. Georgiou asked the Committee if they could send any items to him before the next meeting that they would like presented to the Town Council. The Town Council would be more than interested in seeing what the next assignment is. Mr. Kil said maybe not one thing but maybe a list of projects the EDC would like to consider undertaking and request some direction.

Mr. Georgiou said that he will send an email to the Committee and summarize what Mr. Kil stated, and request that everybody send that information. Then, once complied, they will send it to Mr. Kil to present to the Town Council. Mr. Georgiou said that he thinks as the items the Committee has completed, he would think that they would eagerly look forward to the next assignment.

Mr. Georgiou had another comment. He told Mr. Kil that they have had discussions about how often the Comp Plan is renewed or revisited, and Mr. Georgiou recommends that the Town revisit it after the 2020 Census, which would put it at about five years from now. Ms. Fezler asked Mr. Georgiou how often, as a Committee, should they review the Comp Plan to see the progress that has been made. Mr. Georgiou responded that once it is adopted it is there. It doesn’t change, unless it formally goes through the review and update process. Mr. Kil said that is true. It could be there forever. Mr. Georgiou said that he and the Committee thought that it would be reviewed and adopted a lot quicker than this. It is not something that is revisited more than every five years. Mr. Kil told Mr. Georgiou that perhaps that could be an item to put on his list to the Town Council.

Mr. Barenie entered and Mr. Kil gave him a quick brief of the discussion.

Mr. Barenie said that he thinks the list of ideas to the Town Council is great. He believes it will move the process along much quicker. Mr. Kil said that is the general consensus of the group. Mr. Georgiou reminded Mr. Barenie that the EDC did support the revised Town Center plan. At least as commentary, since they had already recommended the previous Comp Plan as submitted.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Georgiou asked for any reports or correspondence.

Mr. DeYoung stated that Mr. Kil does have to make a phone call, and he knows who that is to, for a possible new development coming to Town.

Mr. Barenie asked if Mr. Kil had mentioned during the discussion about the project and Boyer and how there are some issues with some of properties. Mr. Austgen said that it was talked about briefly in the agenda item that Mr. Boyer is still putting together some loose ends, tying together land. He needs to do that in order to be a proper applicant. Mr. Barenie accepted the comments, and stated that he wanted to make sure that was discussed. Mr. Georgiou added that what he concluded from that is that Mr. Boyer does not own all of the properties. Mr. Kil said that Mr. Boyer has one property that he is not the formal owner of just yet. That is the loose end. Mr. Barenie asked if that is a must, because what if that is a no. Mr. Kil said that Mr. Boyer has a letter of intent signed by the owner. Mr. Kil shared that he will be attending a meeting with Mr. Boyer tomorrow morning, at 10:30, with the owner of the property to sit and discuss whatever the issues are, what they may be, get a sense of if they can be resolved, and make sure that it is going to move forward. Mr. Boyer thought it was important that the owner hear it from somebody other than him, someone to say that it has been vetted by the Town. It has been in front of the EDC, the Plan Commission, and the Town Council knows. Also, to give them some background so they know this is not something new. Mr. Barenie asked if it is a money issue. Mr. Kil said he is unsure. He will find out tomorrow morning. If it is, we will proceed as necessary.

Mr. Barenie asked if the property owner decided to fix up the property and do something different with it, would the Boyer development still go on as maybe an amended property. Mr. Kil said that it would depend. He would have to see a proposal. Mr. Barenie asked if this was a significant meeting then. Mr. Kil agreed. He said that he and Mr. Boyer have meetings every week. If Mr. Boyer has standing pitfalls Mr. Kil knows, and same thing from the Town’s end. It keeps everybody up to speed. As far as Mr. Kil can tell this is the only item that still remains outstanding, but he does have a letter of intent signed on the property.

Mr. Georgiou added that Mr. Boyer can submit for rezoning, but he has to have the power of attorney for any land that he does not own. Mr. Austgen said that is exactly what he needs, but he does not have it. Mr. Kil said that he doesn’t believe Mr. Boyer wants to proceed with the power of attorney; he wants to proceed as the owner. Mr. Austgen told Mr. Kil that usually takes money, so not to get involved in that. Mr. Kil said that he is not getting involved. If the gentleman have any questions about where this project is at, the Town’s feelings or point of view on it, Mr. Kil is there to answer those questions. The negotiation is between the two private property owners, not Mr. Kil.

B. STAFF

Mr. Georgiou asked for any staff comment. There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

There was no public in attendance.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou asked for a motion to adjourn. “So moved” by Mr. DeYoung. Mr. Setlak seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Ayes---seven. Nays---none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

10-27-2016 Economic Development Committee

October 27, 2016 Economic Development Committee Minutes

MARK BARENIE WILLIAM KEITH CLERK-TREASURER, BETH HERNANDEZ
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK TOWN MANAGER, STEPHEN KIL
GINA FEZLER KELLY STOMING ATTORNEY, DAVID AUSTGEN
NICK GEORGIOU    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Keith stated that he was asked to sit in as chair. Mr. Keith called the October 27th Town of St. John Economic Development Committee meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following members present: William Keith, Kelly Stoming, John DeYoung, and Mark Barenie. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Ms. Gina Fezler was absent. Mr. Nick Georgiou was absent. Attorney David Austgen Mr. Setlak arrived late.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: September 22nd, 2016

Mr. Keith asked for a recommendation to approve the minutes from September 22, 2016. Mr. DeYoung stated that he would make a motion to approve the minutes. Ms. Stoming seconded. The motion was carried by voice vote. (4/0) Ayes ---four. Nays --- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvement-Status Update
Mr. Kil said he can share that Mr. Boyer is currently in control of or owns all of the property. So, he should be proceeding forward. Mr. Keith asked if the negotiation of the last bit of contingencies went well. Mr. Kil agreed, and said that he picked up the last piece of property. Mr. Barenie asked if that was for sure. Mr. Kil responded, yes, that Mr. Boyer told him it was for sure.

Mr. Keith asked for a review of potential commercial developments and residential developments. He asked Mr. Kil if there were any status updates on any new things going on there.

Mr. Kil shared that Mr. Levin’s representative was in front of the BZA on Monday night. Lake Central was in front of the BZA. Levin got deferred to next month. Mr. Kil said that we expect to see Circle K/Go Low and Sunrise Solar in front of the BZA. So, we do have a few commercial developments now coming in.

Mr. Kil said that residential-wise, the only thing he can share is that the Backe farm is for sale right now. Mr. Keith asked if that was right on 93rd. Mr. Kil said, “Yes”.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Keith if he was taking over the K-Mart business. Mr. Keith said that he wishes, but his business is not suited for that location. Mr. Keith stated that place would sell in a heartbeat if they were asking for a reasonable amount of money because it’s such a great development piece. Mr. Kil corrected the statement, and said if they would “sell” it, but they won’t “sell” it.

Mr. Barenie asked what the issue is with Levin; why was it deferred? Mr. Keith asked if that is what is behind the Speedway. Mr. Kil said responded that Levin is right at the corner of 85th and Bingo Lake Road (Rt 41). Mr. Kil stated the issue is that they required a special exception. The BZA made a favorable recommendation for the special exception for the Town Council, and that is on their agenda tonight, but they deferred all the developmental variances they needed. Mr. Kil stated the BZA will have a lot of company on November 28th and the agenda is packed.

Mr. Keith referred back to the Backe farm property. He asked if that is East of Clark Middle School. Mr. Kil said that is accurate, but it is also on the North and South side of 93rd Ave. It is pretty big. Mr. Keith agreed and said that it is a big piece. Mr. Kil said that he believes it totals about 120 acres. Mr. Barenie asked if that is East of Mallard. Mr. Kil responded, “Yes.” Mr. Keith asked if that encompasses the property that if Cline were to extend South, it would be extending through the Backe property. Mr. Kil said, “It does”. The Backe property and the Wein property would encompass all of Cline Avenue as a future extension.

Mr. Keith asked if that is already earmarked meaning are we not going to let a development build houses. Mr. Kil told Mr. Keith that they have to grant right-of-way for the extension of Cline to straighten it out like Grouse Point did. There is a large right-of- way on the West-side of Grouse Point where Cline Avenue would hopefully someday go, so Backe would have the same requirement.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Keith said that Mr. Georgiou sent out the request to ask everybody what we should be focusing on as the EDC moving forward; what kind of projects could we get into. Mr. Georgiou came up with a list of twelve items, and everybody should have a copy of it.

Mr. Keith asked if anybody wanted to comment on any of them, or if there are any in particular that stood out to anyone.

Mr. Barenie asked if the numbering system is priority. Mr. Keith told him that it is not. It is just a random list. Mr. Barenie stated that number one is important. Mr. DeYoung agreed, but said that he believes that the EDC is looking for guidance from the Town Council and where to proceed next on this. This list is suggestions. Mr. Barenie said that it is a great list but there are a few items he doesn’t understand. Mr. Keith asked Mr. Barenie if there are any in particular items that stick out to him that that can be elaborated on a little tonight.

Mr. Keith said that his comment is that it fairly accurately represents the results of our Town-wide questionnaire that was sent out that asked, “What would you like to see?” A lot of the items on the list line up with the responses that came back.

Mr. Barenie said that if we were going to have a subtitle of marketing the Town then number six and seven go together. There are a couple that would fall under marketing the community. Mr. Keith added that number eleven would also go with that. Mr. Barenie said that he likes number twelve. Mr. Keith read that number twelve states host and/or offer EDC members, along with a Town representative, to go out and speak to community groups.

Mr. DeYoung shared that he and Mr. Georgiou did that previously, and it was very well- received. They went to a local church, and the residents were amazingly receptive.

They showed the video, and they loved it. There was really good dialogue. People felt like they were in the loop on things. Mr. DeYoung thought that it was very nice. He suggested that maybe a couple members could also attend to do a question and answer. All that you would need is about 30-40 minutes to get through everything.

Mr. Keith said maybe the EDC could have an opportunity for the public to come in, so that we don’t run into misunderstandings for things down the road. We can engage them a little sooner. Mr. Barenie said that we did the survey a while back, but by doing this; we get more real-time feedback from new people and different folks. Mr. Barenie also added that it would be at a low cost whether we are buying coffee, donuts, etc. Mr. Keith said that we could have an agenda to talk about, and then offer it at several locations: a library, a couple different churches, and one at Town Hall. Mr. Barenie said that this is all marketing. We could probably group three or four of these together, and then have sub-categories.

Mr. Barenie also stated that he would love to walk. He lives on the trail, but he doesn’t know we would do that, because on the East-side of Town there are not really trails to walk. The trails and parks are all on the West-side, which is unfair. Mr. Barenie added that he is not saying this only because he lives on the East-side; he doesn’t need any more parks, because his kids are grown, but there are a lot of new developments on the East- side and very few parks. Ninety percent of our parks, believe it or not, are on the West- side of 41. There are no walking trails on the East-side.

Mr. Keith mentioned he was not sure if Mitch Barlowga is still in charge of Lake County’s Bike Trail Program. The last time Mr. Keith talked to him, Mr. Barlowga said that St. John has had the opportunity to tap into a half million dollars in State funds for the trails, but we have to match it in order to get it. One of the big issues is how we would cross Route 41 with a bike trail, so maybe that could be something that we think about when we talk about new development going in, and down Route 41. Mr. Keith said, it might sound crazy, but maybe we could tunnel, put in a light, an extra wide cross walk, and have a sign that says “Bike Crossing” in order to get people from East to West.

Mr. Barenie said that we can think about it especially with the new developments that we just talked about going in with the two farms and The Gates. Mr. Keith asked Mr. Barenie if he knows where the St. John ditch is. He explained that it is at the real sharp corner going West from Clark Middle School and what is interesting about that is there was some talk about making the path go right along the ditch. That would take you all the way through that wetland and dump you out to pretty close to where Boyer is doing his development. Mr. Kil said that it would dump you right out by Strack’s and Target. Mr. Keith said the next the landowners dredge that ditch, even if it were just gravel for now...that would be an idea. He told Mr. Barenie that would connect his whole side of Town to the rest. Mr. Keith said that he would be willing to do a Google Earth overlay to draw that path, and that way maybe at the next meeting they can take a look and see how that might connect.

Mr. Barenie added that he would not count out the opportunity for matching grants. He hates leaving money at the table. Mr. Keith agreed.

Mr. Setlak shared that some of his thoughts were included on the list, and the list is ongoing, not static. The things that they are looking at now could be different in three or four years. The locations could change because the situation does. There is a dynamic to it, and it is a matter of keeping up with it in terms of information gathering. It is about asking what do places think about St. John. We think rather highly of it; it is a great place to live but we are looking for economic development, and a lot of the focus has been on attracting businesses. People say, “Well, you have to get the businesses.” You read a lot of things in local newspapers that businesses are going in but not necessarily here. Mr. Setlak said that he is not saying that is good or bad. It is just a matter of the way things are. There are advantages in farming that information; where are the developments going and where there are gaps, or where can things can be made more attractive.

Mr. Setlak noted that it is in the marketing too. The marketing changes like who you go after. It used to be if you owned a Buick, you were 50+ years old, and it is not like that anymore. What is the information? What are people saying when looking at what is available here.

Mr. Setlak said that it would also be valuable if the EDC goes out and does talks from a good platform and not just giving our own opinions. Mr. Setlak said that it’s the matter of trying to accomplish that which he is not firmed up on. It would be nice to say let Mr. Kil do it. (Laughter).

Mr. Keith asked Mr. Setlak if he could elaborate on that. Mr. Keith mentioned that he is going through this process. His business is in Warsaw, Indiana now, and he wants to locate it here. So, he is going through the process of finding a commercial piece.

Finding out what is the zoning. Do his needs fit here in the Town? Were it not for him already understanding the process, it would be a little daunting. Mr. Keith knows who to go to for answers to his questions. Mr. Keith said that ninety percent of the time it falls on Mr. Kil. It is unfair to keep loading everything on him when he has everything else to do. It would be nice if we had a liaison or someone who really understood the process.

Mr. Setlak said that it is about facilitating the process for that. Sometimes, you get people that just want the hard facts that can be done in a table or chart. It is things like what are the electrical requirements, is it possible to use a lot of water, and those sort of things depending on who is coming in. It is to facilitate that whole process. It just seems it would be helpful to have that.

Mr. Keith said that we could produce a small tutorial that says if you are looking to locate your business in St. John these are the steps you need to take in order to do so. Mr. Keith asked Mr. DeYoung to elaborate on his experience when coming into Town.

Mr. DeYoung said that he really had to come in here and talk to Town management to find out conceptually if his idea would work. He went through due diligence on things he was doing. During Phase 1, Mr. DeYoung presented to the Town, presented to the different committees to make sure that he was going down the right path. He said that they were very good to work with. He did not have any issues there. They were his biggest champions helping him facilitate what he wanted to do. Mr. DeYoung originally thought he would have six or eight jobs, but he has twenty-eight employees. He was able to really grow his business, and they eat in Town, they bank in Town, shop in Town, and both of his kids bought houses recently in Town. So, Mr. DeYoung is very glad he came here. Mr. Keith said that he is glad Mr. DeYoung is here too.

Mr. Austgen asked if he could give some free professional guidance. As he sits hear and listens to this, he thought about how he works with professional brokers, commercial brokers, and people who own real estate and do transactions commercially in our Town. He deals with a lot different brokers, and he will add ancillary professionals to that. They have done a lot of things because of the way that they ask questions and the way they work for a client, buyer, and business owner. They ask for a lot of information about the community, about the dynamics, about the flow of progress, about improvements, about what is coming in here and what is going in there. Mr. Austgen said that it sounds like Mr. Keith and Mr. DeYoung both started from the ground up and developed the compilation of information for their purposes, but that they really had to start at ground zero. Mr. Austgen said that we could probably put out an invitation to private brokers, commercial brokers, and professionals in the development field that place properties with end users or similar, and they could be a tremendous amount of help. Get together in an after-work, social setting, and Mr. Austgen is certain that we would receive a tremendous amount of information about the process that they engage in to cap a proposal. That would help us, and make it so that not every process, every parcel of property has to be unique.

Mr. Setlak said that he believes that point is somewhat alluded to in the document. It uses the word “partnering” or getting together with other organizations that are free but also offer advice in different areas to somebody who wants to bring in an up and coming business. Mr. Setlak said if somebody is new; there is financing and the whole process of the real estate is just another segment.

Mr. Kil said that one of the most requested document is the Metro Study or the demographic analysis. It shows all the housing in Town and what businesses are lacking in Town. That is something that everybody seems to want, and Mr. Kil hands it out quite often. As a matter of fact, Mr. Kil just gave one to the owner of St. John Malt Brothers today. He is going to be building a new store, and while he is writing his business plan, he is going to use that document to help him do that. So, one thing the EDC might want to do is a refresher on that. It is a few years old now, but that document is handed out quite a bit. It has everything a new business needs.

Mr. Austgen said that it is good to find out from other folks how they are looking at it, rather than just how we are looking at it. It could add perspective and make the picture more full and complete for folks who want it.

Mr. Keith shared that he just got back from California again a couple days ago. He was at a meeting there and was talking about how he was excited about how St. John is growing and how he wants to locate his business here. He started talking about the demographics and told them that we are going to grow conservatively to 40,000; and people say it will be higher than that in their lifetimes, and one particular guy got so excited about it. When this guy got back to Sarasota, he started emailing Mr. Keith and looking at property around here. It got him interested because he said any community that is going to grow that big has some things that he is looking for as a developer. Mr. Keith said that speaks for itself. If you want to sell something, or you want to cater to a certain group of people, you have to know the demographics and where it is going to grow.

Mr. Kil said a Traffic Analysis is also requested frequently and that is being done right now. As soon as that is done, it will be a brand new study. The Metro Study is important. Mr. Barenie asked if the Metro Study was five years old. Mr. Kil replied, “No, it was one of the first projects the EDC did.” Mr. Kil said that it is about three years old now, so to do a little refresher probably wouldn’t be that much, if we keep up with it.

Mr. Barenie asked who the gentleman was when this committee was first started that was from the North, and the EDC invited him down. Mr. Barenie reminded the EDC that there was some kind of offering that this person had made to them that they hadn’t accepted because they were not ready for it. Mr. Kil said that one of the things was that they had been promoting Lake County. They do not promote St. John. That was one of the reasons this group didn’t bite on it because we are interested in St. John. They were interested in industrial. It just wasn’t what we were looking for.

Mr. DeYoung asked Mr. Kil what kind of packet is available at the Town to give somebody who has all of these questions. Mr. DeYoung also asked Mr. Kil if he would like the EDC to compile and develop a packet, so that Mr. Kil may hand it out.

Mr. Kil said there is a code, and a stack of ordinances. It all depends on what kind of property they want to build on. Mr. DeYoung gathered that it kind of has to go through Mr. Kil then anyway. Mr. Kil explained, for example, that if you are going to develop on Route 41, he needs to know what is your building going to look like. Depending on what your proposed plan is determines what path you have to go down. Mr. Keith, for example, has a whole post of variances he is going to need just because he would not be conforming to the ordinance. Then, Mr. Kil has another guy coming in who only needs a couple variances because they are going to be conforming to the ordinance. It simply depends. Mr. DeYoung stated that every request is then unique in itself. Mr. Kil agreed that every request is unique. Do you want to do a commercial PUD? Do you want to file for conventional zoning? Mr. Kil gave the example of Mr. Boyer. He is going for a commercial PUD. It is a big shopping center. Somebody like Levin; he is filing for conventional zoning. He is within the 41 Overlay District and the C2 Zone. It simply depends. There is no boilerplate packet that Mr. Kil can put together other than we do have our ordinances. The bigger companies that come in, if they have legal counsel or if they have a consultant on board, that is the easiest part, because then you go through and you sit down with the consultant and you go through the ordinances. They prepare everything for the property. It is not as cumbersome. If you are just the business owner and you have never done it before you would almost feel like it is insurmountable but it is really not.

Mr. DeYoung said that he kept plotting through himself, but he can say this. He didn’t know anybody, but the Town was very willing to work with him, to answer his questions, to follow through, and to give him guidance. Mr. Kil joked that he and Mr. DeYoung were best friends. He was with him all the time. Mr. DeYoung laughed and said that he just asked a lot of questions because he didn’t know anything and he was thankful for that. There are a lot of Towns that just won’t do that. Mr. Kil said that they really try to do that with everybody. Like he said previously, they just got done meeting with Mr. Keith, his builder, and everything. There are a lot of little nuances. Each site is different. Mr. Keith has property line issues. There are parking stall issues. There are grave issues. There are building material issues. Some sites have those things, and some don’t. We have a lot of things that are going on right now, and the building and developing part of it takes the vast percentage of time. Mr. Kil said that Mr. Austgen knows about that because they are constantly talking about these things.

Mr. Setlak said that from the standpoint of someone coming in, the packet is very interesting. Mr. DeYoung noted that it gives them information about who to call and where to go.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Setlak said that what he is looking for is a critical path. There are certain junctures where things will go off in different directions because of what they are trying to do. He thinks that those are perhaps more set. When they come in through the door you don’t know, but after four or five minutes you have already taken them down a decision path to where it is either going to be something that is simple or it is going to be something that is pretty involved.

Mr. Austgen said that he does get that point and, as he is sitting here, he hears the nuts and bolts, but Mr. Kil is right. The nuts and bolts happen every day; people asking how do I fill this out, what is this, what section do I fill out in the ordinance. That is the mechanics of getting somebody through. That is important. But, sometimes there is someone not coming to the door because they can’t get over the why should I be in St. John. Asking questions like do they offer tax abatement, is there a TIF for financing, developer agreement opportunities, are there reimbursements, how are the partnerships on utilities, and that is Mr. Austgen’s perspective on Economic Development Commission: the type of approach to stuff while the Planning and the Building side of it comes out of the ordinances and the requirements that are contained. There is an accommodation in Mr. Austgen’s mind that when he is representing a McDonald’s Franchise somewhere, or some commercial developer somewhere, they want to know all of those things. They start there and then they get into well here is our store. Does it fit, etc.? Mr. Kil said that he gets asked that all the time, constantly.

Mr. Austgen said that is the compendium among the items of information, so that folks may see that they are going to spend millions or perhaps tens of millions of dollars and invest here. Those are the types of things they need to hear. That would also show, and reflect their business sense of things, so that it is at arms length with the hopeful partner.

Mr. Keith said the residents have told them what they want. The EDC knows what they would like to see in Town, so the EDC is thinking along those lines. So, how do you get over having a business coming that you have no desire whatsoever like a Circle K on the best corner in the Town of St. John. We are going to put a gas station on the best corner in the Town of St. John?

Mr. Kil told Mr. Keith that when that happens you do what they are currently doing. You go to the BZA, and they get a special exception. That is number one. Then, not only does it have to get through the BZA, the Town Council has the final say. If the special exception is not granted the whole process stops, and they have to move to another location. Mr. Austgen noted that our Town’s zoning ordinance is very powerful, and that it needs to be used that way. It needs to be used appropriately. To him, the corner of 93rd and Route 41 is a sacred kind of place for a certain type of use only. Mr. Austgen added that we probably ought to consider some amendments in our ordinance to have the overlays addressed, so then we can enhance that control. Mr. Austgen said that Mr. Kil is correct. You have to put them through the layers. They go through a lot of vetting.

Mr. Keith said that the Miller’s Standard Station which is now called GoLow has been there since before Mr. Keith was born. If you grandfather in a gas station, and they want to expand then there’s nothing you can do about that, but you have got this beautiful corner, and we are going to put another gas station there across from GoLow. Mr. Kil noted that they are going to be coming in front of the BZA.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Keith asked the EDC where we are going to go with this list. Mr. Kil said that he thinks it should be presented to the Town Council as a recommended list. Mr. Kil said then it will be prioritized and they can give the EDC some guidance. Mr. Keith asked if Mr. Kil means “as is”, this list of twelve items should be presented to the Town Council. Mr. Kil said, “Yes”. He believes that would be appropriate. Mr. Barenie added that he thinks an open discussion on it would be good.

Mr. Setlak said that he would like to add something along with that. It is mentioned at the bottom, but add in the PDF article of Retail’s Correction Strategies for bringing in stores that you want. It is from Communitydevelopment.org. They have a variety of things, but their verbiage gives some of the ways for getting some of the information and for developing a sort of approach or plan. Which, all of these things are dynamic and not static. It is not something that you plan out and then in ten years go back to again. It is constantly changing. Mr. Setlak said that he would like that to go along with the list.

Mr. Setlak stated that he would move that the EDC send the list of twelve documents and the PDF on the bottom to the Town Council. Mr. Keith clarified that the recommendation is to take this list of twelve items plus the attached PDF and send it to the Town Council for consideration and review discussion. Mr. Setlak said, “Yes, he would move.” Mr. Barenie seconded that. The motion was carried by voice vote. (5/0) Ayes ---five. Nays --- none.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:

A. BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Keith asked the EDC Members for any reports or correspondence. There were none.

B. STAFF

Mr. Keith asked for any staff comment. There was no staff comment.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Keith opened the floor to public comment.

Gerald Swets, 9490 Joliet Street:

Mr. Swets said that he did not have any comment, but if the EDC was open to a suggestion: Commercial Insights Realty on Route 30 in Merrillville does a lot of commercial placements, leases, and things like that. So, taking the suggestion that Mr. Keith had on getting some people to invite to a forum. Just to find out what businesses have been looking for; what kind of information they are looking for, so we could make sure that we have that.

Mr. Keith asked the EDC what they think about taking the idea of inviting Commercial Insights to come in for a lunch, and all the EDC members that could make it. Mr. Keith suggested Willie & Steiner’s, Commercial Insights, and a couple of people that are known for this. Mr. Austgen added brokers in the area. Mr. Keith said, yes, and we could just have them come in and we can let them know that we are going to be going through this expansion of our population and business districts over the next couple of decades, and we could discuss. Mr. Keith thanked Mr. Swets, and told him that it is a good idea. Mr. Barenie agreed that it wouldn’t hurt at all. We might learn a lot about something like what they are going through now with Mr. Boyer. Mr. Keith said that with winter being a slow season it might not be a bad idea to do it within the next few months or maybe we don’t squeeze it in now, but right after the Holidays when everybody is bored in January.

(General Discussion Ensued)

Mr. Setlak mentioned that earlier when they were talking about the St. John is open for business brochure, it was mentioned there that Mr. Kil did some mailings too. He said that he had a gathering of some brokers and real estate. Mr. Kil said about a thousand realtors received it; every one they could think of and on the list in the Chicagoland area. Mr. Kil said that it was huge mailing on that, and a lot of them came back and asked for more. So, they did give more out, but again it is aged. That is why Mr. Kil made that recommendation with the Metro Study. It is time to spruce that up because he knows that he is getting requests for that. These businesses that are opening up want to know what the demographics are. They want the traffic, the car counts, the rooftops, and the incomes. Then, with that, they plug their business on a piece of property that is attractive and then they do their analysis; their one, three, five- mile radius studies. A lot of it is that they need the numbers.

Mr. Setlak said they can start looking at a list of potential attendees for the gathering of commercial brokers. Then adding to that by looking at Mr. Kil’s experience of who has contacted him. Mr. Kil said maybe we come back to the next EDC meeting with everybody having a developed list. Mr. Barenie said that would be helpful. Mr. Kil agreed and said that there are different points of view from everybody. So, maybe that is the project for the next EDC meeting. This list will be passed on to the Town Council, so perhaps everybody could come with five names of brokers, firms, realtors, or whomever they believe will be beneficial to come to the table. Mr. Keith said that maybe we can get some ideas on a January meeting with the brokers. Mr. Kil said, “Yes, January or February- get through the holidays.”

Ms. Hernandez stated that she wonders if we contacted GNIAR to possibly attend one of their meetings at their building so you have everybody together at one location as a starting point. Mr. Keith asked if GNIAR meant Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. Mrs. Hernandez said, “Yes.” Mr. Keith said that is a good idea.

Mr. Keith asked if we should talk about the November schedule. The regularly scheduled meeting would fall on Thanksgiving, so Mr. Keith wanted to know if we will be having a November meeting, or if we are going to do it a week early, etc. Mr. Kil mentioned that the Town Council meetings are November 17th and December 15th. Mr. Setlak stated he thought the EDC was already on the calendar for the dates Mr. Kil mentioned. Mrs. Hernandez confirmed that statement.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Keith asked for a motion to adjourn. “So Moved” by Mr. Setlak. Mr. DeYoung seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays--- none.

(The meeting adjourned at 5:44 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________

Beth R Hernandez
Clerk-Treasurer

11-17-2016 Economic Development Committee Meeting Canceled
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