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Economic Development Committee Meeting Minutes 2018

Meeting Minutes

01-25-2018 Joint Plan Commission,Town Council,Economic Development Committee

JANUARY 25, 2018 JOINT SPECIAL MEETING OF: PLAN COMMISSION, TOWN COUNCIL & EDC Meeting Minutes

ECOMONIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

NICK GEORGIOU KELLY STOMING WILLIAM KEITH
JOHN DEYOUNG RICHARD SETLAK GINA FEZLER

ST. JOHN PLAN COMMISSION

MICHAEL FORBES RICK EBERLY JON GILL
GREG VOLK JOHN KENNEDY  
STEVE KOZEL BOB BIRLSON  

ST. JOHN TOWN COUNCIL

CHRISTIAN JORGENSEN BETH HERNANDEZ STEVE KIL
MICHAEL FORBES MARK BARENIE  
STEVE HASTINGS GREG VOLK  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the January 25, 2018 Joint Plan Commission, Town Council, and Economic Development Committee study session to order at 6:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:

Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following Town Council members present: Christian Jorgensen, Mark Barenie, Michael Forbes, Greg Volk, Steve Hastings. The following Plan Commission members were present: John Kennedy, Bob Birlson. The following EDC members were present: Nick Georgiou, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, and Kelly Stoming. Mr. William Keith was absent. Town Manager Steve Kil was present. Building and Planning Director Rick Eberly was present.

PRESENTATION BY MARK GIANOPULOS FROM METROSTUDY on the 2017 St. John IN OPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS STUDY:

Mr. Georgiou stated that this meeting was called at the recommendation of the Economic Development Committee. This is the follow up document and the update of the Opportunity Analysis Study that was originally in 2014. Since the evolution of the town, the demographics, etc. it was recommended that it be updated. It was recommended to be adopted by the Town Council in October 2017. It’s an 88-page document and is a companion document to the Comprehensive Master Plan. There are a lot of comparable recommendations that are complementary to the master plan. In particular it focuses on the commercial needs and residential needs. It makes recommendations in both of those areas.

Mr. Georgiou said that he was going to turn it over to Mark Gianopulos from Metrostudy. He led the matter on both of those versions. They put together an agenda of some of the key points that they wanted to cover. All members should have gotten a shortened version of the 88-page document, which has the executive summary and recommendations which make it a little easier.

A. Overview and Executive Summary
Mr. Gianopulos said that we are going to start with the executive summary. He said that we will go through the overview and then follow the executive summary. He will be flipping back and forth to different parts of the study to point out different facets of it that support the executive summary.

Mr. Gianopulos said that he was explaining to Mr. Eberly that if you lived anywhere in the Chicagoland MSA the one place you would want to live is Lake County, IN, because everything here seems to be going in the right direction comparatively. That is really what the data points too. So, it’s just a matter of how we handle it.

As of the end of the second quarter of 2017, there were 1,000 units started. It has gone up quite a bit since then. In the fourth quarter it was 1,300 starts, annually, over the previous four quarters. So, over the course of 2017 we have 1,300 housing starts; both attached and detached within Lake County. It continues to grow. As of the 2nd quarter it is up 22%, and as of the 4th quarter it is up 26%.

Mr. Gianopulos projected a chart of a yearly housing start data; historically for Lake County. From the top to bottom it’s over 2,500 housing starts; back to 2004, 2005, and 2006 before it went like the rest of the country when they pulled back. So, that’s where we are now, 1,200-1,300 housing starts.

One thing that we want to look at is median price for new homes in Lake County. It is down year over year to $290,000.00. That is the price for a new single family detached home. Attached units were down also, but only about 1% to $173,000.00 So, pricing has been relatively flat, which is good.

Next, we’ll go into the volume and the supply of the Vacant and Developed Lots (VDL), lots that are currently on the ground waiting to be built on. Within Lake County the volume and supply has been declining since 2009. For equilibrium they look at keeping between 24 and 30 months. Right now, we are at 27 months’ supply of vacant developed lots. Those existing lots that are currently on the ground in Lake County. It’s down to 25 months in the 4th quarter. For the purposes of the study it’s at 27.4 months. That is a total of 6,378 lots. So, that gives an idea of total lots, historically speaking.

Mr. Gianopulos showed a chart that goes back to the 2000’s. The month’s supply is in red and the total lots are the gray bars. We can clearly see us dropping down since coming out of the recession. What they are worried about is the supply of lots. It’s imperative that we stay between 24 and 30 months if we want to continue to grow. If we start pulling back on lot supply that is when you start to see a lot of inflation, land supply goes up significantly; a lot of costs associated with development start to balloon. So, we really want to stay between 24 and 30 months. That is where we are right now. So, they recommend staying there as long as we can.

B. Review of 2017 Opportunity Analysis Study and Changes from 2014 Study.
Mr. Gianopulos said that one of the things that they also look for is the retail; the supply and demand opportunity gap, which is the fifth point in the study. He was talking to Mr. Kil before and there are three various aspects of the study they would like to compare it to. They wanted to compare it to what was going on in 2014. There are three various aspects that they found that were a little different than the 2014 study and interesting.
C. Commercial & Retail Needs and Opportunities within a 3 and 5-mile radius.
The retail opportunity gap for a 3-mile radius around the center town is $248 million. It’s $280 million within the 5-mile radius. The retail opportunity gap is the difference between what the data forecasts what the sales are and what the actual sales are based on tax receipts that are received from the IRS. When you go through and purchase, stores typically report their earning and incomes and that’s what they pay tax on. That is how they get the demand side. The supply side is forecasted, and the demand side is through the government.

Mr. Gianopulos handed additional material that explains methodology. It gives a more specific walkthrough of how they come up with the sales data. He said that we will go to page 55 and go through the 3-mile radius retail store opportunity gap between the demand and supply in 2017. In the bottom its $248,000,000.00. In the upper half it could be 10 million and greater opportunity gap for retail gap and opportunity sales. Those are what the government says, as far as the data, are the needed or potential sales within the 3-mile radius. We have the same thing for the 5-mile radius. It is $280,000,000.00. Those are the areas where they look and say this is where we need additional sales. If they don’t get additional sales they go outside of that 5-mile radius. It gives an idea of those retail sections where the data is underserved. If we don’t have it locally they will go outside of that 5-mile radius.

Mr. Gianopulos referenced the map that was in the handouts. The map is from Costar. It shows vacancy rates for new construction. The green dots give an idea of where the corridors are for Lake County; 41 is a major corridor and 30 is a major corridor; both of those two and certainly coming out of Merrillville. That is where a majority of the retail is already. There is a larger twelve lane road feeding into that retail section. So, the two things that they found is traffic has changed a bit compared to what they did 4 years ago. It is explained on page 77. What they found is that vehicle traffic slowed in some areas and increased in some areas. It is very different than what they had thought. On Sheffield road they put in the numbers that it was in 2014. That is AADT (annual average daily traffic). That is cars passed by on an average day in an average year. In the 2014 study it was 2,400 on Sheffield road. Now, 4 years later, it is over 10,000. That is significant. All the way through the west there is a significant difference from where we were. 93rd on the west side is currently at 6,300 and it was at 4,200. 101st street was at 1,800 and now it is at 12,000. That is a significant change within that 4-year period of time. These numbers are according to INDOT. Mr. Gianopulos said that these numbers change a lot of what they were thinking. Going down on 41, numbers declined just a tad. Originally it was 32,000 and now it is closer to 28,000. So, down 41 it seems to have pulled back a bit, and on the west side it has really picked up immensely. Also, it is a little less on Cline.

  1. Impact of Shops on 96 Project

    Back in 2014 they originally identified the need for retail, but they anticipate with the Shoppes at 96th place that retail will meet the needs of the local community. Certainly, for the next 5-6 years. After that we will need to look at the rooftop count and traffic counts. So, that is one of the findings they come up with in the executive summary. They believe that the new Shops of 96th will meet the retail needs going forward. Mr. Eberly asked how we would calculate that. He asked if it would be the number of rooftops per square foot of commercial. Mr. Gianopulos said that rooftops is part of it, but it is more tax revenue based. They lean heavily on the BLS and the data from the county and the government on tax revenue, sales, and forecasting.

    The issue too is the vacancy factor and rents. They have identified the specific areas that they think on pages 65-66. Mr. Gianopulos said that over 1 million square feet of retail space has entered the market within the last 8 years in the Lake County area. That is an average of 125,000 square feet of retail each year. Most of it was going along Highways 41, in the Merrillville market, and Highway 30. In 2010 the asking rate was $13 per square foot and it is currently $12.31. It has been a slow migration a little lower. It hasn’t grown at all, but we have absorbed the square footage which is good. They have included a five-year forecast going forward, which is from Costar, so this does present the data that it will continue to grow.

    We are also looking at the vacancy rate. It was 7.4 in 2010 and 7.3 currently or in 2017. Vacancy rate is declining just a bit, but in the industry but to fully compensate for tenants coming and tenants leaving, we use 3% for full occupancy. That is considered fully occupied. We are close, but there are other areas in the Chicago market that have double digit vacancies. It’s still a growing market, but a lot of what they depend on is vacancy rates. Mr. Kil pointed out that those numbers are for Lake County. They are not for St. John. The average prices are not the average price at rt. 41 or rt. 30. That is an average square foot price for Lake County everywhere. Mr. Gianopulos said that there are different types of retail levels also. Mr. Kil said that we have rt. 41 as our primary retail corridor, and then some at 231. So, it is a little confusing when you look at this and see the low square footage pricing, but it’s not just St. John it is all of Lake County. Mr. Gianopulos said that they don’t have that kind of data just for St. John. Mr. Kil said that he knows that. Mr. Kil said that we consider ourselves important, so he can’t believe that they don’t.

    Mr. Gianopulos said that this an average for all of retail, but there are different types of retail. Lifestyle centers are going to be up there at $17 per square foot, where a regional mall, general mall, strip mall type of things will generally be $11 per square foot. So, this is again an average within Lake County.

    Mr. Gianopulos said that one thing he can tell us about St. John is that traffic declined. That was one of the concerns that they had. It is far more difficult to get more retail in if your traffic is trending lower. That is just the way the commercial market goes. The Shops at 96th has their foot in the ground, and they are great. They should build anything they can within that area there. Mr. Kil clarified that Mr. Gianopulos is saying that we can handle a couple hundred thousand square foot of retail given that the Shops of 96th is around 200,000 square feet. Mr. Kil added that we are a moving target and that we are growing quite a bit. It is hard to say that is enough for now, because as we keep growing we should add more. The demand will be there. Mr. Gianopulos said that he would give it 4 or 5 years. Then, we could see where the traffic counts are and see where the rooftop counts are.

D. Residential Needs and Opportunities
  1. Demographics impact and highest needs

    Mr. Gianopulos said that he has demographic information. He said that one of the reasons people use Metrostudy is to get a handle on demographics. For any high growth area, census is not going to do a very good job at grabbing all of the households. Mr. Gianopulos referenced page 13 in the Metrostudy. He explained that this shows that from 2010-2017 we have declined, and household count has gone down by 5,000 households. Their data has physically verified 4,900 new homes that have been built in the Lake County area since 2010. So, they have verified 4,900 new homes and census is telling us that it has declined. That means that either someone is doing mass demolition on homes, or we have thousands of vacant homes. Neither of which is true. A lot of their clients are big box stores, because they want to get rough counts to compensate for those high-volume areas, and census can’t account for those areas because the growth is beyond normality. Here within the Lake County area there is a compensating factor that totally eludes the census, because they don’t understand the concept of people coming over from the Illinois border. That is not worked into their agenda. They have no idea how to account for those numbers. Metrostudy did a migration trail, but that was part of 2014. Those aren’t current at all. You can’t get current migration numbers. Usually they are about 2 ½-3 years old. Mr. Gianopulos said that census is not keeping up and that is one of the things that he wanted to point out. So, we have 4,996 new houses that we added in Lake County since 2010. We know that the data is certainly off when it comes to census and demographic.

    Mr. Gianopulos moved onto page 7. This is the residential development. The largest single cohort were units priced from $200,000-$250,000 and comprised about 33% of all the home starts in Lake County within an 18-month supply. That is great. We have 33% of all our developments within that certain price band, but they only have an 18-month supply. That is very low. A lot of what we build in Lake County is in that price range. St. John is much higher than that. Less than 5% of all the development that is currently going on in Lake County in the last five years is age targeted; catering to the seniors.

    Mr. Gianopulos said that he wanted to point out the age groups on page 12-13. The reason the box is there on page 13 is that it points out the age groups that are growing. This is telling us that any age groups below 65 years of age is declining in Lake County, Indiana. Everything above 65 is growing. The median age went from 53-54, which is significant in a 7-year period. That is telling us that the population is aging. We have people that live here now. If we don’t provide housing for them they will go somewhere else. Mr. Gianopulos and Mr. Kil talked about is the process of how much attached housing and detached housing you should have within a municipality. It really depends on where the municipality is in the life cycle and the gentrification cycle. Mr. Gianopulos said that when a municipality first starts off you will typically only see single family detached housing. As it grows and matures you will start seeing it go out 10 miles and 15 miles. No one has that room in Illinois, so you start getting higher density that starts to come in after a certain amount of time. So, it’s deciding what percentage works for what. In Lake County, St. John is the premier municipality.

E. Residential Comparative Municipalities
  1. 5 communities chosen for comparison

    Mr. Gianopulos said that he will share a comparison he did of five different municipalities. Mr. Georgiou said that he is going to interject for everyone that is not on the EDC. At the request of Mr. Barenie and the Town Council input, in the 2014 study there was no housing or demographic comparison for comparable towns. That was a specific request to include that in the 2017 study. Mr. Georgiou said that we have that in the handouts on page 17-18. We asked Metrostudy to specifically provide us with what they call a Comp-town or better household income, average median housing price, and analysis of attached, detached, etc.

    Mr. Gianopulos thanked Mr. Georgiou. He showed the charts with the top comparable municipalities. They wanted to make sure that they had a couple from Indiana even though we are in the Chicagoland MSA, so they included 3 from the Chicago MSA and two from Indiana to keep relevance. The two from Indiana were Fishers and Carmel. Mr. Gianopulos pointed out on the chart that the median age, cost of living index, and median population. He said that the difference in dates between the data is simply the databases that were available when they were looking. So, depending on the type of information we are looking for there are different age groups that come along with that. The more detailed the data the more latent it is. The median income is displayed for Barrington, Fishers, Carmel, Frankfort and Geneva. Barrington is a northwest suburb. It basically started as a horse-town and stables. It turned into Barrington, South Barrington, Barrington Hills and Barrington Lakes all around it. It is landlocked. Carmel is also landlocked, but Fishers has room to grow. Frankfort has room. Geneva is along the fox river valley. It is on the west side of Fox River. It is a western suburb. St. John has the lowest median income comparative, but the other areas have been well established for some time.

  2. Percentage of detached to attached comparison.

    Mr. Gianopulos referred to the rental data. He said that the rentals are compared to the median home price. In St. John, rental communities are at 2%. Mr. Gianopulos said that he isn’t sure if we have any attached rentals. He said that normally rentals are thought about as apartment buildings, but it’s just as much renting a single-family house. Mr. Kil told him that we don’t have anything over 4 units in the town. It is not an assisted living facility. Mr. Gianopulos said that you can get an idea of the percentage of rental compared to the rest of the housing stock. He referred to the data that shows municipal acreage, total housing units, detached vs attached housing, and multi-family units; which is at zero. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Gianopulos to expound on the zero multi-family units. Mr. Kil said that everybody in this community considers a structure a multi-family unit if it is not one house. Everybody that comes to the meetings views that as a multi-family unit. If it is a duplex they consider it a multi-family unit. Mr. Kil said that this threw him for a loop and he called Mr. Gianopulos about it. Mr. Gianopulos said that they use the census bureau’s definition of a multi-family unit. If you look at permits, whenever you are watching WGN or whatever you are watching, when they talk about multi-family housing permits it is referring to 5 units or more in a single structure. So, it could be Willis Tower, or it could be a 5 or 6-unit housing project, owner occupied. What they use as an indicator for it is 5 or more units in any single structure. Duplexes would not be a multi-family. A townhome could be depending on its built. Mr. Kil stated that we have nothing over 4 units, so we have zero multi-family units. Mr. Gianopulos said that is correct. They use the census bureau’s numbers for that data, and that is how they come to that.

    Mr. Gianopulos referred to the numbers on the right-hand side that show the amount of housing starts that they have identified for each of those municipalities between 2015 through the 2nd quarter of 2017. In Barrington, up until 5 years ago, it was a mandatory five acre lots. They don’t have a lot attached housing either, but it is also really built out. Fishers is still growing. Carmel has a lot of lots remaining, but they are still landlocked. Frankfort and Geneva are a little bit more flexible. Mr. Gianopulos asked if anyone had any questions on any of that data.

    Mr. Gianopulos said that what they are suggesting within the St. John market is age targeting. That is something we haven’t done much of, and the demographics show that is the way that its moving. Mr. Gianopulos said that he would guess that single family homes are a negative on our budget. They typically are, because they don’t generate that much in tax revenue. Mr. Kil said that they certainly require the most services. Mr. Gianopulos said that the tax revenue for a single family detached typically doesn’t cover the expense side. That is normal in most municipalities. If you start getting into a little bit higher density with age targeted, you don’t have that strain on the school system. You avoid a lot of the potential expense side, but you get the revenue side.

    One of the things that Metrostudy looked is age targeted, maintenance free. There are three different segments of it. Zero lot, which is a detached age targeted environment. They are called patio homes. They have a much smaller footprint and is a fully maintenance free type environment. So, for households who want a detached home as opposed to a duplex or a townhome. So, those are the three types of residential. The first move-up, the targets that are low in lots right now. Those are $250-$350,000. Those existing homeowners who want to move up either from outside the area or from within. Mr. Kil said that our influx from Illinois is keeping our home prices at a premium. Mr. Gianopulos said that he talks to a lot of builders and 50% of people that come into their homes are either working in Illinois or coming from. So, we are in a premium area. We are able to take advantage, because we have one of the highest revenues of values on homes and they like that. Mr. Kil pointed out that was mentioned in the study. It mentioned that it was because of what is going on in Illinois. Mr. Gianopulos said that our tax base is within 3-4%. He said that is insane when you think about 4%. He sees paying $20,000 in taxes on a $500,000 home. They don’t get anything more than we do in Indiana, so he doesn’t know where it goes.

    Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Gianopulos if they have done any studies based on the tax reform. A state like Illinois is going to be limited on tax deductions. That is going to make a huge difference, because it is going to add on to real estate properties over there, so if they can’t deduct all that real estate tax and income tax they are going to say “oh, another reason to get out of here”. Mr. Gianopulos said that he talked to a guy that said Trump just made up his mind for him. He is signing a contract tonight with one of St. John’s home builders for that exact reason. Mr. Barenie said that his point is that it is going to go nothing but up. Mr. Gianopulos said that is for sure. Our biggest stressor is going to be infrastructure. The more detached homes we have, the more that is going to work against us. We already have the lots, so we can’t do anything about that. In addition to what we have; age targeted density would alleviate at least any revenue issues we have for sure.

    Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Gianopulos if by age targeted he is talking about a development with covenants that you must be 55 and older to live there, or product that is just likely to bring empty nesters. Mr. Gianopulos said that his understanding is that Indiana doesn’t allow for discrimination based on age. So, we couldn’t say you can’t come in here unless you are 55 or older. That is his understanding of the law. If we can Mr. Gianopulos would recommend limiting it. If we can’t, he would say master down, maintenance free, etc. Mr. Georgiou said that to clarify, at many meetings there has been several commentaries on what percentage should be attached and detached. For a statistical basis Mr. Georgiou found that based on the 2015 numbers, St. John has a 16% attached vs detached through 2017 when the numbers were a little over 17.5%, as Mr. Gianopulos commented earlier about the maturing of the community. It is stated somewhere in the study that states it as 18% attached vs. detached.

  3. Recommendation for St. John detached to attached percentage.

    Mr. Gianopulos said that goes back to the life cycle that he was talking about before and the premium area that we are in. There isn’t a specific ratio that we should be at. It changes the older the municipality gets, especially if we are landlocked. If we are limited on land we don’t necessarily want our constituents to live 10 miles away. If you are not limited on land you still want to create that community. Mr. Georgiou said that another piece, which is why he thinks the Town Council asked for a comparison, is if you look at percentages the highest of those attached to detached is about 28%. That is where we talk about a maturing community and that percentage tends to go up a little. Mr. Gianopulos said that is one of the reasons they put that in there, so we can get an idea of what other municipalities are doing. Fishers and Carmel are both premium types within their area, and he would put St. John in an even higher place than that, because we are so much higher than all contiguous municipalities. No one else in Lake County has what St. John has value wise. Carmel and Fishers, they do. They are in the same area. So, that is a premium.

  4. Impact of continued growth on this percentage.

    To answer the question of what it should be you have to look at the maturation, what is contiguous, and what are our values. Mr. Kil said that he had asked Mr. Gianopulos where he came up with the numbers 82/18. Mr. Gianopulos explained that to come up with those numbers. Mr. Kil clarified that Mr. Gianopulos is saying that we should have 82% single family detached. Mr. Gianopulos said at this stage for sure. In about ten years it should probably be at a higher percentage of attached. The older we get, another ten years down the road. In order to keep the growth, we will have to out or we will have to go up. That is the gentrification cycle; older homes will get torn down to build new ones. Mr. Kil said that we do have the luxury of having vacant property around us. That affords us the availability to annex, which we do often. Mr. Gianopulos said there are the school districts too. We always fight that battle of the school districts. Mr. Kil said that he has heard that before.

    Mr. Gianopulos asked if there were any other questions. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Georgiou if Mr. Gianopulos covered all the topics he had for him.

    Mr. Georgiou referenced the 3 and 5-mile radius retail section that is in the full version of the study. He said that what he thinks is interesting is how Mr. Gianopulos said that the Shops on 96th will be filling up the need. In the full report, on page 60, it lists the Top 10 in retail; number one is general merchandise stores, followed by gasoline stations with convenience stores, health and personal care, misc. store retailers, electronics & appliance, motor vehicle dealers, clothing stores, restaurants. Those are the top 10 in the 5-mile radius, and it doesn’t change much for the 3-mile radius. He said that some things decrease, but there isn’t much change. Mr. Gianopulos said that there is just a greater amount, about $10,000,000.

F. Suggested Growth and Land Use

Mr. Kil clarified that these areas are what Mr. Gianopulos is suggesting that we focus on. Mr. Gianopulos said that a lifestyle center is what we need, because we are a premium area in a premium location. The double-edge sword that we are dealing with now is that we are not trending higher in traffic, as he thought we would be with the increase in housing. Infrastructure might be a part of that. An absolute need is a premium lifestyle center for this area. Mr. Kil said that we did our Traffic Analysis. We hired an engineering firm to study this entire area. We do have that data, and it does trend differently. Just as Mr. Gianopulos stated that he cannot rely on census data, it is hard for us to rely on all this other data unless we do it ourselves. The census data does not reflect what is happening in this area. Mr. Kil told Mr. Gianopulos that the one thing his traffic study did show is that the traffic is booming to the west. Mr. Kil said that everybody is going that way to go to Illinois, and then they are coming home. So, that doesn’t surprise him. Mr. Gianopulos said that it doesn’t make any sense that the heart of Rt. 41 and 93rd is declining. Mr. Kil said that our data is showing differently. Mr. Gianopulos said that was the one thing that didn’t make sense.

Mr. Gianopulos noted that we all hear about the need for more restaurants in town. In the 3-mile radius “food & beverage” move into the top 5 of the worst shortages.

Mr. Gianopulos said that an advantage that we have is the traffic coming from the north on Rt. 41 that won’t go out east into the Merrillville area. So, we can grab that traffic before they go out east, because it is a longer drive for them.

Mr. Gianopulos asked if there was anything else.

Questions and Answers session by Town Council, Plan Commission, and EDC

Mr. Georgiou said that he thinks we covered most of it. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Barenie if he sees anything we missed.

Mr. Gianopulos read a definition from Costar, “The definition of a Life Style center is an upscale specialty retail main street concept shopping center. An open center, typically without anchors”. Mr. Gianopulos added that it is anything right around 300,000 square feet. So, we do have room to grow.

Mr. Georgiou said that the data is growing. St. John is growing and changing significantly. This is a three-year update, and obviously the census is coming up in 2020. Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Gianopulos if that would be a good target opportunity to look at this again. Mr. Gianopulos told him that 2021, when the census data becomes available, will be a good time to look at this again. That would be another four years.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou stated that since this is a study session there is no Public Comment. Mr. Georgiou said that he will now entertain a motion to adjourn from the EDC members. “So Moved,” from Mr. Barenie. Ms. Stoming seconded that motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---5. Nays---0.

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

ATTEST:

____________________________________
Alyssa Gallegos
Recording Secretary

02-22-2018 Economic Development Committee

February 22, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President John DeYoung  
Richard Setlak, Secretary William Keith Kelly Stoming

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on February 22, 2018, at 6:02 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken with the following board members present: Nick Georgiou, Bill Keith, Gina Fezler, John DeYoung, and Richard Setlak. Staff Members present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager.

Absent: Kelly Stoming and Mark Barenie

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Georgiou advised there are no meeting minutes for approval on the agenda. The joint meeting minutes from January 25th will be sent to the members for review after this meeting. Both the minutes from the last regular meeting and the joint meeting will be on the agenda for March.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Georgiou opened the annual election of officers.

Mr. Georgiou entertained any nominations for President. Nomination of Nick Georgiou as President by Mr. DeYoung. No further nominations were made. Nomination carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Georgiou entertained any nominations for Vice-President. Nomination for Gina Fezler as Vice-President by Mr. Keith. No further nominations were made. Nomination carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Georgiou entertained any nominations for Secretary. Nomination for Richard Setlak by Mr. Keith. No further nominations were made. Nomination carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

The board administration for 2018 is Nick Georgiou, President; Gina Fezler, Vice-President; and Richard Setlak, Secretary.

OLD BUSINESS:

Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements – Status Update:
Mr. Kil stated he spoke with Mr. Boyer and the project is ready to go. Our attorneys have reviewed everything Mr. Boyer sent over, and everything is in order. Mr. Kil advised he provided Mr. Georgiou with a preliminary calendar. Mr. Georgiou will be forwarding the same to the members. Mr. Kil advised that Mr. Boyer has a signed purchase agreement, powers of attorney, and everything he needs.

B. Review of Potential Commercial/Residential Developments – Status Update:

Mr. Kil advised following the Plan Commission’s agenda and see what is in front of the Plan Commission.

Mr. Kil stated that Theo’s bought Dick’s, which was not on the Plan Commission’s agenda. They are doing some cosmetic items on the inside, such as updating light fixtures, painting, and projects like that.

Mr. Georgiou informed the members that Beth Hernandez will forward the Plan Commission’s agendas, if they request her to do so. He added that if there are issues they wanted to be on top of, having a copy of the agendas could help them to do so.

Discussions based on the Plan Commission’s agenda:

• Mr. Georgiou asked if the church listed on the agenda is a new church in The Gates of St. John. Mr. Kil advised that The Redeemer Church is located directly across from the assisted living facility. There was a plan approved for it in 2015. That project fell by the wayside when Mr. Schepel passed away, and they are now proceeding forward.

• Suncrest Christian Church has acreage to the east and south that is being proposing to be rezoned for residential development.

• The Family Express project is moving forward with their site plan.

Ms. Fezler asked if the Family Express infrastructure will be updated for the EDC. Mr. Kil advised that Family Express is going to rebuild their corner. He further advised that Denny Cobb had supplied the plans and had done all the work evaluating everything. Mr. Kil stated that we will be constructing all of Parrish this year as part of our Community Crossing Grant. Mr. Kil also advised the members that the State sent him the plans to repave US 231 from Indiana 55 to US 41, which includes some required widening.

• Three Springs is to trying to get the last phase revised to a combination of R-1, R-2, and R-3.

• Lantz Development was approved for an R-2 subdivision west of Cline and north of 93rd Avenue. The developer is coming forward with his plat and layout.

Mr. Georgiou asked about Walden Clearing. Mr. Kil advised that is the property on the northwest and southwest quadrants of Cline and 93rd Avenues. Mr. Kil stated they are proposing the right-of-way; they are not proposing to install the road for Cline Avenue running south of 93rd Avenue along the development.

• Levin Tire has BZA approval and is moving forward with their project.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the animal hospital is all approved. Mr. Kil advised they are just waiting for them to come and get their building permit.

Ms. Fezler asked about the Dollar Tree. Mr. Kil advised they are up for their building permit as well and is going in next to Goodwill on the north behind Oil Exchange.

Mr. Georgiou mentioned the strip mall where La Quesadilla ends and asked if that will continue with another strip mall being proposed. Mr. Kil stated Sophia Panagakos is taking that forward. He added that it hadn’t made the Plan Commission yet, but it will.

C. Revised Town Website. Proposed EDC page on Town website – Status Update:
The Town has retained Jono with True Mtn Marketing. Mr. Kil advised Jason had stated we will have a brand new website in another month or two.
D. PBIF Community Grants with OCRA for 2018 – Status Update:
Ms. Fezler stated she has been giving the matter quite a bit of thought. She would like to propose that she schedule a meeting with Steve and Beth to discuss ideas and numbers. She hopes to have a full-blown update for the committee in March. Ms. Fezler stated the request doesn’t have to be submitted until July.

She welcomes any ideas from the members. Mr. Georgiou stated that if she would outline what she is thinking of, he would be happy to distribute the same to the committee.

Ms. Fezler stated for the grant that both the Town and the Chamber have to put forth money in order for the grant to come through. Mr. Kil stated it is a cooperative grant. It requires more than the Town entity.

E. Road Impact Fee – Impact Fee Advisory Committee Schedule for Review and Approval – Status Update:
Mr. Georgiou reported that the Impact Fee Advisory Committee has made a recommendation to the Plan Commission. Next in the sequence is the Plan Commission has a public hearing and makes their recommendation to the Town Council. The Town Council is the final step in the decision-making process.

Mr. Keith asked about being able to receive a stipend from the extra 10 cents a gallon increase in gasoline tax for road improvements. Mr. Kil stated that most likely the State doesn’t differentiate based on growth of an area but will distribute it uniformly.

In response to a request for clarification, Mr. Kil advised the Road Impact Fee revenue can only be used for future improvements, not current deficiencies.

F. Schedule presentation for EDC for Roadway Improvements:
Mr. Georgiou advised that he requested a presentation on how we fund roads and stated Mr. Kil will put together a presentation on how the Town deals with roads and road funding. He’s recommending to do it at the April meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. New Assignments – EDC Recommendations to Town Council for 2018:
Mr. Georgiou opened the table for comments regarding a list of recommendations to be submitted to the Town Council for taking on new activities and/or tasks. Last year, a list was put together from all the committee’s ideas for the Town. Some of those items on the list were accepted by The Town.

Ms. Fezler asked Mr. Georgiou if he still had a compilation of that list. He answered that he does, and he will send that back out to everyone for review. Mr. Georgiou asked if anyone had any ideas they wished to throw out for discussion.

Ms. Fezler stated she would like to have a walking, biking, or running path that would connect with the other communities. Mr. Keith stated he also feels that is important.

Ms. Fezler advised there is a not-for-profit South Shore Trails Group that has reached out to her to start a group under their umbrella to advocate promoting trail expansion. David Eenigenburg of Trek, who did a lot of work to get Schererville’s done, would be great for insight.

Mr. Keith would also like to incorporate a mountain biking trail and stated that in other areas they create off-shoot trails on the dirt off of the main paved trails so mountain bikers some dirt experience. Mr. Keith then spoke about the biking team his son is bringing to Northwest Indiana, how it will have a connection with other organizations around the country, and members of the teams go on retreats in other states. He added those are the type of activities that make a community valuable.

Mr. Georgiou reported there were some nice things said about St. John. There were a couple of surveys and studies that were published. One stated that we were number one in the safest towns in Indiana. There is another survey that had the top ten places to live in the country, and St. John ranked number eight.

Mr. Georgiou stated that he sent everyone a copy the Annual Finance Report presented at the January Town Council meeting. He added we are fortunate to be in a financially healthy town.

Mr. Kil advised that report will answer almost any question about this community and recommended keeping it handy for any questions that may arise.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. DeYoung asked how many building starts we have so far this year. Mr. Kil stated he can only give through January, and that number is 21.

Mr. DeYoung stated the Town Council did a great job with budgeting and commented on the AA credit rating. He gets a magazine every month called “Building Indiana,” and there is a good article in it this month for examining economic development for your town. There are five points made: site selections, energy, communications, logistic options, and setups. He offered to make copies if the members would like. He is raising the issue so, perhaps, some of these points can be on the EDC’s web page.

Mr. Georgiou brought up maintaining social media and using a clearing house so someone can be notified to look at a question or something that has been posted and can respond. Mr. Keith mentioned the newsletter from Beth Hernandez and enjoys getting the updates. Mr. Setlak stated that is fine. However, he looks at where an email comes from, and the emails from Beth Hernandez come from a Gmail account. He further stated he sees no reason why it shouldn’t come from a stjohn.com account. Mr. Kil stated she has a Gmail and a St. John address.

No further reports or correspondence were had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Hearing none, Mr. Georgiou closed public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion. Motion by Mr. Setlak. Seconded by Mr. Keith. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Georgiou adjourned the meeting at 6:43 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

03-22-2018 Economic Development Committee Rescheduled to 04-05-2018
04-05-2018 Economic Development Committee Meeting Canceled
04-26-2018 Economic Development Committee

April 26, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President John DeYoung  
Richard Setlak, Secretary William Keith Kelly Stoming

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on April 26, 2018, at 5 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken with the following members present: William Keith, Kelly Stoming, Richard Setlak, John DeYoung and Nick Georgiou. Staff Members present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager; and Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer.

Absent: Gina Fezler and Mark Barenie

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion to approve the January 25, 2018 meeting minutes. Motion by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Mr. Setlak. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

The approval of minutes for the February 22, 2018 meeting has been deferred until the May 24, 2018 meeting.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project and Route 41 Traffic Improvements – Status Update:
Mr. Georgiou stated an updated Boyer Project development schedule draft dated April 13, 2018 has been distributed to all parties. The item that has changed is the date of the public hearing, which is now June 6, 2018 and all other successional dates for hearings have been adjusted.

B. New Town Website and Projects – Status Update:

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil for an update on the Town’s website. Mr. Kil stated Jason is confident that the electronic draft will be ready around the first week in May. The final design should be ready by the end of May.
C. PBIF Community Grants with OCRA for 2018 – Status Update:
Mr. Georgiou asked Ms. Hernandez to give a status update. Ms. Hernandez stated that Steve Kil, Gina Fezler, and she had met the prior week and agreed that “Art in the Park” would be a great project for the grant.

The idea is for Lake Central’s and Hanover High School’s art and shop departments to work together to create art project proposals to possibly be added to a park. Prairie West is the first park being considered. Ms. Fezler is working on first draft of the grant and will be sending it to Ms. Hernandez for finishing touches. Budget-wise, it will be around $12,000 to $15,000.

Mr. Kil stated it is a matching grant which must be in cooperation with the Chamber. The thought is to promote community spirit, and you need to work with a community group like the Chamber. Then we would get a matching grant from the State.

The thought is the Town and Chamber could do $6,000 collectively and ask the State for $6,000, which would create a nice piece of art that the art class can design and the shop class can build.

Ms. Hernandez stated they are considering having a committee to vote on the different proposals that come in. They were thinking a committee of possibly three Chamber members and two Town members.

Mr. Georgiou asked what the deadline for the grant submittal is. Mr. Kil responded July. Ms. Hernandez stated that Ms. Fezler is hoping to have the first draft done in May.

D. Road Impact Fee – Status Update and Presentation Request:
Mr. Georgiou stated that a presentation by The Arsh Group has been requested for the May meeting in an effort for the EDC to understand the impact fee and make a recommendation.

Mr. Setlak asked if that will be a public or private meeting. Mr. Georgiou said that the presentation by The Arsh Group is on the regular meeting agenda for May, so it will be open to the public.

Mr. Georgiou stated there are two numbers that came out of the study: One is that there is $11 million in current deficiencies, and there is another $78 million in new road construction. The Impact Fee can only be used for new road construction.

There was discussion about simplifying the presentation for ease of understanding. Mr. Kil stated that he will supply “The Zone Improvement Plan” to Mr. Georgiou to forward to the members. It is a 90-pages long report because State law requires it to be as in depth as it is.

E. Presentation to EDC – Methods for Road Funding:
Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil to explain how annual road improvements are funded.

Mr. Kil stated that annually they try to earmark about $600,000 to do subdivision streets, which is paid for out of Town local funds like CUM CAP Development, the General Fund, or Local Road and Street, which is typically used to pay for salt. There isn’t a grant that’s gong to help with paving the streets in a subdivision. Grants are for arterial roads, connectivity, and the like.

Other roadway funding options are:

• A G.O. Bond, General Obligation Bond, which is a bond to the Town paid for by the taxpayers.

• The Community Crossing Grant, which we are participating in now. The Town received some money. The Community Crossing Grant is a matching grant up to $1 million from the State.

Since it is a matching fund, the Town has to come up with $1 million, which we’ll probably spend down cash from the General Fund in order to meet our match. We are fortunate to have a healthy General Fund. The roadways must be of a regional benefit, therefore, it must be a collector street or arterial street.

• A Redevelopment Authority Bond, which has been done by the Town. Previously, the Town did a 2010 Road Bond and a 2014 Redevelopment Authority Bond, which is the bond that repaved 20 percent of the streets in town.

The Redevelopment Commission and Town Council will be considering a Redevelopment Commission Bond, which is a straight redevelopment bond and is not paid by the residential taxpayers of the community. It is solely funded out of the TIF District and the proceeds and taxes collected out of that district.

• A Wheel Tax is also an option. It is brand new legislation that was just enacted in 2016 by the State.

Mr. Kil advised that the aforementioned are the avenues that can be used. The Town has done several of them, and a Redevelopment Commission Bond is being considered. The only thing left out there is the Wheel Tax.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Assess Wheel Tax and Impact to Town as a Source to Fund Roadway Deficiency Improvements:
Mr. Georgiou stated if the Town assessed the Wheel Tax, there is a range that is allowable. It is assessed on every vehicle in the town. The money collected can only be used for roadway improvements. We will look at this as a committee and make a recommendation.

Mr. Kil advised that if the EDC wished to make a recommendation on a Wheel Tax, it would have to be to the Town Council.

Mr. DeYoung asked if they would be given the range formula to see what impact it would be per resident or per vehicle. Mr. Kil stated the eligible municipalities must have a population of at least 10,000, the ordinance would have to be adopted, and the municipality may impose a surtax in a specific amount of at least $7.50 and not more than $25.00. The BMV would collect it and make a distribution.

Mr. DeYoung asked if the whole amount comes back to the town. Mr. Kil said it is his understanding that it does.

Ms. Hernandez asked which towns have imposed a wheel tax. Mr. Kil stated Crown Point has and many communities around us have. The Town Council is not big on new taxes, so St. John has not.

Mr. Kil advised that a Roadway Asset Management Plan must be developed first. The Town did do one, but not for a wheel tax. The Town did it to apply for the Community Crossing Grant.

Mr. Kil advised there is a list of roads that are being costed out for improvement, and that list will be presented to the Town Council. The Public Works Department goes out with the engineers and rates the roads. They are matched against what is in the budget based on need, and whatever can’t be done gets moved to the following year.

Mr. Keith asked how the improvements are being paid for at 109th and Parrish Avenues. Mr. Kil stated that Family Express is required to put a lane on Parrish Avenue and a lane on US 231. Family Express is reconstructing their corner to accommodate all the traffic going right and left.

Mr. Kil added that we are in the process of trying to acquire right-of-way from the Groen family, who has the northwest corner. We don’t have the right-of-way on the southeast corner yet; although, when that property develops, then that developer will completely rebuild that corner.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

No reports or correspondence were reported.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): Just having observed, like, the people involved in Road Impact Fee, it would have been well if all of you would try to attend all those meetings. You would have saw what really goes on. And you – you’d know right now what goes on. It was a complicated situation. But if you’re trying to get up to speed here in one little crack, it’s pretty difficult. So I suggest in the future that you try and educate yourself in advance of the problem.

When you had this engineer making the presentations, you should have all tried to attend. Because if you knew this was going to come into your lap, you would be prepared to address it. So it’s just a suggestion, not a criticism. But from what I observed with that – that group, it would have well served you because there’s different pushes and pulls from developers. They don’t want the fee.

The realtors don’t want the fee because they don’t want to upset the developers. So in the end, the recommendation is very low because it becomes a political thing on their end. So whatever information you get is going to be tainted. It would have been good if you could’ve attended all those meetings yourself and formed your own opinions of what it should be. That’s just my suggestion for future situations like this. Thank you.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I actually was going to speak on the same thing. But I would just like to take it a different direction. I sat through several of Taghi’s presentations, and as well as you did too, Mr. Chairman. Let me – let me just tell you this: If you sit through twenty minutes of his presentation, you’re going to have about two hours worth of questions that are going to come up. And it’s very difficult, and this committee’s studied it for a whole year. I went to a number of the sessions. And, you know what, it’s very difficult, and I would ask you guys to just step back and stay out of it all together.

It’s taken a whole year to get it to this point. And if the Council is going to wait for you guys to get educated on it and understand it enough to make a viable recommendation, it – it’s going to be another six months down the road before this can happen. And you have to understand this Impact Fee is – that once it’s enacted by the Council, it’s still six more months before it can actually come into effect and we can collect dollar one. Now, the recommendation that was out there that came, that’s sitting with the Plan Commission right now, was 7 percent. Seven percent just means on an average house, it’s going to cost about $300 onto their – um – help me out here – permit. Thank you. Yeah, their permit, their building permit. So it’s really not that significant.

And at the last Plan Commission meeting, Mr. Panczuk, I think, came up with some pretty good alternative ideas on ways that we can incentivize commercial so that -- that this Impact Fee is not going to affect commercial the way everybody was afraid it was going to. Um, so I would ask you guys to just step back and let the Plan Commission do their job and present it to the Town Council, and let them decide from there. Because, you know what, guys, it’s going to take a lot of your time. You guys are businessmen.

I’m sorry. I know what it’s like to try to get work done in an average day. And it gets overwhelming. And this whole project will be very overwhelming to all of you. And I would just request that you just take a step backward. That’s all. Thank you.

Mr. Georgiou stated that since they are the Economic Development Committee and the impact fee has a potentially huge impact, that’s why the EDC discussed getting involved.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion by Mr. Setlak. Seconded by Mr. Keith. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Georgiou adjourned the meeting at 5:47 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

05-24-2018 Economic Development Committee

May 24, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President John DeYoung  
Richard Setlak, Secretary William Keith Kelly Stoming

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on May 24, 2018, 5:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Gina Fezler, John DeYoung, Richard Setlak, and Nick Georgiou. Staff Members present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager. Absent: Mark Barenie, William Keith, and Kelly Stoming.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The approval of minutes for the February 22, 2018 meeting and the April 26, 2018 meeting have been deferred until the June 28th meeting.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development – Status Update (added item):
Mr. Georgiou stated the schedule for the PUD rezoning hearing is June 6, 2018 at the Plan Commission. Public Hearing Notice has been published.

Ms. Fezler asked what time the meeting on June 6th starts. Mr. Georgiou responded it starts at 7 p.m.

B. Town Website – Status Update (added item):

Mr. Georgiou met with Jason Dravet, and the Town’s new website will be launched in the next couple of weeks. Mr. Dravet showed Mr. Georgiou the EDC or Development tab. It is similar to the old one. Mr. Georgiou advised Mr. Dravet that they had a website subcommittee previously and asked him if he could present to the subcommittee what they are doing. It will be after the week of June 4.

Mr. Georgiou asked Ms. Fezler for a quick update on the OCRA Grant. Ms. Fezler is working on the final draft of the grant request. There are some funding requirements that she needs to go over with Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Kil before making a few modifications to the draft. The proposal is due by mid-July, and the proposal should be prepared to go by the June meeting so it can be approved and submitted.

C. Roadway Impact Fee – Presentation by Taghi Arshami with The Arsh Group:
Mr. Georgiou introduced Mr. Taghi Arshami.

Mr. Arshami thanked Mr. Georgiou and extended a greeting to everyone present.

Mr. Arshami has prepared a presentation based on the email from Mr. Georgiou. Mr. Arshami explained a bit about the origin of the Road Impact Fee.

• It started in California, moved to Florida, and then expanded around the country. It started in Indiana in 1996.

• St. John has had a Park Impact Fee since 1996. We were actually the first community to start an impact fee process.

• Impact fees are available for parks, roads, sewers, and bridges. All of them are growth-related fees that developing communities can impose.

• It is an exaction, a form of taxation. It is governed by federal and state laws. The State law requires it to be proportional and reasonable, which puts limitations on how a community can impose such a tax.

• The Town Council approved the go ahead with this project in December of 2016. We started in February of 2017.

• There is a requirement by state statute that an advisory committee to be appointed comprised of five independent individuals from related fields.

• The Town Council appointed these five individuals, three of which are in the real estate development business, one is a resident, and the fifth is a contractor. That is the Impact Fee Advisory Committee composition.

Mr. Arshami stated that, because of the tax implications and exaction implications, the methodology for the impact fee is a step-by-step process with calculations and the rendering of decisions based on those calculations. Every step, the Impact Fee Advisory Committee has to make decisions and approve those decisions.

Mr. Arshami advised the process involves collection of data including population data, land-use data, and facility, which is the inventory of all the roads and transportation features in the town for use in Road Impact Fees.

From the preliminary work, the base information determined the roads that are congested and the needs of the community. What the future holds is studied using the data. State statute regarding the impact fee requires a ten-year horizon in terms of determining the growth.

As a part of the land-use analysis, we know what every parcel is zoned and what is proposed in The Comprehensive Plan. This information is used to assess the transportation element.

According to state statute, growth must be translated into a number of trips. Future traffic must be separated from the existing traffic by using transportation modeling and determining the future number of trips that may be generated by vacant land or opportunities for development.

Mr. Arshami stated that from that determination, we know:

• What the future growth is.

• What the growth generates in terms of traffic.

• What the traffic translates into in terms of capacity needs.

Once capacity needs and costs are determined, the impact fee can be determined by dividing the cost of new facilities by the number of units to find a per-unit cost for each trip.

Mr. Arshami advised the items that need to be considered are the projected growth, the cost of the infrastructure, and the cost per trip.

As a part of the analysis, development is divided into one of three categories for determining what the development is:

• Existing Lots in existing subdivisions, which are a source of future development.

• Planned subdivisions. Last year, St. John had more than 1200 units that were planned but not built yet.

• Existing developable land, which is all of the vacant land that is in town that can be developed in the next ten years.

Mr. Arshami added the residential properties are categorized as single-family and single-family attached zoned R-1, R-2, or R-3. Future development has been identified. For R-1, it was determined that there are 2846 residential units that can be developed. The same determinations were made for R-2 at 1,187 and R-3 at 432.

Mr. Arshami stated a similar analysis was done for commercial activities and industrial activities. For each of these categories, a determination of the future service unit was formulated.

Mr. Arshami advised a service unit is either residential or commercial, and commercial includes industrial.

• For residential purposes, one single-family residence is used as the base. Any other type of residential unit is a fraction of the single-family home. This is the standard practice of measurement nationwide.

• For commercial and industrial uses, 1000 square-feet of development is a service unit.

C-1 has 56 units which means that, based on The Comprehensive Plan what has been zoned as C-1, there is an allowance of 56,000 square feet of future development.

Adding all of the zoning categories together, the result is 9,121 as the total development opportunities for the next ten years.

A transportation model was run for each use category, and each category has an ITE Code (Institute of Transportation Engineers Code) assigned to it. Each code has a specific number of trips generated based on national averages and the transportation modeling was calculated. Residential homes generated 29,072 trips, townhouses generated 11,485 trips, and all the categories generated a total of 167,335 trips.

Mr. Arshami advised that there are deficiencies and that existing traffic and future traffic must be separated from one another because the impact fee revenues can only be spent for future developments.

Existing traffic generates a considerable amount of deficiencies. All of the existing deficiencies have been identified and the cost amount calculated. That cost must be deducted from the total transportation needs which yields the cost of the impact.

Existing deficiencies equal $11 million which leaves $81 million as the growth-related facility costs. Dividing the growth-related facility costs by the number of trips that new developments generate equals a cost of $487.73 per unit of impact.

The amount of $487.73 is the cost per trip for future development regardless of the type of development. A single-family home may generate ten trips; a McDonald’s may generate seventy trips.

Mr. Arshami advised that many communities have a roadway impact fee, and St. John has already been doing a park impact fee. Communities don’t necessarily charge 100 percent of the calculated impact fee for a variety of reasons, including the economic impact of the cost. Often times, a percentage is chosen, and a gradual increase is added each year.

Mr. Arshami advised that an impact fee is valid for five years. Should a community chose to renew an impact fee, they must have the study redone. Many communities choose to increase the cost on an annual basis.

If St. John were to choose to assess the impact fee at 100 percent, based on the needs per trip for a single-family home, a new permit will cost about $5,310.

An EDU (equivalent dwelling unit) is a factorization number for making calculations. The EDU factor for a townhouse is a fraction of a single-family home at 70 percent. Multiplying the full recovery cost by 70 percent for a townhouse, the cost for a building permit would be $3,717.

Similar calculation can be done for commercial and industrial zones. For commercial property, different commercial properties will generate different types of traffic. An ITE 820 is a typical shopping center. Using the base of 1000 square feet of a shopping center as a unit, the cost will be $17,418 for every 1000 square feet of space.

Mr. Arshami explained that the Impact Fee Advisory Committee had seven meetings learning the information to establish a fair rate. They were concerned about the economic impacts, and they made a recommendation to the Town Council to set the fee at 7 percent to start. The Town Council makes the final decision, and they can accept it or they can change it.

At 7 percent the fees would be as follows: single-family home, $371; townhouse, $260; multifamily, which would be like a senior-center development, $66; a commercial shopping center, $1219. A more intense shopping center would have a higher EDU factor of 4.07 percent, which means that shopping center generates four times more traffic than a single-family home. Their cost would be about $1512. Industrial use doesn’t generate as much traffic, so their rate would be about $234.

Based on projections of future development, if the proposed rate is applied, the Town could generate revenue of about $325,000 per year for a five-year total of $1.6 million for future development uses such as right-of-way acquisitions, design, engineering work, and future roadway construction.

Ms. Fezler asked if the 7 percent that was proposed, if it would be the same for all five years. Mr. Arshami stated that is correct because the Impact Fee Advisory Committee did not choose the option of doing a gradual increase.

Mr. Arshami stated there are four other communities in Indiana right now that have a road impact fee. All of them are growing, suburban communities. The four communities were reviewed, and the base fees charged in those communities range from $1009 for Zionsville to $2930 for Westfield. All the communities are in either their second or third round of their respective impact fees.

Mr. Kil advised that the total permit fee for a new home is around $12,000. With realtors, developers, and builders on the Impact Fee Advisory Committee, part of their job is to make sure we don’t price ourselves out of the market and have the impact fee become a deterrent. The communities mentioned do not have building permit fees close to our fees. For example, Westfield has a total fee of about $6,000.

Mr. DeYoung asked what commercial development might be looking at in terms of cost. Mr. Kil gave an example: McDonald’s was $70,000 for a permit. When we add the impact fee on, they could pay quite a bit more.

Mr. Arshami advised that the trip cost for St. John in comparison with the other communities is $487, for the other communities, the trip cost was $200 plus which means they have less of a need than St. John does.

Mr. Arshami stated when considering a road impact fee, the focus is more on the cost or impact of the cost on the businesses and less on the benefits of it. By statute, considering the benefits is not a requirement. As a general rule, these results are a tool that can be used as a vehicle for economic development, not only in terms of determining what the future needs are, but also what type of land use you should be looking for. Ultimately, the goal is to determine the highest and best use.

Mr. Arshami advised there is a method for calculating the fee. Developers and realtors can determine that and try to roll the cost into the development. The Town can consider highest and best use for determination of zoning. Using park share and bringing in pedestrian walkways so the number of cars coming to a facility is reduced are tools that the Town could use to address the needs.

Mr. Kil gave a cost of development example: At 100 percent, the cost of something like Mr. Boyer’s project, the impact fee would be almost $3 million at 100 percent or $205,000 at 7 percent. The fee isn’t assessed to the developer; it is assessed to the builder on the building permit. The Impact Fee Advisory Committee felt it would drive commercial business out of town.

Mr. DeYoung stated he would like some clarification on the C-1 and C-2 and asked if there is a size that differentiates the size of the fee. Mr. Kil advised C-1 is neighborhood commercial zoning; C-2 is highway commercial zoning and is less restrictive than a C-1.

Mr. DeYoung asked if the 7 percent is based on what the building is. Mr. Kil advised that it is based on the square footage.

Mr. DeYoung asked how long it goes for. Mr. Arshami advised it is a one-time fee that is attached to a building permit.

Mr. Arshami stated that the ITE generates multiple codes for the different types of use, and the Town will use the specific code that applies to the proposed construction for which the building permit is requested.

Mr. Kil advised that the multiplier must be used. If you look at specialty retail like a woman’s clothing store of 10,000 square feet wouldn’t be $15,000, it would be $15,000 times the multiplier; therefore, it would be $553,000 at 100 percent of the recommended amount.

Mr. DeYoung asked if the fees collected are only applied to that development. Mr. Kil advised that a town-wide impact fee zone was established, so one could build on one side of town, and the money could be spent on the other side of town. It cannot be spent on existing deficiencies.

Ms. Fezler asked what specific projects the fee will cover and how it is decided what is critical. Mr. Kil advised that there is a listing from the traffic engineer that lists all of the existing deficiencies in order with a dollar amount applied to every one of them and that the engineer did a list for future deficiencies as well.

Mr. Setlak stated the 7 percent is not a great revenue generator based on the cost needed and asked if it would preclude any type of bond issue to cover anything if this gets done. Mr. Kil advised that a bond issue would be assessed to existing customers; this is assessed to building permits.

Mr. Arshami stated the communities that currently have a road impact fee in place use it to generate revenue as a match to get other grants. They use it as their local match because all state and federal grants require a 20 percent local match.

Mr. Kil advised the next step is the public hearing in front of the Plan Commission on July 11, 2018. The Impact Fee Advisory Committee has certified their recommendation at 7 percent.

Mr. Kil explained the process: Once the Impact Fee Advisory Committee makes a recommendation, that recommendation goes to the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission holds a public hearing, then they make a recommendation. The Town Council then has two recommendations and makes the final decision. And while the EDC is not statutorily part of the process, you are looking at it and would be a third recommendation to the Town Council.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Georgiou if it was his thought to make a recommendation. Mr. Georgiou stated he was looking at it more broadly. In addition to the roadway impact fee and the wheel tax, the EDC should look at all sources and make a recommendation either using an impact fee or a wheel tax or a bond because it seriously impacts economic development. Mr. Georgiou stated the road impact fee doesn’t address the need or the existing deficiencies, which is a huge issue and probably more pressing.

Ms. Fezler asked about trends from the other states and if they have more than just a handful of towns that are part of that program. Mr. Arshami responded he can speak more about the communities in Indiana. The other communities in Indiana have raised their fees every year and have not seen a negative impact of the road impact fee. Fishers or Carmel even added a bridge impact fee.

Mr. Kil advised those areas are constantly waiving their fees. Mr. Arshami stated they don’t waive 100 percent, they waive a certain percentage of it depending on the project.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the fee is strictly a building permit fee only and can only be assessed if it’s new construction or additional construction or if it can be assessed against a renovation or a rehab project. Mr. Arshami stated as long as the use has not changed, there isn’t a fee assessed. For example, if a Kmart becomes a Target, that’s not a change of use.

Mr. Georgiou asked if a barber shop was renovated to a clothing store, since it is a renovation, would there still be an impact fee assessed. Mr. Arshami said there would be a fee for the difference in the change of use. Mr. Kil asked if it could go the other way and a refund be issued. Mr. Arshami stated there is no refund.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there is a level of service with a grade of D or lower that determines what can’t be applied. Mr. Arshami stated it was a recommendation from the traffic engineer after initial review of the existing condition to establish a desired level of service. Looking at what needs done, to do anything higher than a service level D would have been substantially more.

Mr. Georgiou asked if it is only the current town limits in the study or if it addresses what is in The Comprehensive Master Plan in the future expansion areas. Mr. Arshami stated that as a part of the study, they did take into consideration some regional aspects of developments and how they impacted the pass-through traffic; so to a certain degree, it was considered outside the boundaries of the town.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the $78 million that was identified as future improvements were in the town limits. Mr. Kil advised Luers’ Tree Farm in Schererville and Illiana Christian High School were included because the traffic engineer knew that was coming into the Town and would have an impact on our roads.

Mr. Georgiou asked if every five years there is a renewal process. Mr. Arshami stated it’s called an update to the current study. It is, in effect, a whole new study because the conditions change.

Ms. Fezler asked if there are other towns in Northwest Indiana that are looking at the road impact fee. Mr. Arshami stated it is an expensive process. Mr. Kil stated that we have about $260,000 wrapped up in this study; however, the engineering detail that we have is fantastic. We know exactly what has to be done to every intersection.

Mr. Georgiou asked if US 41 was excluded from the study since it is under the supervision of INDOT. Mr. Arshami stated both US 231 and US 41 were excluded. They were included for the traffic calculations, but they are not in the expenditures. Mr. Georgiou asked if they are over and above what was projected in the report. Mr. Arshami stated they are over and above that projection because they are state and federal highways.

The members of the committee thanked Mr. Arshami for the presentation.

Mr. Georgiou views the EDC recommendation as a broader view to look at not only the impact fee, but also a wheel tax and other methods of funding roadway improvements, as they do affect economic development.

Ms. Fezler feels it should be a bigger picture focus. Mr. DeYoung asked if they would like to have a discussion on those different types of fees. Mr. Georgiou responded that he believes it should be a holistic recommendation.

Mr. DeYoung asked about the use of car stickers. Mr. Kil stated he isn’t sure the Town has the statutory right to institute a sticker and would have to check on that. Mr. Kil stated there is the wheel tax option, and that would be $25.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if he knew how many cars there are in St. John that are eligible for wheel tax. Mr. Kil responded he does not; however, if you take 7500 houses and multiply it by an average of 2.5 vehicles per house, it is roughly 20,000 vehicles.

NEW BUSINESS:

No new business was reported.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

No reports or correspondence were reported.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Hearing none, Mr. Georgiou closed public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Mr. Setlak. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Georgiou adjourned the meeting at 6:17 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

06-28-2018 Economic Development Committee

June 28, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President John DeYoung  
Richard Setlak, Secretary William Keith Kelly Stoming

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on June 28, 2018, 5:01 p.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, William Keith, Richard Setlak, Kelly Stoming, and Nick Georgiou. Staff present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager. Absent: Mark Barenie.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Georgiou advised next on the agenda are the approval of minutes for the February 22, 2018, April 26, 2018, and May 24, 2018 meetings and entertained motions for the same.

Mr. Setlak advised of a correction on page 5, the last two sentences. Motion to approve the February 22, 2018 minutes, as corrected, by Mr. Setlak. Seconded by Mr. DeYoung. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to approve the April 26, 2018 minutes by Mr. Setlak. Seconded by Ms. Stoming. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to approve the May 24, 2018 minutes, as verified and corrected as needed, by Mr. Setlak, seconded by Mr. DeYoung. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project Update
Mr. Georgiou advised the Public Hearing for Mr. Boyer’s Shops 96 project is scheduled for July 11, 2018, and asked Mr. Kil to add any comments.

Mr. Kil stated they had a staff meeting earlier that day. They looked at doing revisions to the timeline, and said revisions will occur after the Public Hearing date of July 11th. They were looking at things like the subdivision process, land acquisition, when engineering would be done, when we were going to be able to go out to bid, when we were going to be able to start demolition, and logistics like that. The platting process has to be completed first. The Town Council will consider the Zone Change Ordinance on July 26, 2018.

Mr. Georgiou asked if this is strictly the rezoning to a PUD. Mr. Kil advised that is correct.

B. New Town Website Update and EDC Component

Mr. Georgiou asked if the new website is up and running. Mr. Kil asked if Jason Dravet had gotten ahold of them about the EDC page. Mr. Georgiou stated he had seen the beta version of the new website and the EDC tab and reported that at the last meeting. It was also discussed that the website committee view the website and see what recommendations or comments they may have.

Mr. Kil stated the beta site is up, but he believes Jason is waiting for all the departments’ comments, so he can’t give a complete report at this time.

Mr. Setlak stated Jason showed him the beta site and the EDC page. The basic stuff is there. Mr. Setlak mentioned to Jason that he thinks there is a more recent traffic study than 2005. Mr. Kil stated there is a newer one.

Mr. Setlak stated Jason can make changes since he has control of the website as it resides on the Town’s servers. There is more coherence between the pages.

Ms. Stoming asked if they’ve seen it as a group. Mr. Georgiou stated they had not, but he offered to set up for her, or a small group, to meet with Jason to view it. Mr. Georgiou stated he had given Jason corrections.

Mr. Setlak stated he still has concerns because it is somewhat static, and websites need care, maintenance, and feeding.

Mr. Georgiou stated he believes it should be launched in the next couple of weeks. He would recommend that after it is launched, that we look at it and see what we want to add to it. Right now it is pretty basic and what we had before.

Mr. Setlak stated the header is improved and the page has the basics. The page on animal control has a picture of a dog there. He further stated the more recent traffic study needs to be in place for the link.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil to notify him when Jason is ready to launch so he can connect Ms. Stoming with Jason. He feels after the website is launched, the EDC’s Website Committee should continue to look at it and make recommendations for adding content or improvements.

C. Commercial and Residential Project Updates

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil to update the EDC on what the current projects are.

Mr. Kil reported Family Express; Coyne Veterinary Clinic; and Crossroads Motorplex, which was approved and is doing presales before starting the building process, are all progressing well. The subdivisions of Greystone, The Preserve, The Gates, and Mill Creek are all moving along well. Illiana Christian is also going well.

Mr. Kil further reported that 101st Avenue was finished. The traffic signal at Calumet Avenue and 101st Avenue will go live in about two weeks. Walsh & Kelly are repaving around town in subdivisions. They will reconstruct Parrish Avenue and construct a roundabout at Joliet Street.

Mr. Kil reported that Levin Tire will not be proceeding because Mr. Levin decided not to build; however, there is a realtor looking at the corner. He doesn’t know the reason why Mr. Levin changed his mind, but if he finds out, he will let the board know.

D. Roadway Impact Fee, Roadway Funding, Impact Fee Recommendation
Mr. Georgiou stated that Mr. Kil had presented Roadway Funding in April and Mr. Arshami presented the Roadway Impact Fee in May. Mr. Georgiou advised the Public Hearing for the Roadway Impact Fee is July 11, 2018. He further advised it would be beneficial to discuss the Road Impact Fee and consider making a recommendation to send to the Town Council.

Mr. Georgiou stated there are two buckets that everyone keeps talking about, $11 million and $89 million. The document he sent is the $11 million and a list of projects that are the primary projects of concern, and the impact fees cannot be used for these projects.

Mr. Georgiou took excerpts out of the Roadway Impact Fee that addresses the $89 million which is approximately ten projects. Mr. Georgiou stated those projects can’t be done until the current deficiencies are addressed.

Mr. Georgiou advised the recommendation by the Impact Fee Advisory Committee was at 7 percent of the total impact fee and would generate $325,000 annually and $1.6 million in five years. The wheel tax could generate $200,000 to $400,000 a year and $2 million in five years. The last option to fix roadways is to issue a bond. Mr. Georgiou stated the Town did a bond and resurfaced 20 percent of the roads four years ago.

Mr. Georgiou stated we can’t fund the current deficiencies with the normal budgeting amounts that are set aside for roadways. Mr. Kil advised that the Town does not have an extra $10 million to $11 million in the budget. About $2.5 million is being expended for the Community Crossing Grant work at 101st Avenue and Parrish Avenue, and another $600,000 for normal subdivision paving.

Mr. Kil stated there is an ongoing list of roadwork that is presented annually to the Town Council, and we try to stay in that $600,000 range to complete those projects. There would need to be another funding source, and the exercise we did a month ago was to figure out what the funding sources are.

Mr. Kil advised what is coming up for a vote is the Road Impact Fee. Depending on how you look at it, that could have a significant impact on residential and commercial development. If this board is going to weigh in on that, it would have to be tonight because the Plan Commission will be discussing that on July 11th and the Town Council on July 26th.

Mr. DeYoung asked if the first bond is retired. Mr. Kil stated the 2010 Road Bond has approximately another year on it. The 2014 Bond is a Redevelopment Authority Bond, which is a general obligation bond. The 2010 Road Bond, which was used to repave Blaine and some other major roads, was a straight General Obligation Bond.

Ms. Stoming asked the amount of the bonds. Mr. Kil responded the 2014 Bond was $5.2 million, and the 2010 Road Bond was $2.5 million.

Mr. Georgiou stated he tried to streamline the Roadway Impact Fee into something a bit more succinct for the meeting and asked for questions, comments, and discussions.

Mr. Setlak asked if the road improvement costs are figuring in for land acquisition. Mr. Kil responded if it is a 3-lane improvement, it won’t be too bad, but 4-lane gets extremely costly. If you look at the current deficiencies and future improvements, you will add $11.3 million to $3.2 million, it would be a $15 million project to complete it, which does include right-of-way acquisition.

Mr. Setlak asked how tax rates are affected when doing the bonds. Mr. Kil stated if it is a general obligation bond, it will increase the taxes. St. John has the luxury of its assessed value constantly going up. As the assessed value goes up, the tax rate drops. So if you are going to do projects and issue debt, it is best done when you are growing fast because after a few years, the tax rate drops significantly as there are more residents paying the same amount of debt.

Ms. Stoming stated if the wheel tax is implemented at $25, we’re still over $9 million short. Mr. Georgiou stated if The Town assesses the wheel tax, the Town has the discretion where to spend the wheel tax. The income from the wheel tax could be used to get a bond for the rest.

Mr. Setlak stated the best part of the Roadway Impact Fee was the study itself. It contains a wealth of detailed data. Mr. Setlak stated Mr. Arshami said a lot of towns use the impact fee to do design and behind the scenes work on various projects. Other places that have an impact fee waive the fees. If growth slows or tapers off, a Road Impact Fee on permits would decrease. Mr. Georgiou stated it is assessed on permits issued, so if there are no permits issued, there are no funds.

Mr. Setlak stated he isn’t confident that the Road Impact Fee is a good revenue generator. However, he feels the bonds look good and the wheel tax looks fine.

Ms. Stoming asked if The Town would do a combination. She had read about doing a Redevelopment Commission Bond and asked if that is the one that comes from TIF money. Mr. Kil stated The Town is doing a $5.6 million Redevelopment Commission Bond paid for by the TIF District. That will be used to fund the road improvement through the Shops 96 project; 96th, the roundabout, the traffic signal on the highway, and widen the entire highway with a center-turn lane, stop left-turn lane to Joliet Street, and extend the frontage road south to Strack’s and Target. All of those things are part of that bond issue.

Mr. Kil advised TIF money can be used in the TIF District or serving the TIF District. The grey area is the “or serving” part. If you are in the TIF District, it’s not a problem; however, “or serving” is a subjective term that is open to legal interpretation. This project is wholly within the TIF District.

Mr. Setlak asked if the General Obligation Bond is limited to a specific area. Mr. Kil stated to do something like this and get up to $11 million to $12 million, it would probably need to be something like we did with the holding corporation when we built all these buildings. The debt would likely be structured differently than a straight GO Bond issue. Mr. Kil stated if that is something the Town Council wanted to do, he would sit down with the FA and Bond Council and go through the various mechanisms and find out which way is the most cost effective way to fund such a large amount.

Mr. Kil stated the primary focus for this meeting is to make a formal motion or recommendation on the Road Impact Fee, which is what is coming up right now. This discussion is part of that decision making because the Road Impact Fee doesn’t address current deficiencies.

Mr. DeYoung stated it is part of the process and income needs to be generated somewhere.

Mr. Georgiou stated that as part of the project, every street in St. John was classified as A, B, C, D, and F. The ones referenced are D and F roadways which are the worst deficiencies. Mr. Kil stated the data that came out of the study is tremendous, and no matter where someone builds, we can tell them what the improvements need to be for that project.

Ms. Fezler asked if there is a specific use in mind for the Road Impact Fee funds. Mr. Kil stated he has nothing specific in mind for the Road Impact Fee at the time because it can’t be used for current deficiencies. Mr. Georgiou stated Walden’s Clearing isn’t extending Cline south, but if there was money set aside, that would be considered an improvement and could be funded by the Road Impact Fee. Mr. Kil said it could be used for an intersection improvement or be saved for five years and be used as part of a local match on a Community Crossing Grant.

Mr. Kil added that if it gets too high, it will have an adverse effect on new construction which is why the Impact Fee Advisory Committee is made up of builders, developers, and realtors that understand the industry. The Impact Fee Advisory Committee came up with the 7 percent recommendation because they felt that number would not deter the growth of the community.

Mr. Kil stated that while it won’t generate a whole bunch of money, it will generate something. And if it is saved for a few years, it could be used as a match and not pull from the General Fund. Ms. Fezler stated now is the time because we are in a growth period. It can’t be put off because the window of opportunity will be missed.

Mr. Keith asked if commercial permits would be $1000 per every 1000 square feet. Mr. Kil stated commercial is significantly impacted. Mr. Keith stated he built a 12,000 square-foot building, so I would have had to pay an extra $12,000. Mr. Georgiou stated he would have paid 12 times $1500, he believes. Mr. Kil stated the cost would have been at least an extra $12,000, if not more.

Mr. Keith stated that would have been a deal killer for him, and he would have built in another community. Mr. Keith feels the fee is excessive. He further stated he would like to know what Crown Point is doing because they are constantly improving the roads and intersections. Mr. Kil stated Crown Point has a wheel tax. Mr. Kil added their tax rate is higher because they are a city; they have a wheel tax, and they do issue debt.

Ms. Fezler stated she likes the wheel tax idea. She likes the use of funds for the Impact Fee; however, she wishes a decision didn’t have to be made at this meeting because she is erring on the side with Mr. Keith from a business perspective. Mr. Kil stated that is what Mr. Georgiou is asking them to do is to impart their opinions from a business-person’s perspective.

Mr. Keith stated instead of taking offers for areas in Lake County at a much lower price, he chose St. John; however, if there was more of a cost tacked on, he would have probably made a different location choice. As an EDC member, he is against an aggressive form of adding an impact fee onto the builder, developer, or business owner coming in.

Mr. Kil stated if the Impact Fee Advisory Committee would have voted 100 percent, it would have added $17 a square foot. That is the maximum one can get to lease property. Mr. Setlak stated it is computed to addresses the needs of the Town for all the improvements; and when it gets down to 7 percent, folks say that is negligible in terms of the needs. Mr. Georgiou stated that never gets addressed.

Mr. Kil advised the fee is assessed on a building permit for new construction and for building permits for remodeling projects when there is a material change in the use of a building, such as if an office building were converted into a restaurant.

Mr. Keith asked if we are creating the deficiencies by not thinking long-term effects when we are issuing all these permits. We are reacting to all this construction and development that’s happening instead of being proactive, and now we have a deficiency because it is a reactive measure. Mr. Kil stated there is not a community that he is aware of that doesn’t have a deficiency in roads.

Mr. Georgiou stated the deficiency is more congestion related because the road is undersized. Mr. Georgiou stated we have 17,000 existing residents who are not paying for the improvements if it’s only funded out of future impact fees. Mr. Kil responded that we are piecing away at it and making improvements, and we are going to correct the problem on US 41. We’re going to widen the highway, reroute traffic, and build 96th Place, so there are a lot of projects that are continually getting done. Mr. Setlak stated he believes some of the Impact Fee is to accelerate the pace.

Ms. Fezler stated she drives all over Northwest Indiana, and the roads in St. John are better than most of the roads she drives on. She tells folks who complain to get out of St. John and see what roads are like in other areas. Mr. Kil stated this process is to make things ideal; however, if someone is going to come down US 41 at rush hour, they’re going to have to wait.

Mr. Georgiou stated US 41 is improved by INDOT, so the Town can’t make the improvement for a center-turn lane. Mr. Kil stated INDOT is working on it. They started up north and will work down to US 231.

Ms. Stoming asked for clarification of what the committee is saying. Mr. Georgiou stated with the upcoming vote on the Road Impact Fee, he would like to have the committee make a recommendation.

Ms. Fezler stated that as the EDC they need to think about what their task is as a group and if the Road Impact Fee makes sense for our mission as an Economic Development Committee. Mr. Georgiou stated she nailed it on the head. Mr. Keith stated according to that, his recommendation is a negative on the Road Impact Fee as it pertains to commercial development because that is a detriment. He further stated it prices us out of the market and makes it hard for the “mom and pop” shops to come in. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Keith if his Road Impact Fee statement is in the form of a motion.

Ms. Stoming stated she has questions before they get to a motion. Ms. Stoming stated the Road Impact Fee is a tool used to generate the funds needed for the improvements that will be needed. If we don’t do the Road Impact Fee, where else do we get the money? All that money comes from a bond, and so talking about it now or making a decision now doesn’t cover current deficiencies. However, it puts a plan in place for the future ones. Because if we don’t do it now, we’ll be in the same spot when these will need to be done.

Mr. Georgiou stated it can’t be used for road resurfacing, fixes, etc. Mr. Kil stated to look at it as capacity enhancement, which means the repaving of a street isn’t included because it doesn’t increase its capacity. However, an intersection can be widened and have left-turn lanes put in, which increases the capacity of an intersection.

Mr. Setlak asked if it is possible to waive the fee in certain circumstances. Mr. Kil stated anyone who comes in for a permit can request a waiver of the fee as that is built into the law and the process.

Mr. Keith stated he is against The Town having the ability to hold that over somebody wanting to locate their business to St. John. He thinks it is excessive and one of the reasons why people are flocking away from Illinois to Indiana. Mr. Georgiou stated the communities in Illinois get money from sales tax. Mr. Kil advised we get nothing from the sales tax that is collected by The State.

Ms. Fezler stated there is a flipside wherein the Road Impact Fee could be a deterrent. Mr. Setlak stated there are some towns doing it already. Mr. Kil advised there are three towns in Indiana who are imposing a Road Impact Fee.

Mr. Setlak asked if people are running away from those towns. Mr. Kil stated most of them waive the fees. Mr. Georgiou stated he feels if you assess a fee, you assess a fee; you don’t waive it. Mr. Kil stated The Town doesn’t waive fees now, but if we add the Road Impact Fee, it is possible that we could be requested to do so.

Ms. Stoming asked if when the Impact Fee Advisory Committee recommend the 7 percent, with what that amounts to, it won’t really do the stated improvements, so – Mr. Kil stated if she is asking the thought process of the committee was, they felt that 7 percent was a start to bank money to help assist a project, but they new that it would cover the entire amount. They also felt that 7 percent would not be a deterrent to new construction either.

Mr. Keith recommend giving a negative recommendation on the Road Impact Fee from the EDC. Mr. Kil asked if that is a recommendation to charge no fee or to charge the 7 percent. Mr. Keith stated we should not add additional fees because it doesn’t make sense to add another fee onto the builders, developers, or business person. Mr. Setlak stated he disagrees and added, with the way things change, if Illinois changes their climate, people will be staying in Illinois.

Mr. DeYoung asked if there is a way to keep the 7 percent for new residential construction and have the commercial at 3.5 percent. Mr. Kil stated the cost has to be consistent. He further stated that same question was asked by the Impact Fee Advisory Committee.

Mr. Setlak asked if there has been a decision made yet. Mr. Kil stated there has not. He further stated the Plan Commission is holding a Public Hearing on July 11, 2018, and the Town Council will make its decision on July 26th.

Ms. Stoming asked if it isn’t their responsibility to address this challenge because it impacts the development, the deficiencies. Mr. Georgiou stated that was why this committee took it on holistically.

Mr. Keith stated the EDC is supposed to be the liaison for economic development for The Town. We’re supposed to be the friendly face when people come into town and want to know information about opening a business here, so he disagrees with the Road Impact Fee.

Mr. Setlak stated other places have their own fees and charges for businesses coming in. He recalled looking at Chicago, and they have a canopy tax for a canopy on the outside of the building. Every place has their own package of things, and people pay through the nose just to be there and peddle their wares. He is looking at the various options for how to fund doing some of the improvements. Mr. Georgiou agrees and feels the committee should continue to review the other topics and make recommendations or consider making recommendations to fix the current deficiencies.

Mr. Keith stated he personally doesn’t feel that is the EDC’s job. When the EDC was formed, it was how to put our best foot forward to encourage businesses that want to come to St. John. Mr. Georgiou stated it is the EDC’s place to look at the Road Impact Fee from the economic development standpoint.

Mr. Setlak stated we have no old infrastructure for that “small-town charm” feel. There are no sections of old buildings or square you can build on or rehab into something else. We can’t attract somebody who wants have an old-style brewery in an old factory or livery shop or something. Mr. Setlak further stated he doesn’t feel we’re here to serve the businesses; we’re here to serve The Town and growing The Town.

Mr. Keith stated many of the members of the committee have lost sleep at night because they are afraid they will have to fire somebody. Mr. Georgiou stated the Road Impact Fee affects economic development which is why it was brought in front of us. He further stated we will push off the deficiencies and wheel tax. He has no problem writing up something for the Town Council to address wheel tax and the deficiencies that cannot be funded by Road Impact Fees. The Road Impact Fee will impact economic development, and that’s the issue that we need to make a recommendation on tonight.

Ms. Stoming stated she is unsure how she feels about it, but she understands now why some folks said we would slow down the process because it takes discussion. There are two sides of this, and looking at the impact for businesses trying to come here and to the roadways, that issue isn’t addressed. Mr. Kil stated the Impact Fee Advisory Committee struggled with the Road Impact Fee for a year.

Mr. Setlak asked if they had the option of saying no. Mr. Kil stated they did, and one of the members of the committee stated he wanted no impact fee. Mr. Georgiou stated Plan Commission has that option as does the Town Council.

Ms. Fezler asked if they have the same option to say no fee. Mr. Georgiou stated if there is a motion of a recommendation it will either be for it, against it, or no action. Ms. Fezler understands there is an impact to assessing a Road Impact Fee, but she is trying to decide if it is enough of an impact to chase away new business.

Mr. Kil asked if they are all in the position right now to make a motion and take a vote and send something to the Plan Commission for July 11th, and potentially to the Town Council for July 26th. He stated if they are not, they don’t have to make a recommendation.

Mr. Keith asked why they are being asked to talk about a wheel tax. He added he is against the wheel tax and against the Road Impact Fee and his vote is no. Mr. Georgiou asked him if that is a motion to the EDC.

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion. Motion to forward a recommendation for no Road Impact Fee by Mr. Keith. Seconded by Mr. DeYoung. Vote by roll call:

Ms. Fezler - aye
Mr. DeYoung - aye
Mr. Keith - aye
Ms. Stoming - abstain
Mr. Setlak - nay
Mr. Georgiou - aye

Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay with 1 abstention.

Mr. Georgiou stated along with the Road Impact Fee recommendation from the EDC, he would like to write a recommendation to The Town Council that they address wheel tax and the current deficiencies and make recommendations on how to fix those deficiencies.

Ms. Fezler asked Mr. Georgiou to note that there is an update on the Grant Request for the next meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

No new business was reported.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

No reports or correspondence were reported.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Mr. Setlak. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Georgiou adjourned the meeting at 6:11 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

07-26-2018 Economic Development Committee

July 26, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President John DeYoung  
Richard Setlak, Secretary William Keith Kelly Stoming

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Keith called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on July 26, 2018, at 5:03 p.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, William Keith, and Richard Setlak. Staff present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager. Absent: Mark Barenie, Kelly Stoming, and Nick Georgiou.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Keith advised first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the June 25, 2018, meeting and asked for any questions or comments on the same.

Hearing none, Mr. Keith entertained a motion. Motion to approve by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Ms. Fezler. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project Update
Mr. Keith advised the next item on the agenda is the Boyer Development Project Update and asked Mr. Kil to give an update.

Mr. Kil stated there was a big Public Hearing that lasted until 1 a.m. The Town Council will be voting on the Zoning Ordinance for the rezoning tonight. Bruce Boyer will be appearing at every Plan Commission meeting from here on out until subdivision approval is completed.

The tentative agenda for the project is for him to receive his final plat approval sometime in October/November, depending on engineering.

Mr. Keith asked if what is on the agenda this evening is the vote for the PUD rezoning. Mr. Kil responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Keith asked if the board had any questions or comments.

Mr. DeYoung asked if the road to Joliet Street would be started right away. Mr. Kil stated it would not because property acquisitions are still ongoing.

B. Roadway Impact Fee

Mr. Keith advised the next item on the agenda is the Roadway Impact Fee.

Mr. Keith stated he understands that will not be addressed at this evening’s Town Council meeting. Mr. Kil stated that is correct; it is not on the Town Council agenda for tonight.

Ms. Fezler asked what the Plan Commission’s recommendation is for the Road Impact Fee. Mr. Kil stated it is 10 percent for the first year with a 7 percent increase each year. Mr. Keith asked if that is cumulative. Mr. Kil responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Setlak asked if the 7 percent increase is of the original, full amount, in other words, it starts at 10 percent. Mr. Kil stated it then goes to 17 percent in the second year, and goes up by 7 percent more each year: 10 percent, 17, percent, 24 percent, and so forth. At the end of the five years, the Road Impact Fee would be revisited all over again. The process is similar to what is being done with the Park Impact Fee right now.

Mr. Keith asked for clarification that it is for new construction for residential and commercial. Mr. Kil stated that was correct, and it is a one-time only fee assessed on a building permit for new construction.

Mr. Keith stated he is still not in favor of the Road Impact Fee. Mr. Kil stated there are three separate and distinct recommendations going to the Town Council.

(Items C and D were addressed out of order during the meeting.)

C. New Town Website Update and EDC Component
Mr. Keith jumped back up to the New Town Website Update and the EDC Component and asked for any questions or comments on the topic.

Mr. Setlak stated he had sent a note to Jason Dravet, Steve, Nick, and Kelly to see if he could take a snapshot of the page and send it to Kelly Stoming. He further stated he had not heard back yet.

Mr. Keith asked if True Mtn is doing the Town’s website. Mr. Kil stated they are done. Mr. Keith stated he does not want to go behind the normal route with Jason Dravet, but asked if it would be worthwhile to have a meeting with the True Mtn guys and actually have the site up on the screen or if that is something Jason Dravet can do. Mr. Kil stated he thinks that is what Mr. Setlak was talking about; to have the committee members look at the website and make the desired changes.

Mr. Setlak stated he is a stickler that a link goes where it is supposed to go and reflects what it is supposed to reflect. The Traffic Study, one link led to another. There is a reference to the Traffic Study in the Comprehensive Plan: On page 43, it instructs you to see the appendix, but you cannot find the appendix to the report. What is on the website now references the 2005 Thoroughfare Plan, which is outdated and needs to be addressed.

Mr. Setlak stated that Jason Dravet is more than competent, but that he is always busy.

Mr. Dravet entered the room. Mr. Keith asked Mr. Dravet if an admin access could be given to a user to someone, like Mr. Setlak, who could go in and make corrections or updates to the EDC pages. Mr. Dravet stated the website is written in Wordpress. Unless someone knows Wordpress, it is easier for him to take care of it.

Mr. Dravet displayed the Town’s new website on the screen for the members and did a virtual walkthrough of the various pages.

Mr. Dravet showed the landing page and stated the background changes through four or five different pictures showcasing the Town. The following are also displayed: a welcome blurb, a video that was shot with a drone, some highlights about the Town, news, road closures, and the Town calendar.

Mr. Keith asked what is on the Town calendar. Mr. Dravet stated that the Clerk’s office controls the calendar. Mr. Kil stated it mostly shows when the meetings are.

Mr. Dravet displayed the EDC page. He explained that the Thoroughfare Plan is the old one and that he does not know where the new one is. As soon as it is given to him, it will take very little time to update it.

Mr. Kil stated he has it and will send it to Mr. Dravet.

Mr. Setlak stated that he thought it would be good to have everything seamless and match and would like to see the links work to the appendices and documents as stated with the Thoroughfare Plan and the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Keith asked Mr. Dravet if he has seen the video he produced for the Town called “St. John is Open for Business.” Mr. Kil stated that maybe the video could be added to the EDC page. Mr. Keith agreed and stated he will send the link to Mr. Dravet. Mr. Keith further stated that if Mr. Dravet needed a hard copy, he would figure out how to get that to him. Mr. Dravet stated the link is fine.

Mr. Setlak stated he has no problems with the site as a starting point. He asked if Mr. Dravet could do one more thing and had him show Animal Control’s page. Mr. Dravet stated each department has its own theme, and the picture changes based on the department.

Mr. Setlak stated the pages have a common font and style with individualized pictures. The consensus by the members present is that they like the new website.

Mr. Setlak asked if there is an anticipated go-live date. Mr. Kil stated it will be soon and that Mr. Dravet is just waiting for the okay to make it go live.

The committee thanked Mr. Dravet for coming in and doing a walkthrough of the new website.

Mr. Keith advised the next item to be discussed is item E.

D. Roadway Funding, Impact Fee Recommendation
Mr. Keith recommended skipping over item C and doing item D first because the Road Impact Fee is a good lead into roadway funding as they are closely related.

Mr. Keith asked if the EDC should prepare a resolution and make a recommendation to the Town Council to create a separate advisory committee for roadway funding, wheel tax, etc., addressing the issue and the deficiencies since the Road Impact Fee cannot be used to correct current deficiencies. Mr. DeYoung stated that he would like to see what experts are needed that have knowledge on all aspects or all phases of what is needed. He does not know if he is qualified to do that but would entertain obtaining good information to bring the EDC members up to speed by folks with a lot more knowledge in what is doable.

Mr. Keith asked if the EDC, as a committee, would like to recommend to the Town Council that they create an advisory committee of experts that understand how it works. Mr. DeYoung stated he would be in favor of that.

Ms. Fezler asked if that would be just for roadways. Mr. Setlak responded; for the current roadway deficiencies. Mr. DeYoung also stated the deficiencies, which encompasses quite a bit of the community. Mr. Keith stated it is $11.3 million. Mr. Setlak stated the committee needs to be comprised of people with experience and who are experts in their fields. Mr. Kil stated that it would be at the discretion of the Town Council.

Mr. Kil stated that the EDC or another committee would make a recommendation to the Town Council that, perhaps, they should create a roadway funding committee to explore funding options. The members appointed to that board would have to have access to certain experts such as a financial advisor.

Mr. Keith stated he agrees with Mr. Setlak on the viewpoint of needing experts. Mr. Setlak stated that if and when we make a recommendation to the Town Council that we include a request to make the committee comprised of qualified people. Mr. Keith stated that is part of why he did not want to discuss roadway funding in the EDC because he is not an expert on roadways and does not feel qualified to make that type of decision. He further stated he is looking at if from an EDC point of view that it would be a deal killer for certain businesses that would try and locate here.

Mr. Keith asked if we are questioning the integrity of the fact that it has been brought up for votes. Because if we ask them to create an advisory committee, basically, we are saying we do not trust what has been done, we think you should mull it over one more time. We do not know that it is a bad idea, but we want to know that experts were involved in making the decision.

Mr. Setlak stated he looks at this as being more comprehensive and not just the Impact Fee. It is a pool of funding. It is not talking about engineering and how to make roads. This is how to pay for it and where the funding is coming from.

Mr. Kil advised them to make a simple recommendation to the Town Council that they consider the establishment of a committee along with the condition that resources be made available to them. Multiple members concurred.

Mr. Kil advised that, if they defer it to the next meeting, Mr. Georgiou could be informed that this was discussed at this meeting and everyone is in favor of doing it; and, if he feels the same way, that you would like him to send a letter on the EDC’s behalf to the Town Council.

Ms. Fezler sated he does a fine job drafting those letters. Mr. Keith stated he feels it would be unfair for us to make a recommendation at this meeting with Ms. Stoming and Mr. Georgiou absent. The other members concurred. Mr. Keith deferred further discussion to the next meeting.

E. Review and take on new assignments starting in August
Mr. Keith advised the next item on the agenda is reviewing and taking on new assignments starting in August. He stated that without Ms. Stoming and Mr. Georgiou present he is not sure how deeply they should delve into this topic. He then asked if everyone had the list of possible assignments to be considered.

Mr. Kil stated the Opportunity Analysis is done and the website is done. Ms. Fezler asked if there was a recommendation that we each go back to the drawing board and individually look at that list and pull our top two or three choices and come back and have a conversation about them. She further stated if that is assigned prior to the next meeting, then a well-versed conversation could be had, hopefully with all members present.

Mr. Setlak stated he believes that is what Mr. Georgiou asked us to do last year. Mr. Kil said to think about it and bring it up in August.

Ms. Fezler stated if we review it first, we would have a better conversation about it. Mr. Keith stated we will send a reminder and a copy of the list to everybody before the August meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:
Mr. Keith advised the next item on the agenda is New Business and asked Mr. Kil for the same.

Mr. Kil stated that Fred Terpstra from Culver’s has contacted him. Coyne is moving along well, Family Express is moving along well. Parrish Avenue repairs will be started soon. The whole road is going to be reconstructed, and a roundabout is being built at Joliet Street and Parrish Avenue.

Mr. Kil also stated INDOT is looking at redoing Cline Avenue and US 231. INDOT has a satellite office set up in the Standard Bank building here. They are adding the center turn lane for US 41. We are hoping they will do that in conjunction with the Town when we put in the traffic signal at 96th Place.

Mr. Keith stated he sees there is a new store going in by Goodwill. Ms. Fezler stated it is Dollar Tree. Mr. Keith stated the architecture looks good. Mr. Kil stated they are required to build an all-brick structure in that area.

Ms. Fezler stated there appears to be another phase of a strip mall coming and asked if that is correct. Mr. Kil stated that Sophia Panagakis is doing that project.

Mr. Kil added the dental lab is going in behind Dollar Tree, and it is a low-impact use and is not retail. Mr. Keith stated that those businesses work well back there, and Dollar Tree seems like a natural fit.

Mr. Keith asked for any other new business.

Mr. Setlak stated he read an article about a new mead that is being brewed in St. John asked if anyone knew anything about where it was located. Mr. Kil asked for more information as he hadn’t heard anything about it. Mr. Setlak responded the gentleman is making mead, which is like a honey wine. The company is called Boneflower Craft Mead, and he is looking to establish a taproom and production facility in Northwest Indiana. The article states he is currently based in St. John, but he does not know where. Mr. Kil stated he does not know either.

Ms. Fezler stated that maybe he is working out of his home. Mr. Setlak said he has not sold any yet. Mr. Kil stated he might open occasionally in the little place like The Copper Still. Sometimes they have people that come in and do special projects.

Mr. Keith asked if he just sells it. Mr. Setlak stated he thinks the gentleman is trying to do both. Ms. Fezler stated if he is trying to do crowd funding, he is probably just starting up. Mr. Setlak stated he has entered some of the groups of mead producers and has won some awards with his brews.

Ms. Fezler stated if he lives in St. John, the EDC could reach out to him and help him. Mr. Setlak stated he is interested in Northwest Indiana and gets his supplies locally.

Mr. Kil tells folks who call and say they are interested in establishing a business in St. John to drive around town. If they find a place they like, they should call him and he will run through the information with them. Mr. Keith stated that process was helpful when he built his building.

Mr. Keith stated it would be nice if we had a liaison. Maybe we will grow to that point where at some point we will have an Economic Liaison that is actually a staffed person that is there to be a liaison for the businesses to help them. Mr. Kil stated there are communities that have an Economic Development Director, but they are not too common. Ms. Fezler stated there are only like four or five of them in Northwest Indiana.

Mr. Setlak stated maybe a blurb on our webpage might be helpful to those who are interested.

Mr. Keith stated he would like to discuss the house across the street. It was abandoned for several years, became run down, and was purchased and fixed up. His son-in-law moved into it and lives there now. However, he feels the house should have been purchased by the Town when it was abandoned. The problem with the house is you cannot see due to the poles when you try to make a turn onto 93rd Avenue from Thiel Street.

Mr. Kil asked if that was the original post office. Mr. Keith stated it was the original post office. Mr. Kil asked if it is on the national registry. Mr. Keith stated he does not believe it was registered there.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Setlak to research that. Mr. Kil stated it has been suggested to tear it down and clean up the line of sight. Mr. Keith stated if they are selling it, it might be an opportunity that the Town might want to acquire it and do as needed with the corner.

Ms. Fezler stated she received an inquiry recently about what we are doing to clean up the sign issue near the old Standard Bank building because there are covered signs. Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Boyer will be coming in to redevelop that entire corner shortly, including redoing the signage.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Keith advised the next item on the agenda is Reports and Correspondence and asked for the same.

Mr. DeYoung stated he met Mr. Mike Vale, Senior Vice President of the Darden Group, which owns Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Yard House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Eddie V’s, Bahama Breeze, Capital Grille, and Seasons 52. He was able to connect Mr. Vale with Mr. Boyer. Mr. DeYoung stated Mr. Boyer sent him a text that read, “They are interested, and they’re looking at the Shops 96 site.”

Mr. DeYoung further stated that Mr. Vale requested a copy of Mr. Boyer’s designs and will pass that along to their real estate development side. Mr. Vale told Mr. DeYoung that they have even put two of their restaurants in different developments. Mr. DeYoung stated it would be exciting to get one of their restaurants. Ms. Fezler stated two would be nice.

Ms. Fezler wanted to remind everyone that the St. John Chamber of Commerce has their corn roast on August 10th. All proceeds go back into the community for scholarships for graduating high school seniors.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Keith entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Ms. Fezler. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Keith adjourned the meeting at 5:47 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

08-23-2018 Economic Development Committee

August 23, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President John DeYoung  
Richard Setlak, Secretary William Keith Kelly Stoming

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on August 23, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: John DeYoung, Gina Fezler, Richard Setlak, Kelly Stoming, and Nick Georgiou. Staff present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager.

Absent: Mark Barenie and William Keith.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Georgiou advised first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the July 26, 2018, meeting and entertained a motion to approve said minutes.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Mr. Setlak. Motion carries with 3 ayes and 2 abstentions. Mr. Georgiou and Ms. Stoming abstained as they were not present at the July meeting.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project Update and Schedule – Plan Commission recommend PUD rezoning and Town Council Approved on July 26, 2018

Mr. Georgiou reported that the Town Council approved the PUD rezoning on July 26th and that their next public hearing will be concerning their primary plat.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if he knew when that was scheduled to be held. Mr. Kil responded that it is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at the regular Plan Commission meeting.

Mr. Georgiou asked if Mr. Boyer can start the construction process after primary plat approval is given. Mr. Kil stated that primary plat approval authorizes a petitioner to begin the installation of the infrastructure.

B. Park Impact Fee

Mr. Georgiou reported that the Park Impact Fee was approved by the Town Council on July 26, 2018.

On a side note, Mr. Georgiou advised that the Road Impact Fee was not on the Town Council’s agenda, and he will defer discussion on the same until such time as the Town Council addresses it.

C. New Town Website Update and EDC Component Review for Edits and Additions
Mr. Georgiou asked if the new website was launched before the July EDC meeting. Mr. Setlak responded that it was launched after the meeting.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the website is on the list of Initiatives and Assignments and that he would defer discussing the various items for the EDC page until that topic is covered unless there are any comments from the members.

Ms. Fezler suggested that the members all review the website individually and bring any changes or enhancements that need to be made to the next EDC meeting. Mr. Georgiou advised the members to review the website and report any corrections or additions they would like to see made.

D. Review New Initiatives and Assignments for EDC
Mr. Georgiou advised that a list of items were issued back in April to be considered for discussion to possibly present to the Town Council; all initiatives would be at the Town Council’s discretion.

Mr. DeYoung asked if the Town Council has received the list to review. Mr. Kil stated that the Town Council is wanting them to pare the list down to one or two items. Ms. Fezler stated that they should create a prioritized list and present the top two items to the Town Council this year. Then, further down the road, they could present the next two ideas.

The members briefly discussed the items from the collective list provided Mr. Georgiou:

Item 1 – Trail Connectivity: Mr. Georgiou asked if anyone is looking at connectivity of the bike trails throughout the community. Mr. Kil responded that the connectivity is being studied by the consultant who is doing the Park Master Plan and will be drafting a master bike trail plan for us. He also does the studies for Lake County and several surrounding communities and knows where all the bike trails and connection points are.

Mr. Kil advised them that they are welcome to attend the Park Master Plan Public Meeting.

Ms. Fezler asked if the EDC will be able to look at the Park Master Plan to provide insight. Mr. Kil stated that they are welcome to; however, there is no requirement for them to do so.

Mr. Georgiou asked if this will be like the Comprehensive Master Plan where it was presented to the Town Council. Mr. Kil responded that it will be formally adopted by the Town Council after it is completed.

Mr. Setlak asked if there is a current Park Master Plan. Mr. Kil responded that the Park Master Plan is a component of the Park Impact fee; therefore, it is updated every five years in conjunction with the Park Impact Fee study.

Mr. Setlak asked if the Town has an individual who looks for grants. Mr. Kil responded that we do not have anyone that is specifically a grant writer.

Item 2 – Marketing Efforts Highlighting Growth: Mr. Georgiou stated that Item 2 is more of a marketing activity and that he isn’t sure how it would be coordinated or done if the EDC were to take it on as a task.

Mr. Setlak stated that he wonders if a new survey, like the one completed for the Comprehensive Plan, would be beneficial. Mr. Kil stated that the Comprehensive Plan was just approved in 2017. Mr. Setlak stated that he is only asking about doing a survey. Mr. Kil stated that they would need to come up with the questions.

Ms. Fezler stated that she would like to have that go out after the Boyer development starts which will allow them to collect more feedback.

Discussion was had regarding the possibility of using online surveys vs. mailing paper surveys. Mr. Kil advised them to put having a survey on the new list and prioritize it.

Item 3 – LCEA and Tri-Town Collaboration Efforts: Mr. Georgiou stated that this is more of an inter-municipality or inter-agency coordination on economic development and asked if they should to reach out to LCEA or Tri-Town.

Ms. Fezler stated that Tri-Town has lunches that she attends quarterly and that Chief Kveton also attends if he’s available.

Mr. Kil asked Ms. Fezler if she goes to the 16-plus meetings. Ms. Fezler responded that she does not; however, she does go to the Quad-Town meetings.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the last sentence in the item states to “appoint a liaison” and asked Ms. Fezler if she would act as the liaison and report back to the committee on the functions she attends. Ms. Fezler stated that she usually goes as a representative of St. John.

Ms. Fezler asked Mr. Kil how often we hear from Karen Lauerman with LCEA about St. John. Mr. Kil stated that he doesn’t hear from her very often as their focus isn’t primarily retail, and they always take a regional approach.

Ms. Fezler stated that maybe Karen Lauerman or Don Koliboski could come to one of the EDC meetings and provide updates from a county perspective.

Mr. Georgiou removed this from the list of assignments or projects since it is primarily collaboration.

Item 4 – Website Review: Mr. Georgiou stated that after everyone reviews the website, the committee should make recommendations on what can be added and that this is an on-going task.

Item 5 – Delineation of Development Areas and Types of Developments Desired: Mr. Georgiou stated that the EDC discussed this item a long time ago and that it is probably something that should wait until after the Boyer development is done.

Mr. Kil stated that everybody will have a better idea of what will be needed after Shops 96 is operational.

Item 6 – Development Video: Mr. Georgiou stated that he had read in the minutes that this item was discussed at the July meeting. Mr. Georgiou asked if the video that was discussed is the video Mr. Keith produced and if it was sent to Jason to be utilized. Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Keith was going to forward it to him and he would send it to Jason; however, he is still waiting for Mr. Keith to send it to him.

Item 7 – Speaking at / Hosting Community Group Event: Mr. Georgiou advised that this is a community outreach initiative. Ms. Fezler stated that it is a great idea.

Mr. DeYoung reported that some of the members went out to a church that was coming to St. John last year and spoke. They showed the group the video Mr. Keith made and handed out the “Open for Business” brochures. The folks they spoke with were excited to have someone come and speak to them.

Ms. Fezler stated it might be a good idea for the EDC members to plan one or two of those a year at different venues. Mr. DeYoung stated that they could do a meet-and-greet coffee hour where residents can come in and ask questions.

Ms. Stoming asked if there is any thought to social media presence. Mr. Kil stated that the Town has some Facebook sites now through the Police Department and the Clerk’s Office.

Mr. Georgiou stated that there is a lot of misinformation in the community and that an EDC newsletter would be a good option as an initiative to summarize what is going on. The newsletter could be posted on the website’s Development page.

Mr. Kil stated that doing something like that would be considered a project.

Mr. Setlak stated that the website needs care and feeding and is an ongoing instrument. Perhaps there should be news about what is going on in the Town and what new businesses are coming to Town.

Ms. Stoming stated the only thing the EDC can control is their page and what gets put on their page, such as a newsletter with the information they know to be accurate.

Mr. Setlak stated that he had mentioned before that the Thoroughfare Plan was the old version. Mr. Kil advised that he sent out the updated one to Jason Dravet right after the meeting.

Item 8 – Donation Buckets for PD & FD: Mr. Georgiou stated that he doesn’t know if this is something that should be coordinated in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce or whether there is a combined effort to try and raise funds for the Police Department and Fire Department. He stated that it is an odd one for the EDC, but he listed it because it was submitted.

Ms. Fezler stated that she had spoken with Chief Kveton about putting together an event that would benefit public safety, and we offered support from a Chamber of Commerce perspective. Mr. Kil stated that the department has established a not-for-profit foundation.

Items 9 and 10 – Community Center/Town Improvements/Town Functions-Events: Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if there is a committee enhancing community activities or an initiative to establish a community center. He further asked if there are any improvements that aren’t addressed by the other boards, committees, or commissions.

Mr. Kil advised that a community center would be a function of the Town Council that is a very big ticket item that would require a bond and a building corporation.

Mr. Setlak stated that the survey that was done for the Park Impact Fee had swimming very high on the list of wants for available activities; however, there are no swimming facilities in St. John. Ms. Stoming stated that the community may be able to use Lake Central pool. Mr. Georgiou stated that it would be very limited.

Ms. Stoming stated that the other assignment is to provide different events for people to come to, and the people of this community are going to other communities to attend their events. Mr. Kil stated that setting up a committee requires funding that would be up to the Town Council.

The members discussed various events that surrounding communities have hosted, such as Griffith and Dyer.

Mr. DeYoung stated that they need to figure out what they can be productive at within what they are charged to do as a committee. Mr. DeYoung further stated that there may not be anything at the moment; however, there are things coming up; i.e., Shops 96, the development of Kmart, and Family Express, new things that are great projects for the community. Ms. Fezler agreed.

Ms. Fezler asked if anyone has any ideas that are not on the list. Mr. DeYoung stated that making the connections, like those he reported on at the last meeting, and connecting the right people together will serve the EDC well.

Mr. Setlak stated that there isn’t really a meeting place in town other than Town Hall or the library. Mr. DeYoung stated that that isn’t economic development. Mr. Setlak stated that attracting people here is economic development, and meeting places and attractions are needed to attract people.

Mr. Kil stated perhaps they could do an initiative of a commercial corridor study and recommend land uses for specific parcels of property. For instance, they could look at what is in the town currently and see what they want to attract and where the best location site might be for a hotel, a restaurant, or a gas station, etc.

Mr. Kil advised the EDC members to fine-tune the list over the next month and make a recommendation to the Town Council.

Mr. Setlak stated that Item 5 was, in essence, what they were just discussing. Mr. Georgiou stated it sounds like it is being fine-tuned to look at specific commercial corridors.

Mr. Kil stated that perhaps they could work with in collaboration with large commercial land owners about what can be developed on various land sites.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the other items that seem to elicit the committee’s interest is to do a survey of the residents on what shortages they feel the community has and doing the EDC newsletter.

Ms. Fezler asked Mr. Georgiou if he can send a condensed list to the members so they can rank the items to send back to him for a final analysis. Mr. Georgiou stated that he will reduce the list, send it to the members to prioritize, and then the group will formally present it as a list to the Town Council.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Public Safety Improvements – Purchase of Property Currently for Sale at Northeast Corner of 93rd and Thiel
Mr. Georgiou stated that he read in the minutes that this topic was discussed at last month’s meeting. Mr. Georgiou further stated that there is a public safety issue and is wondering if the Town would consider purchasing the property. Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Setlak has checked, and the property is not on the Historical Register.

Mr. Georgiou stated since 93rd Avenue is considered a deficient roadway, perhaps as properties come up for sale, the Town should buy them, especially this house because of the sight-line hazard.

Mr. Kil stated that he would let the Town Council know that this property was discussed at the EDC and that, since it is up for sale, the Town Council may want to consider looking into purchasing it. The members all concurred that they would like the Town Council to consider it.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:
Mr. Georgiou advised the next item on the agenda is Reports and Correspondence and asked for the same.

A. Board Members

None were had.

B. Staff

Mr. Kil reported that INDOT is currently doing work under each of the two railroad overpasses on US 231 and making drainage improvements; they will not be widened.

When INDOT completes that project, they will pave US 231 from US 41 to Cline Avenue. Once INDOT gets to Cline Avenue, the Town will close Parrish Avenue for road reconstruction. In the meantime, the traffic circle is being constructed at Joliet Street and Parrish Avenue.

(Ms. Stoming left the meeting.)

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Kym Hughes (9028 Parrish Avenue): I just came to hear what you talk about and see what’s going on in the economic world of St. John.

(Mr. Kil asked her if she was interested in the road improvement information.)

Well, I’m interested in 93rd though, cause I think that, um – he’s at Kolling. And I think it would be really nice to be able to bike to schools besides middle school. But I know we have very busy roads around here. Plus the speed limits are 35-ish and 45, so some bike lanes, more sidewalks. You’re talking about, you know, developing the community. Walking is a big community problem. All the subdivisions have sidewalks, but you can’t cross over – well, you can, but you have dangerous curves all over the place.

(Mr. Kil stated that everything will be connected with the roundabout at Parrish Avenue and a sidewalk through The Gates.)

But you’re -- Parrish, you’re talking about, is down by 2 – by, is it 231? (Mr. Kil responded that it is.)

I’m up the other end. I’m by 93rd and Parrish. Yeah, so, but it would be nice to be able to get out 93rd area. Just new development and so I’m trying to find, like, school groups and people to come and discuss that information.

(Mr. Georgiou thanked her for attending.)

Thank you for asking.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion by Ms. Fezler. Seconded by Mr. Setlak. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Georgiou adjourned the meeting at 5:52 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

09-27-2018 Economic Development Committee

September 27, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President Mark Barenie Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President John DeYoung  
Richard Setlak, Secretary William Keith Kelly Stoming

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on September 27, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: John DeYoung, Richard Setlak, Kelly Stoming, and Nick Georgiou. Staff present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager.

Absent: Mark Barenie, Gina Fezler, and William Keith.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Georgiou advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the August 23, 2018 meeting and entertained a motion to approve said minutes.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. Setlak. Seconded by Ms. Stoming. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project Update and Schedule
Mr. Georgiou advised that Shops 96 is scheduled for Public Hearing at the Plan Commission meeting on October 3, 2018 for Primary Plat approval.

Mr. Georgiou asked if that approval is what would allow construction to begin. Mr. Kil advised that site work improvements are allowed to begin after Primary Plat approval.

B. New Town Website Update and EDC Component Review for Edits and Additions
Mr. Georgiou stated that this is kept on the agenda to continually look and discuss possible updates.

He has gone through most of the Town’s website and there are items he is thinking could be on the Development page that are currently only shown under “Resources,” such as the Shops 96 Presentation.

A brief discussion was had about whether or not the Shops 96 Presentation should be on the Development page. Mr. Setlak stated perhaps it could just be a link.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if the EDC needs approval to put Bill Keith’s video on the Development Page. Mr. Kil responded that he didn’t want to do anything with posting the video until he knew the members were okay with it. Mr. Georgiou stated that Mr. Keith said if we wanted to recommend to the Town that we upgrade the video that could be done for about $2000. Mr. Georgiou stated that he thinks it is a nice video as is.

Mr. Georgiou asked the committee to look at it again and maybe make a recommendation that we put it on the website. Mr. Kil stated it would be good to have the video on the front page.

Motion to have Bill Keith’s video posted to the Town’s website and make a recommendation to the Town Council for approval by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Mr. Setlak. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Public Safety Improvement – Purchase of Property Currently for Sale at Northeast Corner of 93rd and Thiel
Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil for confirmation that he had brought this matter to the attention of the Town Council and that they are not interested in pursuing it at this time. Mr. Kil confirmed the same.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. New Assignments Prioritized and Issued to Town Council for Review – Town Council to Select Next Assignment(s) for EDC
Mr. Georgiou advised the committee that has prioritized list of projects to recommend to the Town Council and that the lowest number on the list is the highest priority.

Number 1 is the Commercial Corridor Study and Update on Route 231. Other than showing that it is commercially zoned on the Master Plan, there is no other planning or initiative done on that.

Mr. Georgiou asked the members if we should have a consultant involved. Mr. DeYoung stated he does not think it matters. Before anything is done, you have to have approval from the Plan Commission, the BZA, and the Town Council, and the property owners will decide who they are going to sell to.

Mr. Georgiou asked if US 231 is an Overly District. Mr. Kil responded that it is.

Mr. Kil advised that most of the landowners on US 231 are developers. Mr. DeYoung stated that you won't be able to change their minds then. Mr. Georgiou said they will be market-driven.

Mr. Kil advised that when they did the US 231 Overlay District, they had only done a quick corridor plan. They did not do any property planning or development plan. Mr. DeYoung stated that it is up to the property owner or developer to do, and he does not think the EDC should spend money on that.

Mr. Georgiou advised that the thought is to take the Master Plan and input from the landowners to indicate how the property could potentially be developed. It would be an adjunct to the Master Plan on development showing people the commercial corridor and potential opportunities. He asked for questions and comments on the same.

Ms. Stoming asked what the question was. Mr. Georgiou stated that he asked if they should involve a consultant. Mr. Kil stated that the idea would be to utilize that section of the Comprehensive Plan and expound on it.

Mr. Georgiou advised that a good example is like in the Master Plan where the new train station is, which is a plan that Schilling presented that shows what they would do along US 231. So let's take it from point A to point B and show what could be. Mr. Kil advised that we would need someone like Taghi Arshami for that. Mr. DeYoung asked if it is needed as there are developers who own that property already.

Mr. Setlak stated that it would be more for vision purposes since the property is owned by more than one developer. Mr. Kil stated that he would advise taking it a step further and doing not only the north side of US 231 but also the south side of US 231, which has not annexed in as of yet other than where Family Express is.

Mr. Georgiou stated since that is the highest priority of all the members, perhaps this recommendation should go forward to the Town Council. Mr. Kil stated that he would recommend that if this goes forward to the Town Council that it include a budget request, and $10,000 to $12,000 or possibly up to $15,000 would be ideal. Whatever project goes forward to the Town Council, it should have a budget request with it as well.

Mr. DeYoung asked if it is necessary to spend $15,000 for that right now when developers are going to come to the Town with a different plan anyway. Mr. DeYoung asked if we can get a list of who owns those parcels and do due diligence with the Town's help to find out what intentions are before we spend $15,000.

Mr. Kil advised that the owners do not have a good plan. What we did as the Town is have First Group Engineering layout a corridor plan from Cline Avenue to US 41; it shows where every major intersection would likely be on each piece of property. Mr. DeYoung asked if that is out already. Mr. Kil stated that he has it in his office.

Mr. Georgiou advised inviting the owners to a workshop, use the Roadway Plan to show the roadway for future identification, ask if they’ve been considering how they wish to develop it, and explain that we are doing a corridor study. Mr. DeYoung stated that he likes the idea of doing that before spending a bunch of money. Mr. Georgiou stated that we would have the consultant present to take the information in.

Mr. Georgiou advised it would be a step-by-step process wherein we identify the landowners, use the Roadway Plan, and have a workshop. Mr. Kil stated that you will want to have the major landowners, and not necessarily those who own small parcels.

Mr. Setlak stated that it is an envisioning process. It isn't a matter of whether they buy it or not, it is planting seeds about possibilities. Mr. Setlak further stated that $15,000 isn't much of anything these days. Mr. DeYoung stated that the developers will spend the money themselves, and he would rather not spend money unnecessarily. Mr. Setlak stated that when the developers do it, they do it for themselves and that is how we end up with a multitude of strip malls, a boutique, and a gas station in one area.

Mr. Kil stated that this would show a good cooperative effort between the Town and the developers to plan for the future. Mr. Setlak stated that it could include a frontage road so that it doesn't end a up mess like US 41.

Mr. Kil stated that he is assuming we're going to make a recommendation for a budget not to exceed $15,000. Mr. DeYoung stated that he thinks we should have the workshop first. Mr. Georgiou stated that he cannot make a motion, but he offered to draft a letter making the recommendation to the Town Council.

Ms. Stoming asked what the consultant would bring to the initial initiative. Mr. Kil stated that he would listen. Mr. Georgiou stated that he would be collecting information.

Motion to schedule a collaborative meeting with developers/landowners of property along US 231, the EDC, and a consultant in order to establish a cost estimate for the EDC to request approval for a US 231 corridor project recommendation to the Town Council by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Ms. Stoming. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Kil offered to prepare a reduced drawing identifying the major landowners and send it to all the members; then we will try to coordinate a meeting with them, which will not be easy.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Georgiou advised the next item on the agenda is Reports and Correspondence and asked for the same.

A. Board Members

After the other members stated that they had nothing to report, Mr. Georgiou passed out information on updated housing statistics for St. John, which is updated through August 2018. Mr. Kil stated that this contains everything that is known right now that is under construction, approved for development, or to be coming into the town in the next few months, so it should be up-to-date for at least a year or more.

Mr. DeYoung asked how much land is undeveloped in the town. Mr. Kil stated that he did not calculate the undeveloped land but that he could do the same.

Mr. Setlak asked if the County currently takes care of 109th Avenue on the east side of US 41 with the expansion south and if it ever would get to the point where it switches over to the town. Mr. Kil responded that it would formally become the Town's road when the Town owns it or it is incorporated into the Town. There is no hard and fast rule. The standard, if there's a question, is that the community to the north would have jurisdiction.

Mr. Setlak asked if the County will say it’s your responsibility now if it gets widened or expanded. He stated that there are bottlenecks, like the little bridge across the creek, currently in that area. Mr. Kil stated that whether a road is in the Town or not the bridges are under the jurisdiction of the County because they have a tax rate for a Cumulative Bridge Fund.

Mr. Kil advised that when it comes to matters of snowplowing, Bob Davis collaborates with the County to layout routes. For example, County may plow Parrish, and we plow Calumet, which allows roads to be plowed more efficiently than County trucks and St. John trucks crossing paths for small sections of roads.

Mr. Georgiou reported that he attended the Park Master Plan Public Meeting. Unfortunately, only five people were present from the public. Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if the Draft Master Plan could be posted on the website and that he and others that were present asked for the same. Mr. Kil stated he would check with Mr. Arshami to see if the changes have been made.

Mr. Georgiou stated that there is a Town Council Meeting tonight. Two topics of interest on the agenda are the 2019 Budget, which is being presented, and an ordinance regarding having to annex into the Town in order to connect to the utilities.

B. Staff

None were had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None were had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion by Ms. Stoming. Seconded by Mr. Setlak. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Georgiou adjourned the meeting at 5:44 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

10-25-2018 Economic Development Committee

October 25, 2018 Economic Development Committee Minutes

Nick Georgiou, President John DeYoung Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Gina Fezler, Vice-President William Keith Mark Barenie, Town Council
Richard Setlak, Secretary Kelly Stoming  

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Georgiou called the St. John Economic Development Committee Meeting to order on October 25, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: John DeYoung, William Keith, Kelly Stoming, and Nick Georgiou. Staff present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager.

Absent: Mark Barenie, Gina Fezler, and Richard Setlak.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Georgiou advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the September 27, 2018 meeting and entertained a motion to approve said minutes.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Mr. Keith. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. Boyer Development Project Update and Schedule
Mr. Georgiou advised that Shops 96 had a Public Hearing at the Plan Commission meeting on October 3, 2018 for Primary Plat approval. There were only four members present. The Primary Plat approval was deferred to November 7, 2018.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the Town is working on the engineering for the TIF infrastructure improvements to be done. The engineering is expected to be done by November 1, 2018.

The Town will likely be obtaining bids for the infrastructure work in early November and have a pre-bid meeting in November. Bids are expected to be opened November 29, 2018 at the Redevelopment Commission Meeting. Mr. Boyer is expected to request Secondary Plat approval at the December 5, 2018 Plan Commission meeting, and he is expected to start construction before the years end.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the land acquisitions are complete. The Town’s portion of the project will start after the first of the year.

B. New Assignments Prioritized and Issued to Town Council for Review – Town Council to Select Next Assignment(s) for EDC
Mr. Georgiou advised that they have not had any news back as yet from the Town Council, and they will await to hear any further information.

(Clerk-Treasurer Beth Hernandez joined the meeting.)

NEW BUSINESS:

A. New Projects Update
Mr. Georgiou advised the board that these are Town traffic projects. He stated that many projects are ending, becoming operational, and gave a rundown of project updates: The traffic lights at Greystone and 101st Avenue at Calumet Avenue are installed and operational.

The Parrish Avenue and 101st project and roundabout will be finished and open by the close of the day tomorrow, October 26, 2018. The same thing is applicable to the center turn lane on Route 41 on the north end of town. The last bit of improvement to be done on US 231 is striping the lanes. Regarding US 41 from 96th to US 231, INDOT is in the process of acquiring the property to install a center turn lane.

Mr. Kil advised that the project is at the appraisal stage right now to clear the right-of-way, and every property owner has been contacted. Vale Appraisal Group is doing the appraisal work. Construction will likely take place in the year 2020.

Mr. Keith questioned the area to be done. Mr. Georgiou stated that the issue is INDOT does not wish to acquire any of the cemetery property for a right-of-way to install a center turn lane, by the church property.

Mr. Kil advised that we are closing off Joliet Street to left-hand turn traffic. We will build a new intersection and install a signal at 96th and US 41 for southbound traffic to go east to Joliet Street. Also, there are dual left-turn lanes; we will extend those to create a center turn lane. The State will start at 97th and go south to US 231.

Mr. Georgiou advised that Cline and US 231 may become a roundabout in 2020. Olthof has a new project on the south side of 109th Avenue across from Silverleaf and west of Palmira Golf Course. It will be an R-1 subdivision.

Mr. Kil advised that they are looking to do a 2019 Community Crossing project, and there is a February letting.

Mr. DeYoung asked where the project is proposed to be. Mr. Kil responded that it would be up to the Town Council to make that decision, and Denny Cobb has identified two projects that would be high on the priority list. One is a roundabout at Cline Avenue and 93rd Avenue. The other is dual left turn lanes west of US 41 on 93rd Avenue, and a right turn lane.

B. Year End Meeting Calendar
Mr. Georgiou stated that we are coming to the close of the year and wanted to discuss if the board members wished to meet in November and December.

The consensus of the board was to cancel the meetings.

Motion by Mr. DeYoung to cancel the scheduled meetings for both November and December due to the holiday season and a lack of current projects as they waiting to hear from the Town Council regarding the list of projects the EDC sent to the Town Council as recommendations. Seconded by Mr. Keith. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Georgiou advised the next item on the agenda is Reports and Correspondence and asked for the same.
A. Board Members
Mr. Keith wanted to thank Ms. Hernandez for posting updates for the traffic projects on the Clerk-Treasurer’s Facebook page. Mr. Keith stated that she is doing a great job and that he has been sharing the information as well. Ms. Hernandez thanked Mr. Keith for the compliment.
B. Staff
None were had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None were had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Georgiou entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion by Mr. DeYoung. Seconded by Ms. Stoming. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Georgiou adjourned the meeting at 5:14 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Economic Development Committee

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