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Plan Commission Meeting Minutes and Recordings 2019

Meeting Minutes

01-02-2019 Plan Commission

January 2, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Paul Panczuk Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary   Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on January 2, 2019, at 7:00 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: Bob Birlson, Steve Flores, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Kenn Kraus, and Mr. Svetanoff.

Absent: None.

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised the next item on the agenda are the minutes for the December 5, 2018 Plan Commission Regular Meeting and the December 19, 2018 Plan Commission Study Session Minutes and asked for any questions or comments on the same. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes for the December 5, 2018 Regular Meeting and the December 19, 2018 Study Session Meeting by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays with 1 abstention by Mr. Birlson for the December 5, 2018 Regular Meeting due to being absent; and motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays with 1 abstention by Mr. Kennedy for the December 19, 2018 Study Session due to being absent.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 – Primary Plat Action – (Petitioner: Dave Barick/Doug Rettig)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs Unit 3, Public Hearing for Preliminary Plat action for this third phase. The petitioner is Dave Barick with Doug Rettig representing.

Mr. Doug Rettig, DVG, stated that Mr. Dave Barick is here with him this evening, and they are seeking Primary Plat approval for this project, which was rezoned last year. They have submitted the engineering drawings to Kenn Kraus a couple of weeks ago. The plans have not changed since the meeting where the rezoning was approved. The project is zoned R-1, R-2, and R-3.

Mr. Rettig stated that there are six lots zoned R-3 over by the railroad tracks; the middle portion of the project is zoned primarily R-1; and the east and south portion is zoned R-2. There are three pipelines running through the property as well as a high-tension power line and a fiber-optic line. There is another pipeline to be installed; and the easement is already in place for that pipeline. If and when they get approval from the Town, they will forward their drawings to the folks with the pipeline for review as there are strict rules they must adhere to for the pipelines as well.

Mr. Birlson asked if Outlots A, B, and C are privately owned by the pipeline. Mr. Rettig stated that those will be owned by the homeowners association.

Mr. Birlson asked what the reason for that is. Mr. Rettig responded that the areas are unbuildable due to the easements, so it will be owned by the homeowners; The reason there are Outlots A, B, and C is because the streets bisect the lots; therefore, they must be individually distinguished.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the depth of the pipes are. Mr. Rettig stated that they are 50-70 inches deep. Mr. Kennedy asked around 4 feet. Mr. Rettig responded no, it is around 6 feet in the ground.

Mr. Rettig stated that there is a 42-inch pipe that is several feet under the ground, and they must stay 2 feet below the pipeline with any of their crossings, so they are down around 10 or 11 feet to run pipes underneath petroleum pipeline.

Mr. Forbes advised that the 42-inch pipe runs all the way across St. John and up into Merrillville and on into Canada. Mr. Rettig stated that it is the newest pipe that was installed.

Mr. Rettig stated that ANR has a 22-inch line and a 30-inch line, and he believes the 22-inch line is the one that will be upgraded soon, which has already acquired an easement for that. ANR will put in the new line and then decommission the old line.

Mr. Birlson asked what the purpose of having outlots is if they can’t be built upon. Mr. Rettig responded that some of the lots could be made bigger, but having the outlots gives them an opportunity to have some greenspace owned by the homeowners association and everybody can benefit from them via walking trails, etc.

Mr. Forbes advised that outlots are typically retention ponds, detention ponds, and greenspace.

Mr. Kozel stated that we were looking to incorporate a bike path into that.

Mr. Rettig stated that it was discussed, and he reached out to the ANR Pipeline Company to discuss their thoughts on that. Mr. Rettig read the email to the board which stated that they allow bike trails to cross the pipelines at 90 degrees and others that run parallel to an easement; however, they do not have any that run parallel to a pipeline or on top of a pipeline in the pipeline easement. Mr. Rettig stated that his contact will check with the land department but did not know if they would allow such a thing.

Mr. Forbes stated that they typically do not allow bike paths to be on top of the easements or anywhere in the easements. They will allow a path to cross the easements, but they don’t like it.

Mr. Rettig stated that he isn’t sure if the railroad crossing is private or not and if that will be able to be used.

Mr. Forbes asked what Outlot C is. Mr. Rettig stated that Outlot C is just greenspace. Mr. Forbes stated that he thought Outlot C was a neutral territory between the two pipeline easements.

Mr. Eberly showed the outlot on the viewing screen in the room. Mr. Rettig indicated where the physical boundaries of Outlot C are on the screen and stated that the text is in the middle of it. Mr. Forbes stated that he understands.

Mr. Rettig stated that in the early drawings the 60-foot easement was not shown in there, which may cause some confusion as it overlaps the 75-foot easement. According to ANR, the new pipeline will go in the area of those easements somewhere.

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): As I look at this plan and – and I – I know that it was approved by the Town Council, but I just do not believe that you can have an R-1 lot with that much easement going through it and a pipeline going right through the middle of it and still have it be safe. And the – the job of this Commission is – is safety and the welfare of – of the neighborhood; and I just – I think that needs to be relooked at. I really don’t think that that’s a safe environment. That’s all. Thank you.

Yolanda Cardona (10075 Springlake Road): I’m here with my husband, Jose Raul Cardona, and I – this is the very first time that we come to a meeting like this. We have, uh, recently actually moved into the property. We’ve been there for about six months. Um, and, um, I – I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit disheartened by the idea of the potential proposal that is being proposed today.

Um, my husband and I looked for a home for about a year. We looked all over Northwest Indiana. We looked in Crown Point. We looked in Dyer. We looked in Schererville. And the one thing that was a main draw to us to come to St. John was the size of the lots. You walk into Three Springs, the lots are huge, the houses are beautiful, and the aesthetic of the neighborhood overall is the same; and we’d like to keep it that way. Um, this is what makes St. John-Three Springs special. The fact that the lots, it’s got that big-lot feel; and I feel like this proposal is taking that away from the homeowners and the families that decided to live there.

Um, specifically, when we purchased the home, I asked what types of homes will be built in Phase 3; and we were told and relied detrimentally to the fact that we were informed that they would be R-1 homes, similar to the homes that we purchased. These are $300,000 plus homes. These are not homes that are not cheap, and it’s an investment for all of us sitting here today. I’m sure I’m not the first one that will say this. I’m echoing the feelings and the thoughts of many people here today. Um, so I’m sure that these are not new comments that you’re hearing today, but I do ask that you take that into consideration.

I understand that all of you are tasked with – tasked with a very, very difficult decision, leveraging the interest of the developers, of the investors, as well as the interest of the homeowners. But I do ask that, um, you consider our, um, concerns. Um, to me, it seems like it’s unfair to line the pockets of the developers at the expense of the homeowners. I – I don’t think that that’s right. I think that it will definitely – the types of homes that are being proposed will definitely decrease the value of the homes, um, that are there now.

Um, in addition to those thoughts, I also ask that you consider, um, that the proposal will significantly lower our property values. That’s the main concern. Um, it will increase traffic; it will increase congestion into the neighborhood. It will, um, result in overcrowding. Um, the aesthetics of the neighborhood will be different, because we, right now, have that big-lot feeling, and that will be taken away, which again was the main draw to St. John, and it continues to be.

You go next door to Crown Point, the houses are crowded on top of each other. And that’s what makes St. John three – Three Springs different from – from Crown Point or say from Dyer. Um, also, uh, the added burden to police to, fire, to schools, to public works, and like Mr. Swets says – said earlier as well, it’s just unsafe. So put aside the financial gain of it and think about the stability of the homes that will be built in Phase 3 and the power lines and the railroads; all that stuff needs to be taken into consideration.

Um, I also, um, took a look at prior preliminary, um, development plan that was proposed, I believe, a year ago. I’m not really sure if it was this year or the year prior. And then I looked at the one that was proposed today. Mr. Eberly was very gracious, um, gracious to send it to me today. Um, and I feel that there is no difference. This original plan was taken down or shut down about a year ago. What has changed? How have the concerns of the homeowners sitting here today been addressed? They haven’t because, in fact, the plan is exactly the same.

There is no difference from the original, uh, plan that was proposed about a year ago, or this year – I’m not sure when that was – to the one being proposed today. It’s exactly the same. I meticulously went line by line and, um, made sure that each lot was the same. And it – it’s exactly the same; so how are our concerns being addressed today? I would say that they’re not; and they need to be because we have a vested interest in the aesthetics of that community. We have a vested interest – well, for most of us, I would hope – for most of us, I would say, um, our home is our biggest investment. And I can tell you personally, for me and my husband, it’s our only investment. So I would ask that you consider how this will affect the individual homeowners in Three Springs. Thank you so much for your time.

Grant Luff (10080 Springlake Road): And I could pretty much – the young lady just pretty much said everything that I had to – wanted to say. So they – I don’t know why you have one – would even think about building R-3s and – and all those little ones when he’s building big homes. And as quick as he’s getting them done, they’re sold. I mean, look around, they’re – they’re gone. So, I mean, why would you even think about wanting to go with R-3 and all them small places? Just keep it the way it is and every – everybody will be happy. And then we’re not up here complaining to you guys all the time, not unless somebody up here is getting a – maybe a little kickback from this guy. That could be –

(Mr. Svetanoff tried to interrupt. Mr. Luff kept speaking, and from his seat, Mr. Barick said, “I do not have to listen to that.“ A discussion between Mr. Luff and Mr. Barick started to ensue. Mr. Svetanoff and Mr. Forbes stopped the conversation between the two gentlemen and brought decorum back to the meeting.)

Mr. Svetanoff: For everybody here tonight, we are going to act civil.

Mr. Luff: What –

Mr. Svetanoff: No. No, you’re – you’re saying that people are getting kickbacks. That’s slanderous; that’s libelous; and it’s not allowed in the Town meetings.

Mr. Luff: It’s not – it’s maybe if somebody was getting something.

Mr. Svetanoff: No, no, no, no. You made the allegation. So please, if you have anything else to say, say it; otherwise, thank you.

Mr. Luff: I’m done.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): Gerry kind of summarized the safety factor that should be considered. The young lady that was here just recently said that, uh, this has been rehashed. This is the second time around. Uh, somehow it slipped through the cracks the first time, and you got put back on the agenda, and it got run through. And this time, you made it.

Most of these people sitting here in the audience are from Three Springs. Their opinions have not changed one bit since they were here last year and fought to keep this from being passed. Right now, it’s a decent plan, but they don’t need the R-2s and R-3s. Those middle lots that are called R-1s with the pipelines running through them, by the time you put a house on them, those people cannot put anything in their backyards, nothing because of the pipelines running through. So those people are going to have to be apprised just like the people who bought homes in Phase 1 and Phase 2. They were told that there were going to be R-1 homes here. And that’s strange.

You look at that print, and there’s not all R-1 homes there. So now, in order to sell those lots in the middle with all that pipeline, it’s going to have to be told to the buyers that this cannot be used for anything, no swimming pools, no anything. And I don’t think that we should even be looking at this anymore. Thank you.

Jose Cardona (10075 Springlake Road): Husband to Yolanda Cardona. Uh, not the main reason I’m coming up here, but if I wouldn’t have come up here, my wife would have killed me at home. Not after what she went through and spoke about, but I have to echo everything that’s been said, and we looked over prior comments, and we don’t see any changes again to those plans from the initial plans. So, I mean, hopefully they can go back to the drawing board and, you know, redo this. So appreciate the time.

Pat Moran (9929 West 100th Place): I’ve been up here twice already, uh, last year, um, giving my opinion that I don’t think this should pass. What Yolanda just said, and I’ll reiterate again, she hit the nail on the head on everything. One thing I didn’t consider was that pipeline going through. Just, do we know, is it oil or what? Is it gas?

(Mr. Forbes responded it is natural gas.)

Natural gas that goes through. Okay.

(Mr. Rettig stated from the audience that it is both; and Mr. Forbes advised that it is both natural gas and oil.)

So natural gas and petroleum. Okay. So, uh, once again, um, supporting my neighbors who – I remember the first meeting I was at, there was 21, I believe, that came out against the proposal. Mr. Barick did make significant changes, uh, to the – the plat. And, um, but nothing has changed as far as, uh, my view that it should be turned down by the committee. Um, that’s all I have to say. Thanks for your time.

Sherri Hammermeister (10215 West 99th Avenue): Three Springs. Um, I really don’t like this plan at all. Um, the pipeline, I argued before about, I think it’s unsafe. I live across the lake. Anything happens to that pipeline, these people don’t know – Mr. Barick does not have to put in a disclosure in his selling point that there is a pipeline there. So these people are going to buy it blindly actually without knowing that there’s the pipeline there unless it’s actually brought up to them in some other form.

Also, now there’s going to be another pipeline. I don’t know how you guys can approve anything that has another pipeline coming through without it being in these plans. It’s not on the drawings right now, so how can you go ahead and approve it?

(Mr. Forbes responded that the pipeline will be in the same easement that the existing pipeline is in and stated that we have no control over what the pipeline does.)

Okay. But do these people that are going to buy those lots understand in about five years, those – those will be dug up again so they can renew them again? I talked to the people from ANR. About every five years – every five to seven years – they dig them up. So they’re going to be going through their yards digging up their yards. I just don’t think it’s right. I just – I hope you guys don’t go with this plan. I don’t know. It’s not a good idea. Thank you.

Nick Georgiou (9412 Jack Drive): I’ve been following this project for the last year and a half, as have many other people, and watching it through multiple iterations to get to where it got today, including being passed by the Town Council. Uh, the mixture of lots as presented in the rezoning, and which is consistent with the Primary Plat, is consistent with the rest of the subdivision. For the expectation to be all R-1, I think, is an unreasonable expectation.

Uh, the issue of pipelines, we live communities that pipelines are everywhere. I’m building a brand-new office building, and I have four major pipelines 60 feet from my front door. I know they’re there. I lived in Briar Ridge; a pipeline runs right through Briar Ridge. It runs through, you know, you name it, probably multiple subdivisions. The issue of a buyer not knowing the presence of a pipeline or not knowing the safety factor, I think – well, that’s a buyer beware issue, but I don’t think anything is being hidden here relative to what’s being presented.

I think there’s multiple residents of St. John that live – personally, I see people who live back up to the high-tension lines, pipelines, you name it. I’ve built in Lake Hills. People, I thought they’d never buy the lots along the railroad, and those things went as fast as anything else. Uh, I think this is consistent with the rest of the subdivision, uh, and should be approved. Thank you.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Hearing at 7:26 p.m. and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the zoning has been approved by the Town Council and asked for clarification that what is on the plat has been approved by the Town. Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is much that can be done if it meets the Subdivision Control Ordinance. Mr. Kozel stated that it meets the criteria.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wished to clarify for the public that the rezoning to allow the R-2 and R-3 was done last May, so unfortunately, the mix of housing can’t be affected at this point. Legally, we’re obligated to work with what the zoning of the map is. What we can affect is the layout of the subdivision, the platting.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the rest of the Plan Commission is aware of how he feels about this, as he made it known last April that he thinks the lots with the Vector Pipeline running through it are a safety hazard for the Town. He further stated that our Subdivision Control Ordinance has a section that clearly outlines that we’re supposed to be on the lookout for this; however, this is an extreme example of pipeline easement; normally, it would be along the back of a lot, 15-20 feet, or along the side of a lot. Mr. Panczuk added that here, there are 200-foot average lots with 95 feet of encroachment, and these folks are going to have pipeline 20-30 feet from their back door, not 60 foot.

Mr. Panczuk commented that, in reading §18 of the Subdivision Control Ordinance, he can’t vote in favor of this. He added that he believes there is a better option and that the lots should be shifted out of that pipeline easement, or at least significantly out of it.

Mr. Forbes advised that in one of the presented renditions of this plat everything south of the pipelines was vacant and all greenspace; but it was turned down. Mr. Forbes further advised the through the process, this is what we’ve ended up with and that the lot sizes are consistent with everything in Three Springs.

Mr. Panczuk noted that he has no issue with the lot sizes and that his issue is with the placement of the pipelines encroaching so far into the lots. He further noted that the plat can be adjusted to minimize that, and he feels like he has a moral obligation to do his job to the best of ability. Mr. Panczuk added that he has done research and some municipalities are using setbacks based on the diameter on contents of the line; it’s all about safety.

Mr. Forbes stated that, as was mentioned before, this pipeline runs the length of St. John, and there are currently houses within 40 feet of that same pipeline. Mr. Panczuk stated that he wishes we could go back and undo that; and moving forward, he feels we’re doing the wrong thing to approve a lot with half of the lot being taken up by the pipeline easement.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Rettig if the exact location of the pipe in regards to the easement is known. Mr. Eberly showed the drawing with the pipeline locations on the viewing screen.

Mr. Kozel asked if we have a 25-foot setback. Mr. Eberly advised that it is a 25-foot front-yard setback.

Mr. Rettig stated the two existing pipelines are pretty much in the middle of the 75-foot easement, and the Vector Pipeline is 15-feet off the edge their 50-foot easement. The pipelines are 15-20 feet from the edge of their easements.

Mr. Rettig advised that on Lots 21-27, there is approximately 70 feet of buildable depth from the building line to the easement line. Indicating a specific lot or lots on the screen, Mr. Rettig stated that it is 60 feet from the building line to the fiber-optic easement. Mr. Rettig commented that a lot of houses are 40-50 feet deep in Renaissance, so there is room for a house and room for a deck. Mr. Rettig added pools cannot be put in near these easements and that it is tight, but he does not believe it is unsafe.

Multiple members asked about the front-yard setback line. Mr. Eberly responded that we have a floating front-yard setback allowed by our ordinance from 25-40 feet; and on the proposed plat, some of the lots have a 25-foot front-yard setback, some have a 30-foot front-yard setback, and some have a 40-foot front-yard setback.

Mr. Rettig noted for clarification that the R-3 building line is a 40-foot front-yard setback. Mr. Eberly concurred and stated that Lots 37 through 42 are R-3 and have a 40-foot front-yard setback.

Mr. Kozel asked about the rear-yard. Mr. Eberly responded that the rear-yard setback is a 40-foot setback; however, there is so much easement there that the rear-yard setback requirement is irrelevant.

Mr. Rettig stated that it isn’t 40-feet from the easement because the easement is larger than 40 feet, but we can build up to the easement line.

Mr. Panczuk stated that legally and potentially the house could be 15’1” from the Vector Pipeline; at 15’1”, if you put a deck in, you’ve got trouble. He further stated that he thinks it is unnecessary to put residents in potential harm’s way; it’s not like we’re out of land in St. John. He added that he thinks we’re trying to cram in too much at the expense of safety.

Mr. Rettig advised that one of the plans they had didn’t have lots to the south.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would be in favor of that plan if they brought it back and that the fiber-optic line is not a concern for him as there’s no safety issue there at all. Mr. Rettig responded that actually, it is a very big concern because if you hit that line, the fine is like $10,000 per minute.

Mr. Forbes advised that someone isn’t going to just walk in and put up a house; the house will be reviewed by staff, by the engineers; so it will be properly located.

Mr. Forbes asked that a notation be put on the effected lots that no fences will be built. Mr. Rettig stated that they can, and the pipeline companies will likely ask for that as well. Mr. Forbes stated that we have requested that before in subdivisions, which eliminates a problem and keeps the open feel of the area.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that people that are going to be purchasing these lots, first of all, are going to get the title work; and these individual easements will be called out on the title work. Secondly, they will have an individual survey done of the property, and those easements will be called out on the survey as well. So there are at least two mechanisms to make sure that the buyers have open eyes; and as they say in the law, caveat emptor: buyer beware. Mr. Svetanoff reiterated that there will be notifications to the buyers as they move forward on purchasing a lot like this, what a potential pitfall is with said lot.

Mr. Rettig stated that when they draw a site plan for a house, the first thing they look at is if the house fits. He further stated that they are very conscience of easements and leave room for a deck or a patio.

Mr. Forbes stated that there will be people who will want to buy these lots because they know there will not be a house built directly behind their property. Mr. Forbes advised that we cannot make our decision on who may or may not buy a property; we have our rules.

Mr. Forbes stated that he feels the safety question of the pipeline is a bit of a stretch, personally, but he understands where Mr. Panczuk is coming from. Again, the pipeline runs through the town and there are hundreds of houses along this pipeline. There are houses in Schillton Hills within 40 feet of the pipeline that runs diagonally through the subdivision.

Mr. Panczuk stated that this is 15 feet and is the closest he’s ever seen.

Mr. Flores commented that he has looked at the plan a lot, and as a first responder, he agrees with Mr. Panczuk. He has had a bad feeling about this plan since it came in front of him at the beginning. He further commented that he wasn’t privy to the original plan, but this one is just a little too close for comfort for him; and he can’t be in favor of it, as he’s not comfortable putting people that close.

Mr. Birlson stated that we all know and understand that prior to someone buying these lots, they’ll know what is easements on their property, but it is future homeowners that might not be privy or might not understand what’s on their lot. He further stated that the first plan that was struck down had 80-foot wide lots; these are all 100-foot wide lots, so he doesn’t have an issue with the lot sizes.

Mr. Birlson stated that with the pipeline being that close, people may or may not know to call in to get locators before installing a fence or a deck if they are doing it themselves and they are vaporized if they put a drill through that pipeline. He added that he is not comfortable with the plan either.

Mr. Panczuk addressed Mr. Svetanoff and stated that he respects that Mr. Svetanoff is an attorney, and he thinks that the papers Mr. Svetanoff referred to would be the first thing he would go to. He further stated that the “regular Joe” is just eager to sign to get their new house. He said that he respects Mr. Svetanoff’s opinion on that, but he is afraid that folks don’t always read that.

Mr. Panczuk addressed Mr. Rettig and stated that Renaissance was mentioned; however, he is looking at the current plan and what was done in the past might not have been done correctly. It may have been, but he doesn’t know that and it won’t affect his decision.

Mr. Rettig responded that it wasn’t anything against Renaissance, he was just trying to point out that he has several site plans for houses that are only 40-45 feet deep, and all of a sudden, you are 40 feet from that pipeline.

Mr. Panczuk stated that this one is different at only 15-feet deep and is what is being considered today. He further stated that going forward, he’d like to set a precedent of trying to keep a reasonable buffer. He added that there are actual federal regulations that outline specifications for setbacks based on what is going through the line and how big it is; and those have been documented based on incidents that have happened in the past.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he spoke with the folks at Vector today and they said you can’t put anything on the easement. One might be able to get approval for a shrub, but no trees, no nothing.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Kraus if he had time to review these plans. Mr. Kraus responded that he had received the plans the day after the Study Session in December; however, due to the holidays and vacation, he started his review but has not yet finished it and there are some things he wants to discuss with Mr. Rettig.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that we do not have full technical review yet. Mr. Kraus responded in the negative.

Mr. Kozel stated that we should wait until we get that.

Mr. Birlson asked Mr. Eberly to bring up one of the original lot layouts on the viewing screen. Mr. Forbes stated that it isn’t the same zoning. Mr. Birlson stated that he wants to look at the street layout.

Mr. Rettig stated that the plan only had houses on one side of the street. Mr. Rettig further stated that Mr. Barick favored that plans as it had a lot more greenspace and the houses were a lot further away from the pipeline; however, the Plan Commission did not like the plan and suggested that we get rid of the duplex lots and go to a double-sided street with smaller lots, which is where we are today.

Mr. Kozel stated that it was rejected due to the number of R-2 and R-3 lots.

Mr. Birlson commented because of the zoning with all the duplexes, but he doesn’t believe anyone had an issue with the street layout.

Mr. Rettig stated that it is a very similar street pattern to what they are currently presenting, and the density is the same on both plans.

Mr. Rettig noted that he followed exactly what was approved at the zoning stage with the plans, and the plans have not changed since last March or April because this is what was presented for zoning.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they could still follow the ordinance and take those lots out of harm’s way by bumping the street up north.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the recommendation would be without the technical review. Mr. Kozel responded that it would be to wait for technical review.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to defer.

Motion to defer by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Rettig asked if they should come to the January Study Session. The board responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Svetanoff asked Mr. Forbes if he closed Public Hearing. Mr. Forbes confirmed that he had.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

B. GREYSTONE UNIT 1 – Primary Plat Extension – (Petitioner: Scott Zajac, Schilling Development/CWS Holdings)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone Unit 1. The petitioner is seeking a primary plat extension for the balance of this unit that has not received secondary plat approval.

Mr. Scott Zajac, Schilling Development representing CWS Holdings, wished the board a happy New Year and stated that he is here to request to extend the Primary Plat for Greystone Unit 1, which is on the east side of Calumet Avenue.

Mr. Forbes asked if this is the remainder of the development and that everything else has been done. Mr. Zajac responded on the east side, yes, it is all single-family.

Mr. Eberly stated that it is basically the south half of the drawing here (as shown on the viewing screen). Mr. Zajac responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes advised that this is more of an administerial item that keeps the plat alive and asked if there were any questions or comments.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is a time limit on the extension. Mr. Eberly advised that it is a 6-month extension.

Hearing no further questions or comments, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to extend the Primary Plat approval.

Motion to approve Primary Plat extension by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Birlson. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

C. SILVER LEAF 2E – Letter of Credit Release to be Replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee – (Petitioner: Olthof Homes)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Silver Leaf 2E. The petitioner is requesting their Letter of Credit be released and replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee.

Mr. Forbes stated that there have been several questions on this: Once of Letter of Credit is released, which is released after review by staff and the Town Engineer and all the improvements are in, the developer has to provide a maintenance bond to protect the streets and some of the infrastructure in the event it is damaged. For instance, if a builder drives over the curb when building a house and breaks the curb, this protects that.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ letter which stated that the Bond Release has been reviewed; Public Works has reported that all sewers, water mains, and streets have been constructed; and the current bond in the amount of $89,849.36 may be released and replaced with a maintenance bond.

Mr. Birlson asked how long the maintenance bond lasts. Mr. Forbes responded that it lasts for two years.

Mr. Forbes advised that our action would be to make a recommendation to the Town Council to release the Letter of Credit and accept the Maintenance Guarantee.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to release the Letter of Credit and accept the Maintenance Guarantee for Silver Leaf 2E by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

D. MEADOWGATE 11C/12B – Letter of Credit Release to be Replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee – (Petitioner: Olthof Homes)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Meadowgate 11C and 12B. The petitioner is requesting their Letter of Credit be released and replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ letter which stated that the Bond Release has been reviewed; Public Works has reported that all sewers, water mains; and streets have been constructed, and the current bond in the amount of $51,675 may be released and replaced with a maintenance bond.

Mr. Forbes asked for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to release the Letter of Credit and accept the Maintenance Guarantee for Meadowgate 11C and 12 B by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Birlson. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

E. MILL CREEK UNIT 4 – Letter of Credit Release to be Replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee – (Petitioner: Olthof Homes)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Mill Creek Unit 4. The petitioner is requesting their Letter of Credit be released and replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ letter which stated that the Bond Release has been reviewed; Public Works has reported that all sewers, water mains; and streets have been constructed, and the current bond in the amount of $64,418.38 may be released and replaced with a maintenance bond.

Mr. Forbes asked for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to release the Letter of Credit and accept the Maintenance Guarantee for Mill Creek Unit 4 by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:54 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

01-16-2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting

January 16, 2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Paul Panczuk Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary   Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called to order the St. John Plan Commission Special Meeting on January 16, 2019, at 7:00 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: Bob Birlson, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director; Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: Steve Flores.

MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised there were none to be had.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Mr. Forbes advised there were none to be had.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. VACATING THE STANDARD LUMBER PLAT UNDERLYING THE SHOPS 96 PLAT – (Petitioner: Bruce Boyer/Doug Rettig)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Vacating the Standard Lumber Plat underlying the Shops 96 Plat. The petitioner is Bruce Boyer represented by Doug Rettig.

Mr. Doug Rettig stated that Bruce Boyer and he have been in conversation with the Town and with Mike Muenich regarding the vacation of Standard Commercial Center Unit 1 and Standard Commercial Center Unit 2 underlying the Shops 96 Plat; and the cleanest way to handle this is to vacate both of those subdivision in their entirely.

Mr. Rettig noted that there are two lots in each unit, gave a brief description of each unit, and advised that the property is vacant land other than the abandoned carwash.

Mr. Rettig stated that by vacating these two plats, all the easements and rights-of way go away and makes it much cleaner for recording the Shops 96 Plat.

Mr. Rettig further stated that Mr. Muenich has prepared a draft of the agreement that will be completed and turned over to the Town for signature.

Mr. Rettig advised that the Buchannans own the property under different entities, which is where it gets a little confusing, except for the carwash, which is on Lot 1 of Standard Commercial Center Unit 1.

Mr. Forbes commented that this is an administerial task to clean up the records so there is no confusion. Mr. Rettig stated that it gets complicated if they have to include the lot lines of the Standard Commercial Center plats in their plat.

Mr. Kennedy asked if a contingency is needed regarding the purchase of the carwash as part of any motion.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Plan Commission wouldn’t sign the document until the entities that own the property sign it, which won’t occur until Mr. Boyer closes on the carwash property.

Mr. Boyer stated that they are trying to simplify the document and eliminate some of the ownership.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions or comments on the matter. Hearing none, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to accept the draft vacation for the Standard Lumber Plats underlying Shops 96 and withholding signatures until such time all the property owners sign off on the document.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Forbes advised that no one had signed and asked if there was anyone wishing to speak who had not signed up. None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Birlson. Motion carried 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:06 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

01-16-2019 Plan Commission Study Session

January 16, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Paul Panczuk Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary   Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called to order the St. John Plan Commission Study Session on January 16, 2019, at 7:06 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Bob Birlson, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: Steve Flores.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 ¬– Discussion Regarding the Platting of this Unit – (Petitioner: Dave Barick/Doug Rettig)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs Unit 3 for discussion relative to the platting of this unit.

Mr. Doug Rettig, DVG, stated that Dave Barick is present as well. They were at the last regular meeting for this property, and it was deferred for further discussion. At the request of Mr. Forbes, he created a special exhibit sketch to demonstrate how houses could fit on the lots. Mr. Rettig explained that he pulled four houses from his CAD file, which have been built in Three Springs, and placed them into the lots in this sketch to demonstrate that they are buildable lots.

Mr. Rettig stated that the biggest concern is probably the Vector Pipeline on the north side; it is 15 feet north of the south line of the easement, which is, kind of, in the middle of those lots. The hypothetical houses in the sketch are all 15-25 feet away from the easement with an additional 15 feet to the pipeline itself.

Mr. Rettig advised that the south side is similar; however, they don’t have the pipeline easement on the south side; there is a high-tension line and the fiber optic line easement there as well as their drainage easement.

Mr. Rettig stated that fences would likely be prohibited on the lots with pipeline easement by the pipeline companies.

Mr. Rettig stated that they have received comments from Mr. Kraus. They have addressed those comments and sent the plans back for further review by Mr. Kraus. They do have to send them to the pipeline companies for their review as well; however, they won’t do that until they have reassurance from the Town that everything is in order.

Mr. Rettig stated that Mr. Kennedy had asked how deep the pipelines are, and he can confirm that the Vector Pipeline, which is the closest one, ranges from 5-6 feet below the surface. It is the new 42-inch pipe, and it is a little bit deeper than typical.

Mr. Forbes asked if the Vector Pipeline is oil. Mr. Rettig responded that he believes it is. Mr. Forbes stated that the ANR Pipeline is gas.

Mr. Kozel asked if the setbacks are all 25 feet. Mr. Rettig responded that the R-2 zoning permits 25-foot setbacks.

Mr. Rettig stated that the side-yard setbacks on the 100-foot lots are ample as well. Mr. Rettig advised that all the lots meet the requirements for whichever zone they are in, R-1, R-2, or R-3. The R-3 lots are 20,000 square-foot lots.

Mr. Forbes asked if he has sent the plans to the pipelines or if he will be sending the plans. Mr. Rettig responded that he is waiting for the nod from Mr. Kraus; once he has that, he will send the plans to the pipelines for their review.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Kraus if he had reviewed the plans. Mr. Kraus responded that he made an initial review and asked for about ten items that needed to be addressed; Mr. Rettig sent a response back this afternoon; and he has not had a chance to review those responses yet.

Mr. Rettig stated that most of the requests were basic. They had some sanitary-sewer issues, which they addressed. The sewer has to be deep because they have the lift station in Unit 2 that serves this property, and the lift station was designed to go under the pipelines to service the property on the south side of the pipeline. Mr. Kraus was concerned with the steepness of the pipe, so they took care of that.

Mr. Forbes advised that this would be on our next meeting agenda for final action.

B. Greystone Unit 1 Block 2 – Requesting Release of Letter of Credit to be Replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee – (Petitioner: Scott Zajac, Schilling Development/CWS Holdings)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone Unit 1, Block 2. The petitioner is requesting the release of a Letter of Credit to be replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee.

Mr. Jack Slager of Schilling Development, representing CWS Holdings, advised that the final coat of asphalt was done at the end of last year, and all the improvements are in, so they are requesting the Letter of Credit be released and be replaced with a Maintenance Guarantee.

Mr. Eberly advised the board that they have Mr. Kraus’ review letter and a copy of the Maintenance Guarantee in their packets.

Mr. Forbes asked for any questions or comments from the board. None was had.

Mr. Forbes advised Mr. Slager that this would be on the agenda for the next meeting.

C. GDS HOLDING LLC – Initial Discussion Regarding a Potential Rezoning of Property on the East Side of US 41 in the 10300 Block from Open Space to C2 – (Petitioner: Michael Muenich)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is GDS Holdings LLC for an initial discussion regarding the potential rezoning of property on the east side of US 41 in the 10300 Block from Open Space to C-2.

Mr. Rhett Tauber, Attorney-at-law, Tauber Law Offices, stated that he is here representing GDS Holdings; and they are seeking permission to appear at the next meeting to request permission to advertise for Public Hearing for the rezoning of this property at the March 6, 2019 Plan Commission Regular Meeting.

Mr. Tauber asked permission to pass out a letter from Michael Muenich, who is one of the members of GDS Holdings, which discloses that he has a substantial financial interest in the said property so there is no question as far as the ethics involved.

Mr. Forbes granted him permission to do so.

Mr. Tauber advised that the property is approximately 30 acres. Alsip Nursery is to the north of the property and wraps around the property where Décor Tile is located. Half of the property is already zoned C-2; the property to the rear is zoned Open Space. They are seeking to rezone the property at the rear from Open Space to C-2 in order to have one zoning for the entirety of the property instead of a bifurcated zoning.

Mr. Tauber noted that they would do all the necessary work to ensure that the drainage and everything is taken care of on the property. His clients are interested in marketing the property for sale; but before they do that, they are trying to get the zoning situated and deal with the drainage issues.

Mr. Tauber stated that he is here tonight on behalf of GDS Holdings for permission to attend the February 6, 2019 regular meeting to request permission to advertise for Public Hearing at the March 6, 2019 regular meeting for rezoning.

Mr. Forbes asked if this property is two separate parcels with the mall that has Décor Tile on it. Mr. Tauber responded that his clients do not own that parcel, their property wraps around it.

Mr. Eberly displayed the GIS map on the screen and showed the two parcels of land that are being discussed. Mr. Eberly stated that there isn’t a specific plan for the property at this time, but they do want to have a unified zoning for the property in its entirety.

Mr. Tauber stated that the sliver of property to the east is not in St. John, but it is his clients’ intention to proceed with annexing that property. Mr. Tauber further stated that it is primarily all wetlands.

Mr. Kraus asked if annexation could take place in 2019. Mr. Eberly stated that they couldn’t annex in 2019; they would have to be annexed into town in 2020. Annexation can’t be done in a year prior to a decennial census.

Mr. Eberly showed the property on the GIS map and indicated where the wetlands are. Mr. Eberly stated that areas of the property are in Flood Zone A. He further stated that Flood Zone A can be built in, but wetland presents a different problem. Mr. Forbes concurred.

Mr. Birlson asked if it is typical to rezone a piece of property not knowing what the client wants to do with it. Mr. Eberly responded that it is typical. The Comprehensive Plan calls out that area to be commercial development, so there is no issue with the request for rezoning absent the plan for it. They will have to come in for subdivision approval at some point.

Mr. Tauber stated that it would have to be for a use that is within the C-2 zoning according to the zoning ordinances. Mr. Eberly concurred and stated that it is subject to the US 41 Overlay District as well.

General discussion ensued regarding the February Study Session and the neighboring area.

Mr. Forbes advised Mr. Tauber that we would see him at the February 6 meeting.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:23 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

02-06-2019 Plan Commission

February 6, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Paul Panczuk Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President TBD Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary TBD Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on February 6, 2019, at 7:00 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: Bob Birlson, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: John Kennedy and Kenn Kraus.

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda are the minutes for the May 3, 2017 and January 2, 2019 Plan Commission Regular Meetings; the January 16, 2019 Special Meeting; and the April 19, 2017; May 17, 2017; June 21, 2017; and January 16, 2019 Plan Commission Study Session Meetings and asked for any questions or comments on the same. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he was not here for the meetings that took place in 2017; however, if the three members who are present at this meeting are comfortable with the minutes, he would vote in favor of those minutes so they can be put in public record. Mr. Forbes responded that they are accurate record of what occurred.

Mr. Forbes asked the board for any further questions or comments on the meeting minutes. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the Plan Commission Regular Meeting Minutes for May 3, 2017 and January 2, 2019; the Plan Commission Special Meeting of January 16, 2019; and the Plan Commission Study Session Meetings of April 19, 2017; May 17, 2017; June 21, 2017; and January 16, 2019 by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Birlson. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Forbes thanked Ms. Abernathy for getting these minutes done.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

None was had.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. GREYSTONE UNIT 1 BLOCK 2 – Release of Letter of Credit Request – (Petitioner: Scott Zajac, Schilling Development)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone Unit 1, Block 2. The petitioner is requesting the release of its Letter of Credit for this unit.

Mr. Scott Zajac, Schilling Development, representing CWS Holdings, stated that they are here seeking the release of the Letter of Credit for Greystone, Unit 1, Block 2. Mr. Zajac stated that they have submitted a letter regarding the Maintenance Guarantee.

Mr. Eberly confirmed the receipt of the same and stated that a copy is provided in their packets this evening along with a letter from Mr. Kraus regarding the release of this Letter of Credit.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter regarding the Letter of Credit, which states that all sewers, water mains, and streets have been constructed and that the current Letter of Credit, in the amount of $36,536.50, may be released and replaced with a Maintenance Bond.

Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion regarding the Letter of Credit, which is a recommendation to the Town Council.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to approve the release of the Letter of Credit for Greystone Unit 1, Block 2, and replace it with a Maintenance Guarantee by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

B. GDS HOLDINGS LLC – Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing – (Petitioner: Rhett Tauber representing the owners of the property)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is GDS Holdings, LLC. The petitioner is Ms. Tara Tauber, on behalf of Rhett Tauber, representing the owners of the property. The petitioner is seeking permission to advertise for a Public Hearing to rezone 14.7 acres of land in the 10300 block of US 41 from Open Space to C-2.

Ms. Tara Tauber stated that she is here on behalf of Mr. Rhett Tauber. Their office represents the owners of GDS Holdings, LLC; and they are requesting permission to advertise for Public Hearing on March 6, 2019, regarding the petition to rezone 14.7 acres of land in the 10300 block of US 41 from Open Space to C-2.

Mr. Forbes stated that this land is behind land that is currently zoned C-2. Mr. Eberly and Ms. Tauber concurred.

Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to grant GDS Holdings, LLC, permission to advertise for Public Hearing to rezone 14.7 acres of land in the 10300 block of US 41 from Open Space to C-2 by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Birlson. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:06 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

02-20-2019 Plan Commission

February 20, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk  
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Kennedy called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on February 20, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Bob Birlson, Steve Flores, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, and Paul Panczuk. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: Nick Georgiou and Michael Forbes

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. WALDEN CLEARING UNIT ONE ¬– Letter of Credit Reduction
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Walden Clearing, Unit 1. The developer is seeking a reduction of the Letter of Credit.

Mr. Jeff Yatsko with Olthof Homes stated that they would be seeking a reduction to their Letter of Credit from about $2.4 million to about $1.1 million for the improvements that they have already installed at the March 6 Plan Commission Meeting.

Mr. Kraus advised that he has looked over their sheet and everything looks pretty good; however, he needs verification from Public Works on a few items. Once he gets that information, he will be able to recommend this reduction in the Letter of Credit.

B. LENNAR HOMES of INDIANA – Letter of Credit Reduction
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Lennar Homes of Indiana regarding a reduction of the Letter of Credit for The Gates of St. John, Pod 10M. Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioner has sent this request by letter.

Mr. Kraus advised that Lennar sent the letter of request for a reduction in their Letter of Credit along with the As-Builts drawing for that particular phase. He has verified with Public Works that all the work Lennar says has been done is completed, so he will be able to write a letter recommending the reduction in the Letter of Credit.

C. THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 – Primary Plat Continued Discussion
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs, Unit 3 for a continued discussion of the Primary Plat of this phase of the development.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG stated that Dave Barick is present as well. Mr. Rettig stated that they asked for this to be deferred, as they needed to get feedback from Vector Pipeline. Mr. Rettig advised that he sent the engineering drawings to Vector Pipeline for them to review. They expressed concern about the proximity of the houses to the pipeline, so he sent her the exhibit that he created for the Plan Commission showing how the houses could be laid out, and she said okay.

Mr. Rettig stated that he asked her, if they were putting in a new pipeline, how close would they be to houses. He further stated that she responded that if they are less than 50 feet, the pipeline has to be put in a foot deeper than normal, and she said in this area, it is extra deep already. Mr. Rettig said, “She pointblank told me, ‘You can build those houses there.’”

Mr. Rettig stated that she also said that they would “prefer” that those lot lines don’t extend over the easements there. He further stated that he responded that they wouldn’t meet the ordinances for the minimum lot size then, so she said, “If that’s the way it has to be, you’ll have to have restrictions on the plat.” Mr. Rettig noted that she listed some of the restrictions for him, which included that nothing can be in those easements except grass, no excavation can be done without calling Vector Pipeline, and there can be no grading of that area other than the initial grading and planting of grass seed. Certain acknowledgements will have to be listed on the plat, including but not limited to: Vector Pipeline may access the easement any time, day or night, may put in additional pipeline in the future, and Vector can use the entire 50-feet of easement as their workspace.

Mr. Rettig summarized that the folks at Vector Pipeline stated that it isn’t what they would prefer, but they can’t stop it. Mr. Rettig stated that the 42-inch pipeline is extra deep and a thicker-wall pipe that was put in with the population density in mind. It is about 14-feet deep because they had to go under the railroad. He stated that she is okay with the road. The pipeline is in the range of 6 feet to 7 feet deep through most of the property.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he thought we were told in the past that it was 5-feet deep. Mr. Rettig responded that it varies; it starts out shallower at the east end and gets deeper to the west. Mr. Rettig noted that he was provided with a new set of GPS shots, and the pipeline is deeper than they originally thought. It is so deep at the westerly road crossing that they have to go over it with their gravity sewer; and she said that as long as it is a plastic pipe that they would be okay with it.

Mr. Kraus asked if they have restrictions on compaction of trenches over their pipeline. Mr. Rettig responded that she didn’t give any information on that. Mr. Kraus stated that they were not allowed to vibratory compact for street bases or for trenches in Greystone. Mr. Rettig stated that it was the same way for Morning Crest.

Mr. Rettig advised that their intention is to build the north part this year, which will be their Phase 1 or Block 1, so they will have plenty of time to work out anything they need to with Vector Pipeline.

Mr. Panczuk commented that he has been in contact with Vector Pipeline as well; and they have no preference and, in fact, refuse to state a preference because that would make them legally bound to any grandfathered issues where a building is too close. Mr. Panczuk stated that they further stated that the only thing they can say legally is not to build on their easement. He further stated that there are federal guidelines that give scientifically gleaned numbers for preferences on distance.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is opposed to this plan and was stunned, along with others on the board, to see the same plan that was voted no on last March was before them again. The houses would be too close to a high-pressure gas line, and he can’t comfortably agree to that based on §18 of the Subdivision Control Ordinance.

Mr. Flores stated that he is not comfortable putting lots on the pipeline easement and that he cannot support this plan.

Mr. Birlson asked what the amount of pressure is. Mr. Rettig responded that he does not know.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is in a vault with a concrete slab on top. Mr. Rettig responded that, if it is shallow, they are asked to pour a concrete slab over it to protect it; however, it isn’t shallow enough to do that.

Mr. Kennedy stated that Mr. Rettig indicated this is deeper than the usual depth and asked what the depth is. Mr. Rettig responded that it is usually 3-4 feet deep.

Mr. Panczuk stated that this easement runs right in the middle of the property and having that dug up at will is mind-boggling and can be avoided by shifting the road. Mr. Kozel responded to Mr. Panczuk and stated that we had them move the road and told them we didn’t like it where it was before. Mr. Birlson said the issue then was the zoning of the lots, not the street layout.

Mr. Rettig stated that they could get a similar density if they put duplexes on the property and move the road. Mr. Panczuk stated that the zoning is already in place and they are already getting more duplexes than he would like to see; however, this is about safety and the welfare of future property owners there.

Mr. Eberly showed the original layout on the screen. Mr. Panczuk stated that the plan would be an excellent layout with R-1 lots.

Mr. Barick asked Mr. Panczuk if he had children. Mr. Panczuk responded in the affirmative. Mr. Barick asked their ages. Mr. Panczuk replied. Mr. Barick asked him if he would buy one of those lots and have his family possibly exposed to the pipelines and the power lines. Mr. Panczuk stated that he would never buy one of the lots with the easement on it. Mr. Barick stated that most people are saying the same thing and that people with small children are not going to buy those lots.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Birlson stated that the first plan with the current zoning would be the best option to him. Mr. Barick responded that it would not be profitable with the large street that would have to be built.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has no power to rezone and he is looking to move the houses away from the pipeline.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there were any further questions or comments from the board. None was had.

D. HICKORY TERRACE – Proposed Gated Community Continued Discussion
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Hickory Terrace for a continued discussion regarding a proposal for a gated community on the north side of 93rd Avenue, across from Prairie West Park.

Mr. Jack Slager with Schilling Development stated that he had brought a plan in front of the Plan Commission last fall. He took that feedback and had discussions with the parties; and he has come back with a slightly revised layout for this 55-acre parcel on the north side of 93rd Avenue. The property is across from Prairie West Park and is a joint venture between the Schilling Family and the Muenich Family. The property was originally the Muenich homestead.

Mr. Slager advised that it is currently zoned R-1 which, if it were developed as a gridded subdivision R-1, would have a density of about 1.8, generating approximately 100 lots. The layout has 53 lots that are at least 100 feet wide and at least 20,000 square feet. The property has over 5 acres of wetlands and nearly 20 acres of preservation land. They have hired an ecological consultant and a landscape architect that will be working with them to enhance some of the wetland and woodland areas.

Mr. Slager stated that they would like to rezone it to RC-1 PUD to make it a private, gated community with private streets, where the HOA would own and maintain the streets and that the Ordinance requires this type of a community to be a PUD. He further stated that they would also need a length of cul-de-sac waiver; however, with this type of a subdivision where the HOA will be maintaining it, it is essentially negated.

Mr. Slager stated that their engineer prepared a traffic review of the proposed entrance’s impact on 93rd Avenue; and the analysis shows that there will be minimal impact to the traffic on 93rd Avenue since it is a limited-size subdivision. The intersection has been reviewed as having a grade of B for the right turn out and a C for the left turn out in a worst-case scenario. The traffic review did not require additional improvements to the area; however, they are going to install a decel lane and add a center turn lane in that area of 93rd Avenue. This will give a dedicated left turn into Prairie West Park and into the subdivision. They are going to continue the center turn lane down to Oakridge. Their improvements along 93rd Avenue will include curbs.

Mr. Slager advised that they would install sidewalk along their frontage of 93rd Avenue. The gated fence system will be farther into the subdivision and will allow 20 car stacking in each direction to avoid traffic issues entering or exiting 93rd Avenue. The property will have a simulated bridge coming in with fountains on each side and a walking path around the wetland.

Mr. Slager stated that they eliminated the extra lot that was proposed to have a driveway access on 93rd Avenue. They did keep the other lot on the west boundary and will put in the approach for this driveway so that it forces the lot owner to position the driveway in that specific location. They are also extending the extra lane past that driveway before tapering off, creating almost an accel/decel lane for that particular lot.

Mr. Slager noted that Outlot A had land added to it by converting the lot just to the north of it from a corner lot to a standard 100-foot wide lot. It is a nice span of mature trees that they want to save, preserve, and enhance.

Mr. Kraus asked Mr. Slager to review the emergency access road.

Mr. Slager stated that they would have a 20-foot, paved access coming into the westerly cul-de-sac from Knickerbocker that will have a gate at Knickerbocker and a gate at the cul-de-sac. They will likely loop the water system through the subdivision.

Mr. Flores asked how emergency responders would have access to that gate. Mr. Slager responded that they would have to figure out a key or code system.

Mr. Flores asked if the access would be large enough to accommodate fire apparatus. Mr. Slager responded that it would, and that they will make sure the radius works; otherwise, it is a straight shot coming in.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he has a few concerns: The private drive on 93rd Avenue and this subdivision pushing all traffic onto 93rd Avenue, and Lots 12 and 13 would be abutting three neighbors. Mr. Slager responded that they are replacing one private drive on 93rd Avenue with another one and that Lots 12 and 13 are abutting very deep lots.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Slager what he is looking at for future meetings. Mr. Slager responded that they would like to come on March 6 to request permission to advertise for Public Hearing at the April 3 meeting for rezoning to RC-1 PUD. If they get the favorable recommendation to the Town Council for the rezoning, they would come back in May or June for Primary Plat approval.

Mr. Slager stated that if all goes well, they would look at doing the first phase this year, which would include the entrance; all the improvements on 93rd Avenue; the primary street, for Lots 1-18; the cul-de-sac; and the emergency access. Overall, they are looking at a 5-year development buildout with a potential 10-year construction buildout of the homes.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was consideration to making the second access point a full gate. Mr. Slager responded that they have given it a lot of consideration; however, they didn’t feel it was suitable for this development. The attraction of the development is the gate and the security and serenity it provides.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has two suggestions: One is to link their sidewalk all the way to Olcott; the second is to consider putting in a bike path with sidewalk from Olcott in front of their development. Mr. Slager responded that they will look at it and that they do intend to install a crosswalk to Prairie West Park.

Mr. Kennedy asked if cars would be able to exit from the subdivision via the emergency access road if emergency vehicles are blocking and using the primary access point on 93rd Avenue. Mr. Flores stated that he questioned the same thing. Mr. Slager responded that they would look into that.

Mr. Slager noted that the cul-de-sacs are quite large so they can have an island in the center; but they can make them larger, if necessary.

E. GREYSTONE 2 – Minor Lot Arrangement Change
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone, Unit 2 regarding minor change to the lot arrangement in this section of the PUD that is west of Calumet Avenue.

Mr. Jack Slager reviewed the history of Greystone Unit 2 and stated that they are looking at finishing out Greystone West over the course of this year and next year. They would like to request a minor revision to the plat.

Mr. Slager referenced fourteen lots, highlighted in yellow on the drawing visible on the viewing screen, and stated that they were originally platted for each lot to receive two cottage home units that were oriented sideways, which had backs of units facing sides of units and vice versa. He further stated that Schilling Construction, the builder, would rather have front-facing units as they sell better than the side-facing units do.

Mr. Slager quoted the ordinance, “Any subsequent change or addition to an approved PUD Development Plan shall be submitted to the Town Manager, who may approve minor changes to the plan.” Mr. Slager noted that, if Mr. Kil deems it a minor change, it doesn’t have to come before the Plan Commission; however, he did want to bring this before the Plan Commission and discuss it.

Mr. Slager also addressed the issue of connectivity with Emerald Crossing, which is in an unincorporated area of Lake County. Olthof Homes is the developer of that subdivision; they do not want the connection and have not stubbed out for that connection so there is no road to tie into.

Mr. Slager stated that they have a bike path that crosses Calumet Avenue that runs through Greystone; the developers of Emerald Crossing have agreed to pick up that bike path and run it through their development, which will give bike and pedestrian access between the subdivisions.

Mr. Slager advised that the Town of St. John border has an irregular shape as it goes to the state line, by a vacant farm south of Greystone that will be developed, so there is the ability to connect to the state line through that vacant farm when it develops in the future.

Mr. Kennedy asked how much of a change this would be considered. Mr. Eberly responded that it is a very minor change.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there would be more yard. Mr. Slager responded that there is more yard because there is less driveway.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is a floating setback there. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative and stated that they have asked the builders to consider flipping the façades so it doesn’t look like an extremely-linear row of homes.

Mr. Eberly advised that, relative to the connection issue between Emerald Crossing and Greystone, we asked Mr. Slager to line up a connection with a 60-foot outlot that was platted on Emerald Crossing. Olthof does not want the connection and never planned for it; so they will not build the road. If we want the connection, the Town would have to build a portion of the road. We are holding Mr. Slager up in platting the property due to the matter of the connection.

Mr. Eberly stated that what Mr. Slager is saying about the property to the south having future connectivity to State Line Road makes perfect sense. He further stated that the Town Council would have to decide if we will pave that section of road, and he doesn't want to hold up Mr. Slager regarding this connection.

Mr. Kraus asked if the Town can build on property they don’t own. Mr. Eberly stated that Olthof would allow us to build a road on that outlot; however, we have to build the road.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Slager if he had come up with a price on that. Mr. Slager responded for that piece of road it is estimated at about $40,000 and noted there’s a pipeline there that could be problematic.

Mr. Slager stated that nobody in Emerald Crossing wants that connection because it is their main road in and out of the subdivision.

Mr. Slager advised that they are going to continue with the way they are going and will come in throughout the course of the year for more sections. This section won’t likely finish this year, but potentially will finish next year.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there were any further questions or comments for Mr. Slager. None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Kennedy adjourned the meeting at 7:56 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

03-06-2019 Plan Commission

March 6, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on March 6, 2019, at 7:00 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: Bob Birlson, Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Kenn Kraus, and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: None

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda are the minutes for the June 7, 2017; July 5, 2017; August 2, 2017; and February 6, 2019 Regular Meetings; and the July 19, 2017 and February 20, 2019 Study Session Meetings and asked for any questions or comments on the same. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes from the Plan Commission Regular Meetings and Study Session Meetings as listed by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 2 abstentions by Mr. Georgiou and Mr. Flores as they were not present at the meetings.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the Election of Officers and entertained nominations.

President

Nomination to retain Michael Forbes as President by Mr. Kennedy. Hearing no further nominations, Mr. Forbes called for a vote. Nomination carries 6 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Birlson.

Vice President

Nomination for John Kennedy as Vice-President by Mr. Forbes. Hearing no further nominations, Mr. Forbes called for a vote. Nomination carries 7 ayes to 0 nays.

Executive Secretary

Nomination for Steve Kozel as Executive Secretary by Mr. Kennedy. Hearing no further nominations, Mr. Forbes called for a vote. Nomination carries 7 ayes to 0 nays.

Appointment of Recording Secretary

Nomination to appoint Margaret Abernathy as Recording Secretary by Mr. Kennedy. Hearing no further nominations, Mr. Forbes called for a vote. Nomination carries 7 ayes to 0 nays.

Appointment of a Plan Commission Member to the BZA

Nomination to appoint Paul Panczuk as the Plan Commission Member to the BZA by Mr. Kennedy. Hearing no further nominations, Mr. Forbes called for a vote. Nomination carries 5 ayes to 2 nays by Mr. Forbes and Mr. Kozel.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. GDS HOLDINGS, LLC – Rezoning 14,7 Acres from Open Space to C-2 Commercial – (Petitioner: Rhett Tauber representing the owners of the property)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is GDS Holdings, LLC, regarding rezoning of 14.7 acres of land in the 10300 block of US 41 from Open Space to C-2 Commercial. Mr. Rhett Tauber is representing the petitioner.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petition to proceed with Public Hearing.

Mr. Rhett Tauber, Attorney with Tauber Law Offices in Schererville, stated that he is here this evening representing the petitioner, GDS Holding, LLC. They are asking for a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for the rezone of the parcel of property that wraps around Décor Tile on US 41 from Open Space to C-2 to make the entire parcel zoned C-2. There are 30 acres, with half of it already zoned C-2, but the wrap-around area is zoned Open Space.

Mr. Tauber advised that this property is located in a TIF district. Most of the property that surrounds the property in question is zoned commercial. Mr. Tauber stated that his client is trying to market the property, but that is quite difficult because it is has a bifurcated zoning.

Mr. Birlson asked if there are wetlands on the south portion of the property. Mr. Tauber responded that there are some wetlands.

Mr. Birlson asked if wetlands can be zoned C-2. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Greg Willy (10525 Schneider Court): Is that considered everything north of 105th Place?

(Mr. Forbes and Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.)

Pardon?

(Mr. Forbes and Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative again; and Mr. Forbes added that it is the land in the back between the gentlemen’s subdivision and Alsip Nursery.)

What – what about the pond? What’s that pond zoned at?

(Mr. Eberly responded that the area in question is not yet annexed into town; he believes that Mr. Muenich intends to annex that into town in the future. Mr. Eberly advised that this portion of land is not in the rezoning before the board tonight.)

That’s not going to be considered in this zoning?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the negative.)

And nothing south of there?

(Mr. Eberly showed the area that is being requested to be rezoned on the screen and explained the same for clarity.)

It’s all the way to the railroad track?

(Mr. Eberly responded that part of it goes to the railroad track and indicated the same on the screen.)

Every – everything south – everything, what you would say, south – south of the pond, if that’s all considered residential?

(Mr. Eberly showed the parcels of land highlighted on the Lake County GIS map on the screen and again explained the current zoning of the parcels as well as which parcel was being rezoned.)

And what – what is that south bottom there? Is – is that where they put the new sewer line?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.)

So everything north of the new sewer line, they want make – to make – they want to put that as commercial?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.)

Okay. Thank you.

Lori Kirk (10542 Bailey Street): Which is in Artesian Wells subdivision, or the Wells, um, Watts Artesian subdivision. Um, we, as homeowners in that subdivision, which is a small subdivision, we saw the sewer lines and stuff go in last year; and it butts up to one of my neighbors, to the back of their property, like, right in their yard. Okay, obviously, part of it was not their yard, but all along, they’ve been using it and maintaining it, taking care of it. So anyway, that’s been all taken care of.

And we were, kind of, wondering what was going to happen to this property. This is the first step, I understand, from changing it from Open Space to commercial; but obviously, there’s got to be some kind of a plan. This is not being done just because we want to do it right now.

Many years ago, they tried to do the same spot, the same parcels of land; and it didn’t really go anywhere. But we’re wondering, as homeowners, what’s going to be put there? One reason is, that’s a very small subdivision. The traffic on 41 is horrendous the way it is. If – we’re hearing strip malls; we’re hearing all different kinds of things there. We also don’t know if the part where Décor Tile is and – and the Smoke Shop, the Benjamin Moore paint dealer, is that going to be taken down; or are those businesses going to stay? Are they going to be removed? And is something larger and bigger going to go in there to try to make St. John like Highland or Munster, which most of us aren’t for?

I mean, we like growth and everything, and St. John is growing. But to have a strip mall go in there, just like any other strip mall, these cookie-cutter things that they’re doing – part of the reason a lot of people I know – I’ve been in St. John and Dyer my whole life, okay. A lot of people that I know that have moved from Illinois into St. John – which we’ve had an influx of tons of Illinois people, all the new subdivisions we have – so we have to have businesses and things for them. But we’re concerned being that that’s on 41 and it seems to be like that’s the only place that St. John keeps expanding is just moving further south down 41 until you get to the end, and then St. John has no more growth, because you’re going to go into Cedar Lake, so.

Um, the people that I know that have moved into St. John, they moved here because they didn’t want to be in Orland. They didn’t want to be in Highland. They don’t want to be in Munster, where Calumet Avenue’s a zoo. Schererville used to be a very nice community. Now Schererville, you can’t even go through there. I – Teibel’s, all that whole intersection, widening of the roads, we’ve had several of our residents hit, rear-ended on 41. I don’t know if anybody knows how many times that happens, because the speed limit is too fast there, and no one will reduce it.

We don’t have a turning lane even to go in our subdivision. If you were to build something, some kind of a mall or some big commercial area with restaurants and things like that, you’re going to have to put stop signs – stoplights, I mean. You know, they’re going to have to do something. So we’re looking at this is not just a, like, “Oh, well, let’s just make this piece of Open Space commercial property and nobody cares because it doesn't affect them.” And then later on we find out that there’s bigger plans in the works for what you’re going to do.

Not that I really, I mean, I understand that you want people to voice their opinions, not that my opinion is going to count for more than any of yours, but we’re concerned, as citizens and residents of St. John, what’s – what’s the ultimate goal here? There is some kind of a goal. I, particularly, live on Bailey Street. It’s a dead-end street. It’s a very narrow street. It took us years and years to finally get it repaved because it was all decrepit and cracking and everything else. It’s a very narrow street. It wouldn’t even probably – I don’t even know if it would pass code for how wide it is, okay.

Those streets are kind of like you have in Cedar Lake sometimes where there’s, you know, it’s all little curves; and they’re narrow streets. They’re not meant – they’re not residential streets like you have in the newer subdivisions. And we’ve certainly – I know I would not, and my neighbors would not want – ever want Bailey Street to be a through street going up north further, because that would ruin that whole subdivision. First of all, the streets couldn’t take it; and I don’t – it – it would just make no sense.

So what’s – my question is, and my neighbors questions are, what’s the future plans for this? There’s got to be some – this isn’t just coming out of thin air. There’s plans for this, and that also depends on what people would think of it, if being a good idea or bad idea. So that’s what my concern is.

(Mr. Forbes responded that this discussion is for the purpose of rezoning this property to get it all in the same zoning in order to make the property that’s owned by these individuals more marketable.)

Correct.

(Mr. Forbes continued, that’s why they are asking for this rezoning; there are no drawings or plans on the table; and nothing has been presented to us.)

So when would you propose that somebody who owns a piece of property that they’ve owned for many, many years, and all of the sudden they decide that they’d like to have this rezoned because they do have something in mind. So I would think, as the Town board, you would be interested in what the purpose is for this person requesting to have this rezone before you say, sure, go ahead and do it.

So it – although there’s no plans in front of you at this point, they already know what they’re doing. If you were to ask them, I’m sure they could tell you. They’re not doing it just because, all the sudden, one day they decide, “Hey, let’s get an attorney and get that rezone so we can just not do anything with it.” Thank you.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): I am concerned, as well as the homeowners, that, uh, for drainage, for traffic, for noise. Um, your concern should be for the homeowners, not the concerns of the profitability of the –

(Mr. Forbes asked if he had said it was for the profitability.)

Yes, you said that.

(Mr. Forbes responded in the negative.)

You made that statement.

(Mr. Forbes clarified that he made the statement that it is why they are in front of us; that they want to consolidate all the parcels into the same zoning. Mr. Forbes requested that Mr. Wolf not to put words into his mouth.)

Well, I – I took it as that. Anyway, the – the, uh – you’re committee should be concerned about the homeowners and the impact that they will have in rezoning this; and there should be a plan before you rezone it. You should know what they’re going to be doing with this property. And are they going to have retention for this property? Are they going to put in retention ponds? Uh –

(Mr. Forbes advised Mr. Wolf that those items are part of the platting process and not the rezoning process. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Wolf if what he is saying is that if we know what’s going on and we like it, we should rezone it; if we don’t’ like it, we shouldn’t rezone it.)

Uh, is if it’s – if it is not impacted on the residents, you shouldn’t rezone it.

(Mr. Forbes asked, “So if you don’t like it, don’t rezone it, right?”)

If – if it’s impacted on the residents, it shouldn’t be rezoned.

(Mr. Forbes thanked Mr. Wolf for his comments and asked if he had any further comments.)

Thank you. No.

Mr. Forbes asked if anyone else wished to speak regarding this Public Hearing. Having no one else come forward to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Hearing and turned the floor over the petitioner for rebuttal.

Mr. Muenich stated that they have been working on this parcel for two years, more or less, clearing it, getting rid of material, cutting trees down, filling, and grading. Mr. Muenich responded that there is nothing planned for the parcel at this point; they are not developing it; they are looking to market the property.

Mr. Muenich stated that the problem that they are running into consistently with any prospective purchasers of the parcel is they are not prepared to purchase a parcel with bifurcated zoning, especially one that’s zoned as Open Space that they can’t use for a commercial use. Mr. Muenich stated that zoning is the primary process; and they do planning for specifics; specifics being entrance ways; detention basins, which they are required to have detention the same as any other subdivision; and barriers or other items between classifications of zoning, the same as everybody else.

Mr. Muenich advised that they are working with INDOT for the entrance to the property, which will be a commercial entrance on Route 41. They are working with INDOT as part of the 2020 road widening program in conjunction with land that they are taking from both sides of the street.

Mr. Muenich noted that Bailey Street is not a usable facility for a commercial entrance to a commercial project. First of all, there’s at least two bends in it, and it is too narrow at 30 feet. The road cannot be made any bigger, and the topography doesn’t support that type of access to the property. They are working with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Lake County Drainage Board to put a causeway across the detention basin.

Mr. Muenich stated that it will be 30-foot road, curb back to curb back. So far, they have gotten favorable responses. Mr. Muenich stated that it became apparent that they will have to make a pass-through for the water that comes through the legal drain, or possibly turning everything upstream of that into a flood-control project by placing restrictions in what would normally be the pass-through under the causeway, which an engineering firm in Illinois was engaged to determine that possibility. If they are able to do that, it will handle both the detention for their parcels and create about a 75-acre-foot flood control project for the town. Mr. Muenich noted that the area labeled “Proposed Fill” is where the causeway and the pass-through will be that access the parcel on the southeast.

Mr. Muenich stated that insofar as Bailey Street is concerned, it is a possibility that the Plan Commission could require that as an emergency exit from the triangular parcel. If that would occur, they will propose that it be an exit only, one-way out, and not used for access to the parcel. He further stated that the fears of using Bailey Street are unfounded; however, Bailey Street actually does go onto commercial property zoned C-2. The parcel they are rezoning is the parcel that is Open Space and has no access point to it.

Mr. Muenich advised that the strip mall with Décor Tile is not part of the project area and that GDS Holdings has no relationship with Décor Tile or their property. Mr. Muenich stated that the only thing he is doing with the property at this time is rezoning it so that he can market it and move it.

Mr. Eberly indicated where the delineation of the wetland is located on the parcel drawing, which comes down well into the area near the northern edge of Watts Artesian Wells. He further advised that Ms. Kirk is correct that Bailey Street is only 20-feet wide and doesn't meet today’s standards for a subdivision street, let alone a major arterial or minor arterial street; additionally, there is a significant elevation drop from the end of Bailey Street to the bottom of the wetland area of about 14 feet.

Mr. Birlson asked if the frontage on Wicker Avenue is zoned C-2. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Eberly if the lots where Décor Tile and the lot just to the east and north of it are zoned C-2. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion for a recommendation to the Town Council.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to approve the rezoning of 14.7 acres of land in the 10300 block of US 41 from Open Space to C-2 Commercial Zoning by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 7 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. WALDEN CLEARING UNIT ONE – Bond Reduction – (Petitioner: Olthof Homes by Jeff Yatsko)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Walden Clearing, Unit One. The developer is seeking a Bond Reduction for Walden Clearing, Unit One.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter which states that some sewers, water mains, and street base, binder and curb have been constructed; that the project is approximately 55 percent complete; and that the current bond in the amount of $2,481,612.90 may be released and replaced with a new bond in the amount of $1,120,219.10.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a recommendation to the Town Council.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to grant the bond reduction for Walden Clearing, Unit One, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 7 ayes to 0 nays.

B. LENNAR HOMES (aka CAL ATLANTIC) – Bond Reduction for The Gates of St. John Pod 10M
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Lennar Homes, also known as Cal Atlantic. The petitioner is seeking a Bond Reduction for The Gates of St. John, Pod 10M.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter which states that all sewers, water mains, and streets have been constructed, leaving sidewalk and soil erosion control work left to be completed, and that the current bond in the amount of $2,957,113.67 may be released and replaced with a new bond in the amount of $303,220.50.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a recommendation to the Town Council.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to grant the Bond Reduction for Lennar Homes, aka Cal Atlantic, for The Gates of St. John Pod, 10M, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 7 ayes to 0 nays.

C. HICKORY TERRACE – Request Permission to Advertise – (Petitioner: Jack Slager with Schilling Development/Michael Muenich)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Hickory Terrace. The petitioner is requesting permission to advertise for rezoning roughly 55 acres of property on the north side of 93rd Avenue across from Prairie West Park from R-1 to RC-1 PUD for the purpose of developing a gated, single-family development.

Mr. Michael Muenich stated that he is the manager of the Hickory Terrace Land Development Company, LLC. Mr. Muenich advised that the subdivision name will be changing to “Continental” for reasons that will become apparent at a later time. At this time, they would like to request permission to advertise for the April 3, 2019 meeting for rezoning from R-1, to RC-1 PUD to create the gated community that will consist of 55 lots on approximately 56 acres of land; 18-20 acres will remain conservation easements: wetlands and woodlands.

Mr. Muenich apologized on Mr. Slager’s behalf, who had to be elsewhere.

Motion to approve permission to advertise by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly asked about the subdivision name. Mr. Muenich responded that the subdivision name will become “Continental”; however, the developer will remain as Hickory Terrace Land Development. Mr. Eberly advised that this will be shown as “Continental” on all future agendas.

D. THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 – Primary Plat Continued Discussion – (Petitioner: Dave Barick represented by Doug Rettig with DVG)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs, Unit 3 for a continued discussion relative to the Preliminary Plat of this phase of Three Springs. This unit is comprised of R-1, R-2, and R-3 lots. The petitioner is Dave Barick, represented by Doug Rettig with DVG.

Mr. Doug Rettig, with DVG, stated that he is here representing Dave Barick and Three Springs, Phase 3. Their Public Hearing was held and closed in January for this project, where it was deferred as the engineering review was not completed yet.

Mr. Rettig reviewed what was discussed at previous meetings. He noted that in January, there was quite a bit of discussion regarding the easements, especially regarding the Vector Pipeline. They reached out to Vector with questions; however, they didn’t have all their comments back for the February Regular Meeting and asked for a deferral as a result; so they are here tonight to continue that discussion.

Mr. Rettig stated that the folks at Vector Pipeline are not opposed to having the lots arranged the way they are, but they are not in favor of it either and would prefer it to be arranged differently. He further stated that the folks at the pipeline understand they only have so much easement to work in. Mr. Rettig commented that they feel they have enough room to build houses south of the pipeline. Mr. Rettig added that the folks at the pipeline stated that they cannot stop houses from being built on property that is not in their easement.

Mr. Rettig stated that nothing can be constructed in the easement and that the subdivision plat will have to show that the area be left as grass. There can be no grade changes, no plantings other than grass, no fences, no swimming pools, or no decks. Mr. Rettig stated that the woman from the pipeline informed him that there will have to be restrictions placed on the lots, especially Lots 22-27.

Mr. Rettig commented that they believe that this plan meets the Subdivision Control Ordinance, and it is the same plan that was presented when they rezoned the property. The property is a mix of three zones: R-1, R-2, and R-3, which is similar to the first two phases of Three Springs.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the certified plans are satisfactory; the Developmental Fee has not been established at this time and will be based on 2 percent of the construction cost of public improvements; the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan is included in the project plans but has not been reviewed as yet; and the fee for the SWPPP review will be determined at the time of review.

Mr. Flores stated that he reviewed this plan closely with the administrative staff and the police department, and there are many safety concerns. The consensus is that they are not comfortable with this. Mr. Flores stated that he had also met with Chief Willman, St. John Fire Chief; and Chief Willman told him that if there is a way around this to not put houses on the pipeline, it would be preferred.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the rezoning Findings of Fact included this Primary Plat. Mr. Eberly responded that it is accurate to say that this is the plat on which the rezoning was based and approved.

Mr. Rettig stated that it was a sketch plan at the time of zoning and that he has copies of that if anybody would like one.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there are other platted subdivisions that exist in the town that have pipeline easements within the lots. Mr. Eberly responded that there is a mix of these kinds of situations where we have pipelines that are in outlots, separate from the platted lots, and we have developments with lots that have pipeline easements within their lots.

Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion regarding Three Springs, Phase 3, Preliminary Plat.

Motion to grant Three Springs Primary Plat approval for Phase 3 by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou.

Vote by Roll Call
Mr. Birlson Nay
Mr. Flores Nay
Mr. Georgiou Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Kozel Aye
Mr. Panczuk Nay
Mr. Forbes Aye

Motion carries 4 ayes to 3 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I’ll reserve comment on the last vote until next meeting; but this meeting, I want to talk about road connectivity and continuality through the streets and roads of our various subdivisions. Road connectivity will reduce congestion on existing roads. This has been a vocal goal of the Town and Plan Commissions. While I have often heard the words, the reality seems to be less than stellar. It is often obvious that things look different, depending on which side of the dais you sit.

For those on the committee, these comments may seem to be totally incorrect, or at least misguided; yet I share with you, in good faith from my side of the dais and with information available to me, it seems that the connectivity and continuality of roads and the actions to achieve maximum access across subdivisions is not as high as the goal as the words and feedback from the boards and commissions suggest. As a result to the checkerboard approach to land development in our town – and the selective growth based on developers’ ability to purchase land and landowners’ willingness to sell – has generated a hodgepodge of separate subdivisions, each a self-contained neighborhood.

Valiant efforts have been made to join neighborhoods together, and there are great examples of this being done; but there also examples suggesting the serious deficiencies with the three recent examples of lost opportunity here. First, the once in a generation opportunity to expand Earl road north beyond the Shops 96 project. In doing so, I see the action taken does help the developer, but does nothing for the town – in fact, ensures frontage road along 41 will never be built.

Number two, the rejection – the recent rejection to let the Greystone development build a road into the neighboring “Evergreen” neighborhood, even though the developer offered to build one. As I understand it, the approved plat did not reserve a parcel for future development into adjacent parcel, which was reserved for a street. True, one parcel is unincorporated, yet the original Planners offered a road that the current Plan Commission see no reason to complete.

Three, the extension of Willow Road, the Plan Commission requested information on a road extension for a number of months only at the last minute to give a pass to make sure a developer was able to move forward. The commission approved the bulk of the zoning request with no action taken on this road extension. Again, prior Planners have left spurs and right-of-way for a well-planned connection only to have current Planners bend away and have little appetite to address the connectivity issue.

I encourage this Plan committee to up its game in this area to do more to encourage, support, and demand future developments to do a better job of road interconnect-ability while it is still possible. As more and more land gets defined, remaining parcels can, well-become isolated orphans with limited, restricted connectivity with existing roads. Thank you.

(Mr. Forbes stated that he is a proponent of connectivity and that he has tried and tried to make various connections: He tried to connect Kilkenny with Castle Rock to the north into Columbia, and he was shot down by members of the PAC. Mr. Forbes further stated that there was no agreement in regards to the connection in to Emerald Crossing. The developer in Emerald Crossing was going to give a right-of-way, but he was not going to put the road in. The Town cannot construct a road on property that we don’t own. Mr. Forbes noted that he has made more connections in more subdivisions than is known; he we instrumental in connecting Bramblewood to The Enclave. Mr. Forbes asked that it not be said that he doesn’t look to the future.)

If I may respond to that. (Mr. Forbes granted permission.) You’re on your side; I’m on my side. And I tell you what I see in all honesty; and you tell me what you see in all honesty. We obviously have a communication issue. Where I sit, I don’t see the same enthusiasm, and I see areas where there could have been more effort made. You, on the other hand, you state very clearly that you feel you’ve done beyond sufficient. We obviously aren’t communicating. But I tell you in good faith what I feel; I tell you in good faith what I sense; and I tell you in good faith, um, those things that I think are important. And somehow –

(Mr. Forbes stated that he agrees with Mr. DeVito on the need for connections and asked him not make accusations that he doesn't try to get connections made.)

I never mentioned you. I mentioned the committee.

(Mr. Forbes stated that Mr. DeVito mentioned him as part of the board.)

As part of this board, and you’re talking about it as your personal offense. There are multiple people on this board. This is a new board.

(Mr. Forbes stated that they should all be offended too, and he completely disagrees with Mr. DeVito.)

Oh, I offend you because get up and tell you what I honestly think? We have to, obviously, improve communication; cause from where I sit, this is what I see. Thank you.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I guess just – just two brief comments. Um, Mr. Georgiou, welcome to the Commission; and I hope that, um, you have – have a mind to do what’s best for the town and – and in everybody’s mind, and – and hope that this year is going very well for us.

I’m disappointed in the decision that was made at Three Springs. I mean the last time the decision came to this board, it was voted down for safety reasons; and nothing really changed on the drawing. In fact, Mr. Flores came forward and had more information from police and from fire that were concerned about its safety; but yet, this time it was approved. And – and I’m just really disappointed that that’s the direction you guys have gone. And – and then finally, um, everyone who comes up here, um, and – and – and speaks, uh, about something isn’t necessarily tied to one group.

(Mr. Forbes stated that most of them are.)

Yolanda Cardona (10075 Springlake Road): It’s kind of a moot point, but I wanted to share my comments with all of you. Um, I am here – or was here to voice my comments before the, um, proposition went before a vote. Um, unfortunately, it’s already been voted on, so it’s a moot – moot, uh, point and argument for me to sit here and make; but nonetheless, I’m going to make it. Uh, like Mr. Swets and like the majority of the people sitting here – as you can see with all the signs – I am extremely, extremely disappointed at the ones, uh, of you that voted yes to the Three Springs, uh, development.

Um, it’s disheartening to sit here and listen to the same exact proposal that was proposed last month with added information that Mr. Flores brought to you today. He’s a police officer. The engineer’s not going to be the one responding when that explosion happens, because it’s – it’s not if it happens; it is going to happen. He’s not going to be the one responding; Mr. Flores is. And he told you that it is not advisable. And what did you all do? You voted yes to it; so I’m extremely disappointed.

It’s disheartening to hear all of these plans, um, being decided on without taking into account all of the lives of the people that live in Three Springs. We matter; we care; we live there. I assure you that none of you sitting up there that voted yes to that proposal would subject your families to living in those properties; so shame on all of you for voting – uh, not the ones that voted no to it. But shame on the ones that voted yes to the proposal.

I’m sure that these two gentlemen here – with all due respect, you two don’t live in Three Springs either – and the ones that voted yes to it, none of you live there; none of you care. None of you care because you won’t have a vested interest in those properties; but we do. We care, and it’s just disappointing that you were tasked with an – a job to do, that is to protect the safety and the well-being of the residents of Three Springs. And today, you did exactly the opposite; you put profits and lining the pockets of the developer, making it okay with the developer to the detriment of the, uh, families of Three Springs.

So extremely disappointed; and again, it’s not just me. I echo the sentiments of the – and the feelings of the majority of people that are sitting here and the majority of people that live here in Three Springs that couldn’t make it today for obvious reasons. People work, and it’s 7:00. It’s a long day. But they care; it’s not that they don’t want to be here. They want to be here, and they care. And it’s disappointing that this is taking place in St. John.

Um, again, you were tasked with ensuring the health and safety of the residents of St. John. Only you are positioned to make that decision. Vector said that it’s not preferable, um; and only you can say no to it. But, yet, you chose to say yes. Completely disappointed. Shame on you, and I hope the ones that voted yes do not get re-elected. In fact, I will make it my task that you don’t, because it is disappointing, and shame on you.

Pat Moran (9929 West 100th Place): I hate to waste my science project. It’s a hard act to follow Yolanda, so. But anyways, I just wanted to say I also, you know –

(Mr. Forbes asked the gentlemen to state his name and address; and the gentlemen complied.)

I was hoping to actually speak before; I didn’t understand public comment was closed. Uh, I live in close proximity to the development, and I worry, as well as my wife, that during the excavation process, um, sometime down the road, the pipeline may be punctured, which causes – could cause a catastrophic explosion. Uh, I found out that Vector Pipeline, um, it’s 348 miles of 42-inch – my scale, um, um, example there – 1.3 cubic feet of gas per day that runs from Joliet to Canada. And, uh, this is from their website.

What they did say is pipeline accidents are rare, but they do occur. Um, the commission members tonight that voted to pass this, I just feel like your marginalizing in our public safety, not only for the current residents of Three Springs, but also the future residents of Phase 3 and anybody in – other people in close proximity. I also want to direct to Mr. Forbes, um, at the January 21 meeting, um, um, he – he felt that there’d be no problem selling these lots, even though he, himself, wouldn’t buy one, and also minimizing Mr. Panczuk’s concerns is a bit of a stretch. Those are quote – quotes from you.

Now, I don’t know Mr. Panczuk personally, but I appreciate, uh, what he’s done to – to get this information out. He has valid, uh, concerns. Um, I just wanted say we’re very appreciative of – of what you did to educate us. Um, I’d just like to say that your comments, Mr. Forbes, um, was unfortunate and unprofessional. And that’s all I have to say.

Jose Cardona (10075 Springlake Road): We’re originally from East Chicago; and I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen some stuff in East Chicago. This, it – it was not right. Um, I’m glad it’s all on record. The yeas, you know, go on record; and God forbid, something happens, I don’t know how, with a good conscience, you can go ahead and vote for something like that when it should have been researched more or – again, I had – we went to a meeting last week, or a couple weeks ago, where I suggested why not just build around the pipeline. Well, somebody made the suggestion of the gesture with their hand. Obviously, it’s money. I understand that.

You know, you want to get as many property or as much as you can on that land; but you got a safety official here that’s telling you that it’s not safe. Okay. So like I said, I’m just glad there’s record of the yeas; and God forbid, something happens, you got to sleep with that at night. And I would appreciate if I could get my grass cut next door cause, like I said, I – we just moved in – into that area, and here, less than a year, we’re trying to voice our opinion about a – a safety concern that, you know, could possibly blow up residents. I mean, it’s insane; and I just thought there should have been more dialog and – and, but you guys are up there; I’m not, so good luck with that.

Steve Youngberg (9790 Meadowrose Lane): Um, I’ve worked for about 13 years in the utility industry. I worked three years over at this pumping station over here in St. John, for ANR. I didn’t hear any comment about ANR’s lines there.

(Mr. Rettig stated from his seat that both Vector and ANR have pipelines there.)

Yeah, so that – that’s the same risk as this. You actually have three lines going through there.

(Mr. Forbes stated that we know that.)

Okay. Do you know – do you know what the pressures are in those lines? Does anybody?

(Outbursts from the audience were quieted by Mr. Forbes, after which time he told Mr. Youngberg to go ahead.)

So does anybody know what the operating pressures are in those lines? I was an instrumentation and controls tech at that station. I can tell you that they operate that line anywhere from 750 psi to 850 psi. That’s a lot of pressure. I can tell you when you have a pipe like that, that let’s go, there’s going to be 7 miles of pipe that’s going to empty out before it quits, with all those lines. And the – you’ll be lucky if it doesn't catch on fire.

(Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Youngberg if he had said that he used to work for ANR.)

Yeah. So I – I would just discourage close build of the houses through there. Those houses, they got a lot of pipe laying around them. I’ve seen the devastation. I’ve been to the fire schools. It wouldn’t be good. I’ve seen it out there, so it’s a big concern. Just something to think about. I appreciate your input, (pointing to various members) your input, Mr. Panczuk’s input. Thanks.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): All I have to say is I want to thank the two gentlemen who voted against this. Um do you have –

(Mr. Birlson corrected Mr. Wolf that it was three members who voted against it.)

And also, do you have –

(Mr. Birlson repeated that it was three members.)

Three. Oh, yes, three. I’m sorry, three, three, three members. And, uh, also, um, I believe in the safety concerns that these gentlemen have presented. And, um, do you have a safety plan, an evacuation plan since you voted for this – for this Three Springs subdivision?

You know, these families that are here in Three Springs, their homes are their castles. They probably have all of their investment in their homes; and I just say shame on you for voting for this. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): First of all, thank you gentlemen for voting no. Mr. Flores probably said the most important thing tonight, and that was that this is a concern to not only the police department to the fire department. And the fact that the people who voted yes for this should be ashamed as these residents have said. And if there’s any problems with this, there’s a matter of public record as to who voted yes.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Birlson. Motion carries 7 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 8:01 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

03-20-2019 Plan Commission

March 20, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk  
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on March 20, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Bob Birlson, Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: None.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. HICKORY TERRACE ¬– Continued Discussion – Proposed Gated Community
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Hickory Terrace, which is now called “Continental”, for a continued discussion regarding a proposal for a gated community on the north side of 93rd Avenue across from Prairie West Park.

Mr. Eberly stated that it would be reflected on the agendas as Continental beginning with the April agenda.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG stated that this is a joint venture between Schilling Development and Mr. Mike Muenich; Mr. Slager, who is usually here representing Schilling Development, and Mr. Muenich are both out of town, so he is here on their behalf. Scott Zajac with Schilling is also present with him, and they will be happy to answer any questions the board has.

Mr. Rettig stated that this was presented a couple of weeks ago when permission to advertise was requested, and nothing has changed on the drawing. He further stated that they are going to come in for their Public Hearing in April for rezoning from R-1 to RC-1 PUD for a private, gated community.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there would be a driveway restriction for the lot that is accessed directly from 93rd Avenue. Mr. Rettig responded that where it is on the drawing is exactly where it’s going to be.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the width of the emergency access road is. Mr. Zajac responded that it is wide enough to get an emergency vehicle through there. Mr. Rettig and Mr. Zajac stated that the width would be 20-21 feet. Mr. Rettig stated that it is probably wider than it needs to be and that it will be gated and used strictly for emergency use.

Mr. Flores asked how the gate would be accessed. Mr. Rettig responded that one way to do it is the bollards that fold down, and the emergency vehicles would have a key to the gate lock; there would be one at both ends. Mr. Flores stated that the police department doesn't have access to the Knox Box.

Mr. Rettig stated that they would come up with something.

Mr. Georgiou asked what material is proposed for the perimeter fencing. Mr. Zajac responded that the frontage along 93rd Avenue will be a decorative, iron-style fence and that the perimeter around the sides and into the rear will be a black chain-link style fence.

Mr. Eberly advised that it would have to be something other than chain link. Chain link is not allowed unless you screen it from adjacent property owners with at least a minimum 6-foot evergreen hedge.

Mr. Kennedy asked if we need to ensure the gate access issue is arranged before the board makes any decision on this development, as he feels we need to have a better understanding of it. Mr. Forbes concurred that we need more information and that we need something that will work with all of our departments in case Public Works needs to get in there.

Mr. Rettig asked if the board wants that information for the next meeting. Mr. Forbes responded that if it is possible, yes.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he believes it needs to be worked how the emergency services will access the gates before any decision on this board is made. Mr. Flores concurred.

Mr. Eberly stated that the front gate would not be staffed. Mr. Rettig concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wonders if they can have an activation system like the emergency services have for the traffic lights. Mr. Flores responded that, if they would be able to do something like the Opticom System, he would prefer that.

Mr. Flores explained how the Opticom System works.

Mr. Forbes noted that Public Works doesn’t have the Opticom System on those vehicles; however, they wouldn’t need to get in as quickly as an emergency vehicle.

Mr. Rettig asked if they need that figured out before zoning or if it can be worked out at subdivision. Mr. Forbes responded that they could probably do it at the subdivision stage.

Discussion ensued about how to access the gates.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they would be able to connect a sidewalk or bike path over to Olcott. Mr. Rettig responded that he believes Mr. Slager said that they would be willing to do that.

Mr. Zajac stated that they are looking into that; however, the topography is an issue; and the owners to the west have hedges.

Mr. Eberly advised that the lot facing 93rd Avenue owns out to the middle of 93rd Avenue and there is no right-of-way, so there is currently no access to the property. They have the same issue with two lots on the south side of 93rd Avenue, which he believes why there is no sidewalk on those two lots.

Mr. Kennedy stated that 93rd Avenue is a minor arterial road, and the Thoroughfare Plan states that there shouldn’t be any new driveways on 93rd Avenue. Mr. Kennedy added that he knows Mr. Slager stated that it is replacing and existing driveway and asked if the Plan Commission really wants to include that on 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Forbes asked if anyone has any thoughts on that.

Mr. Kennedy stated that we couldn’t control if a car backs out of or into that residence. Mr. Rettig responded that with the size of the lots and the size of the homes, they will be able to turn around in their driveway. Mr. Rettig stated that there will be a dedicated driveway easement at the east end of the property. The property drops off so much to the west that it really couldn’t go there. He noted that they will put a no-access easement so that a driveway can’t be installed anywhere but where it is shown.

Mr. Kennedy stated that it is a beautiful project and he loves it; however, he would prefer that it connected out to Knickerbocker to the north. Mr. Zajac stated that they have heard from folks who live on Knickerbocker to the north, and they don’t want a connection there because they are concerned about additional traffic.

Mr. Kennedy referenced the Thoroughfare Plan where Denny Cobb states that connections should be made wherever possible so traffic can dispense elsewhere, and this pushes all of the traffic onto 93rd Avenue. It may have been better to connect to Knickerbocker; so if people need to go north, they don’t have to come down to 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Georgiou stated that connecting to Knickerbocker would run the traffic up to a dead-end street in Louis Estates. Mr. Kennedy stated that they could go right on 90th Avenue and out to Patterson Street.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see the connection to the north and that he is worried about this connection tied to the zoning.

Mr. Georgiou asked for confirmation that none of the perimeter properties will have access to this development. Mr. Rettig responded in the affirmative. Mr. Eberly stated that there is one lot that is not in the subdivision that will front and access the road. Mr. Rettig stated that he believes that will be gated on both sides.

Mr. Birlson asked why they didn’t tie into Patterson instead of 93rd Avenue. Mr. Rettig responded that he believes they felt that the 93rd Avenue access would be more desirable.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions or comments on this matter. None was had.

B. LUCKY BROTHERS – Site Plan Discussion – Proposed Gas Station/Convenience Center/Restaurant on the Northeast Corner of US 41 and US 231
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Lucky Brothers Site Plan discussion for a proposed gas station/convenience store/restaurant on the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231.

Mr. Eberly advised that this matter has been before the Board of Zoning Appeals and received a number of variances, which were all contingent upon the Town Council’s approval of the Special Exception, which the Town Council did. Mr. Eberly advised the members that they have a Findings of Fact for each of the approved variances in their packets.

Mr. Chris Kalischefski, with WT Group, stated that they are the site architects and engineers for the project. Mr. Kalischefski noted that two of the members of the Lucky Brothers live in St. John, so it is local residents investing in the community. Mr. Kalischefski stated that the type of the materials being used, the landscaping being done, and site layout are all investments in the community.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the site property is located on the northeast corner of US 231 and US 41, which creates a unique situation by falling into three zoning districts: US 41 Overlay District, US 231 Overlay District, and C-2.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that this is a convenience facility with a 4925-square-foot convenience store with parking in the front and on the side and additional parking broken up by a landscape island on the south side of the property. There is an 8-dispenser auto canopy. Signage will be a monument sign at the corner of the site; two signs on the canopy, one facing the north and one facing the south; and signage identifying the three businesses on the building.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that they have a drive-through with the window located at the farthest point from the entry point and said drive-through will be less than 50 percent of the sales of the C-store, so it is an accessory use to the facility. Mr. Kalischefski noted that the traffic flow is right-in/right-out from US 41 and the westerly entrance/exit on US 231.

Mr. Kalischefski commented that the two things that make gas stations successful are the convenience of entering and exiting the site and the perceived safety. He noted that the Town had requested that they incorporate safety mechanisms to deter left-turns where they are not permitted, so they are installing bollards for about 150 feet on US 41 and 250 feet on US 231. In addition to that, they will restripe 109th Avenue so that there will be a dedicated left-hand turn into their property. The restriping changes the westbound through lane to be a straight through lane instead of jogging over as it does now. They have had all of this conceptually approved by INDOT.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that they have ample flow and room, so there is still two-way access even when a car nose is sticking out past the fuel pumps. Mr. Kalischefski stated that they have a nice decel lane and stacking lane before the left-hand turn lane.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the material for the building is a masonry-bearing material on all four walls with no metal or wood studs to deteriorate.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that they have been working with Indiana Department of Natural Resources regarding the site’s impact on the insects and the species of plants in Biesecker Prairie Nature Preserve, which is on the southeast corner of US 41 and US 231. They have worked with them closely so that the species of plants that they put in on their property will not have an injurious effect to the nature preserve.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that they have cut-off LED lights and avoiding highly reflective surfaces, so that they don’t have a glare or attract bugs. They are doing berming with bushes on top of that berming and augmenting the trees to create a nice buffering effect.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that they will tilt the window out so that any light hitting that window will deflect down rather than reflecting back to prevent glare. The canopy will have a cornice on the top to provide downlighting, washing the face of the canopy instead of backlighting it.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that they will put a sidewalk in along the perimeter of their project one foot from the property line along the west and south property lines. There is one slight bump out due to a utility pole.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that their drainage plan is a simple storm-sewer system. The outlet to the northwest corner goes through and existing culvert and to a detention area that is just to the north that was provided to them. The water will be held in the pipes through a restrictor and release the water at a lesser rate than what is occurring to date.

Mr. Kalischefski showed their fire truck access plan for the property and stated that they have a 50-foot radius within 150 feet of an existing hydrant.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that they received a variance for the lighting photometric because one area was over by 1.7 lumens, which is over a shared drive between their property and the bank to the east.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that they intend to offer a specialty coffee business; a convenience store, which will also have hot food options; and a Cousins Subs. All three businesses within the building will be interconnected; and when Cousins is closed, there will be a gate closing that business off for security purposes.

Mr. Birlson asked if there will be a decel lane on US 41. Mr. Kalischefski responded that the property already has a dedicated right-in/right-out.

Mr. Kraus stated that he has not received any engineering on this site yet. The utility plan lacks invert elevations or slopes on the pipes, so he will need to be sent those calculations. Mr. Kraus advised that the address on this shows as 10860; however, it is on the east side of US 41 and should be an odd number address. The ALTA plan that was provided with this by Torrenga shows the address to be 10861; so we need to make sure the right address is on this lot. Mr. Kraus commented that Lake County GIS does have an even number for the lot as well.

Mr. Eberly pulled up the plat and stated that it does have the 10860 number. He advised that we can do a Certificate of Correction. Mr. Forbes asked that the address correction be added to the list of things to do.

Mr. Eberly advised Mr. Kalischefski to use 10861 for the address. Mr. Kalischefski agreed to do the same.

Mr. Kozel asked what the islands are that are shown to the west of the canopy on the drawing. Mr. Eberly stated that is the underground storage tanks. Mr. Kozel asked if they are at ground level. Mr. Kalischefski responded that the fill accesses are at ground level, but the tanks are below ground.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that there will be two 20,000-gallon tanks: One will be regular fuel, and the other tank will be a split between E85 and the premium grade. A blender at the pump will produce the mid-grade fuel.

Mr. Forbes asked if they are going to have a diesel tank. Mr. Shamir Manhani, one of the Lucky Brothers, stated that they might make the second tank a triple-compartment tank to offer automotive diesel. Mr. Forbes advised that the trend seems to be going back to diesel in the automotive

Mr. Flores asked if there will be an issue with the width of the drive-through, as it seems narrow.

Mr. Kozel asked where the deliveries would be coming in. Mr. Kalischefski stated that deliveries are all made through the front door, which they do intentionally; there will only be the drive-through patrons driving around the back of the building.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus to look at the automotive turn on the drive-through and see how wide it needs to be. Mr. Kraus agreed to do the same. Mr. Kalischefski offered to give Mr. Kraus the numbers and the CAD.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the drawing shows it to be 12 feet on the top. Mr. Kalischefski confirmed that it is 12-feet wide, which is half of a highway two-lane road.

Mr. Forbes stated that there is always the issue of someone who gets in line and then doesn't want to be in line anymore, and this drive-through has no way out.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they had concerns at the BZA about stacking and backup; and they made it clear that this is not going to be like Dunkin’ Donuts where they have food options. It is going to be just coffee, in-and-out quickly. Mr. Manhani responded from his chair in the audience that they will not be using any microwaves or ovens. The coffee will be ready: cream and sugar, it’s done.

Mr. Forbes stated that is providing the drive-through remains just a coffee shop.

Mr. Kozel asked what happens if they change their mind and add menu items. Mr. Manhani responded that it is a single coffee and grab-and-go kind of things.

Mr. Panczuk stated that Mr. Eberly explained at the BZA meeting that their drive-through proposal, as it is today, constitutes less than 50 percent of their business; therefore, it didn’t require a Special Exception for the drive-through. He further stated that he doesn't know how to build in a contingency.

Mr. Kozel recommended moving the dumpster. Mr. Kalischefski responded that they can look at that; however, they are trying to maximize the landscaping and the drive-through is a limited offering.

Mr. Eberly asked if they could build in an escape exit for people who change their mind about waiting in the drive-through.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is afraid someone would try to use that to turn into the drive-through. Mr. Eberly responded that he would rather see something that won’t change the Landscape Plan and the location of the dumpster to accommodate the occasional person who wants to get out of line.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the site is fully curbed on US 41 and 109th Avenue. Mr. Kalischefski responded that it is curbed at the radii of the existing curb cuts. Mr. Georgiou asked if there is a requirement for that by INDOT. Mr. Kalischefski responded that it is INDOT’s roadway and INDOT has plans for improving that roadway in the future.

Mr. Eberly advised that the improvement that INDOT is planning will provide curb and gutter, where there are drainage structures; however, they tend not to put curbing on the highway. Mr. Kraus advised that INDOT likes to use the shoulder for drainage.

Mr. Eberly advised that INDOT will have delineators that run several hundred feet; however, that will not happen until 2021.

Mr. Forbes commented that they will only be doing one, very long left-turn lane and not a dual turn lane. Mr. Eberly concurred.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the right-in/right-out is already in existence. Mr. Kalischefski responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly advised that Denny Cobb looked at the restriping on US 231, and he sent his suggestions just before the meeting, which he will pass along to Mr. Kalischefski.

Mr. Kalischefski asked if they should call Denny Cobb direct if they have any questions. Mr. Eberly told Mr. Kalischefski that he will give Denny Cobb’s information to him.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they are going to put in the bicycle rack. Mr. Kalischefski stated that they will be putting it in.

Mr. Eberly recommended that this be on the Study Session for April and then have the Public Meeting for Site Plan approval since Mr. Kraus doesn't have the materials to review yet. Mr. Forbes concurred that he would like to see another Study Session.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions or comments. None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:56 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

04-03-2019 Plan Commission

April 3, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Bob Birlson    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on April 3, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: Bob Birlson and Kenn Kraus.

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda are the minutes for the March 6, 2019 Regular Meeting and the March 20, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes from the March 6, 2019 Regular Meeting and the March 20, 2019 Study Session by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. CONTINENTAL – Rezoning from R-1 to RC-1 PUD – (Petitioner: Hickory Terrace Development by Jack Slager)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Continental for Public Hearing to consider a rezoning request from R-1 to RC-1 PUD for 55 acres of land on the north side of 93rd Avenue, across from Prairie West Park, for the purpose of developing 53 single-family lots in a gated community. The petitioner is Hickory Terrace represented by Jack Slager.

Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Jack Slager is here representing Hickory Terrace and advised that all items are in order for this petition to proceed.

Mr. Slager, with Schilling Development, representing Hickory Terrace and the Muenich and Schilling families, stated that this plan has been in front of the Plan Commission for a few meetings and was previously called Hickory Terrace. It has been renamed “Continental” because the property sits on the Continental Divide in Indiana where the north half of the property drains to Lake Michigan and the south half drains to the Kankakee River. It is one of the highest points of land in the town.

Mr. Slager stated that they are here tonight to request that the property be rezoned from R-1 to RC-1 PUD as the subdivision must be a PUD in order to have private streets in St. John. All of the lots meet the R-1 requirement as they are at least 20,000 square feet minimum and at least 100 feet wide.

Mr. Slager described the property as a 55-acre site with 53 lots that will have a single gated entrance onto 93rd Avenue with an emergency access tying to the north at Knickerbocker. The improvements include widening 93rd Avenue with curbs and sidewalks and having two large lakes at the entrance.

Mr. Slager noted that they have made a few changes to the plan since the Study Session, include requiring a 75-foot building setback line for Lot 1, a widened curb along 93rd Avenue to allow for a deceleration lane, the sidewalk has been adjusted from 50-feet to 30-feet back at the ends to allow for future east-west extension of the sidewalk, and 25-foot conservation easements have been added to the backs of the lots that are wooded. There are 18 acres of open space in the various outlots with an additional 2 acres of conservation easements.

Mr. Slager read the purpose of the RC-1 PUD District and stated that the PUD would allow them to have the private streets, which will be owned and maintained by the homeowners association of the development. The homeowners association will be responsible for plowing the snow, repairing the streets, and generally maintaining the streets. Mr. Slager stated that there are 12 requirements that must be satisfied in order for a development to be a PUD.

Mr. Eberly advised the members that they have a document titled “Continental Re-Zoning Executive Summary” in their packet that shows a detailed response to each requirement.

Mr. Slager reviewed the Continental Re-Zoning Executive Summary and the applicable 12 Findings of Fact for the edification of the audience.

Mr. Eberly asked how much stacking is available on the road before the gate. Mr. Slager responded that there approximately are two lanes that would allow a total of 20 cars to be stacked.

Mr. Slager advised that the gate will have the ability to automatically open after receiving a signal from emergency vehicles. There is also the ability to program codes for garbage trucks, school busses, and Public Works trucks that need to enter the subdivision as well.

Mr. Eberly advised that, when a PUD is approved, the plan as well as the rezoning ordinance is accepted. He further advised that the plan identifies the ways in which this project varies from the typical R-1 designation and stated that there will be a floating front building line anywhere between 25 to 40 feet, which is allowed in R-1.

Mr. Slager commented that the average lot will have a 30-foot building line; however, each house will be placed in the right spot for the grading that affects that lot.

Mr. Eberly advised that the cul-de-sacs are longer than 400 feet; however, if the rezoning is approved, we are accepting the cul-de-sacs per the plan drawing. The cul-de-sacs have been discussed with both the Police Department and Fire Department, and those cul-de-sacs are designed such that the largest fire truck will be able to fit and maneuver around them.

Mr. Flores advised that during the meeting, the fire chief asked for the emergency access road to be widened and asked if it is currently proposed at 21 feet. Mr. Slager responded that they were going to do 16 feet of pavement width.

Mr. Flores stated that when Public Works plows Knickerbocker, they plow the snow south, which ends at that dead-end, and asked how that will be taken care of. Mr. Slager responded that they will have to look at that.

Mr. Slager advised that their streets will be plowed internally by a landscape company and asked if they will need to plow that access road to keep it open. Mr. Flores responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Slager stated that where Knickerbocker ends right now is 30 feet wide, and if the access road is only 16 feet wide, there will be room to pile snow in that area. He further stated that they would keep the access road to one side or the other.

Mr. Flores stated that if the road is made a little bit wider, there will not be as much room.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the streets will still be the standard curbing and width. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there are sidewalks throughout the development. Mr. Slager responded that there are sidewalks along 93rd, and there will be sidewalks on the main roads coming into the subdivision that will stop right as you go into the cul-de-sacs to preserve as much natural woodland as possible.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has asked twice before about this: As it is a gated community and we are looking at zoning specifically for that purpose, we are cutting off access to the neighborhood to the north. If this was a normal R-1 subdivision, we would have connecting streets to Knickerbocker; we would have sidewalks, ways for people to get from north to south. Because the rezoning is creating that hurdle, especially for pedestrian and bike access, he looked for an alternative and has suggested a few, such as stubbing out to Olcott. Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn't feel comfortable not having some kind of a connection and that he has other ideas on that. He then asked Mr. Slager what they came up with.

Mr. Slager responded that their entrance aligns with Prairie West’s parking lot. They will create a crosswalk across 93rd Avenue; and they would like to create a flashing pedestrian walk. Mr. Slager stated that they have looked at the property to the west of theirs, and there are some serious grade issues and heavy trees. The closer they can come to 93rd Avenue, the easier it is to potentially extend it. However, the current property ownership is to the center of 93rd Avenue, which has been the obstacle for many sidewalks. Mr. Slager commented that Mr. Doug Rettig has researched the deeds, some of which date back to 1851, and there is no right-of-way dedicated that would allow them to continue the sidewalk on the north side; and he believes the same thing exists on the south side. There are two parcels with about 200 feet of missing sidewalk, and those parcels extend to the center of 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Slager stated that they would volunteer to pay for the sidewalk; however, the Town would have to work with us to try to get the right-of-way. The south side is a more viable option. Either way, they can’t go on somebody else’s property.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see it pursued; that we talk a lot about bike and pedestrian access, and that he is bringing it up at rezoning because it is a gated community which creates this problem. He further stated that we wouldn’t have this problem if it was regular R-1, so he thinks a solution needs to be found for that. Mr. Panczuk suggested maybe extending a path along the edge their property from Knickerbocker south to 93rd Avenue as a way for the folks to get to Prairie West Park if they want to. Looking at the drawing, he thinks that could be a possibility as well as it would be on their property and just skirt the edge of it.

Mr. Slager stated that it would be substantial. He further stated that they will take a look at it. They will be back before the Plan Commission for plan approval, which will be around June some time, so there is time to figure out some of the small details.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Forbes to correct him if he is wrong and stated that he is wanting to tie this step to the rezoning because it may not be able to be handled later. He further stated that he feels this step needs to be handled now. Mr. Forbes responded that he doesn’t believe we can make him put sidewalks in on property he doesn't own.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wants it to at least be pursued. Mr. Forbes responded that Mr. Slager said he would pursue it, but you can’t tell him to put sidewalks in as a contingency on property that he does not own.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he understood and is trying to figure out how to step through it and not miss a step.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Town would be in a position of having to potentially acquire right-of-way to get that done, whether it is on the north side or south side of 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Slager stated that if either one of those options opened up, they would love to continue that sidewalk through. He further stated that he believes the south side is the most likely option.

Mr. Forbes advised that, regardless of this subdivision being R-1 or RC-1 PUD, the east-west foot traffic doesn't change. The issue doesn't change: Trying to get property from people outside of a project is always the problem we have with sidewalks and bike trails.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he understands, but he would like to see this pursued as aggressively as possible, even if that is on the south side of 93rd Avenue. At least folks could come down Olcott and get across.

Mr. Forbes stated that Mr. Slager said that the south side makes more sense than the north side, because the topography on the north side is really rough.

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Adrian Bugariu (11747 West 90th Avenue): When I bought the lot in 1965, I was told that our lots on the north side, west side towards Knickerbocker and everything under the lots that are all the way up to Patterson behind, on West 90th Avenue, were supposed to be 1-acre lots – 1.25- acre lots. The Town Attorney then, Michael Muenich, shortly before they sold the lots to us – I understand they took half an acre from every lot. Lot 21 and Lot 22, 116 feet by 200 deep, which makes the two widths of the 21 and 22 lots – supposed to be my property – behind Diane Price, the same thing. Behind my neighbor Bryan, the same thing.

That’s a conflict of interest when the town lawyer attaches half an acre, and I’m sure we paid for it because, in those days, an acre of land was between $6000-$7000. So 11818 all the way down to Patterson was not even blacktopped, was just a sand road when I actually bought the lot. For him to attach, right before and make a deal with Kasenga, which was a typical thing – when I built a house, my builder was asked $2400 in bribe money. My builder wouldn’t pay it because he says, “You pay; the other guy has to pay and nobody else.”

All this town has done is profiting the politicians, lawyers, and all the political gang; so I think the people behind me that actually know, they probably live in the area that I just mentioned, should actually contest the fact that Muenich attached our lots, for which I am sure we paid. I paid $14,300 for my lot, which was the most expensive on West 90th Avenue. Okay.

And for Muenichs to take half a acre, exactly 116x200, my lot was supposed to be 400x116 feet. Diane Price, the same thing. Now, Diane Price goes into this cul-de-sac over there – can I show over there what it is, or no?

(Mr. Forbes granted permission to Mr. Bugariu.)

Okay. This is Diane Price next to me. That’s me right next to Timberlane Park. My lot was supposed to be up to here, and not at the same distance in here, which is Lot 22 and 23. Diane Price was supposed to have the same thing. And every lot in here up to Patterson was supposed to have the same thing, but Muenich attached from Knickerbocker, all these lots in here, which (inaudible) some development in here too. These people did not allow it to happen, so he could not get this. But he took from Knickerbocker, up in here, all the way to Patterson; and I contest that.

Secondly, I’m an animal lover, as everybody knows. I feed deer; I feed animals, whatever it is. I enjoy to see animals coming in my backyard when I drink a beer on my patio. We didn’t have no gas. We were not supposed to have any fences in our town except if you have a pool, and that to contain the pool. Now everybody puts fences, everybody puts this. And when I was in Mississippi – and you know why we don’t get in detail – they put a concrete wall between Diane Price and I, so all the leaves that comes – you know, wind blows it – I have to pick them up at 77 years old.

Second – thirdly, I don’t believe in gated communities. The reason being – I want to ask you a question, you develop this area, okay?

(Mr. Forbes instructed Mr. Bugariu to address his comments to the board.)

Oh, you – he develops this area, the Continental, whatever it is; who takes care of the property from now until, say, everybody else dies?

(Mr. Forbes informed him that the homeowners association would take care of it.)

Yeah. I don’t like gated communities. We look at Briar Ridge, it’s nothing but a profiling, you know, making that guy, uh, look richer than you. Not only this, but the people that develop, they actually take care of the grounds and everything else, the entrance. In other words, they sell the lots to the people that are buying. Secondly, they are going to milk the people $200, $300, $400, $500, maybe $1000 a month to maintain their property and this and that, and the grounds because it’s a gated community. In other words, they sell the land, and in the same time, they still own the land because they control the people, which pay, also, taxes to the State.

I don’t believe in gated communities. Let the deer, let the animals – God – it’s nice to sit in a backyard and talk to your neighbor. But now everybody’s like we are in jail, you know. I’m against the gated community. Thank you so much.

Oh, can I make one more little comment? With that thing, you got only one entrance, and then you got the other cul-de-sac plus the east, south sidewalk, 93rd. I strongly believe, because of the gated community, you made it a cul-de-sac that dead ends at 93rd. Plus you have lots of traffic, lots of traffic jams over there. And in case it’s a fire or something, you can go into this other (inaudible) second entrance over there. You can go – the fire trucks and everything much faster than going to the gate. And you got like a driveway here; it’s going to be a traffic mess. We got the traffic that’s on here now. We got the traffic mess coming up. Can’t keep this on (inaudible). I mean, you can make bypasses. You can take some land over here.

Bryan Kreuger (11711 West 90th Avenue): I got a, I guess, kind of, a question on – I was wondering if there were any details – and maybe I’ve just missed them – on what the perimeter gate around this property might look like.

(Mr. Forbes responded that the front gate will be brick and wrought iron, and the surrounding was proposed to be cyclone, but that is not allowed. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Slager if that has changed. Mr. Slager responded that it has not, they will request a black cyclone fence around the perimeter, which falls under the PUD guidelines as something that they would request as a variance. Mr. Eberly stated that as long as they identify that as one of their requests, if the project is approved, the fencing would be approved. Mr. Forbes stated that it would be discussed when it comes back to the board and asked Mr. Kreuger if he had anything further to say.)

Sure. Um, I will just say to that, I – that would be very unappealing to me; but I would like to point out one – like where my house is in relation on here. So this is my home right here; and I have, currently, one of the shallowest, uh, back yards on, uh, on 93rd street. And the property – or the, um, the way the, um, the way the, uh community is laid out, that is a long, narrow property as well. And I – I’m just personally concerned that the way that that property is laid out right now, this home is, basically, going to be the – I’m – I’m going to have very – one of the very closest neighbors. And, uh, I don’t know that there’s anything that can be done about that; but this current layout is – is a little tough.

(Mr. Eberly pointed to a lot on the viewing screen and asked if that is his home.)

Yes, correct. So you can see where this house is, it has a very, very shallow backyard. This is my house, my pool; and I have a very, very shallow back yard as well, so I don’t know if there’s any changes that could possibly be done to change the location or adopt the, uh, obviously be very sensitive to the setbacks and wouldn’t want any further, um, deviations from, from what the – what the Town requires there. Um, it’s a concern of mine. I don’t know that there’s anything that I can do about it. That’s all I have. Those were my comments.

(Mr. Forbes stated that we will be sure to touch on those after the Public Hearing is closed.)

Wayne Puchkors (11437 West 93rd Avenue): I live right on the street where your entrance is. Um, most of the things that are – that I – the questions I had were addressed. I think the only thing I – I’m concerned about or I have a question is you’re going to be dumping 50 to 53 cars onto 93rd street, which is, as this gentlemen said, is already congested in the morning and in the evening rush hours. These people are going to be going to work and coming back, etc.

Why – I guess my question is did – did you consider putting the entrance, like, over on Patterson instead of 93rd to ease it off? I don’t know why the 93rd street entrance was considered to be the best – whatever that was. But, but that was my concern is there’s an awful lot of traffic now. There’s going to be more traffic. I can – I can see that you’re going to be, you know, pulling in 10, 20 cars back to get to the gate, which is a good thing. But you’re still, in the morning, you’re going to pull them out, and you’re going to try to be coming in and – and it might be a traffic concern.

And I was – I – I think that, uh, the board might consider that, uh, uh, looking at the – at the layout, you have one house right on Patterson. You move that out and switch it around a little bit, you could actually have the entrance off of Patterson. Um, I did have a – I did have some concern over emergency exits, but I see you have something off of Knickerbocker, and that – that was addressed. So, but that’s it. That was my – that’s my comments and my, uh, my request for your consideration.

Jenny Rosinko Luce (9200 Patterson Street): I was just, kind of, wondering is the fence going to be all the way around. And then I was actually, you know, concerned about the wildlife that, kind of, goes through, um, so I just didn’t know, like, is the fence going to go all the way around the whole property or?

(Mr. Slager said, “That’s the intention.”)

Okay, and what kind of fence so that – I wasn’t sure what that was.

(Mr. Slager responded that it will be black chain link fencing, which was chosen because it disappears in the vegetation once that grows up around it.)

Okay. I was worried about, like, the wildlife from, you know, how they’ll be able to move around the area, cause there’s fox; there’s turkey; there’s lots of deer and –

(Mr. Forbes instructed that all comments should be made to the board.)

Oh, I’m sorry. So that’s what I was wondering, you know. I was concerned about the wildlife, and you know, I understand that you’re preserving a lot of the nature. And I think that’s awesome, but you know, I’m worried about, like, the wildlife, you know. How are they going to move in and out, you know?

(Mr. Forbes responded that if a fence is put up around the entire subdivision, the deer that do pass through there are going to have to find another route.)

Okay.

Dave Klaich (9399 Olcott Avenue): My concern is what are you going to do with the stormwater from the subdivision? Okay. You – we’ve seen – and I’m sure you guys have seen it, too. You’ve seen 93rd flood. You’ve seen the street right behind the pond on the, uh, south side flood. It goes right up against people’s homes and everything else. Now, if you add all that into it, what it – where are you going to pump it from? That’s something to consider right there.

(Mr. Forbes stated that he understands their concern; however, that is something that is discussed when Primary Platting is done.)

Okay. All right. And one last question I have is they’re going to widen 93rd. How far are they going to go to the east? Just the length of the property?

(Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.)

They’re not going to try and correct some of the problems that are out there?

(Mr. Forbes stated that they are only responsible for the area in front of their development; and they are adding a lane.)

Just by the property you’re adding the lane?

(Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.)

So. All right. So there’ll be no turning lanes for people that can go into the park or anything like that?

(Mr. Slager explained that there will be a left-turn lane going into the park. Mr. Eberly clarified that there is a left-turn into the park for the westbound traffic.)

Okay. That’s all my questions. Thank you.

Randy Lushbaugh (9314 West Oakridge Drive): I live on the corner of 93rd and West Oakridge; and my concern is pretty close to what his is. Right now we have heavy rains, and that floods 93rd. As they strip that, uh, vegetation away when they’re putting in the new subdivision, the Continental, is there any plans of enlarging Prairie West pond to absorb some of that water?

(Mr. Forbes stated that he doesn't believe it will need to be any larger. He further stated that he hasn’t seen 93rd flood like it used to in quite some time. Mr. Forbes explained that when the bike trail went in around that area, it increased the retention capability of that pond. He further explained that the developer is responsible for controlling the release of the water off of their property and cannot negatively impact anybody else outside of their subdivision. Mr. Forbes noted that our engineer is not here this evening; however, it is one key issue that we look at and he reviews. Mr. Eberly advised that drainage will be discussed at another Public Hearing that will occur before this body, so they will be able to speak again on the drainage then.)

Okay. Thank you.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Slager commented on the stormwater that this particular site is divided where half of the property drains to the north and half to the south. All of the water will be directed to the two new lakes at the entrance. Those lakes are there more as an aesthetic; however, they will serve as natural detention ponds. They are sized for appearance and oversized for what is required for detention during heavy rains, which will significantly reduce the amount of water draining towards 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Slager responded to the traffic concerns and highlighted the improvements being done to 93rd Avenue. They are creating a three-lane road where there will be a center left-turn lane going into the development, so it doesn't impede eastbound traffic, and a center left-turn lane for traffic entering the park, so it doesn't impede westbound traffic. There will also be a right-turn deceleration lane turning into the development. In addition to the improvements for the Continental, they are going to continue the three-lane cross section all the way down to Oakridge and create a new left-turn lane for Oakridge Drive. They will actually be widening both sides in order to get the center turn lane installed.

Mr. Slager reviewed the fencing, which will be brick and wrought iron along any exposed area; and the remaining will be black-coated chain link fence, which is the best use through the woods; any exposed areas to other subdivisions or where the fencing comes out of the woods will be black wrought-iron fencing.

Mr. Eberly asked if that will be kept to a maximum of 6-feet in height. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative. Mr. Eberly advised that it should be noted on the plan or in the executive summary. Mr. Svetanoff advised that they should use a supplemental document to be attached.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the lot that abuts Mr. Kreuger’s lot appears to have that lot’s side yard abutting the existing home’s backyard, so he doesn't have the benefit of a rear-yard setback.

Mr. Slager explained that the house is facing east west because of the grade of the land. The majority of the lots are walk-out lots with the placement of the homes to be on the ridges of the land. Mr. Slager stated that the normal side-yard setback is 10 feet; however, in this particular case, they could agree to require a 20-foot side-yard setback on the north side of the lot and that they could even place a 10-foot conservation easement on that side to preserve some of the natural vegetation on the north side of that lot.

(Mr. Kreuger stated from his seat that there is hardly any vegetation there.)

Mr. Slager responded that they may have to plant some.

Mr. Panczuk asked the width of the lot. Mr. Slager stated that it is at least 100 but looks like it is a bit wider than the other lots. They can probably squeeze it to 110-120 feet by shifting a few things in there. Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like that side-yard setback to be as close 40 feet as possible.

Mr. Forbes asked for the board’s thoughts on the fencing.

Mr. Kozel asked if the board would have some decision, after the fence is installed, if there are areas the board thinks should have the decorative fencing versus the chain link fence. Mr. Slager stated that they will try to have a fencing plan to show what type of fencing will be where.

Mr. Kozel asked if the chain link fence will be a 9-guage wire. Mr. Slager stated that he will get Mr. Kozel an answer on that, but they will go with the better fencing that will hold up.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the utility easements will be in the front of the lots. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative, which NIPSCO requires their utility easements be placed in the front now.

Mr. Flores asked if Public Works would have an option to get in the subdivision if a water main breaks. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative and commented that they will have either a FOB or a sticker or something.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he still has an issue with the private driveway in Lot 1, and if it were a regular subdivision, cyclone fencing would not be allowed without a variance.

Mr. Eberly advised that cyclone fencing is allowed in town without a variance; but it has to be buffered from adjacent residential properties with at least a 6-foot tall evergreen shrub to hide the cyclone fence from those properties. In this case, there are heavily wooded areas that the fence will be in that essentially will be a buffer.

Mr. Slager stated that they are trying to accomplish just that; a PVC or wooden fence wouldn’t last over time in the woods like that.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Thoroughfare Plan specifies that you “should not” have driveways on 93rd; it does not specific that you “shall not” or “must not” so it is a recommended provision, not a mandatory provision. The Thoroughfare Plan is in the Comprehensive Plan, which is a guide for development, not a clear-cut standard like what is in the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Control Ordinance.

Mr. Slager stated that the house and gate are set back from the road, so no one will be backing out onto or into the driveway from 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding a recommendation to the Town Council for this rezoning, referencing the Findings of Fact.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for the rezone of the Continental subdivision from R-1 to RC-1 PUD for the 55 acres of land on the north side of 93rd Avenue, referencing the Findings of Fact, all of which is contingent upon the emergency access road being 21 feet wide; Lot 23 will have a 20-foot minimum side-yard setback on the north property line; and the cyclone fencing plan is subject to review by the Plan Commission, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 5 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Kennedy.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

None was had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Comment.

Adrian Bugariu (11747 West 90th Avenue): Can I speak one more time? But if you can push the map a little bit to the west so we expose the Patterson area. Can you do that? Okay. I’m glad you don’t kick me out today.

My lot is here, right up to here. This was supposed to be up to here; 21 and 22 was supposed to be my property up to there, and Diane coming up to here. If things would have been like this and all the way to Patterson, in here, it would have been the property of all of us, providing Muenich did not take it when he was a counselor here.

We could have put, actually, the street on here; no gated community. The animals would be happy. We, the people of the public, would be happy. And that’s all. Thank you. No gated community; I’m against it because you are going to have bad traffic from the south side with the entrance here. Traffic and accidents, the police will have trouble. Thank you.

Wayne Puchkors (11437 West 93rd Avenue): I don’t really have any more questions. I’m – I’m pretty well – got it there. I asked about the traffic situation, so we’re fine.

Carol Wiersma (9210 Patterson Street): I have a question about Lot 38 that goes all the way to Patterson. Is the fence going to be on Patterson, which is all of our front yards? And will they have access to come into – yeah.

(Mr. Slager stated that they will have to discuss it.)

Cause it seems kind of crazy for him to go all the way around to 93rd to get back to his home, which is right on Patterson.

(Mr. Forbes stated that there will not be access to Patterson Street from that lot.)

Our property butts up to the property, property line. Um, how far will the fence be from our properties?

(Mr. Slager stated that in most cases, it will be right on the property line or within a foot from the property line.)

Within a foot? Is that what it should be?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.)

So this is our property. Right here, yeah.

(Mr. Eberly stated that this is a rear property line for Lots 41 and 42; and the fence can go on that rear property line. Mr. Slager stated that if that is exposed, it may potentially be a wrought-iron fence section there, and it will take a lot of examination to look at each property line and see what fencing to put up. Mr. Forbes stated that we appreciate them taking the time to do so.)

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 8:13 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

04-17-2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting

April 17, 2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Special Meeting to order on April 17, 2019, at 7:16 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Kenn Kraus, and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: None

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

None was had.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. SHOPS 96 – Site Plan Discussion Relative to Lot 2 – (Petitioner: Bruce Boyer)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Shops 96 Site Plan discussion relative to Lot 2 and turned the floor over the Mr. Bruce Boyer.

Mr. Boyer stated that they are here tonight to present some of their final drawings and the details of the first building for the Shops 96, Lot 2.

Mr. Boyer reviewed the Site Plan. He advised that they added a few extra parking spots on the far east end of the property; a patio at the east end of the building; and a drive-thru lane at the west end of the building for a proposed restaurant with a pick-up window; however, it will not be a full drive-thru with a menu board.

Mr. Boyer advised that they have not changed anything to the access on 96th Place. There is an access at the intersection of Earl Drive and 96th Place and another access at the far west side of the property. He noted that the sidewalks along 96th Place, the connection to the building, and the handicap spots, among other things, are shown.

Mr. Boyer stated that the decorative ornamental lighting in front of the sidewalk and the lighting along the parking area will match the decorative lighting fixtures that are being installed on 96th Place by the Town in the construction of 96th Place. He further stated that they are carrying the look of the boulevard of 96th Place over into both Lots 1 and 2.

Mr. Boyer advised that the building would be an all-brick building with real limestone accents. They are proposing for St. John Malt Brothers to be at the east end of the building with another restaurant going into the west end of the building. The patio area would be unique: Because of the topography of the property and the way it falls off to the east, the patio area is actually going to be raised about 4 feet above the parking area and sidewalk there. The patio will have a nice effect of a brick patio with decorative lighting, nice railing, and planter boxes.

Mr. Boyer advised that they have provided the landscape drawings for Lot 2, with a detailed species table. The landscaping will be primarily sod along 96th Place due to the proximity of the construction going on there; however, they have extensive planting and landscaping areas wherever possible on the property.

Mr. Boyer stated that the plan all along with this planned unit development was to bring in each individual lot to show the details and answer any questions the board may have.

Mr. Georgiou asked if Mr. Boyer stated it would be a raised patio. Mr. Boyer explained that the floor elevation stays consistent for the building and patio but the parking lot falls a bit as it goes to the east, so it gives the effect of a raised patio, and it almost becomes a retaining wall to the parking area.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the access to the patio will be confined to the restaurant. Mr. Boyer responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes stated that the retaining wall will help prevent anyone from accidentally driving through that patio area.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the north drive lane will be used for deliveries and as the drive-thru lane. Mr. Boyer responded that small delivery trucks can make deliveries there, but semi access is not encouraged; however, it is wider than a normal single drive lane. Mr. Boyer added that they have to watch the elevation of the site compared to the land to the north, so they can’t get any closer to the property line with that drive lane. Mr. Boyer further responded that the drive-thru stacking will come in north from Earl Drive and circle around that direction.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the access points on 96th Avenue are exactly what was submitted in the PUD layout. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative. Mr. Boyer commented that they are still providing the cross-access easement area to the north that was requested during the Plan Commission process.

Mr. Kozel stated that the drive-thru can’t really be seen on the renderings. Mr. Boyer concurred and stated that it is strictly a pick-up window.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the two restaurants were the entirety of the building. Mr. Boyer responded in the negative and stated that the restaurants are the endcaps of the building with stores in between.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is a bike rack located on this lot. Mr. Boyer stated that there isn’t one on the drawing; however, he will be sure to incorporate it.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the light fixture in the parking lot adjacent to 96th Place is in the submittal as “S-6”. Mr. Boyer responded that S-6 is a triple-head fixture that was going to be put along there; however, that was changed just this afternoon to match what is being installed on 96th Place. There will not be any box-type lighting elements on Lot 2.

Mr. Boyer advised that those type of lights will be used in the large parking areas in the rest of the development. On Lots 3 and 4, the taller fixtures and a shoebox-type of fixtures will be used. He further advised that the perimeter will always be the decorative fixtures.

Mr. Forbes asked if there should be a motion to acknowledge that this plan is consist with the Development Plan and the Economic Development Agreement. Mr. Svetanoff advised that an acknowledgement through a motion would be in order. Mr. Svetanoff further advised that, as the petitioner has agreed to install a bike rack, the bike rack and the updated lighting should be included as well.

Motion by Mr. Panczuk to acknowledge that Site Plan review of Shops 96, Lot 2 is consistent with the original Site Plan of Shops 96 Commercial Planned Unit Development with the following updates and/or additions: upgraded light fixtures and additional parking spaces on the east end, a drive-thru on the west end, and a bike rack that Mr. Boyer will add in a suitable location. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Comment.

Margaret Toren (9594 Julia Drive): I just want to thank you all for your work. My husband and I have lived here now for about two years, and I’m really looking forward to all the – the changes and development that’s going on in St. John. Um, and I would just like to encourage the, um, Planning Commission here to, um, please make sure that you take advantage of all of the State funding and State, um, grants that have been offered up to Indiana cities.

Um, my son-in-law works for SEH, um, Engineering in Munster, Indiana; and he was just telling me, today actually, that he secured a, um, grant for Lowell in the fall for $1 million and in the spring for $900,000. So as a little, kind of, plug for his company, I really –

(Mr. Forbes playfully joked with Ms. Toren that we totally missed that. Everyone, including Ms. Toren, laughed.)

And also just for you, for you just to make sure that all of that is gotten. So I don’t know if I’m allowed to do this, but can I give you his business card?

(Mr. Forbes stated that the Plan Commission doesn't actually file for grants, but if she wants to give him the cards, he will give them to the Town Council.)

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I want to complain about the meeting notice for the special meeting. Uh, a lot of us sign up every November, have the Clerk-Treasurer email us all the meetings. Well, this one was never noticed to us. It’s the same procedure noticing to the newspapers. Whether they got it or not, I don’t know, but we’ve never received it. So I object to this meeting based on that.

The other thing is, I don’t think you should be doing this piecemeal, lot by lot. You have to look at the whole thing as one big – call it subdivision, PUD, whatever you want to call it, in itself. Uh, I also would like to put Mr. Boyer on notice that I hope the next Town Council, who replaces most of you guys, um makes 96 a one-way street from Joliet to 41, because, otherwise, you’re going to create a lot of traffic in the subdivisions west of 41. And the only way to reduce that traffic flow is to make that a one-way street from Joliet to 41.

The other issue is you can’t put this together one little bite at a time, one little lot at a time. It makes no sense. We need to see the traffic study for this whole thing here, tonight, how this impacts it, how all the roads interconnect. This is a ridiculous way to put this together. Uh, I look at this as just taking care of certain people and ignoring the welfare of the whole community. And I thank you very much.

(Mr. Forbes responded that Mr. Hero knows that this entire subdivision was reviewed and platted in a public hearing. What was done tonight was Site Plan review for one lot of the entire subdivision. This is not piecemeal; we know how the entire subdivision was laid out. The entire subdivision was reviewed by a traffic engineer. This is the final nuts and bolts of the subdivision. This is the part of the process where they come back for Site Plan review of a part of the entire development that has already been approved.)

I think it should be a site review of the whole thing.

(Mr. Forbes stated that it doesn't matter what he thinks because this is being done correctly, and he is just trying to pick this project apart, and his accusation –)

What accusation?

(– the accusation that we have not reviewed this entire subdivision.)

I complained about the meeting notice. Okay.

(Mr. Forbes said that this meeting was properly noticed.)

How could you know that?

(Mr. Forbes stated that he was sorry Mr. Hero didn’t get an email notice about it.)

You’re the chairman; you’re supposed to notify the Clerk-Treasurer. She then sends it out to everybody.

(Mr. Forbes responded that she knew about it and maybe Mr. Hero should have a conversation with her about it.)

I did have a conversation.

(Mr. Forbes thanked Mr. Hero.)

I favor a one-way street from Joliet to 41. Thank you.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): With the importance of, uh, bike paths in St. John, I don’t see any plans in this subdi – subdivision, this mall, for bikes, bike paths to get to the mall. Um, is that going to be thought about?

(Mr. Forbes responded that there are sidewalks in this subdivision.)

And we can ride our bikes on the sidewalks?

(Mr. Forbes asked if there is a law against that.)

Well, I don’t know. Uh, I don’t know that. You – are there going to be bike paths getting to the – the mall? On Joliet, will there be bike paths eventually on Joliet to go to the mall?

(Mr. Forbes stated “or sidewalks.”)

Sidewalks, okay.

(Mr. Forbes responded that he would anticipate that if anything else develops in the future in that area, yes, there would be sidewalks.)

And are there plans on Joliet to sidewalks from, uh, uh, Parrish into the town that you plan on?

(Mr. Forbes responded not at this moment. There are no easements, we don’t own the property, and we are not the developers.)

Okay. Thank you.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:37 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

04-17-2019 Plan Commission Study Session

April 17, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on April 17, 2019, at 7:37 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: None.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. SHAUN SIUBA – 9973 Joliet Street to Sell and Subdivide the Rear Portion of His Property and Create a Two-Lot Subdivision
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Shaun Siuba, 9973 Joliet Street. He intends to sell off and subdivide the rear portion of his property, and create a two-lot subdivision.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG stated that he is representing Mr. Siuba. Mr. Rettig advised that Mr. Siuba and his neighbor are working on a two-lot subdivision. Mr. Siuba owns two parcels of property, which equals 150 feet in front, and his neighbor owns a 75-foot sliver of land. Both owners’ property runs from Joliet Street to 99th Avenue; and they are getting together to create two lots with frontage on 99th Avenue. They already have a buyer interested in the property who will build one house now and another in the future.

Mr. Rettig advised that the lots would be 500 feet deep. The utilities are in place, and the drainage will drain south to the lake.

Mr. Forbes asked for confirmation of the lot sizes and the combination thereof. Mr. Rettig responded that they will be combined and create one approximately 100-foot-wide, plus or minus, and another approximately 120-foot-wide lot. Mr. Rettig further stated that the measurements are at the frontage on Joliet at the angle, so the width will be a bit different at the back of the property.

Mr. Eberly stated that both lots would be at least 100 feet wide. Mr. Rettig concurred and stated that both lots would both be over 1 acre in size and that they would be doing the surveying and engineering soon.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Lot 1 would be the larger lot with more width. Mr. Rettig responded that the westerly lot would be the wider lot and the first lot to have a house built on it. Mr. Rettig stated that the owner of the property to the east informed him that Lot 2 would be platted at the same time but would not be sold right away.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the house to the east is built on the property line. Mr. Rettig responded that it is within the side-yard limitations.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the existing portions to the north would be treated differently. Mr. Rettig responded that those lots are already existing lots in a subdivision, so this would be a re-subdivision of parts of lots.

Mr. Kennedy noted that Lot 1 would potentially have five neighbors, so a deeper side-yard setback may be something to think about. Mr. Rettig responded that those are deep rear-yard lots on the homes in Three Springs.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus if there is anything he needs to see for this project. Mr. Kraus responded that there might be a couple of things; and stated that he will ask for those items as things progress.

Mr. Eberly advised that the closest home in Three Springs is 107 feet away from the rear-yard property line.

B. MORNING CREST – Enlarging Lettering on the Subdivision Entrance Sign
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Morning Crest. The Plan Commission had previously approved a sign base not too exceed 4.5 feet tall and 15 feet wide with 30 square feet of lettering within that space. The developer is having a hard time fitting a legible sign in 30 square feet.

Mr. Brian Lantz, co-developer of Morning Crest, stated that they had made some assumptions on dimension at the meeting where the monument was approved at 30 square feet for the inlay. After physically laying it out, they are close, but not quite there. They need to go with bigger letters; and as letters get taller, they get wider.

Mr. Lantz stated that they were allowed 4.5 feet in height and are asking for 5 feet in height; and they were allowed 15 feet in width, which only leaves 6 inches on each side of the inlay, and are asking for 21 feet 4 inches. They are doing the monument in decorative stone, and at 6 inches, it doesn’t leave enough room to stack stone; therefore, they would like to have 2 feet on each side for that. The inlay would be increased by 0.66 square feet, which would allow the letters to jump from 11.75-inch high letters to 13-inch high letters.

Mr. Lantz explained the reason for the increase is because where the monument sits in relation to the road, the letters aren’t quite big enough at 11.75 inches, so they need to step up to the next size of letters.

Mr. Forbes stated that the location of the monument would be over 30 feet away from the edge of the street, so he is okay with the slight increase.

Mr. Lantz stated that there is a bit of a mound in front of the monument, so it will appear taller than 5 feet because they have to build up the dirt for the monument, which will also make it richer looking.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has no issue with it and that it looks good. Mr. Flores concurred.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the measurement is from the top of the sign to the top of the inlay. Mr. Lantz responded that he believes it works out to be 1 foot 8 inches. Mr. Kennedy asked if they need a full 2 feet on the sides if they can get by with 1 foot 8 inches on the top. Mr. Lantz stated that there is only vertical space to work with on the sides. He further added that if they were working with brick it would be okay; however, since they are working with stone, they need more of a buffer.

Mr. Forbes stated that our action at the next meeting would be to acknowledge the change for the sign. Mr. Eberly concurred and stated that the new dimensions for the sign just need to be approved.

Mr. Kennedy asked if we needed to do it. Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly advised for the edification of all that the Town does not have a set of specifications or regulations for subdivision entrance signs. What was approved was something the Plan Commission came up with at that meeting, so the Plan Commission is free to make changes to that monument.

Mr. Forbes advised that this came about as there were some monoliths appearing in subdivisions.

Mr. Lantz stated that they have been under a bind with the weather, as it seems to never stop raining, and asked if there would be an objection to getting that started and getting the foundation in before the next meeting.

Mr. Forbes responded that he doesn't see any reason why they couldn’t. Mr. Eberly advised that a permit isn’t even required for subdivision entry signs; so he has no problem with it.

Mr. Forbes asked the board if they had any issues. None was had.

C. LUCKY BROTHERS – Site Plan Discussion for Proposed Gas Station/Convenience Store/Restaurant on the Northeast Corner of US 41 and US 231
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Lucky Brothers regarding Site Plan discussion for a proposed gas station/convenience store/restaurant on the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231.

Mr. Chris Kalischefski, WT Group, stated that the owners and business partners of Lucky Brothers are here; they are local residents wanting to realize this development. Mr. Kalischefski advised that they have submitted drawings to Mr. Kraus and received comments from him. He further advised that they made changes based on those comments and reviewed the same.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that one change was made in order to make it a bit easier for a car to get around through the drive-thru. The north curb line was originally 12 feet and is now 14.5 feet, which allows more room for a car to go around that corner a little nicer.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that the next change was with the sidewalks. Mr. Kraus didn’t want the sidewalk to go through the right-in/right-out island, so they jogged the sidewalk with striping in the pavement area and added a ramp on the east side with a 5-foot landing area for safety’s sake so no one is stranded on the road. The 5x5 square allows for ADA maneuverability.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that another sidewalk change is due to a very large, pre-existing storm-sewer structure. The ramp for the sidewalk can’t go in the appropriate area, so they put the ramp in the right of way and have striped it in a diagonal fashion to miss the pork chop and align with the existing ramp.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that the bike rack would be at the northwest corner of the building. Mr. Kalischefski reviewed the landscape items, the buffer area, and berming, reiterating some of the points that were discussed at the previous meeting.

Mr. Kalischefski also reviewed the utility plan. It shows the stormwater draining from the canopy to the inlets. They will have a Stormceptor unit. All the stormwater will flow to one of two catch basins and then into the Stormceptor via aboveground flow or through the pipes. The Stormceptor will separate the oil and petroleum through a vortex-type process allowing the sediment to settle and be captured as well as the oil to rise and be captured and the treated water to be released.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that all the tanks and pipes are double walled. There is interstitial monitoring that occurs 24 hours a day that is going to the manager and owners with alerts if anything goes wrong. The tanks are fiberglass that is double layered with an interstitial brine between the two layers, which is continuously monitored along with the tank level; and there is a double-wall sump under the dispenser. Each element has the belt-and-suspenders approach for an extra safety standpoint.

Mr. Flores asked if our traffic engineer has been able to look at this and say it is okay. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative and stated that any left turns into or out of the area have been eliminated with pork chops; and the dedicated left-turn lane into Schneider Place and Schneider Street will allow eastbound and westbound traffic to flow unimpeded. Mr. Forbes commented that the plastic bollards would prevent those left turns.

Mr. Eberly advised that INDOT has approved those delineators and that INDOT would be putting in a longer stretch of delineators from the intersection of US 41 and US 231 north almost to 108th Avenue when they do the improvements on US 41 in 2020.

Discussion ensued regarding INDOT’s improvements.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the improvements to the drive-thru lane and the additional impervious pavement will affect the BZA approval for the impervious surface and if they will have to offset that additional impervious surface. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative and stated that they have the flexibility to do so. Mr. Kalischefski noted that the impervious surface increased by 0.4 percent, from 69.9 percent to 70.3 percent. Mr. Eberly demonstrated a few areas where they could make adjustments on the viewing screen in the room.

Mr. Forbes stated that the last time this petitioner was before the Plan Commission, there was significant discussion about the stacking of vehicles behind the building and asked if the additional space added to the drive-thru lane would allow another vehicle to pass if needed. Mr. Kraus responded in the negative and stated that it will only allow vehicles to go safely around the building without knocking their mirrors off on the corner and that there is no escape lane.

D. THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 – Follow-up Discussion Relative to Platting of This Subdivision
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs, Unit 3 for a follow-up discussion relative to platting of the third phase of this development.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG stated that the subdivision recently received preliminary approval, and they are in the process of getting bids and financing together to build Block 1 of Three Springs, Phase 3. Block 1 will be everything north of the pipeline easements; they hope to start that in a few weeks, once all the permits from IDEM and everything else are in place.

Mr. Rettig stated that they have some alternatives, as there has been a lot of discussion about lots on both sides of Freemont Street with the large lots, easements, power lines, and fiber-optic lines, so they wanted to run something by the Plan Commission for Block 2, which will be a later phase.

Mr. Rettig advised that the first sheet of the handout he gave them has an alternate layout with Freemont Street only having lots on the south side, eliminating lots on both sides of the street. They also eliminated the stub to the east, which goes into a little strip that is problematic because it gets skinnier and skinnier as it goes out to Parrish Avenue. They are considering running that street to the south and run R-2 lots all the way down. This plan would eliminate all easements for the pipelines on the lots. The lots on the south side will be 100x170-foot lots.

Mr. Rettig commented that they need to make the lots on the south side duplex lots in order to make it work, which is what they are here to talk about tonight. The very last page is the area that they would like to rezone if the Plan Commission is on board with the idea. Mr. Rettig stated that this results in a loss of units, reducing from 48 units on 42 lots to 46 units on 34 lots. He further stated that while they lose density, they feel it is a much safer project. There will be an abundance of outlot space with about 5 acres in the middle of green space, resulting in 15 acres of open space in this 34-acre phase.

Mr. Georgiou commented that the significant concern by remonstrators was the pipeline easements on the lots; that this is consistent with other areas of the town; and that the mix of R-1, R-2, and R-3 is consistent with the other two phases, therefore, he feels this presentation is a positive move.

Mr. Flores stated that he feels the same way, as he was against having those homes on top of the pipeline.

Mr. Rettig stated that they heard what was said; but they were tied to the zoning that was granted. They have to rezone and replat, and Mr. Barick is willing to do that. They pushed forward so Mr. Barick could start Block 1 of the project as everything is in order with no changes to that area.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the roadway right-of-way would be extended the to the south property line. Mr. Rettig stated that they could do that.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Lots 33 and 34 would stay R-2. Mr. Rettig responded in the affirmative. They want to keep the whole east side R-2, which is adjoins the neighboring property.

Mr. Forbes commented that one of the original arguments was if any of them were duplexes, it would continue to the east.

Mr. Rettig noted that the lot numbers are renumbered. Block 1 will be Lots 1-23, and Block 2 will pick up with the lot numbering.

Mr. Panczuk asked how deep Outlot D is. Mr. Rettig responded that it is 70 or 75 feet, which is only half of the easement; the easement is actually 150-foot easement for the tower line. Mr. Eberly advised that the drawing shows the easement to be 70 feet. Mr. Rettig stated that it would be maintained by the HOA.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the depth is of the duplex lots. Mr. Rettig responded that they are 170 feet deep.

Mr. Forbes stated that they are big duplex lots.

Mr. Rettig advised that another concern is the fiber-optic line, which runs on the very north edge of that 70-foot easement. By moving the lot line, fences could go on the lot line because the fiber-optic line would not be on the lots.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the tower lines are to the south of the property line. Mr. Rettig responded that the towers are right on the property line.

Mr. Rettig noted that the tower lines span their property and the property to the south of theirs.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any objections or concerns. None was had.

Mr. Rettig stated that they will come back to ask for permission to advertise for the rezone and once that is done, they will come back to amend the plat. Mr. Rettig further stated that he doesn't believe anyone will have a problem with the 17,000 square-foot duplex lots.

Mr. Eberly asked if Mr. Rettig is looking at coming back to seek permission to advertise at the May 1 meeting. Mr. Rettig responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Rettig while he was at the podium if they would be at the May meeting for permission to advertise for Mr. Siuba’s petition. Mr. Rettig responded that he did not know yet. Mr. Eberly requested that either Mr. Rettig or Mr. Siuba let him know when they wish to come back in front of the Plan Commission with this petition.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus if he had any question. Mr. Kraus stated that he did not and that he thinks this looks like a really good plan.

Mr. Forbes thanked Mr. Barick for bringing this plan back in.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 8:24 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

05-01-2019 Plan Commission

May 1, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on May 1, 2019, at 7:00 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: Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Kenn Kraus, and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: Steve Flores.

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda are the minutes for the April 3, 2019 Regular Meeting, the April 17 Special Meeting, and the April 17, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes from the April 3, 2019 Regular Meeting and the April 17, 2019 Special Session and Study Session by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

None was had.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. MORNING CREST – Permission to Enlarge Subdivision Entry Sign
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Morning Crest. The developer is seeking permission to slightly enlarge the subdivision entry sign.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG appeared on behalf of the Lantzes. He stated that Brian Lantz had appeared at the April Study Session and asked that the sign be increased to accommodate larger letters for the inlay.

Mr. Forbes advised that during the Site Plan process the Plan Commission had previously approved a sign with the base to be 4.5’ tall and 15’ wide with a 30-square-foot inlay in the sign. The developer is asking to increase the base to 5’ tall and 21’4” wide with an inlay of 30.66 square feet.

Mr. Eberly advised that originally it had 11.75” letters; the new letters would be 13”, which resulted in the need to make the sign bigger. They are going to do a stone border which is why they need 2’ on either side of that sign inlay.

Mr. Rettig noted that they will still be doing the wing walls. Mr. Eberly concurred and stated that the wing walls had no restriction put on them.

Mr. Forbes advised that the sign will be more than 30’ from the road and is not in the sight triangle.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the wing walls are flush with the front where they hit the corners or if they are offset. Mr. Rettig stated that he doesn't believe there is any offset and that they are 45-degree wing walls. Mr. Eberly showed the rendering on the viewing screen showing the sign from a top-down view for visual clarification.

Hearing no further discussion, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to authorize the increase of the signage for Morning Crest to the dimensions of 5’ tall by 21’4” wide with an inlay of 30.66 square feet.

Motion to approve increasing the signage for Morning Crest to 5’ tall by 21’4” wide with an inlay of 30.66 square feet by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 – Permission to Advertise for Rezoning a Portion of this Phase from R-2 to R-3
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs, Unit 3. The developer is seeking permission to advertise for the rezoning of a portion of this phase from R-2 to R-3.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG appeared on behalf of Mr. Dave Barick and stated that they are here tonight to seek permission to advertise for rezoning a portion of phase 3. Mr. Rettig advised that nothing had changed since the Study Session and briefly reviewed the changes that had been discussed at the Study Session.

Mr. Forbes advised that we are only dealing with the 6 lots on the south side of Freemont Street and eliminating the 7 lots on the north side. Mr. Rettig said that it is basically the easiest way to say it.

Mr. Forbes stated that the only other difference from the previous plat is that Springlake Road now goes straight south. Mr. Rettig stated that they will extend that to the south property line, as was requested at the Study Session, so the right-of-way goes through to the Schilling property to the south.

Mr. Panczuk asked if we could get a zoning commitment that the layout would be exactly the same, the 100’-wide lots. Mr. Rettig said, “Absolutely. We’re committed to this plan.”

Mr. Forbes stated that they are committed to it by the zoning.

Mr. Rettig stated that once they get to zoning, they are locked in.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the width of the lots can change with R-3 and wants to make sure it will be just as it is shown. Mr. Rettig confirmed that they will be 100’-wide lots and they will commit to that.

Mr. Kozel noted that the corner lot would not be 100’ wide. Mr. Rettig responded that they wanted it to be 120’ on the corner, and the drawing has it at 115’, so they will likely need a waiver.

Mr. Eberly advised that in the Zoning Ordinance, an R-3 lot can be 10,000 square feet, 15,000 square feet, or 20,000 square feet. The 15,000 and 20,000-square-foot lots are required to be 100’ wide. The 10,000-square-foot lots only have to be 90’ wide. Mr. Eberly stated that it is safer just to ask for the waiver.

Mr. Rettig stated that if the Plan Commission wants it to be 120’, he can put a little wiggle in the road and make Lots 33 and 34 shallower by 5’ as they are plenty deep, but he isn’t sure the wiggle in the road is worth another 5’. Staff and board members concurred.

Discussion ensued wherein Mr. Svetanoff advised that he can draw up a separate zoning commitment which would lay out the specifics discussed tonight in a recordable document; that way, everyone can be protected in terms of what is being agreed to.

Hearing no further discussion, Mr. Forbes advised that the only action for tonight is to authorize Public Hearing and entertained a motion for the same.

Motion to grant Three Springs, Unit 3, permission to advertise for Public Hearing on June 5, 2019, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

C. CONTINENTAL – Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Continental. The petitioner is seeking permission to advertise for Public Hearing for Primary Plat of 55 acres of land on the north side of 93rd Avenue across from Prairie West Park.

Mr. Michael Muenich stated for the record that he is one of the members of Hickory Terrace Land Development Company, LLC, who is seeking permission to advertise for Public Hearing for Primary Plat on June 5, 2019.

Mr. Muenich advised that, while they are doing the engineering for the entire parcel, phase 1 is the phase currently being platted. Mr. Muenich stated that since they were here last, they reduced the lot count from 18 lots to 17 lots in order to make the lots wider. The lots range in size from 110’-120’ and still meet the minimum of 20,000 square feet. The change was due to concern that the houses that would be put on the parcels would be eave to eave on 100’ lots.

Mr. Muenich stated that his project engineer assured him that Mr. Kraus would have drawings by the time of the next Study Session.

Hearing no questions or comments, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to authorize Public Hearing for Continental.

Motion to grant Continental permission to advertise for Public Hearing for Primary Plat at the June 5, 2019 Plan Commission meeting by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

D. LUCKY BROTHERS – Site Plan Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Lucky Brothers. The petitioner is seeking Site Plan approval of its proposal to develop a gas station/convenience store/restaurant on the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231.

Mr. Jim Ivanic with WT Group, representing Lucky Brothers, stated that from the April Study Session and Mr. Kraus' review, which recommended making a wider drive-thru lane with an easier turn, they needed to add some additional landscape area to meet their variance for the amount of impervious surface allowed that was granted by the BZA. Mr. Ivanic stated that they were over parked at 28 parking spaces; so they decreased that to 27 parking spaces and are now at 69.89 percent impervious surface.

Mr. Ivanic stated that the property is located on the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231; it will have a C-store with a coffee operation in it and a Cousins Subs. There are eight fuel dispensers. The building is roughly 4900 square feet.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the Cousins Subs is the south retail unit. Mr. Ivanic responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is a bike rack. Mr. Ivanic responded in the affirmative and stated that it will be just north of the parking in front of the building.

Hearing no further questions or comments, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion.

Motion to grant Lucky Brothers Site Plan approval to develop a proposed gas station/convenience store/restaurant on the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231 by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Forbes.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:17 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

05-15-2019 Plan Commission

May 15, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on May 15, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: John Kennedy and Steve Kozel.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 – Rezoning a Portion of Unit 3 from R-2 to R-3 – (Petitioner: Dave Barick / Doug Rettig)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs, Unit 3. The petitioner is seeking rezoning of a portion of Unit 3 from R-2 to R-3 in order to eliminate the lots that have pipeline easements on them.

(This petition was heard out of order and was heard after item B, Continental.)

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG thanked the board for its understanding his delay as he was at Lake County.

Mr. Rettig stated that they are on the June 5 agenda for Public Hearing for a rezone of a portion of Three Springs, Unit 3, from R-2 to R-3 PUD in order to allow duplexes and have lots only on the south side of Freemont Street so there are no lots with pipeline easements running through them. Mr. Rettig stated that in order to get the lots off those easements, move the street, and make the plan viable, they need to rezone those lots to R-3 to allow for duplexes. Mr. Rettig advised that public notice would be done tomorrow.

Mr. Forbes asked about the commitment for the lot sizes from Mr. Barick. Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Svetanoff is drafting the Zoning Commitment to include that.

Mr. Panczuk stated that multiple residents contacted him about the new plan and they are unhappy. He further stated that as much as we are happy to see the lots off the pipeline easement, the thought from the residents is that we’re back at square one, as far as more duplexes in that property, where they were under the impression that it was going to be single-family lots down there. He added that he fully expects the residents are going to come out both to the Plan Commission and Town Council for the rezoning. They prefer it stay single-family and work around the easement somehow, like we had talked about before and didn’t get to that point; and they’re not comfortable having the additional duplexes. There was already the six, which was probably two more than was needed, because two of them aren’t backing up to the tracks; but now we have six more. He commented that they’ve made that loud and clear to him, and he wanted to make everyone aware of that. Mr. Panczuk stated that it’s an issue of concern that we seem to be doing a tradeoff, again. We go from pipeline easement to now we’re back to duplexes.

Mr. Rettig stated that it has to do with density. To put in this street with lots on one side is expensive, Mr. Barick gets some of his money back by building duplexes, not all of it, and that street may never be built if he can’t do what is being presented here.

Mr. Panczuk stated that someone asked him how expensive it was to build that street. Mr. Rettig responded that they have bids, so they know the cost of the street: It is a numbers game for Mr. Barick, and he can’t speak.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he remembers standing on the other side of the dais as a citizen before he was on the Plan Commission speaking that the property had the pipelines and all the issues when he bought it.

Mr. Rettig stated that the duplexes along the tracks and on the south end are tucked away, so people don’t have to look at them; and if you don’t live there, you have no reason to be back there. He further stated that he doesn’t see what the big deal is: If you want one, you buy it, and you live there.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there are two more things: The tracks, folks didn’t have an issue with that. The southern tract, the concern is that when the property south of that develops, they’ll say, “Well, there’s duplexes there so we want to put duplexes in too.” It’s something that’s brought up commonly. Mr. Rettig responded that there will be an outlot between the property line and the duplexes, so it isn’t right up to that line; in addition, there are high-tension power lines and a fiber optic line there was well, which also present hardships.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has one last technicality to bring out: The duplexes along Hart Street are on 135-foot wide lots, which is significantly larger than these. Even though these meet the ordinance, there’s a pretty significant difference. Mr. Rettig stated that the lots on Hart Street are wider because those lots are shallower and at that time, they were trying to meet the 20,000-square-foot requirement. The ordinance allows duplexes to be built on 20,000-square-foot lots, 15,000-square-foot lots, or 10,000-square-foot lots.

B. CONTINENTAL – Primary Plat Approval at June 5, 2019 Meeting – (Petitioner: Michael Muenich, Hickory Terrace Land Development, LLC)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Continental. The petitioner is seeking Primary Plat approval at the June 5, 2019 meeting.

Mr. Michael Muenich stated that he is here representing Hickory Terrace Land Development. He advised that they have sent a significant amount of engineering material to Mr. Kraus for his review.

Mr. Muenich stated that the entrance, as a statement piece, would connect two detention basins that will be to the east and west of the entrance. There would be a 24-foot wide loop for anyone who enters the subdivision and finds out it is a gated community to be able to turn around and go back out. The crosswalk that is to be installed giving access to Prairie West Park will be solar powered. The entry area would be heavily landscaped.

Mr. Muenich stated that there would be a bike route through the subdivision; it will not have formal lines on the side, but it will be set up as an access point. They are widening the sidewalk across the bridge to make sure it accommodates both pedestrians and bikes on the west side of the bridge, which lines up with the crosswalk.

Mr. Muenich stated that there would be a monument sign on each side of the entry that will have 16-inch high letters. The signs will be set back off the road and not present any sight-line issues or visibility issues. The internal signage, including the control signs and street signs, will be framed signs atop cast-aluminum poles. The required sign stating that the property is a restricted private property and not publicly maintained will be installed by the entrance.

Mr. Muenich stated that the lighting would be on poles with an arch and would be LED down lighting; additionally, the gated entry will have pillars with lanterns on the sides. The gate is to be a wrought-iron looking cast aluminum.

Mr. Muenich advised that the fencing around the subdivision would be a 6-foot, mixed media fence that would include cast aluminum fencing that looks like wrought iron, chain link fencing, and solid PVC fencing. The wrought-iron looking cast aluminum along 93rd Avenue would have masonry pillars with alternating lights/lanterns approximately every 50 feet.

Mr. Muenich explained where the various fencing would be installed, referencing a fencing plan drawing that was provided. The areas that are to be chain link would have a variety of three vine species: wisteria, orange trumpet vine, and honeysuckle, which are rapid growing, climbing vines that will use the fencing as a trellis.

Mr. Muenich stated that, other than Lot 1 with frontage on 93rd Avenue, there are only two lots on the southeast corner that extend down to 93rd Avenue. He further stated that there would be a large berm behind those lots and that the area would be heavily landscaped.

Mr. Muenich explained that there are multiple watershed breaks and the streets intentionally run along those ridgelines. There are 13 acres on the east side of the project that are in one drainage basin, on the other side there are 9-10 acres extending from Olcott that drain into another basin; and those two basins drain to the north. Where all of the lots sit in the areas to be developed, the drainage would be caught and brought to one of two basins. All of the offsite area and the rear-yard watershed area initially drain into the existing pond. Once the basins start to get near capacity, the pond works as a tailwater and picks up water that flows backwards from two basins.

Mr. Muenich stated that the discharge rate during a 100-year storm is about 50 cubic feet per second, cfs, where it crosses into the detention basin in Candlelight, which is one reason that there are problems during heavy rainfall that causes water to cross 93rd Avenue and flood outside of the banks of the existing basin.

Mr. Muenich stated that by ordinance they are allowed to pass the water through; however, that doesn’t solve the problem to the south. Additionally, under the framework of the ordinance, the project is allowed approximately 7 cfs for a discharge, which leaves 43-45 cfs that they could bypass. The release rate is about 3 cfs because of what they are capturing and putting back into the tailwater, which is a little less than half the allowed rate.

Mr. Muenich stated that berms would be placed along the edge of 93rd Avenue where the basins are so it would be capture the water into the common areas. If it goes above the theoretical, calculated rate, the water still could cross 93rd Avenue. Mr. Muenich further stated that he could not guaranty that as it is all computer modeling, but it seems reasonable. Mr. Muenich stated that there is a primary and a secondary drainage system.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the PVC portion of fencing to be by Mr. Schilling’s house would be the same brown color. Mr. Muenich responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the ponds that are being created are retention ponds or detention ponds. Mr. Muenich responded that the ponds would always be wet and be between 12-15 feet deep. He stated that one of the reasons they are so deep is to maintain the quality of the water and that they would be stocked with fish.

Mr. Muenich advised that the normal water level is anticipated to be 684 and the anticipated water level during flooding conditions is at 686. He further advised that the water could go well above that level before there is any spill or release across 93rd Avenue due to the berming and the area along the bridge between the ponds. At full depth, the two small conveyances disappear and the large one in the center would have about 1/3 of the pipe left above the water line; additionally, they are planning to have a 2-foot surcharge. Mr. Muenich further added that around 1.5 feet, the tailwater starts to go back into the existing pond, which has approximately 3.8 acres and will pick up another 3.5 to 5-acre feet of water on the surcharge in the event of an extraordinary storm that the existing basins could not handle.

Mr. Georgiou asked if it is, basically, grass around the ponds. Mr. Muenich responded that it is common area, which is why the berming will force the water back up into the existing pond. The landscaping does go around, and part of it is primarily grass. They would be planting hydrophytes that will flourish in the ponds.

Mr. Muenich advised that they intend to pull the gate back approximately 50 feet from the property line and install either a small hammerhead cul-de-sac or T-type intersection where Knickerbocker ends to allow plows to move snow in that area and alleviate an issue if someone erroneously goes to the end of Knickerbocker and needs to turn around.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the fence detailing that is shown as wrought iron is similar to the front entrance gate. Mr. Muenich responded in the negative. He stated that wrought iron would be used internally and that they are using aluminum, structural tubing that looks like wrought iron. Mr. Georgiou asked if the gate material is similar. Mr. Muenich responded that the gate would likely be aluminum tubing as well because of weight factors; each gate would be 12-foot long and swing open.

Mr. Georgiou asked what provisions would be used for public safety personnel to gain access to the property. Mr. Muenich stated that they are working to try to get the Opticom system for the police and fire departments. He further stated that they are still trying to work out the details for the postal service, bus service, delivery trucks, etc. Mr. Muenich stated that he spoke with several different property managers to see what they use; and some of those options include a discrete code for delivery trucks, a phone box to call the unit you are going to, and constant passes. Primarily, they are focusing on the public safety access first.

Mr. Muenich stated that the public notice was advertised in the newspapers today and the certified mailings will go out and the sign will go up tomorrow for their Public Hearing on June 5.

Mr. Flores noted that he does not have Opticom in his vehicle and that other police vehicles do not have it either, so there may need to another option for them to gain access to the property. Mr. Muenich stated that he was not aware of that and that he will look into it.

C. GREYSTONE UNIT 1 BLOCK 4 – Secondary Plat Request (Petitioner: Scott Zajac, Schilling Development)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone, Unit 1, Block 4. The petitioner is here regarding a Secondary Plat request.

Mr. Scott Zajac stated that he is here on behalf of Schilling Development and CWS Holdings. They will be here on June 5 to request Secondary Plat approval for Greystone, Unit 1, Block 4. Mr. Zajac advised that the project has 13 single-family lots. The improvements are just about in. The aggregate is in and they plan to place binder by the end of the week. They plan to have the As-Builts done before the next meeting. The only item they will need bonding for is the surface coat.

Mr. Kraus stated that he had done a calculation for the Letter of Credit, but he will refigure that number for the next meeting if all that is left is the surface coat and he gets the As-Builts.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:35 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

06-05-2019 Plan Commission

June 5, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on June 5, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Also Present: Rick Eberly, Kenn Kraus, and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: None.

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the May 1, 2019 Regular Meeting and the May 15, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same.

Multiple members declared that they would be abstaining from voting for a particular meeting; therefore, Mr. Forbes entertained a separate motion for each set of minutes.

Motion to approve the minutes from the May 1, 2019 Regular Meeting by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays with one abstention by Mr. Flores due to absence from said meeting.

Motion to approve the May 15, 2019 Study Session by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays with 2 abstentions by Mr. Kozel and Mr. Kennedy due to absence from said meeting.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2019-0007 CONTINENTAL – Primary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Hickory Terrace, LLC – Mike Muenich/Jack Slager)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the Continental. The petitioner is seeking Primary Plat approval of 55 acres of land on the north side of 93rd avenue across from Prairie West Park. This would result in roughly 52 lots in a gated PUD. Rezoning of this land has already been approved.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed and that Mr. Kraus’ Review Letter is in the members’ packets.

Mr. Jack Slager, Schilling Development, stated that he is here representing Hickory Terrace, LLC. He further stated that this project has been before the Plan Commission for several months and that it started out with 53 lots and is now 52 lots. This is a joint venture between the Muenich family and Schilling family.

Mr. Slager stated that they named this subdivision the Continental as it is located at one of the highest points in St. John and has the Continental Divide in Indiana running through the middle of the property. They will be highlighting the features of the land and hills along with the woods and wetlands that they are maintaining with the executive-sized lots. The property was originally zoned R-1 and has been rezoned to RC-1 PUD.

Mr. Slager advised that the zone change allows them to have a private gated community while maintaining a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet with a minimum width of 100 feet. Mr. Slager stated that they are here tonight to seek Primary Plat approval. Mr. Slager noted that they have been working with Mr. Kraus on the engineering. The roadway is now designated as a private roadway ingress/egress and utility easement, which gives the Town access to the sewers and water main if service is required.

Mr. Slager stated that Phase 1 includes Lots 1-17, the entrance on 93rd Avenue straight into the long cul-de-sac to the west, emergency access road out to Knickerbocker, and all of the improvements on 93rd Avenue. The improvements on 93rd Avenue include curb and sidewalk along the entire north side of 93rd Avenue in front of the project, widening 93rd Avenue to a three-lane road with center turn lanes, and installing a signalized crosswalk at 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Slager reviewed the slideshow that was presented at the previous Study Session. Mr. Slager commented that they have hired an ecologist landscape architect to work with them. There will be two large ponds on either side of the entrance that will act as a visible barrier to 93rd Avenue as well as serving as detention areas. The ponds work in conjunction with each other and the existing wetland on site and will store an enormous amount of water.

Mr. Slager stated that they have off-site drainage draining onto the property from both the east and the west. At this time, it is unimpeded and flows right through and goes across or under 93rd Avenue and into Prairie West Park. As this project develops, the water release will be controlled with the wetlands and the two ponds.

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Adrian Bugariu (11747 West 90th Avenue): Before this development shall ever take place, Muenich has to return all that land that he attached illegally to his parents’ property while he was lawyer of St. John, Indiana, since 1975, ’74, whatever. No land shall be developed until he returns this land to the property owners, rightful owners, which he took away from them, including me.

Secondly, we don’t want a gated community. The animals were here, and we want them to roam as free as they were before we came in here. I’m a animal lover, and I want that to be respected.

Thirdly, if you people do not listen to what I said that Muenich should return to all of the property owners the acreage that he took away from us, 116 by 200 feet from my property, which is the lot – I think, 21 and 22 are directly behind me because they are both 100 feet too wide, so it’s 100 feet, and also, to the rightful owners of the surrounding properties. No development shall proceed until this is done.

Robert Trulley (9082 Knickerbocker Street): And my concern on Knickerbocker Street – they were surveying for the gate just the other day, and I want to make sure that no construction trucks will enter through there. Can I be guaranteed that?

(Mr. Slager stated that they can make a restriction so that nobody uses it.)

(Mr. Forbes added that they can except when construction is occurring right at that gate.)

Oh, yeah. Well, yeah, to put the gate up.

(Mr. Forbes stated that there has been discussion about pulling the gate back and creating an area to push the snow off the road, so there will be some construction there. Overall, the construction traffic will be entering the subdivision from 93rd Avenue.)

Overall or all?

(Mr. Forbes responded that we can’t say all because of the construction at the gate.)

At the gate, other than construction at the gate?

(Mr. Forbes responded that he would say there is nothing to worry about, but that is just him.)

It’s not a definite then?

(Mr. Slager stated that they will do their best to keep all traffic out of there.)

Well, if you have the gate up and it’s shut and locked, I don’t know how they would get back there.

(Mr. Slager concurred and stated that they would not encourage any workers to use it.)

Your guys or all the constructor men?

(Mr. Forbes advised that Mr. Slager cannot say all.)

My other concern – not necessarily mine, but I talked to a nice gentlemen over at Public Works, the planning. I don’t know his name; I don’t know if he gave it or I forgot. But, uh, we had a good conversation. He was very good, very courteous, and explained things. And I just want to bring it up before you that my house, when it burnt down a year and a half ago, blew three water mains. Now, they’re going to make a loop for the – for the new subdivision; and I just want to get it on record, those water mains are not all that great. They’ve blown before, not just from my fire. There’s a lot of – a lot of zippers out there on those mains. So it’s on the record, okay. All righty.

Bryan Krueger (11711 West 90th Avenue): Last time I was here, um, we were talking about it; I got the – with that plat – can you got back to the plat plan? My house has a very shallow back yard. It backs up to 22, and we’ve had a discussion about having a 20-foot side easement there instead of a 10-foot side easement. I wasn’t sure if that would be reflected on this plan or someplace else. I just want to make sure that doesn't get lost in communication along the way.

(Mr. Eberly stated that 15 feet is what is showing on the plat.)

(Mr. Panczuk stated that it was a side-yard setback that we put in the Zoning Commitment.)

(Mr. Eberly advised that the request was to make that as large as possible; 10 feet is what is required.)

(Mr. Slager stated that somebody may not build right up to that line, but it cannot be any closer than 15 feet.)

Is it possible to make it 20 because 15 feet is awful close right there?

(Mr. Slager stated that it is a rear yard, not a side yard as the lot sits; but they don’t know how the house will be situated on the lot.)

Okay. In that case, 20 feet shouldn’t be an issue. Can we call it 20 feet?

(Mr. Kozel asked what the setback is on that lot.)

(Mr. Slager stated that the lots have variable setbacks of 25-40 feet from the road. Mr. Slager reiterated that it will depend on how the house will be situated on the lot.)

(Mr. Panczuk stated that he thought there was a number put on that.)

(Mr. Forbes stated that he thought they were going to research it and get back to us.)

(Mr. Kraus pointed out that a drainage easement is different from the setback line. He stated that he wasn't aware of the 20-foot setback request, but what is shown on the drawing for an easement would still be all right. He further stated that he believes Mr. Krueger is asking to be sure that the house is built no closer than 20 feet to the north side line.)

(Mr. Eberly stated the Mr. Kraus is correct that what is shown is a 15-foot drainage easement, which is a setback because you can’t build on an easement.)

And I guess – I’m asking, can it be 20 feet? I – I –

(Mr. Muenich responded that they could split the difference at 18.5 feet.)

Eighteen and a half, if 18 is what we can get, then we’ll do 18 feet.

(Mr. Muenich stated that they can. Inaudible discussion ensued between Mr. Krueger and Mr. Muenich after which Mr. Muenich told the board that they would do 18 feet.)

Dean Sammy (9238 Olcott Avenue): I have several questions, points, whatever you want to call it. I’m just wondering why an alternate exit/entrance/access would be at Knickerbocker as opposed to over by Wall Street where you would have, on the Patterson road, more of a main artery. I mean if you have an emergency situation, and so on and so forth, why are you coming out on, basically, a dead-end road and a gate, nevertheless? That’s one thing.

Another point, which you guys have been pushing as far as this – and I want to say I am pro development. I think it’s a great idea, and so on and so forth. I’m not really happy with the fence idea. You have animals; you have deer. Uh, St. John, I mean there’s other high-end developments in town, like Rosewood and Lake Hills, no fences. Everybody seems to be pretty happy, and so on and so forth.

And if you’re going to be having a high-end development such as this, and the little bit I’ve heard about pricing and on lots and stuff like that, and if I’m going to spend – I’m halfway interested in investing myself – I’m willing to spend whatever I’ve been hearing anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000 on a lot, do I really want a chain link fence in my backyard, even though it doesn't show from anybody else?

And the chain link fence itself, they’re talking about it being invisible. Well, yeah, maybe so, to a certain extent when there’s foliage. There’s not foliage for about half of the year, so you’d be looking more at a chain link fence, and a lousy chain link fence. And it’s, for what you guys are talking about proposing here and developing, it seems cheap to me.

Um, and that’s pretty much it. I just think that major thing for me is access out to Wall Street, Patterson Road. If you’re going to have an access, make it – if you have an emergency, or whatever you need it for, wouldn’t you be much better off having your access at Knickerbocker – or not Knickerbocker, but out on a street like that where you’re close to 41; you’re close to Patterson if you have to get somebody at the hospital in Dyer, whatever. You know, whatever the case may be. I just think Knickerbocker is a poor idea; and well, that’s all I got to say. Appreciate your time.

Having no one further wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Hearing and returned the matter back to the board.

Mr. Slager stated that they would like to address some of the items mentioned. Mr. Slager stated that they are planning on doing an aluminum vertical fence on all of the areas that are not conservation easements; and the only portions that will be chain link are the areas that are conservation easements. He further stated that everything that is attached to residences will have a wrought iron look, 6-inch picket spacing, which allows quite a bit of wild life to pass back and forth through the fence; and whatever doesn’t go through will go over or under the fence.

Mr. Slager stated that the back gate, as opposed to being at the end of Knickerbocker has been pulled into the Continental’s property about 50 feet, and they will be constructing a small turnaround at the end of Knickerbocker, which currently doesn’t have one. Anyone who goes down Knickerbocker to the end has to turn around in a resident’s driveway. Mr. Slager added that the turnaround also addresses the snowplow issue that was raised at a previous meeting.

Mr. Slager stated that they are providing a water loop, tying into Knickerbocker, which should help the residents to the north in the long run.

Mr. Eberly stated that this development is not dependent upon that. Mr. Slager concurred and stated that it is a secondary feed for them.

Mr. Slager stated that he made a note of the 18-foot setback line for the lot abutting Mr. Krueger’s property and that they will put a sign up that says no construction traffic by the back entrance. Mr. Slager advised that as soon as they put the emergency gate up, they will just close it and keep it closed.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the screening of the chain link fence will be within their property and not directly on the property line. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative and stated that the fence will meander around the trees on their property; there are some properties that already have a chain link fence that they will run right next to those. Mr. Slager advised that their fencing will be a colored fencing, either black or green, and the intention is to wind the fence through the trees.

Mr. Muenich commented that he had discussed the flowering vines that they intend to use on the chain link fence areas at the Study Session and that they are aggressive growing vines. They will use three varieties suitable to this agricultural zone.

Mr. Kennedy requested a status update of the emergency access for the gates, if there is a resolution or a timeframe for a resolution. Mr. Slager responded that the gate will probably not be closed for the first year while the initial homes are being built; until there is an actual resident in there, they intend to leave the gate open to allow people to drive in for marketability. Mr. Slager advised that they will continue to work with Police and Fire to come up with a system that works for all services.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Forbes how we would handle it if this isn’t resolved through this process and if there is a contingency to ensure that this is up and operational when residents are living in there. Mr. Forbes responded that it isn’t something we can control by the Zoning Ordinance, it is something we brought up as a discussion point.

Mr. Forbes stated that it is very clear that they need this system because they want to have a gated community, so as a benefit to anybody who moves in there, they’re going to have to do this. They have to guaranty that the garbage truck can get in there, which does not have an Opticom system, so they will have to have multiple systems to allow for various services.

Mr. Slager stated that there will be a keypad and possibly a reader.

Mr. Forbes stated that the new version of the Opticom system is being considered as an option so Police and Fire can get in with no hesitation.

Mr. Kennedy stated that Mr. Flores doesn't have an Opticom system in his car. Mr. Flores concurred and stated that he was going to bring that up as Mr. Muenich said he would address it since there are first-responder cars without the Opticom system in them.

Mr. Slager stated that they would have to provide those with a code or something. Mr. Flores stated that it could be a transmitter or something.

Mr. Forbes stated that he doesn't believe we can enforce that.

Discussion ensued

Mr. Eberly advised that they could make it a contingency upon the first occupancy of any home in the subdivision that the gate accessibility be completed.

Mr. Slager stated that they will have it functional.

Mr. Kozel asked if it can have a contingency attached. Mr. Eberly responded that he didn’t know why not. Mr. Svetanoff advised that they can add that as a contingency, especially since the developers have made the representation that they are going to do that.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is concerned that if the rear gate is going to be open as well as the front gate for the first year, it could become a shortcut and people will tear up Knickerbocker. Mr. Slager stated that the back gate, which is going to be a double gate, will be closed immediately.

Mr. Forbes stated that we are asking for two contingencies: To increase the setback for Lot 22 from the north property line to 18 feet and that the developer must install the gate system to the satisfaction of the Town.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the items listed on Mr. Kraus’ letter need to be addressed. Mr. Georgiou asked if it could be a contingency on final engineering review and resolution. Other members concurred and Mr. Slager stated that they have some details that they have to work out with Mr. Kraus, and they should have that within the next couple of days.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding Primary Plat.

Motion by Mr. Kozel to grant Continental Primary Plat approval of the 55 acres of land on the north side of 93rd Avenue with the following contingencies: The gate system shall be ready by the first occupancy, Lot 22 shall have an 18-foot setback from the north property line, and the development must receive a satisfactory technical review by Mr. Kraus.

Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

B. 2019-0006 THREE SPRINGS UNIT 3 – Rezone Lots 27-32 from R-2 to R-3 – (Petitioner: Dave Barick/Doug Rettig)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Three Springs, Unit 3. The petitioner is seeking the rezoning of a portion of this phase from R-2 to R-3. Lots 27-32 are currently zoned R-2; the request is to rezone them to R-3, which will enable the petitioner to eliminate the previously platted lots that had multiple pipelines on them.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG, representing Three Springs development and Mr. Dave Barick, stated that this has been before for the Plan Commission for months for various approvals and that Primary Plat approval on all of Phase 3 was approved after months of discussion.

Mr. Rettig stated that they had the original location of the road in one location with lots on both sides; and they want to do is rezone a portion of the phase and move the road up and have lots only on the south side of the road and eliminate the easements: three pipeline easements, a power line easement, and a fiber optic line easement. While they met the ordinances, the lots were not as buildable as a lot of people wanted to see them.

Mr. Rettig stated that they came back to see if the Plan Commission would rather they rezone this portion to R-3. Mr. Rettig reviewed what the current zoning is for the various areas within Unit 3. Mr. Rettig indicated the area they wish to rezone and stated that they wish to rezone it to R-3 and build six duplexes on those lots instead, which will reduce the density by two units. He stated that this is the only way it makes sense for them to move the road and only have lots on one side as they have to put in a lot of road with very few lots.

Mr. Rettig stated that if the Plan Commission feels it’s better for public safety to remove those easements and pipelines from backyards, they would like to request permission to rezone this property to put duplexes along the south side and move the road to eliminate those easements, which would become outlots and be maintained by the HOA.

Mr. Forbes stated for the record that Lots 21-26 are currently zoned R-3. Mr. Rettig concurred.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the original subdivision has always been a mix of R-1, R-2, and R-3. Mr. Rettig responded that the first two phases have a mix of R-1, R-2, and R-3.

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Paul Schulz (10103 99th Avenue): I’m just tired of being here. That’s it. This has been going on for two years. Half your guys’ faces that have been here are new, and it’s just ridiculous that you’re going to change this back to R-3. The – the lot widths were 180 along the tracks; and now he’s going to 100. It – it just – it makes no sense.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): We’ve been down this road with this development a few times in the last two years. A few month ago, four members of this commission approved building several R-1 homes 15-feet from a 42-inch gas pipeline from the back of proposed homes. Residents of Three Springs in St. John were not at all pleased about that vote or the approved plat with the new home buyers’ safety being of major concern to all.

The developer then realized that the residents of Phase 1 and Phase 2 would never allow new buyers to build a home on those lots without being completely informed about the pipeline that was existing there. So now, Phase 3 is back again for rezoning to R-2 and R-3 adding several duplexes in addition to the few that were originally on the plat. This Phase 3 was zoned R-1 when the buyers purchased their lots in Phase 2. Buyers were told or led to believe that this phase was going to be zoned R-1; and they made their financial decisions based on that belief; therefore, this Phase 3 should remain zoned R-1.

St. John had an election last month on May 7. Residents made their feelings known by their votes for individuals who supported large, R-1 lots and a reduction of the number of multi-units being constructed in our town. Residents in Three Springs and our town should expect their voices to be heard by this commission starting tonight.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): Wow! Déjà vu! Two years ago this developer and this commission addressed these same issues, the developer trying to salvage a seriously encumbered parcel while the commission addressed lot size and housing unit density. Then the commission supported the folks in the community resulting in a fair mix of single and multiple-family units. After the ruling, the developer, seeking a more advantageous outcome, returned with alternative proposals. The commission sought to work with the developer offering options while still being mindful of its obligations to the town.

Recently approved was a convoluted compromise, one offering single family dwellings on larger lots but also allowed some lots to contain an easement for multiple, large, high-pressure pipelines. It was clear the majority voted in favor because they felt the proposal was in the guidelines of the subdivision ordinance. It is equally clear that the members who voted against the developer felt that the safety issues of the pipeline trumped the majority issue.

Not questioning the integrity of the positions or the votes, the commission made it clear that, while they heard the safety concerns, for the majority, the safety concerns were not show stoppers. Now, a month later, the developer comes back to the commission, again, seeking advantageous rulings and concessions. The developer’s come full circle and is now addressing a proposal painfully close to the original one shot down years ago. Many of the residents in the community fought and thought they had won in limiting duplex housing; but this battle, like a phoenix, continues to rise.

At some point, the condition – the commission must consider consistency in its rulings. If it rules that the safety of this parcel is not raised to the point of a no vote, then the commission believes safety is not an issue. If safety is not an issue, it would seem the only reason for change now is to readdress developer preference for duplex housing. Some of the commission also had rejected another of your vote.

I do not envy the com – the commission’s dilemma: whether to backpedal on the safety issue or backpedal on the duplex issue. It seems there are two obvious alternatives: First, reject the current demand, the current, uh, option, uh, demanded by the developer outright, leaving the commission’s vote from last meeting stand or to move the road north but leave the lots on the south side the same.

I encourage and request the commission remain consistent in its rulings; to listen and approve and understand the wishes and desires of the local residents and to not approve the plot in front of you today. The commission should understand developer issues and, where practical, work jointly to build better projects. I also stand – understand, and fully believe, it is not the commission’s responsibility to make concessions exclusively to enhance a project to make it financially viable.

We have heard much about this property: Its reduced cost because of its serious encumbrances; the give and take of importance of any safety concerns versus subdivision ordinances, only amplified by frequent developer proposals for change. Every vote results in a certain optics visible to the community. I encourage you to not further cloud Three Springs, Phase 3 and reject this proposal tonight. Thank you.

Tom Parada (9535 Joliet Street): I agree with every word of what they said except there are a few things I’d like to bring to light, too; and this refers not only to Three Springs, but what is the current road impact fee? Has it been voted in?

(Mr. Forbes stated that it is not a function of the Plan Commission.)

Okay. So there isn’t one now. Is there a road impact fee in pla – in place?

(Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Parada if he has something to say about the subdivision.)

I do.

(Mr. Forbes asked him to speak about that.)

I’m looking for somebody to give me an answer.

(Mr. Forbes advised Mr. Parada that the road impact fee is not about the subdivision.)

Okay. Well, let’s get – it’s about every subdivision. Here’s my point, uh, you got new building going on everywhere. And my problem with the road impact fee is the last time –

(Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Parada if he has something to say about this subdivision.)

Is this subdivision being built in St. John?

(Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Parada if he is in favor of this subdivision or opposed to it.)

It doesn't make any difference. It doesn't make any difference, Mr. Forbes.

(Mr. Forbes stated that he is at the podium right now for this subdivision.)

Okay. This is my point, anything being built here should have a road – an impact. Go ahead, giggle, Mike. We know what that means, you’re nervous.

(Mr. Forbes responded in the negative.)

Yeah, you’re nervous. That’s what you always do. But anyway, my point is simply this – and this was supposed to be a very short statement. The means in – the means, um, value of a house is probably around $400,000 now. We need a higher road impact fee. Done.

Now, with these people, the poor people of Three Springs, we need – everybody that’s here is here for a reason; and the reason is you people are failing at what you’re supposed to be doing. And what you’re failing at what you’re supposed to be doing is you’re not paying attention to us, period. You don’t pay attention to us. This is purely a bait and switch in favor – and this happens in favor of just about everything that’s built here. Now, can you say that pertains to Three Springs? Because my point is –

(Mr. Forbes responded in the negative and stated that this is not a bait and switch.)

It’s exactly –

(Mr. Forbes said, “No, sir.”)

Yes, sir.

(Mr. Forbes stated that he disagrees with everything that Mr. Parada has said.)

You always do, Mike.

(Mr. Forbes stated that it is easy to disagree with Mr. Parada.)

It’s easy for you. It’s easy for you, but Bryan made the same point. Bryan made the same point. It’s a bait and switch; let’s call it what it is, cause that’s exactly what it is. I’m done.

Mary Jo Biscan (10201 99th Avenue): And once again, we’re here for the rezoning of Phase 3 in Three Springs. I think we’re happy with the change to the green space in reference to the pipeline, but I have to reject to rezoning to R-3 lots. We seem to have constantly fight for staying with R-1 lots, and that is what makes St. John so special. There’s something to be said for continuity in a subdivision and would hate to see this Phase 3 turn into a crowded addition due the – due to the number of duplexes and cottage homes squeezed into these small spaces, as well as the safety issues. So please do not approve this zoning.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I would just really like to echo, in a brief statement, the things that I’ve heard here tonight. We really don’t want more R-3 in this subdivision. There’s enough R-3 already; our balance of R-1s and R-3s is way out of line. I think there’s already more R-3s that are approved in this than what should have been. When they talked about doing R-3s by the railroad tracks, that would have been acceptable; but yet, they still wrap around.

I would encourage you guys to really do what the residents are looking for, the people that have invested in this neighborhood; and that is to not approve this rezoning to R-3. The safety issue is the safety issue; and I’m sure Mr. Barick will come up with another alternative, because when this plan was voted down last time, he came up with another alternative. And he’ll come up with another one as well. I would encourage you to vote this down. Thank you.

Yolanda Cardona (10075 Springlake Road): Well, first of all, there has been so many iterations of this same plan, so we’re all tired of being here. My husband and I have only been in that property for a year; and we’ve been here already three times with different iterations of the same plan that does not take into account our interests. And those are the interests that should matter to all of you, the residents of – of, uh, St. John.

So I am pleased to see the change from the homes on the pipeline, uh, to now having homes that, um, that are not on the pipeline, so that’s a good thing. Um, so obviously, I’m – I’m happy about that; but the – the thing about that is that you – you guys failed us, whoever voted for that proposal failed us. And we have to thank the developer that he had the foresight to change the plan. I don’t know for what reason, but I’m happy that he changed the plan and that we are no longer dealing with the safety issue because that was my main concern.

Um, so we are no longer dealing with the safety issue, so happy about that, pleased about that; but what are we dealing with now? The problem now is that – much better alternative, but it still doesn't take into account one of the factors that must be considered when all of you are making your decision. Does this new plan conserve property values? The answer to that is no, it doesn't. And that is one of the things that you guys have to take into consideration when making your decision. Does it keep and preserve the property values of the people that have invested in buying homes in that subdivision; and the answer to that is no it doesn't.

So, uh, duplexes to, uh – well, not only does it not preserve the property values, but also – I can tell you from personal experience that I bought the home about a year ago, and I specifically asked, buying a home that’s the very last home, um, in the street, I asked, what – what will be built next to this home. And I was specifically told it would be R-1 homes, similar to home where we live at. And not only did I ask, but I also went out of my way to check with the Town – and I relied on the Town’s records. I had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the Town’s records. So I and my husband detrimentally relied on that promise that it would be R-1s; and here we are today with eyeing R-3s.

I mean, it’s not enough that we already have, um, R-3s at the very end; but he wants to add more. What’s the hardship here? Why can’t we just keep them R-1s, or at the – the – another alternative could be to put minimum values to these homes. So protect our interests; protect the interest of the homeowners that have purchased properties. Our families, for most of us, this is the biggest – and I can tell you from personal experience, this is our only investment. And this proposal would, basically, jeopardize the investment that my family made. So I ask that all of you take that into consideration and make the right decision. We need some finality to this; we cannot be here every month talking about the same thing, R-3s, R-2s. We need some finality to this so we can enjoy the – the properties that we purchased.

So a maxim, um, minimum values to these homes or keep them R-1s. There is no hardship. The only people that would have a hardship would be everybody sitting in that corner, the – the people that have purchased the properties there at, uh, St. John, Three Springs. So please do not approve this proposal of rezoning. Thank you.

Having no one further wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Hearing and returned the matter back to the board.

Mr. Flores asked if it is true that people were promised that this phase would be an R-1 development. Mr. Barick said, “It’s 100 percent false.”

Mr. Flores asked if the Comprehensive Plan shows this property as being R-1. Mr. Eberly responded that the Comprehensive Plan shows it being residential; the Comprehensive Plan does not zone property. The Comprehensive Plan talked about zoning in the terms of residential, commercial, or industrial.

Mr. Eberly explained that in February of 2002, this project came before the Plan Commission for a Public Hearing to rezone the property; and it was stated in the minutes of those meetings that this was to be a three-phase project and that all phases, in the entirety, would have single family and duplex lots in them. It was anticipated that there would be anywhere from 200 to 300 lots involved due to the acreage; and if this project goes through with 34 lots in Phase 3, it will be 193 lots. Mr. Eberly stated that, 17 years ago, it was stated in a Plan Commission meeting that it would be a combination of single-family and duplex lots throughout the entire development with up to as many as 300 lots; it turns out to be a little less than 200 lots.

Mr. Flores asked if this was rejected by the Town Council a couple years back. Mr. Eberly responded that the R-3 zoning was initially rejected by the Plan Commission, went to the Town Council with an unfavorable recommendation, and the Town Council denied the R-3 zoning for this unit.

Mr. Flores asked why we are considering this again. Mr. Forbes responded that it is to get houses off of the pipelines.

Mr. Rettig stated that they could have built smaller houses with easements in the backyards or larger duplexes without the easements. Mr. Flores responded, as Ms. Biscan and Ms. Cardona stated, that he is thrilled that lots were removed from those easements; but the residents spoke up tonight.

Mr. Kozel stated that the first plan that was rejected had more R-3 in it than what is on the current plan. Mr. Rettig stated that he believes it had cottage homes also; the street plan is similar, but it had more lots and a greater density.

Mr. Forbes stated that every time they return, the density drops. Mr. Rettig concurred.

Mr. Rettig asked Mr. Barick what he the price of the duplexes would be. Mr. Barick responded that they would cost $250,000-$275,000.

Mr. Rettig stated that they would be 100-foot lots with a total value of $500,000 plus, almost the same as a single-family home on a single lot.

Mr. Forbes stated that the effect on value argument goes out the window right there because that is $500,000 per lot. Mr. Rettig concurred and stated that compared to $300,000-$400,000 per lot, maybe a little be more.

Mr. Panczuk stated that up until about 13 months ago, if any of these residents buying a lot in Phase 2 would have walked into Town Hall and asked for a zoning map, which is inlaid into the Comprehensive Plan, it just shows the current zoning at that time. This entire phase is R-1, so if you’re plunking your money down, as many of these residents stated, you’re doing it thinking that that’s going to be single-family homes.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they’re here tonight because they’re seeing, again, a degradation in the zoning from R-1 to something else, from single family to duplex; and that’s they’re main objection. They have made it very clear to him that is they’re objection. They invested their money when this was R-1; it got changed from R-1.

Mr. Panczuk stated that already we have six duplexes; now we’re coming back for six more, and they oppose that. They wouldn’t have gone back to 2002 Plan Commission meetings, but they would have certainly found the zoning map, which is very evident. You can go right to the website and see right now what the zoning of this property was until last spring when the Town Council rezoned it.

Mr. Panczuk stated that as far as the property value, as far assessed value for the town, it may go up; but a residence at $275,000 is not the same. These folks got $400K and better into these houses around the lake; so they’re talking about who is going to be buying their house and what the income level of those people are that are going to be buying these houses.

Mr. Panczuk stated that we’re looking at conserving property values per residence, per investor; so a duplex at $275,000 does not compare to a single-family home. They prefer it to be a single-family home; it’s what they expected when they plunked their money down; and they have a right to ask that.

Mr. Panczuk stated that we are tasked with conserving property values; it’s one of the five factors that the Plan Commission is supposed to consider. As far as it being mixed development, Phase 1 was always planned to be a lot of duplexes, and the Phase 1 duplexes have significantly wider lots. Not only are we adding six more duplexes, but they’re on far smaller lots than what had been the precedence set in the earlier phases. Mr. Panczuk stated that he supports these residents and their comments; they have valid concerns regarding their property values.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the entire subdivision was rezoned during the original subdivision. Mr. Eberly responded in the negative and advised that this development was rezoned in phases.

Mr. Eberly advised that single family and duplex zoning was part of Phase 1; when Phase 2 came before the Town, it was rezoned to a combination of those zonings, and when Phase 3 came before the Town, it sought the same mix of zonings, which was initially turned down.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion regarding Three Springs, which will be a recommendation to the Town Council.

Mr. Eberly explained the process of how a recommendation to the Town Council from the Plan Commission works for the edification of the public. The result will either a favorable recommendation to the Town Council, an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council, or no recommendation to the Town Council.

Motion to grant a favorable recommendation for Three Springs, Unit 3, Lots 27 through 32, currently zoned R-2, to be rezoned to R-3 by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou.

Vote by Roll Call:

Mr. Flores Nay
Mr. Georgiou Aye
Mr. Kennedy Nay
Mr. Kozel Aye
Mr. Panczuk Nay
Mr. Forbes Aye

Motion ties 3 ayes to 3 nays.

Mr. Eberly advised that it means a no recommendation will be sent to the Town Council to take action on at the July 11, 2019 meeting.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2019-0005 SHAUN SIUBA – Permission To Advertise for Primary Plat
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Shaun Siuba for permission to advertise for Primary Plat of a two-lot subdivision at 9973 Joliet Street. The petitioner will be seeking approval of a two-lot subdivision. Each of the new lots will have a 99th Avenue address.

Mr. Eberly stated that he does not have an electronic copy of a drawing; that Mr. Rettig has paper copies for them; and that he would show the GIS map of the property location on the media screen for viewing and reference.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG stated that he is here representing Mr. Siuba, the owner of the majority of the property that is being discussed. He further stated that they would be requesting permission to advertise at the July regular meeting for this two-lot subdivision. Mr. Siuba and his neighbor are working together to create a two-lot subdivision with frontage access off of 99th Avenue. The lots are 1000 feet long, plus-or-minus, and they want to cut them in half. The existing homes that front Joliet Street will stay the same except for having a smaller lot.

Mr. Rettig advised that they are finishing up the survey work and the drawings and that the lots will be over 1 acre in size and over 100 feet wide.

Motion to grant permission to advertise for Primary Plat at the July 10, 2019 meeting by Mr. Kennedy.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Forbes asked if there is a second to the motion. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

B. GREYSTONE UNIT 1 BLOCK 4 – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Jack Slager)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone, Unit 1, Block 4. The petitioner is seeking Secondary Plat approval of this unit.

Mr. Scott Zajac stated that he is here filling in for Mr. Slager, representing CWS Holdings, to seek Secondary Plat approval at the July 10 meeting.

Mr. Zajac advised that all improvements, less the surface coat of asphalt, has been completed, the As-builts will be submitted soon, and the Mylars have been turned in already.

Mr. Eberly advised that there is a letter from Mr. Kraus regarding this project and that the Developmental Fee was paid earlier in the day.

Mr. Kraus advised that the he reviewed the plan, which is fine; the Developmental Fee was for $7,543.48, which was paid today; and the public improvements are not quite complete. The surface coat of the asphalt still needs to be completed, the manual testing for portions of the sanitary sewer needs to be completed, there are soil erosion control measures that are still needed, and the As-builts are still needed; therefore, a Letter of Credit in the amount of $20,515 or a bond in the amount of $24,245 is required to be submitted to the Town.

Mr. Forbes asked if they would be doing a Letter of Credit or a bond. Mr. Zajac responded that they would do a Letter of Credit.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding Secondary Plat to include withholding signatures until the Letter of Credit is received.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat, withholding signatures until the Letter of Credit is received, by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to send a letter of recommendation to the Town Council to accept the Letter of Credit from Greystone, Unit 1, Block 4, in the amount of $20,515 once we receive it.

Motion to send a letter of recommendation to the Town Council to accept a Letter of Credit in the amount of $20,515 upon receipt of the same by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 8:14 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

06-19-2019 Plan Commission

June 19, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on June 19, 2019, at 7:03 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: None.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 7F – Secondary Plat Approval at the July 10, 2019 meeting
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 7F. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this pod at the July 10, 2019 meeting.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter for Pod 7F and 7G, which finds that the engineering revisions are satisfactory.

Mr. Kraus advised that he would need to get a schedule of values to calculate the Developmental Fee and Letter of Credit amounts.

Mr. Don Torrenga with Torrenga Engineering stated that he is here representing BLB St. John.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any changes from the primary plat. Mr. Torrenga responded in the negative.

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 9B – Secondary Plat Approval at the July 10, 2019 meeting
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 9B. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this pod at the July 10, 2019 meeting.

Mr. Kraus advised that he needs the schedule of values for this pod as well.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter for Pod 9B, which finds that the engineering revisions are satisfactory.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any changes made from the primary plat. Mr. Torrenga responded that there was one small change: The curve from Brookhaven to Juniper Lane used have cul-de-sac, so what is shown as Lots 825 and 826 used to be four lots instead of the two large lots that are there now. The original cul-de-sac was not feasible.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the plat submitted says 9A and 9B, the letter reference is 9B, and asked if 9A is part of this Secondary Plat approval. Mr. Torrenga responded that 9A was part of it and that 9A was previously platted and approved.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the plat on the screen is different from what is in the packet. Mr. Eberly responded that he had just gotten the drawing displayed on the screen just prior to the meeting.

Mr. Torrenga noted that the only difference between the two drawings is that the address layer was turned off.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Torrenga if he had said the curve used to be a cul-de-sac. Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative.

Discussion ensued and Mr. Eberly showed the original plat showing the cul-de-sac as originally planned that has been eliminated.

Mr. Forbes reminded Mr. Torrenga to get Mr. Kraus the information he needs.

C. GREYSTONE UNIT 2 BLOCK 3 – Secondary Plat Approval at the July 10, 2019 meeting
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone, Unit 2, Block 3. The petitioner is here regarding a Secondary Plat request.

Mr. Scott Zajac stated that he is here on behalf of Schilling Development and CWS Holdings. They will be here on July 10th to request Secondary Plat approval for Greystone, Unit 2, Blocks 3 and 4 on the west side of Calumet Avenue.

Mr. Eberly advised that Block 3 is the plan shown on the viewing screen.

Mr. Zajac stated that Block 3 has 27 cottage-home lots. All the roads are graded, all the sanitary and water improvements are installed, and stormwater is being buttoned up, so by July 10, all the improvements should be in, less the surface coat.

Mr. Kraus advised that he needs a schedule of values for this project and that he emailed a request for the same. Mr. Zajac responded that Mr. Slager is out of town, but he believes Mr. Slager sent a request in for that information before he left.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any changes from the preliminary plat. Mr. Zajac responded that some of the units faced each other in Block 3, and that the orientation of those lots has been changed so that all the lots face Greystone Drive.

Mr. Georgiou asked to see the full development plan so he can get a concept of where this unit is located. Mr. Eberly showed a drawing of the location of the unit.

D. GREYSTONE UNIT 2 BLOCK 4 – Secondary Plat Approval at the July 10, 2019 meeting
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone, Unit 2, Block 4. The petitioner is here regarding a Secondary Plat request.

Mr. Scott Zajac stated that, basically, this project is the same as Block 3 as they are doing the work in tandem between Block 3 and Block 4 and that Block 4 has six duplex lots and eight cottage-home lots.

Mr. Kennedy asked about connectivity to the west and if that area is in unincorporated Lake County. Mr. Forbes confirmed that it is in unincorporated Lake County and that connectivity to the subdivision to the west will not happen.

Mr. Zajac indicated areas on the drawing displayed and stated that they are stubbing a couple of areas so in the future, perhaps, there will be connectivity to the west through those stubs, if and when that area is developed.

Mr. Kraus advised that he needs the schedule of values for this project as well.

E. CULVER’S – Potential Development of a Culver’s Restaurant on the Target Outlot
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Culver’s regarding building a potential Culver’s restaurant on the Target Outlot.

Mr. Eberly advised that Russell Pozen with DVG Team is here to introduce this project. It is going before the Board of Zoning Appeals next week for a host of variances, including a Special Exception that will ultimately have to be approved by the Town Council before it would come before the Plan Commission for any official actions.

Also present at the meeting were Fred Terpstra of Culver’s and John Terpstra, who is Mr. Fred Terpstra’s son and legal counsel.

Mr. Fred Terpstra of Culver’s of Northwest Indiana stated that they have stores in Merrillville, Schererville, Highland, and Crown Point, and they would like to put a restaurant in St. John. He further stated that they have worked with Mr. Kil since 2014 and are anxious to get this going.

Mr. Pozen stated that this is a typical Culver’s building, which has the highest quality interior and exterior materials. The site is located in the Target-Strack & Van Til outlot along Wicker Avenue, south of 97th Lane. They will create just under a 1-acre lot with 49 parking spaces in the lot including the applicable ADA spaces.

Mr. Pozen advised that the site drainage is tributary to an existing detention basin that was designed for the entire site. The site is currently a wall-to-wall parking lot with some islands; so they are not changing the drainage pattern.

Mr. Pozen reviewed the parking layout and indicated on the drawing where the entrances would be for the drive aisles, the drive-thru lane and stacking, and the location of the dumpster on the southeast corner. Mr. Pozen stated that there is a main-line sanitary-sewer easement in the dumpster area, which has a pretty deep line. He further stated that it will not be directly over the sanitary easement and that they are aware of the consequences of building in an easement. However, due to the size and functionality of the lot, this is the best space for it.

Mr. Pozen stated that the utilities are provided on the site. They are proposing a sidewalk along Wicker Avenue as per the ordinance.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Special Exception is for the drive-thru component of the restaurant; anytime a restaurant has a drive-thru that does more than 50 percent of its business through the drive-thru in the US 41 Overlay District, a Special Exception must be sought. Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Terpstra indicated that Culver’s does in excess of 50 percent of its business from the drive-thru.

Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that it is right about at 50 percent, plus or minus depending on the store.

Mr. Forbes asked if the way the drive-thru stacking is set up is in operation in other places. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes asked if it creates problems where somebody line jumps. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded in the negative and stated that the customers are trained on the traffic flow after being to the restaurant two or three times.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the width of the south entrance is. Mr. Pozen responded that it is 24 feet wide.

Mr. Panczuk asked how the drive-thru stacking to wait for the order works and if it blocks folks from driving around the restaurant. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded that when they built the Crown Point store, they put five lanes of stacking on the side of their restaurant, and every person who is in the front spot in one of the wait lanes mentally perceives that their wait time is less. Mr. Terpstra stated that the maximum wait time allowed at their restaurants is 3.5 minutes.

Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that initially Mr. Culver was against the multilane stacking and wanted Mr. Terpstra to change it within 30 days. Now, every Culver’s in the nation that has enough room now uses this stacking method. Mr. Terpstra explained the numbering system they use to denote who is waiting for what order. By using this stacking method, the worker who is delivering the food can look down the cars to find the number for that order and deliver it quickly.

Mr. Pozen advised that the typical restaurant has anywhere between 8 to 11 cars for stacking, this system allows approximately 16 cars to stack and wait. Mr. Pozen stated that he would try to prepare a drawing for the next Plan Commission meeting that shows how many cars can be stacked in this system. Mr. Pozen added that Mr. Terpstra is correct that this is a very efficient system because of the dedicated areas. Mr. Pozen indicated which lane is the bypass lane.

Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that this would be their fifth restaurant, and they are A-rated operators. They have been doing business in Northwest Indiana as Culver’s since 2005, so they are very experienced with it. Mr. Terpstra promised that they are good neighbors, great members of the community, and they contribute to the local schools.

Mr. Flores asked if the 16-car stacking area includes the south drive-thru as well. Mr. Pozen demonstrated the stacking area indicating specific areas on the drawing shown on the viewing screen.

Mr. Flores stated that he doesn't want cars stopped and blocking the south entrance. Mr. Forbes concurred and stated that he was concerned about that as well; but that Mr. Pozen had informed the board that the first lane is generally open.

Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that if everybody else is there waiting for an order of food and someone comes in for a shake or a concrete mixer or a sundae, once they get their order, they can go straight out that first lane.

Mr. Forbes asked where the Culver’s in Crown Point is. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded that it is on Broadway and Summit Street. Mr. Terpstra stated that the store in Crown Point is a duplicate of the store they intend to build in St. John and invited the members to go see what the Culver’s of St. John would look like.

Mr. Forbes stated that he has been to the Schererville store many times and that, as busy as it is, it is a quiet store.

Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that Craig Culver graduated university with a botany degree, which is the reason Culver’s is landscaped so nicely. He further stated that they are evaluated regularly to ensure the stringent store guidelines are met.

Mr. Fred Terpstra commented that it is a great opportunity for his family and that many of them work for him, including his grandsons, his daughter, and his son John Terpstra is his attorney.

Mr. Panczuk asked if this lot already exists. Mr. Eberly responded that it is part of an outlot that will become its own lot when they replat it as a one-lot subdivision, if they get to that point.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the primary access appears to be on someone else’s lot. Mr. Pozen responded that there is an existing drive.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is looking at the southwest entry for the drive-thru, which literally requires one to drive through Target’s property to get to it. Mr. Pozen responded that it is an ingress/egress easement allocated for everyone in the subdivision to use.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is referring to the outlot that one turns into off of Earl Drive to access the Culver’s lot on the southwest corner to get to the drive-thru. Mr. John Terpstra concurred and stated that it is all part of the St. John Marketplace development; and the entire development is subject to a recorded easement for cross parking as well as right-of-way easement for ingress and egress. Part of the contract dictates the real estate entity that purchases this parcel will buy into and be bound by that same easement. Yes, it is not Culver’s property; however, it is subject to an easement that is recorded that will run with the land in perpetuity.

Mr. Panczuk asked for confirmation that the area to the south of the lot they are purchasing is inclusive of the access agreement. Mr. John Terpstra responded in the affirmative and explained that it is all subject to the St. John Marketplace development easement. Mr. Terpstra noted that in the purchase agreement itself, there are additional restrictions, easements, and allowances that allow Target customers to drive through and park in their lot as well.

Mr. John Terpstra explained the easement agreement and offered to let the Plan Commission review it.

Mr. Forbes stated that, as it sits right now, the entire paved area has a cross-access agreement between Strack & Van Til, Target, and the bank; and anyone can park there. Mr. Forbes further stated that Culver’s would simply become part of that group that shares the parking spaces.

Mr. John Terpstra noted that there are maintenance charges that they will be paying.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they are allowed to have access to all the parking all the months of the year. Mr. John Terpstra responded that they have free access to the parking outside of their lot for off-peak months; whereas, they have a percentage that they cannot take up of Target’s entire parking lot. Mr. Terpstra stated that there is no way that they will ever drive enough patrons through Culver’s to take up the ratio that they are restricted to.

Mr. Eberly asked if the lot just to the south of their proposed lot is restricted during those months. Mr. John Terpstra responded that that area is not carved out as a separate restriction and is included in the entirety of the parking tract.

Mr. Kennedy asked if someone from Target could park in the Culver’s parking lot. Mr. John Terpstra responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes stated that, other than during the peak seasons, no one really parks there now and that there is probably more than ample area to support the overflow of the excess, last-minute Christmas shopping rush. Others concurred.

Mr. John Terpstra stated that they are over the minimum parking spaces required. Mr. Eberly concurred and stated that they are over parked.

Mr. John Terpstra stated that the only entire restriction they have against that parcel to the south is that they cannot store anything there; however, they don’t store anything outside anyway.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they expect to put some driveway signage on one of the two islands south of their property. Mr. John Terpstra responded in the negative.

Mr. Kennedy asked where they would put an arrow, as most of the Culver’s has some sort of arrow to denote the drive-thru. Mr. Pozen stated that there is entry signage and indicated where it would be located on the drawing shown on the viewing screen.

Mr. Kennedy stated that if someone were to be coming in from the southwest entry, it would be a hard turn into the drive-thru lane.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would prefer the same setup as Crown Point because he feels people will be cutting in line the way it is setup now with that gap. Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that Crown Point has three ingress and egress points and that they are landlocked at this location.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there has been any discussion with Target to take the remaining portion of that outlot parcel. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded in the affirmative, and Target won’t sell it. Mr. John Terpstra stated that they negotiated with Target for years to get a larger parcel of this outlot, and it’s not going to happen, not for lack of effort. Target was not rude or unprofessional; it was just a negotiating point that could not be manipulated in their favor.

Mr. Forbes asked if the drive-thru area for the Crown Point store has a gap. Mr. Kennedy responded that it does not have a gap. Mr. Forbes stated that the board is really only calling attention to the gap in the drive-thru lane. Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that they don’t draw up the site plans; Culver’s does based on the property and its characteristics.

Mr. Kraus stated that there is a Burger King in Michigan City that has almost the same layout where there is a gap between the order board and the drive-thru pickup window with a cross street that goes right through it; and they don’t seem to have any troubles all the times that he has been there.

Mr. Forbes stated that it is different and that he has to think about it.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they require the 49 parking spaces and if Culver’s or Target requires it. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded in the affirmative and stated that Culver’s tries to contain everything on their property and that they would prefer not to use the overflow areas from Target or the bank.

Mr. Fred Terpstra advised that they have anywhere from 13 to 14 crewmembers working on any shift and stated that they don’t want to have their employees cross any streets to get to their cars. He further stated that they have their lots well lit for the safety of their customers and employees when they leave the premises at night; Culver’s is very particular about safety.

Mr. Kozel asked about deliveries. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded that all deliveries are done between midnight and 6 a.m.

Mr. Forbes asked for confirmation that no deliveries take place during business hours. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded that a small box truck might deliver a small bundle occasionally if they run out of something.

Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that the Christmas season is not a busy season for Culver’s.

Mr. Kennedy asked how the size of this site compares to the other stores located in Northwest Indiana. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded that the proposed St. John store and the Crown Point, Merrillville, and Highland stores are approximately 4200 square feet. The Schererville store is larger, but it was purchased three years ago from the folks who had the Valparaiso Culver’s. Mr. Pozen responded that the lot size is 0.99 acres and that the stores have approximately the same the lot size.

Mr. Kennedy asked why the break in the drive-thru has to be there if this is an average size compared to the other stores. Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that the Merrillville store has a break.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he is worried about the stacking from prior to the order board to going to the window because there is a driveway in the development that people will have to cross while they are waiting to order. Mr. Kennedy asked if it is the same way in Merrillville. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded in the affirmative and stated that they have not had a problem. He further stated that Culver’s wouldn’t have designed it that way if there were a problem.

Mr. Fred Terpstra offered to stay as long as needed to answer any questions about the site or Culver’s.

Mr. Forbes stated that it looks like it is time for a field trip.

Mr. Fred Terpstra stated that he would be happy to meet him at one of the stores and show him around and that Crown Point would probably be the best one to go to as the size of the building is the same as this one. He further stated that if they would all like to come for lunch one day, to get ahold of Mr. Pozen and he would meet them in Crown Point and show them around.

Mr. Forbes stated that he usually just goes in “stealth mode” so nobody knows he’s there.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions or comments from the board. None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

07-10-2019 Plan Commission

July 10, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
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CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Kennedy called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on July 10, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, and Paul Panczuk. Also Present: Rick Eberly and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: Michael Forbes and Kenn Kraus.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the June 5, 2019 Regular Meeting and the June 19, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2019-0005 SHAUN SIUBA – Primary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Shaun Siuba/Doug Rettig)
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is a Public Hearing for Shaun Siuba who is represented Doug Rettig of DVG.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed. Mr. Eberly stated that he believes Mr. Rettig will also be seeking Secondary Plat approval tonight, which is fairly common with small subdivisions, with the understanding that the plat cannot be signed until 30 days has passed from the approval of the Primary Plat, if approved. If they receive Secondary Plat approval, they would not be required to come back again next month.

Mr. Rettig with DVG stated that he represents Mr. Siuba and Mr. Thrasher, the property owners, who are both here this evening. They own property that fronts 101st Avenue that are very deep and wish to partition them off on the back end of their existing properties and create new lots that will have frontage on 99th Avenue. The proposed subdivision consists of two R-1 lots of over 1-acre in size each. Everything would drain naturally to Three Springs Lake. Sanitary sewer and water main access is on the south side of 99th Avenue. The lots would be connected to existing utilities, and the streets are already in place.

Mr. Rettig stated that they are here seeking Primary Plat and that they would like to discuss the Final Plat as well, if possible.

Mr. Georgiou asked if only a portion of Lot 3 belonged to one of the owners. Mr. Rettig responded in the affirmative and explained that Mr. Siuba has Lot 1 and part of Lot 2 and that Mr. Thrasher has part of Lot 2 and part of Lot 3. Both gentlemen will be signing the Mylars.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there is a home on Lot 3 on 101st Avenue. Mr. Rettig responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kennedy stated that there is a home on Lot 1 on 99th Avenue as well. Mr. Rettig concurred and stated that both Lot 1 and Lot 2 in Meadowlane have homes on them.

Mr. Georgiou asked if any rezoning is required. Mr. Rettig responded in the negative.

Mr. Kennedy opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Mr. Eberly advised that he had received no letters of remonstrance; one resident did come in and inquire about drainage, which he has already addressed with Mr. Rettig and the potential new owner.

Ralph Cyrkiel (9849 Three Springs Drive): First of all, I didn’t hear how deep the lots are going to be from 99th Avenue.

(Mr. Eberly referenced the lots on the viewing screen to the gentleman and explained where the lots were in conjunction to his home.)

Well, I don’t see any of my neighbors here that I guess I’m the only one representing. I talked to Shaun. The two lots are going to be for two different houses or one house?

(Mr. Eberly and Mr. Kennedy responded, “Two.”)

Both, and it’s going to go all the way ba – how far back will the homes go?

(Mr. Rettig stated that it is unknown at this time.)

The design? All right. And so it’s – you could have two – two homes on it, basically? And it’s going to go back all the way to the back (indicating).

(Mr. Kennedy clarified that there will only be one home built on each lot.)

All right. Well, what we’re concerned about in that neighborhood is what you guys did across the street. Uh, I don’t think this parcel is as big, but it definitely has the chance to be the same. That’s what we were afraid of. If you go across the street on Joliet Street, they – where that farm was at, that silo was at, you guys dropped about five or six homes in there; didn’t you?

(Mr. Eberly responded that there are seven or eight lots there.)

Yeah, enough to – just, if you guys could drive by here one day and picture this lot, it’s a big, big lot. So when I talked to Shaun, he assured me that that’s not what’s going on. But I need to talk to you guys and hear it from you guys. I don’t want to see one of those cul-de-sacs dropped in behind my house after I invested. I mean, he has a right to do whatever he wants; it’s his property, right?

I like the guy. He keeps it up, maintained, and everything like that. He has a right; but you got to understand, we dropped a nice piece of coin on our home and we want to protect our investment. So do I have your assurances that we’re not going to drop one of those cul-de-sacs into that area because that’s – my wife wants to know that question.

(Mr. Kozel stated that even if we did, he didn’t think it would be enough to be subdivided.)

(Mr. Eberly responded that this is only two lots.)

Well, I mean, all somebody has to do is offer these other two guys the same amount of money that these guys did, and they were – they got the whole thing. They got the whole parcel.

(Mr. Kennedy responded that it is two individual lots that will have one house on each lot. There is no cul-de-sac, no other drives.)

Okay. You can understand my, my concern. Well, I can come back and say –

(Mr. Svetanoff advised Mr. Cyrkiel that he would be notified if this property is changed in any way, if they ask for variances, or anything else.)

Okay. I’m good. That’s all I wanted to know. Thank you guys for listening.

Matthew Baccino (9935 West 99th Avenue): Just right across the street from both lots. I just want to know, sort of, any minimum requirements, covenants, any sort of standards to be upheld, square footage, uh, stone, brick, that sort of thing.

(Mr. Eberly responded that there are no covenants being proposed for this subdivision that he is aware of and explained the applicable minimum standards.)

(Mr. Rettig confirmed there are no covenants being proposed.)

Okay. That’s all I got.

Having no one further wishing to speak, Mr. Kennedy closed Public Hearing and returned the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the houses would be set back at least 40 feet and should be comparable to what is in their neighborhood.

Mr. Rettig stated that he expects the houses to be set back more than 40 feet.

Mr. Eberly advised that the minimum front-yard and rear-yard setback lines are 40 feet with 10-foot side-yard setback lines.

Mr. Rettig stated that they would be putting in the sidewalk and connecting to the existing sidewalks.

Mr. Kennedy read Mr. Kraus review letter and entertained a motion regarding preliminary plat.

Motion to approve Primary Plat for Thrasher 275, a two-lot subdivision in the 9900 block of 99th Avenue, including a waiver for stormwater drainage and referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Kennedy entertained a motion regarding Secondary Plat.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. CULVER’S – Permission To Advertise
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Culver’s for permission to advertise. The petitioner is seeking a hearing for a one-lot commercial subdivision at 9885 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Rettig with DVG stated that he is here this evening on behalf of Culver’s and offered to answer any questions.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the plan has been revised. Mr. Rettig gave the board members a copy of the revised Culver’s plan with the new drive-thru layout. Mr. Georgiou stated that it is what he was looking for.

Mr. Panczuk stated that this petitioner was at the BZA with revised plans that addressed the Plan Commission’s concerns. Mr. Panczuk advised that the BZA approved all their variances contingent upon the Town Council’s approval of their Special Exception for a business in the US 41 Overlay District with a drive-thru that generates more than 50 percent of its business.

Mr. Kennedy entertained a motion regarding the request for permission to advertise.

Motion to grant permission to advertise for Public Hearing by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 7F – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Don Torrenga)
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 7F for Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Kennedy read Mr. Kraus’ review letter.

Mr. Eberly advised that the approval should be contingent upon the payment of the Developmental Fee; additionally, Mr. Lotton typically requests withholding signatures on the plat in lieu of a Letter of Credit.

Mr. Kennedy entertained a motion regarding Secondary Plat.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for The Gates of St. John, Pod 7F withholding signatures on the Mylars until the Developmental Fee is paid and all the improvements are in, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

C. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 9B – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Don Torrenga)
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 9B for Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Kennedy read Mr. Kraus’ review letter and entertained a motion regarding Secondary Plat.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for The Gates of St. John, Pod 9B withholding signatures on the Mylars until the Developmental Fee is paid and all the improvements are in, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

D. GREYSTONE UNIT 2 BLOCK 3 – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Jack Slager)
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone, Unit 2, Block 3 for Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Kennedy read Mr. Kraus’ review letter.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Developmental Fee was paid today and the Letter of Credit would be forthcoming.

Mr. Slager stated that they paid the Developmental Fee earlier today and that the Letter of Credit should be ready in about a week. The road is in and paved, the Letter of Credit is for the final coat of asphalt and the As-built drawings.

Mr. Kennedy entertained a motion regarding Secondary Plat

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for Greystone, Unit 2, Block 3, contingent upon the receipt of their Letter of Credit and referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Kennedy entertained a motion for a recommendation to the Town Council regarding acceptance for the Letter of Credit.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to accept the Letter of Credit from Greystone, Unit 2, Block 3, upon receipt of the same, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

E. GREYSTONE UNIT 2 BLOCK 4 – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Jack Slager)
Mr. Kennedy advised that the next item on the agenda is Greystone, Unit 2, Block 4 for Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Kennedy read Mr. Kraus’ review letter.

Mr. Slager noted that they had paid the Developmental Fee on this earlier; however, this phase has fallen behind due to the weather, so they would prefer to request to withhold signatures until the roads are in and the improvements are more complete for a smaller Letter of Credit.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for Greystone, Unit 2, Block 4, withholding signatures on the Mylars until the road improvements are completed for a smaller Letter of Credit, referencing the Findings of Fact by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I think we all want to see Culver’s come here. But I question, as we build along that area, there may be other entities that come in there. I think we have to decide about Earl Drive. To me, it’s a very narrow road; it’s bumpy. I don’t think it’s maintained well over the years. Uh, first question: Is that a dedicated road?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the negative.)

It’s not?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the negative.)

Okay. Uh, I – I want to see Culver’s come here; but I think it’s going to draw a lot of traffic. I think we have to go to whoever owns that road, or we have to get the Town Council to use its eminent domain power and make that public road. I think with Culver’s coming here – you look at the chaos in back of McDonalds, uh, that road is poorly maintained. Uh, the Town’s supposed to maintain the potholes there. They recur regularly. I think with this additional traffic, uh, we got to look at using TIF money to take that road over and make – make it wider and level it off and make it more stable and more safe.

So I think as you look at Culver’s going to come back with their request for preliminary plat, or whatever, after they advertise, I think you got to make the Town Council aware that that road needs to be taken over by the Town, use TIF money to fix it, uh, so that any other commercial developments come in there make improvements. I think that it has to be addressed with Culver’s. If you look at the way you got to turn into the bank, that very first curve into it is very tight. You look at that whole road, it’s – it’s wavy. Um, I think that has to be addressed by the Plan Commission. Uh, we need to make that a regular road, public road owned by the Town, widened and improvements made before or during or while we approve Culver’s.

I want to see Culver’s come in. I think it’s a great place and all that. I don’t want to hold them back; but I think we got to take over that road, as far as the Town goes. And I think the Plan Commission needs to do some planning here for the future, and look in – in – get to the Town Council and do something to improve that road using TIF money, or whatever it is, because more and more businesses are locating back there, and that’s the main thoroughfare to get to these businesses. So I think you should consider that, uh, with Culver’s and find out how – what – what they’re giving up or if you got to make that road wider. Uh, is there going to be some easement there that will be dedicated to that road for the future? It’s a private road; I think you need to address that immediately, uh, as you consider Culver’s. Thank you.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Kennedy entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Kennedy adjourned the meeting at 7:37 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

07-17-2019 Plan Commission

July 17, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on June 19, 2019, at 7:03 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: John Kennedy.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 7E – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this pod at the August 7, 2019 meeting.

Mr. Don Torrenga of Torrenga Engineering, representing BLB St. John, stated that this pod, called Mahogany Terrace, is comprised of 25 single-family lots. Mr. Torrenga commented that he had been in two years prior to change the plan to have a cul-de-sac, instead of a wide-sweeping turn that tied into Pod 7F.

Mr. Flores asked if there is an island in the cul-de-sac. Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative and noted that the homeowners association would maintain it.

Mr. Kozel asked if the island cul-de-sac is large enough to allow for snowplow maneuverability. Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative and commented that they used auto tracking, which reflected that it is large enough for a fire truck to maneuver in it.

Mr. Kraus asked what improvements are installed. Mr. Torrenga responded that there are no improvements installed other than 105th Avenue, which is a pre-existing road.

Mr. Torrenga stated that he had sent the plans to Mr. Kraus to review a while back. Mr. Kraus responded that there were engineering revisions that he had reviewed and found them to be satisfactory.

Mr. Torrenga stated that the 7.5-foot easements shown on lots 10615 and 10595 are for a water main that loops through that area, which was required so that it does not dead end in the cul-de-sac. He further stated that the water main also ties into Pod 7F and loops around.

Mr. Kraus stated that he would need a schedule of values to calculate the Developmental Fee and the Letter of Credit amount. He further stated that he knows Mr. Lotton usually puts the improvements in instead of using a Letter of Credit; however, he still needs the information. Mr. Torrenga acquiesced.

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 17B – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 9B. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this pod at the August 7, 2019 meeting.

Mr. Torrenga stated that Pod 17B represents three lots that are on the east side of Park Place. The three lots are currently zoned R-2. Immediately north of Lot 1420 is the Redeemer Church. Mr. Torrenga advised the improvements are in on Park Place. The improvements on West 107th Avenue will be installed are part of 7F. The private drive shown shall remain a private drive.

Mr. Torrenga commented that Mr. Lotton is working with folks from Suncrest Church about possibly building on the open land along 109th Avenue.

Mr. Georgiou asked if these are commercial lots. Mr. Torrenga responded that they are R-2 lots. Mr. Torrenga noted that something else may go in there; however, it has not been determined what that is yet.

C. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN – Potential Rezoning of Land

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John for a potential rezoning of land on the east side of Cline Avenue between Joliet Street and US 231.

Mr. Tim Kuiper, Attorney with Austgen, Kuiper, Jasaitis, stated that he is here on behalf of LBL Development, LLC. He advised the property in question includes 109.29 acres on the east side of Cline Avenue between 109th and US 231 that has already been brought into town. The Town has entered into an agreement recently with BLB St. John, LLC, and LBL Development regarding zoning, amongst other matters related to sewer-recapture fees and things of that nature: and these four parcels will be coming in shortly for a rezoning petition to R-2 PUD.

Mr. Kuiper advised that the settlement requirements include provisions for 6-foot side-yards; 11,200-square-foot lot sizes on average; and some additional items such as a bike trail, well sites, and things that the developer will have to install. Mr. Kuiper stated that those things should be forthcoming and that they hope to have them for next month’s meeting to request permission to advertise in about a month from now.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kuiper if he had said it was already annexed into town. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kuiper indicated other areas on the Lake County GIS Map that will be annexed in as well in the future.

Mr. Forbes stated that the strip of land in between those parcels is owned by NIPSCO. Mr. Kuiper concurred.

Mr. Georgiou asked what it is currently zoned. Mr. Forbes responded that it has to be R-1 if it is annexed.

D. KROPP ADDITION – Proposed Two-lot Subdivision
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Kropp Addition for a proposed two-lot subdivision at Hart and Joliet Streets.

Mr. Doug Rettig stated that he is representing Kurt Kropp, the owner of the property, which has been in the Kropp family for years. It is zoned industrial and is located on the west side of Hart Street, north of Joliet Street. St. John Ditch crosses under Hart Street and runs through a low-lying area of the property.

Mr. Rettig described the property has been untouched for many years and is overgrown with brush, trees, and so forth. A large portion of the property is floodway and flood zone due to St. John Ditch. There is high ground that backs up to the railroad tracks, and the intention is to put in a couple of large industrial lots on the high-ground area with individual side-by-side access points on Hart Street. Each lot will have to put in a detention area to meet current requirements; the sanitary sewer and water main already exist along Hart Street.

Mr. Rettig advised that the property does have wetlands, which have been delineated and are reflected on the plan.

Mr. Eberly showed the wetland view of the parcel on the Lake County GIS map on the media screen. Mr. Rettig stated that what is on the GIS is not entirely accurate and that they had a consultant come out this year who did the formal delineation that is shown on the plan.

Mr. Rettig stated that the topography climbs 10 or 12 feet from Hart Street up towards the railroad tracks. One lot is 4 acres and the other is 6 acres. The 6-acre lot is losing probably 4 acres due to wetlands, detention, and floodplain. He further stated that Mr. Kropp wants to get the two lots platted and sold to whoever is interested in building on an industrial lot with no specific businesses known at this time.

Discussion ensued regarding when Mr. Kropp’s father brought it in for resubdivision in the ‘90s.

Mr. Eberly advised Mr. Rettig that the Industrial District requires a minimum lot size of 10 acres, so to subdivide this parcel into two lots will require a variance.

Mr. Rettig thanked Mr. Eberly for pointing that out and asked if Industrial Drive to the west is also zoned industrial. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative and explained that it predates the Zoning Ordinance change.

Mr. Rettig stated that he would speak with Mr. Kropp about it.

Mr. Georgiou asked if it is residential to the east of this property. Mr. Rettig stated that he believes it is. Mr. Eberly responded that there are wetlands directly to the east and houses on Joliet Street.

E. CULVER’S – Continued Discussion
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Culver’s for a continued discussion involving the potential development of this restaurant in front of Target.

Mr. Doug Rettig, representing Mr. Fred Terpstra and Mr. John Terpstra of Culvers, stated that the site is approximately a 1-acre site that is currently being used as an overflow parking lot. Mr. Rettig noted that they were before the BZA and were granted multiple variances.

Mr. Forbes stated that he has driven to the Merrillville and Schererville Culver’s, and the drive-thru setup was interesting: As crowded as they were, that area was easily navigated. When you go to McDonald’s, they stage you in a parking spot off to the side that you have to back out of once you’ve received your order. At Culver’s, they give customers their orders and they move forward, eliminating backing out of a parking spot which makes it less hazardous. Mr. Forbes stated that he is comfortable with the straight through drive-thru setup.

Mr. Flores stated that he also went and watched the drive-thru at Culver’s and that it worked well.

Mr. Forbes noted that they eliminated one of the entrances from the southern end of the development by the garbage dumpster. The start of the drive-thru is still separated; but eliminating that entrance eliminates an excessive amount of traffic trying to cut across people using the drive-thru, mitigating the initial concern. He further stated that anybody who comes to this side of the building is going to be looking to go through the drive-thru and that it will function better with the changes that were made.

Mr. Flores asked if there was a similar setup at another store. Mr. Fred Terpstra responded that the Crown Point location is similar and explained the origin of their drive-thru stacking method.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the plan reflects any changes that resulted from comments made at the BZA meeting. Mr. John Terpstra responded that they were at a previous Plan Commission Study Session and one of the items that came up was the ingress/egress where the dumpster depot is now due to concerns of incoming and outgoing traffic dissecting the drive-thru lane, which could conflict with the cars in queue for the drive-thru. They had to obtain an allowance from Culver’s Corporate Office to close off that point of ingress/egress.

Mr. John Terpstra advised that they are subject to the cross parking and use easement of St. John Marketplace. He further advised that they exceed the minimum required parking spaces in order to be 100 percent self-parked. The parking spaces are smaller than 10x20-foot spaces that are required by ordinance; they are 9x18-foot spaces, which were approved by the BZA and are used throughout St. John Marketplace.

Mr. Georgiou asked for confirmation that this went before the BZA last month. Mr. John Terpstra responded in the affirmative and stated that they received approval for 16 different variances from developmental standards as well as a Special Exception recommendation to the Town Council for a drive-thru. Mr. Georgiou asked if the plan that is in front of the Plan Commission tonight reflects what occurred at the BZA. Mr. John Terpstra responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Forbes if the Town Council approved the Special Exception and that all of the variances requested were contingent upon the Town Council’s approval of the Special Exception. Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.

Mr. John Terpstra stated that the paper copy of the plan that is before the Plan Commission does not have a sidewalk along US 41. He further stated that it is a requirement of a new development to put in a sidewalk.

Mr. Eberly asked if they are going to be seeking a waiver from the sidewalk requirement. Mr. John Terpstra stated that he would like to get the Plan Commission’s input on that at this meeting to see which way to go with it.

Mr. John Terpstra stated the reason they would seek a waiver from the sidewalk requirement is there is no contiguous sidewalk to the north or south of the property and the exposure of risk and liability putting in a sidewalk. By installing a sidewalk, they would be inviting patrons of Culver’s, as well as all the other businesses in the St. John Marketplace, to utilize that sidewalk to go somewhere. The patron either would have to walk along US 41 or through a parking lot, which open’s Culver’s up to a patron walking that portion of sidewalk, that sidewalk terminating, that patron then being injured by walking along US 41 or through a parking lot, and Culver’s being exposed to a lawsuit.

Mr. John Terpstra advised that the owner is willing to accept a waiver on the condition that if contiguous sidewalks were installed, the owner would compensate or pay for the installation of the sidewalk along that border. He further advised that they would be willing to make that part of the record at the Plan Commission meeting.

Mr. Kozel asked how close the sidewalk would be to US 41. Mr. Rettig responded that it would be very close to the road. Mr. Kozel asked if it is similar to Lake Central. Mr. Rettig responded in the affirmative.

Mr. John Terpstra stated that the risk is real and that they have had a car go through the building in Highland, which is nowhere near as close to Ridge Road as this location is to US 41. It is a concern and an exposure to risk for the owner that seems to be intolerable when there is no sidewalk to the north or to the south.

Mr. Rettig stated that there are at least two utility poles right where the sidewalk should go on this plan; so the sidewalk would have to be wiggled around the poles and put it either on private property or closer to the road.

Mr. Eberly asked if that is what is shown on the electronic drawing. Mr. Rettig responded in the affirmative and stated that it wiggles it onto private property, which is typically not desired. Mr. Eberly concurred.

Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioner would need to submit a written request for that waiver at the time of the Primary Plat for the Plan Commission to act on.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see the sidewalk go in, that it has to start somewhere, and that this parcel is only one lot away from the crosswalk. He further stated that would like to have contiguous sidewalks all the way down to Alsip.

Mr. Georgiou asked if any sidewalk that is extended would be at the Town’s expense. Mr. Eberly responded that it would be the Town’s expense, excepting therefrom any development in between that occurs.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the right-of-way is there.

Mr. Eberly stated that, as Mr. John Terpstra has mentioned at previous meetings, the parking lot south of the new Culver’s will likely never be developed according to statements Target has made. Mr. John Terpstra concurred and stated that they had tried extensively to get more property to the south and Target was not amenable to the idea.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Town would likely need to put the sidewalk in if it were to be extended any further.

Mr. Panczuk stated that, what he’d call a phase one, would be to extend 97th to this, crossing one lot, so if kids are coming over from across US 41 to get to Culver’s, they’ll have a safe passage to Culver’s. They won’t have to go on Earl Drive, which he feels is already too thin.

Mr. Kozel stated that he’d rather see a sidewalk on Earl Drive if someone were going to walk up there. In the wintertime, a sidewalk along US 41 would get all the snow from the snowplow.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:43 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

08-07-2019 Plan Commission

August 7, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on August 7, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Also Present: Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director; Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer; and Joseph Svetanoff; Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the July 10, 2019 Regular Meeting and the July 17, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same.

Motion to approve the July 10, 2019 minutes by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to approve the July 17 Study Session minutes by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 5 ayes to 1 abstention by Mr. Kennedy due to absence from said meeting.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. CULVER’S – Primary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Fred Terpstra/DVG)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Culver’s Restaurant. The petitioner is seeking Primary Plat approval of a one-lot commercial subdivision at 9845 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Russ Pozen with DVG Team stated that Attorney John Terpstra is present representing the ownership; and they are here regarding the St. John Market Place lot that has been carved for Culver’s Restaurant. He further stated that all the statutes and requirements of the Town have been met and that they are here to seek Primary Plat approval.

Mr. Forbes asked if the proofs of publication are in order. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the plat is satisfactory, assuming waivers are granted to eliminate the requirement for a public curb and sidewalk within the US 41 right-of-way; that the Developmental Fee is $900; that the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan has not been reviewed; and that fee will be determined at the time of review.

Mr. Eberly advised that two waivers are being sought as part of this subdivision approval: One is for no sidewalk along US 41; the other is for no street curb on US 41. He further advised that INDOT has a planned widening project that would impact that area and that they have their own drainage plan for that area.

Mr. Kraus advised that the curb and gutter will be put in by INDOT in addition to some enhancements to the existing drainage system when they complete their project.

Mr. Flores asked when that is supposed to take place. Mr. Eberly stated that they will start some utility relocation this year and pavement work next year, as he understands it.

Mr. Kraus stated that the project has been moved twice and that he isn’t sure what the holdup is.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the lot was adjusted for the bank’s sign. Mr. Pozen responded in the negative. He then stated that Mr. Eberly had reviewed previous approvals of the sign for Fifth-Third Bank, and it was approved as an off-site sign.

Mr. Eberly advised that the bank sign is on the project property.

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Mr. Eberly advised that no remonstrances have been received by his office for this petition.

Having no one come forward wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Forbes advised that the curb would be torn out when the INDOT’s project commences and that they would be putting curb and gutter in anyhow, so he believes that waiver should be given. He stated that he feels the same way about the sidewalk waiver because we do not know where INDOT will move all the utilities; and without having any kind of drawings to look at, it is a wasteful gamble to have them install sidewalks as well.

Mr. Kennedy asked if we could request an “in lieu of value” to be used elsewhere if the waiver is granted since the community is losing the value of that sidewalk. Mr. Eberly and Mr. Forbes advised that we cannot require it.

Mr. Flores asked if there is something that can be done after the project is done by INDOT. Mr. Eberly responded that Mr. Terpstra had mentioned at a previous meeting that they would be willing to put in a sidewalk at a future date if there are sidewalks on either side of their lot.

Mr. Eberly stated that the petitioner may consider putting money in escrow for future installment of a sidewalk; however, there would need to be an inclusion so that their money wouldn’t be held in perpetuity.

Mr. Forbes stated that we did something like that before, and it didn’t work out; the escrow can get lost in the shuffle. He further stated that we can do it if they are willing to put the money in escrow; however, we don’t know if there will be enough room for a sidewalk when INDOT is finished.

Mr. Pozen stated that if INDOT widens this area more, they may request right-of-way acquisition and that along with the grade of the land would make it even more challenging to install a sidewalk.

Mr. Kozel asked if we could possibly get a right-of-way on Earl Drive. Mr. Forbes responded that there may not be room.

Mr. Terpstra stated that there is a positive business incentive for them to install a sidewalk there if a sidewalk connects to that property. He further stated that Mr. Eberly is correct: If they do have a waiver, they are willing to accept that waiver on the condition that if there are contiguous sidewalks brought to either side of the parcel, they will pay to carry that sidewalk through, across Culver’s parcel.

Mr. Panczuk stated that normally he would push for that connectivity, but this is an unusual parcel and situation. If the opportunity arises to the north, he would like to see that sidewalk go in as there is a crosswalk at 97th.

Mr. Forbes stated that the right-of-way would be moved if INDOT widens that section of US 41, so that will eat into the property that Culver’s could build a sidewalk on, which in his opinion would shift the responsibility back to INDOT to install a sidewalk.

Mr. Forbes asked if the Developmental Fee has been paid. Mr. Eberly responded in the negative.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding the requested curb waiver.

Motion to grant a waiver from the requirement of installing a curb on US 41 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding the requested sidewalk waiver.

Motion to grant a waiver from the requirement of installing a sidewalk along US 41 with the contingency that if contiguous sidewalks are brought to either side of the parcel, Culver’s will pay to carry that sidewalk through, across their parcel by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding Primary Plat, referencing the Findings of Fact.

Motion to grant Culver’s Restaurant Primary Plat approval for a one-lot subdivision at 9845 Wicker Avenue, referencing the Findings of Fact and withholding signatures on the Mylars until the Developmental Fee of $900 is paid, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. CULVER’S – Site Plan Approval – (Petitioner: Fred Terpstra/DVG)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Culver’s Restaurant. The petitioner is seeking Site Plan approval of a one-lot commercial subdivision at 9845 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Eberly advised that based on all the variances that were granted from the Board of Zoning Appeals and the review done at the Plan Commission, the Site Plan is compliant and ready for action.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the Site Plan is satisfactory assuming all requested waivers have been approved at Primary Plat approval; that Mr. Eberly will comment on the landscaping Plan and Site Lighting Plan compliance; and that the Site Plan Review Fee is $900.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Eberly’s Culver’s Site Plan Review letter, which finds that the Site Plan is compliant and that Mr. Eberly recommends the project’s approval.

Mr. Kozel asked if the Site Plan Review Fee has been paid. Mr. Eberly responded in the negative.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding Site Plan approval.

Motion grant Culver’s Restaurant Site Plan approval for a one-lot subdivision at 9845 Wicker Avenue, referencing the Findings of Fact, and withholding signatures on the Mylars until the Developmental Fee of $900 is paid, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 7E – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Don Torrenga)

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E for Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Don Torrenga stated that the plat has been submitted; it is Mahogany Terrace. He further stated that the parcel contains 20 lots.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the plat is satisfactory; that the Developmental Fee is $5,780.39; and that the public improvements are not complete and a Letter of Credit of $317,921.41 or a Surety Bond of $375,725.31 should be provided to the Town, ensuring completion of the work.

Mr. Forbes asked if the fees have been paid. Mr. Eberly responded in the negative.

Having no further questions or comments from the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E withholding signatures on the Mylars until the Developmental Fee is paid and all improvements are installed, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

C. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 17B – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Don Torrenga)

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 17B for Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Don Torrenga stated that this pod has 3 lots that are on Park Place. Mr. Lotton would like to put in the improvements and withhold signature.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the plat is satisfactory; that the Developmental Fee is $1,798.26; and that public improvements are not complete and a Letter of Credit of $98,904.36 or Surety Bond of $116,886.96 should be submitted to the Town, ensuring the completion of the work. Mr. Forbes commented that there will be no Letter of Credit or Surety Bond as per Mr. Torrenga.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they are residential lots. Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly what the current zoning is for the property. Mr. Eberly responded that it is currently R-4 PUD, which is the old zoning from when it was approved years ago.

Mr. Panczuk asked for confirmation that they are only breaking out two or three lots in that pod. Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative and stated that he isn’t sure of the exact reason, but he assumes that Mr. Lotton will be selling the lots.

Mr. Georgiou asked what is to the east of the lots. Mr. Torrenga responded that it will be Unit 7F, which are residential lots.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is additional R-4 PUD adjacent to this pod. Mr. Torrenga stated that 1407 is owned by Phillippe Builders, which may also be R-4 PUD.

Mr. Flores asked what the private drive is. Mr. Torrenga responded that it would be an entrance to the church off of Park Place.

Having no further questions or comments from the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for The Gates of St. John, Pod 17B withholding signatures on the Mylars until the Developmental Fee is paid and all improvements are completed, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

D. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN – Permission to Advertise – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Tim Kuiper, Attorney at Law)

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John. The petitioner is seeking permission to advertise for a rezoning Public Hearing involving acreage on the east side of Cline Avenue, between Joliet Street and US 231. The requested change is from R-1 to R-2 PUD.

Mr. Tim Kuiper stated that they are here tonight regarding four parcels of land, totaling 108.708 acres, immediately east of Cline Avenue, roughly between US 231 and Joliet Street, directly across the street from The Gates of St. John and will become part of The Gates of St. John.

Mr. Kuiper advised that there are another seven parcels that are subject to an annexation petition that has been submitted to the Town that will be added to the four parcels in town to create a unified project. More project details will be provided at the Study Session, and they are requesting to permission to advertise for Public Hearing at the September meeting.

Mr. Panczuk asked when a more detailed drawing would be ready. Mr. Kuiper responded that a more detailed drawing would be submitted to Mr. Eberly on August 21.

Having no further questions or comments from the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion.

Motion to grant permission to advertise for a Public Hearing by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I live in The Gates of St. John, and, um, I – I would ask you for just a minute or so of babble. This surprises me, this whole opportunity. There was very little notice for what was included. I will take it upon myself to contact the office to find out more detail, but a number of things just jump out at me.

I know there was a decision ten years ago that was made that resulted in a – yet unexplained in my mind – court case that cost this Town $3 million. I would ask if there’s any hidden fees in here. There was a deal floating around about a ball park. I don’t understand where that is or if it’s included in here; but it seems like it was a very, very sketchy presentation and, uh, very little information. And you’re making a very sensitive decision; you’re starting down that road with very little information. But I will follow up and pursue this with a little more intensity.

But I’ve got interest in what you’re doing. It’s going to do a lot to that area; that’s a large area. A number of parts of it are unincorporated. I know there’s a deal floating around somewhere that was made with the Town Council. Um, I ask you to be careful. There’s a lot of people involved; this is a big change. Um, there’s not much information, and I’m surprised you’re taking such positive action with such limited information. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): This is the first drawing that appears on the wall that shows anybody what’s going on with this parcel. What was negotiated ten years ago has nothing to do, whatsoever, with what’s going on today: 108 acres; a whole bunch of units; a rezoning from R-1 residential, 20,000 square-foot lots; to R-2 PUD, which opens the floodgates. What are you going to put on those lots? Why isn’t everything spelled out before the public? Why aren’t we transparent enough to show the St. John residents what this is going to be before anything happens? Why are you pulling this?

It’s up to you to explain it, and yet you don’t; you stand here. And they’re going to give – next week we’re going to give you drawings. We’re going to have a public hearing in a month. How do the people know what this is? They don’t, and that’s the whole intent of this – is the people don’t know. And it’s up to you to make sure they do. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Paul Gesiakowski (10353 Cline Avenue): My wife and I live in unincorporated Crown Point, which I believe is that lot right there (pointing to a lot displayed on the media screen). The preliminary drawings that we saw when we met with Mr. Kil and Mr. Lotton don’t look anything like that. In fact, there were retention ponds and other things, uh, a large berm that goes parallel to our property north, curves east, and then goes north again.

And, uh, I don’t know how many of you know about the chronic flooding issues we have in that area, but I’m just as shocked as anybody else to see this, because I don’t mind having neighbors, even right up back against me. But we were told that the flooding problems that we see every time it rains were going to be solved because of infrastructure that was going to be put there right to the right of where the cursor is (referencing the media screen display). Can you say anything to that today?

(Mr. Forbes responded that infrastructure would be installed.)

It will be?

(Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative and stated that the subdivision is being designed to take care of that flooding problem.)

Right, okay. So it won’t look like that, then, is what you’re saying?

(Mr. Forbes responded that it will look like that, but the water will be rerouted. The designs are taking those flooding issues into account.)

Okay, so you’re familiar with our address.

(Mr. Forbes told Mr. Gesiakowski that he has seen the remedy for his drainage problem and that the water would be rerouted away from his property. Mr. Forbes further stated that conversation has been ongoing for some time.)

It has, yes.

(Mr. Forbes stated that there has been involvement with Lake County, Mr. Kil, and Mr. Lotton.)

And just for the record, it’s not just us. Magnolia Gate, which is to the north of us, all of those people on the south side and east side experience the same flooding that we do every time it rains.

(Mr. Forbes stated that he believes their yard gets hit significantly with flooding.)

Yeah, we’re the ones that have the lake in our – our yard.

(Mr. Forbes stated that the stormwater drainage and rerouting is intended to eliminate that.)

Okay, but it just doesn't appear here?

(Mr. Forbes responded in the negative.)

Okay.

(Mr. Forbes stated that there is a ponding system that will collect the water and reroute it.)

Okay, so when – when might we see those as opposed to this? I mean, you said – what’s happening on Wednesday next week?

(Mr. Eberly responded that in one week, the developer intends to present a more detailed drawing in preparation for the Study Session on August 21. He stated the Public Hearing will be on September 4 and then explained what drawings will be required when.)

And that’s September 4 you said; right?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.)

(Mr. Forbes stated that September 4 is a Public Hearing for the rezoning. He further stated that plans and designs are in place to remedy the drainage problems for Mr. Gesiakowski and his neighbors.)

Okay, so in a week, is that open to the public?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative and stated that he can request a copy of the plans from Building & Planning.)

All right, okay; thank you much.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed the floor.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Kennedy adjourned the meeting at 7:44 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

08-21-2019 Plan Commission

August 21, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on August 21, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: None.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. CULVER’S – Secondary Plat Approval at the September Meeting
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Culver’s; the petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval at the September 4, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting.

Mr. Eberly briefly explained that due to a lightning strike, the use of the monitors for viewing documents would be unavailable this evening.

Mr. Russ Pozen with DVG stated that they would be seeking Secondary Plat at the September meeting.

Mr. Kraus stated that there were two minor revisions to the plat: One had to do with easements and the other had to do with the owner of the property; and both have been corrected.

Mr. Pozen explained that on the left side of the plat, it contained Utility Easement and Drainage Easement statements and a section for signatures for the site owner, which is Target Corporation. Target requested that the language for those easements be removed before they sign because there is no dedication of any new easements. The existing easements are already on the plat and are still governing, and Target didn’t want any confusion that new easements were being created.

Mr. Forbes advised the petitioners that the board would see them in September.

B. THE PRESERVE PHASE 3A – Secondary Plat Approval at the September Meeting
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Preserve, Phase 3A. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this two-lot phase at the September 4, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting.

Mr. Eberly stated that this is a two-lot subdivision seeking Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Scott Zajac of Schilling Development, representing The Preserve SJ, stated that this phase contains two approximately 2.5-acre lots. They are dedicating 50 feet of right-of-way. Water and sanitary stubs have been directed to both lots.

Mr. Kozel asked Mr. Zajac if he had stated that the utilities are in. Mr. Zajac responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kraus noted that they were installed when the paving work was done on 101st Avenue.

Mr. Panczuk asked if these are the final two lots in that run. Mr. Zajac responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked if they are buildable lots. Mr. Zajac responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes advised the petitioners that the board would see them in September.

C. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Introduction of Primary Plat
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner will be introducing the primary plat for the 108 acres east of Cline Avenue between Joliet Street and US 231, and will be seeking permission to advertise for same at the September 4, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting

Attorney Tim Kuiper stated that the rezone for this would be heard at the September 4, 2019 meeting. In addition, they will also be seeking permission to advertise at that meeting for the October 2 meeting for Primary Plat approval for this section of the property, which is being requested at this time because there is a well site on the property that is going to connect to the treatment facility inside The Gates of St. John. In order to install the infrastructure to connect that, they need at least Primary Plat approval to move forward with those connections. If everything goes well, they could be pushing dirt by late October to make that connection. Mr. Kuiper stated that they are aware that they are proceeding at their own risk because the zoning is not in place yet.

Mr. Flores stated that he would like to see larger R-1 lots. He further stated that there are many lots jam packed into this and he is concerned that Public Safety and Public Works will be strained.

Mr. Panczuk stated that having this subdivision be R-2 instead of R-1 doesn't meet checkpoint 4 or 5 of IC 36-7-4-603; that our roads are not adequate to handle almost double the population in the same area, and that he takes issue with the PUD status. Mr. Panczuk stated that our Town ordinance calls for R-2 PUD, if it is to be a PUD, the underlying density should be the same as a straight R-2, and this isn’t close to that or the underlying density in the original Gates.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he thinks the density is about 3.26 per acre with no green space or any of the amenities that R-2 PUD specifically calls out in the ordinance that we provide smaller lot sizes in exchange for preserving green space, trees, and it’s completely out of line for R-2 PUD. He further stated that he is opposed to changing it from what it is right now, especially since we’re getting nothing in return.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Eberly if he could speak to the density of this project and The Gates that is existing. Mr. Eberly stated that the density of the existing Gates is 2.6 units per acre, and the proposed density of these 108 acres is 3.25 units per acre.

Mr. Eberly stated that he has been doing an analysis of this to see what the average lot sizes are in The Gates, and the average lot size per residential unit is 10,146 square feet, which is 1000 square feet less than what is being proposed in this project. Mr. Eberly stressed that it is per unit. Pod 4 has five detached residential structures on a 35,000-square-foot lot, roughly 7000 square feet per structure. There are large lots in The Gates; for example, Pod 1B has only two lots in it that average 36,750 square feet. The average lot size is 16,076 square feet. When you take the average lot size based on the number of units, it drops to 10,146. The average lot size is smaller in the existing Gates than what is proposed in The Gates East.

Mr. Eberly advised that the minimum ranch size would be 1700 square feet instead of our standard of 1900 square feet; the 1.5-story size is 2250 square feet, which is the same as our standard; and the 2-story size is 2250 square feet instead of our standard of 2400 square feet. All of it is livable space and is exclusive of garages, porch, decks, or basements.

Mr. Eberly further advised that the setback lines they are requesting are 25-40 floating building setback line; a 30-foot rear-yard setback, which is the normal standard in The Gates; and a 6-foot side-yard setback. The Gates has some pods with 6-foot side-yard setbacks and other pods have 8-foot side-yard setbacks.

Mr. Forbes requested confirmation that everything in the development would be single-family homes. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kuiper stated that they expect the same type of mix in product in this project would be a mix, like what is currently in The Gates; this would be under the jurisdiction of The Gates of St. John Homeowners Association. He further stated that they expect the same type of quality, sales, and prices.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there is any consideration for meeting the R-2 Zoning square footage minimums versus what is proposed. Mr. Kuiper responded that the square footage gives a little bit more flexibility.

Mr. Panczuk stated that less square footage is less value, and conservation of property values is important.

Mr. Kuiper stated that is the traditional school of thought; however, some of the homes in The Gates are a smaller square footage size, but the value is tremendously more. These will be subject to The Gates covenants, which will preserve the value.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Panczuk if he is saying, for 108 acres, our ordinance calls for the density of an R-2 PUD, that if it had all the landscaping and open space, we would allow a smaller R-2 PUD footprint.

Mr. Panczuk stated that our ordinance is pretty clear: R-2 is 2.66 per acre, then you subtract out streets and detention areas, so the net of that would be around 2.3 per acre. The idea is to preserve open space. He further stated that if the petitioner is inclined to make a zoning change from R-1 to R-2 PUD, it should be the same density as R-2 per our ordinance.

Mr. Georgiou stated that he doesn't believe the density is specified in the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it actually is and that R-2 PUD specifically states the underlying density should be the same as R-2.

Mr. Eberly advised being cautious: The ordinance makes that comment about the RC-1 PUD and RC-2 PUD; that is not an R-2 PUD. The C is for conservation; and that was created to allow homes to be clustered in order leave the green spaces untouched as much as possible, like Continental did. The ordinance makes a distinction that is specific to the RC-1 and RC-2 PUDs. It states that the density shall be no greater than the underlying R-1 or R-2 zoning district. We don’t define what those densities are for R-1 or R-2. They are not in our ordinance anywhere.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it doesn't give a number, but it can be surmised through the math. Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly to open up the Zoning Ordinance, as he is pretty sure it is in there.

Mr. Kennedy showed Mr. Panczuk that what he is referencing is the RC-2 Zoning District.

Mr. Eberly advised that Chapter 5.3 RC-2 PUD District states, in the last portion of the sentence, “…an overall density for the development that is no greater than what is allowed in the underlying R-2 District.”

Mr. Panczuk stated that he sees it and asked what the R-2 PUD specifies. Mr. Eberly responded that it doesn't, we don’t even have it in the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they are applying for something that doesn't even exist. Mr. Eberly stated that this discussion was had approximately a year ago: Mr. Muenich, Town Attorney at that time, stated that we could not zone that project for a PUD because that designation wasn’t in the Zoning Ordinance. Barnes & Thornburg issued an opinion that said we could attach a PUD designation to any zoning district that is listed in the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn't see any advantage to the Town in increasing density with no tradeoff whatsoever.

Mr. Forbes stated that he isn’t sure how that the R-1 PUD or R-2 PUD designation started and that we are looking at a residential PUD or a commercial PUD. Somehow, somebody started tagging it with the R-2 and R-3. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Kuiper stated that it is trying to identify that it is still single-family residences. Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Forbes’ clarification is a good point; usually, we’re just talking about a residential, commercial, or industrial PUD. It isn’t usually specified an R-1, R-2, B-1, C-1, or whatever.

Mr. Forbes stated that, as Mr. Kuiper mentioned, the R-1 or R-2 PUD designates that it is still single-family units, and the R-3 PUD was to let people know that multifamily units are included in the PUD. In this case, it is all single-family units.

Mr. Forbes advised that the Town is getting a great deal out of this development, even though it lacks the green space amenities that are preferred. We are getting two well sites, which are extremely important; there will be a lengthy bike trial installed; and there will be significant work done by the developer to repair a drainage issue for a resident that is already living on Cline Avenue. Mr. Forbes stated that there are benefits to this subdivision.

Mr. Kozel asked if we would have right-of-way on Cline Avenue. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the minimum square footage requirements of the homes in the Zoning Commitment are based on our zoning requirements. Mr. Eberly stated that they are identified exceptions to our standards, except the 1.5-story house, which meets our standard.

Mr. Kennedy stated that we have no ordinance on building materials. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Kennedy asked if that is something that could be put in the Zoning Commitment. Mr. Eberly responded that they have their own covenants that have minimum building material requirements, which exceeds what is in the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Kuiper advised that in Illinois they could require those things; however, in Indiana they can’t be required, albeit a petitioner could offer them.

Mr. Kennedy asked if this was agreed upon with the Town. Mr. Kuiper responded that there is a settlement agreement between the Town and the developer due to some litigation and some other things.

Mr. Kuiper briefly summarized some of the agreement terms, including but not limited to the average square footage of the lots, the 6-foot side-yard setback, the two well site dedications, the connections, and the bike trail through The Gates and up into the proposed Schererville bike trail.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is an agreement that this has to take place. Mr. Panczuk responded in the negative and stated there’s no contract; that would be unlawful. Mr. Panczuk stated that a disclaimer in the Settlement Agreement specifies that it cannot be considered as part of this rezoning.

Mr. Eberly advised that there is no obligation on the part of the Plan Commission to consider that Settlement Agreement at all.

Mr. Georgiou asked if it is just the side yard and the average lot size that is part of the settlement. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative and stated that a PUD is set up with what you’re looking for to begin with so everybody is on the same page about what is actually being requested.

Mr. Flores asked why the Settlement Agreement is being brought up if it has nothing to do with this here.

Mr. Kuiper stated that the Plan Commission has to evaluate the petition on its merits. There are things that are outside of the petition, such as talking about the roads and whether they can handle the area or not, that’s not part of this petition.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he disagrees; the roads are part of the consideration of item five of IC 36-7-4-603, responsible growth and development.

Mr. Kuiper stated that responsible growth and development could be anything. For example, throwing an industrial plant right next door to residential is irresponsible growth and development. Whether or not the roads can handle it or not, whether or not you have property that’s zoned R-1, we could come in with a plat tomorrow, and whether you have 50 homes less or not, there still could be traffic issues.

Mr. Kuiper stated this is supposed to be independently evaluated by the Plan Commission. There are certainly things outside of that which can be considered based upon what you know. You can weigh heavily in favor of them or disregard them; but the fact is the Settlement Agreement exists. It doesn't require you to do anything. If you do, that’s okay; if you don’t, that’s okay too, because you can’t have contract zoning.

Mr. Flores asked what the purpose is for the reduction in the housing square footage. Mr. Kuiper stated that it allows for flexibility on the lots. That same flexibility was inside The Gates, which allowed for a variety of products there.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Plan Commission doesn't have to accept that if they are not comfortable with it. If the Plan Commission is inclined to grant the rezoning, you can designate that the ranches will have to meet the minimum of 1900 square feet and the 2-story houses will have to meet the minimum of 2400 square feet.

Mr. Kozel asked Mr. Kuiper if he could get the Plan Commission a list of the building materials that would be required. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative and stated that it’s in the recorded covenants for The Gates and that this property will be added to it.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wanted to make a correction to a statement: It’s not just 50 homes different; we’re talking about 352 homes versus about 180 homes. It’s a significant difference on our roads, our public service infrastructure, and the Crown Point school system.

Mr. Kozel asked if there would be any age-restricted units. Mr. Kuiper responded in the negative.

Mr. Kennedy asked what is currently to the north of the proposed project. Mr. Kuiper responded that there isn’t anything to the north, currently.

Mr. Eberly responded that Pod 2 of The Gates is on the east side of Cline Avenue, and they are all single-family units.

Mr. Kennedy asked what is to the south and east. Mr. Eberly responded that it is all unincorporated.

Mr. Kuiper stated that Green Acres is unincorporated and to the east of this project; and to the north of Green Acres is Schererville, north all the way to 101st Avenue. The property directly to the north of this project is subject to an annexation petition that the Town Council will consider on first reading tomorrow night, which is part of the larger project that these four properties are involved in.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the area all the way to the south on the drawing that is not shaded is part of the project. Mr. Kuiper responded in the negative and stated that there is a solid dark line showing the edge of the project property; that area is subject to annexation. The drawing is trying to show how the overall plan would lay out with the rest of the property to the south. Mr. Flores asked how many additional lots would be added with that annexation. Mr. Kuiper stated that the total is for 219 acres, but he doesn't recall the exact number of lots. Mr. Eberly stated that it could be seen on the drawing.

Mr. Panczuk stated to beware: Whatever is not part of tonight could be anything the next time you see it.

Mr. Kuiper stated that he could have that number for the board.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the applicable document for the rezoning is the Zoning Commitment. Mr. Eberly responded that it is the Zoning Commitment and the proposed Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Georgiou stated that the actual lot layouts, etc., are just preliminary in general, not specific. Mr. Kuiper confirmed the same.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions or comments. None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:43 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

09-04-2019 Plan Commission

September 4, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on September 4, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Also Present: Stephen Kil, Town Manager on behalf of Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director; Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer; and Joseph Svetanoff; Town Attorney.

Absent: Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director.

Mr. Forbes announced that the media equipment is not working at this time.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the August 7, 2019 Regular Meeting and the August 21, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same. Hearing none, he entertained a motion

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2019-0010 THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Rezoning from R-1 to R-2 PUD – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Tim Kuiper)

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner is seeking rezoning of 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue and between US 231 and Joliet Street from R-1 Single-Family to R-2 PUD Single-Family.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that all items are in order for this petition to proceed.

Mr. Tim Kuiper stated that he is here on behalf of LBL Development, LLC, the petitioner and owner of the 108 acres located east of Cline Avenue in the general location as described.

Mr. Kuiper stated that there is a lot of misinformation that he would like to address: This request is to change from an R-1 to an R-2 PUD, which is still single-family homes. This property is subject to a settlement agreement; as part of that, the developer is donating the well site and installing a bike trail from St. John that will connect to Schererville. This development will be consistent with the product and style done already in The Gates of St. John. The average lot size will be 11,200 square feet; the average lot size in the existing Gates is 10,200 square feet. The landscaping, berming, and things like that will be consistent with The Gates.

Mr. Kuiper advised that at the request of the Town, this property and the adjacent property, totaling 219 acres, will not be part of The Gates of St. John Homeowners Association; a new homeowners association will be formed for this proposed subdivision. He further advised that there is still a lot of work to be done, which will come during the subdivision process, such as addressing the stormwater, which will be captured on site, retained, and stored. There is currently sheet water flowing to the east and west that will be eliminated, for the most part, because it will have to be captured and retained on site.

Mr. Kuiper advised that a lot of the design elements will be done during the subdivision process. The covenants will be finalized, agreed to, and submitted, and traffic considerations will be taken care of at that time. Mr. Kuiper stated that it is their contention that the proposal meets the requirements for the PUD as specified in the St. John Zoning Ordinance and the Indiana Code. It complies with the Comprehensive Plan, as it calls for this area to be residential. It takes into account current conditions of the surrounding area. It is a desirable use of the land that conserves property values, and it is responsible growth and development.

Mr. Kennedy asked for confirmation that Mr. Kuiper is saying this area will not be part of The Gates of St. John Homeowners Association. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kennedy asked about the minimum building requirements for the homes. Mr. Forbes responded that it shows in the Zoning Commitment and that it would be reflected in the covenants as well.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he doesn't know what the new association’s covenants are. Mr. Kuiper responded that it follows the Zoning Commitment before the board, which has the minimum side-yards, the average lot sizes, and minimum home sizes in it. As the subdivision process is approved, there will be covenants similar to those of The Gates of St. John, which will require building materials, landscaping, and all the stuff that is seen in The Gates of St. John currently.

Mr. Forbes stated that the covenants will be the same, basically, but it will say The Gates of St. John East instead of The Gates of St. John. Mr. Kuiper concurred and stated that it will be a separate association.

Ms. Abernathy advised that the revised Zoning Commitment and that item L of the R-1 to R-2 Planned Unit Request summary documents are in their packets.

Mr. Forbes advised that Mr. Eberly had emailed the revised Zoning Commitment to the board.

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Cynthia Costello (7905 West 102nd Place, Crown Point): I am a homeowner in The Gates of St. John. I am asking you to remember us at Magnolia Gate. We are a small community. But we’re close, and we’re tight knit. We are friends, and we look out for each other. Most of us are older; and for most of us, this is the last home we are going to own. I need you to look out for us, just as we do as neighbors.

I am concerned about our safety, the safety of our – of all of us and of each of our homes. We have had to deal with flooding that comes from the land that Mr. Lotton plans to develop. When a rain – when a hard rain comes, the water flows deep into our yards and out into our streets. We’ve had corncobs, cornstalks all through our yards and into our streets. Water comes up to our patios. It’s frightening in the night when a storm comes, thinking how bad will it be this time. We have noticed that the flooding has increased since the staging area has been put in. The ground raised for staging has seem to have had an impact causing additional flooding.

I am asking you that, whatever decision you make, that you remember that we live there and are, greatly, affected. I ask you to care about our quality of life. I ask you to include verbiage stating that Mr. Lotton must correct the flooding problem, divert the water away from Magnolia Gate, and the corrections that are made that he must maintain them. I ask you to include this in writing as part of your decision. We need the Town to look out for us and protect us and our homes in Magnolia Gate.

And one final little thing, uh, I just have one thing to include. Please also include that in this HOA not being part of East Gate, please make sure that it is not added onto Magnolia Gate’s HOA because we pay two separate HOAs; Gates of St. John HOA and then Magnolia Gate HOA because we are maintenance free. I’d ask you to make sure that that isn’t added onto our HOA. Thank you for your time.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I have prepared a statement which is fairly lengthy. I’m going to hit the highlights, if I can pass the full memoir onto the board.

(Mr. DeVito passed out a copy of his remonstrance letter. Said letter has been attached hereto and made a part thereof as Exhibit No. 2019-09-04-PC1.)

Thank you. I’m not opposed to town annexation, nor am I opposed to sensible and managed town growth and development. The vision, as proposed by many concerned citizens about town growth, is that the Town should adhere to its own ordinances in building size and setbacks to provide open spaces, to maintain the town character dating back to its founding in 1837, or as it says in our town website, “St. John is a well-planned community.”

I ask that this Plan Commission, tonight, reject the R-2 PUD as presented because its housing density per acre is significantly higher than most everywhere in town and uses the R2-PUD zone in the worst possible way to cram maximum units into minimum space, an outcome clearly contrary to the letter and intention of the Comprehensive Plan and a serious deviation from all that is St John. This plan calls for maximum home density and no, or absolutely minimal, open spaces that is so contrary to the town.

I’d like to divert for just a moment because at the Study Session, it was made clear that the lots of the new development and the lots in some of The Gates are about the same average size. What was missing was that was not based on the density. The density in – in The Gates, as it stands right now, is 2.3. In the proposal, it’s 2. – 3.26 or a 41% increase. So the comparisons, while they’re correct numerically, are not correct in total.

The developer is poised to make windfall profits of almost $2 million dollars on just the additional 100 homes increase between a more typical R2-PUD development with a per-unit density of 2.3 and this option for an increased density of 3.26. Yet his attorney boldly stated that there are no plans to address the new traffic in the area, no commitment for parks, minimal to no open space.

Number three, it allows waivers on all side-lot setbacks from 10 to 6 feet and permits 100% of its homes to be built smaller than the minimum square footage ordinance, perhaps, providing the precedent for future developments to also request these waivers. This Plan Commission has called other developers to task: the carwash on 92nd, the “Shops on 96th”, Three Springs, etc. Uh, it’s time to take a look at this one.

Number five, it is the implied responsibility to look at zoning in a comprehensive way. The Plan Commission has many examples of rezoning parts of a development to phases and to address each phase as a separate rezone request. Yet in each case to date, the entire scope of the project is within the town and the Town has full jurisdiction on the subject property. In this case, it would not only be imprudent, but wrong to make a zoning change to town land only to find later, proposed complementary annexation does not happen as expected.

I strongly encourage and request this Plan Commission to not approve this R-2 PUD as it stands now and to defer any decisions on rezoning these parcels of land until the entire 218 acres in question are fully annexed. At the time of the entirety of this PUD request, its full impact on the community, its precedent setting waivers, its ultimate benefit to the community can be accurately evaluated.

Item 2 of the agreement between the developer and the Town implies that the Town will make best efforts to implement it in annex and zoning changes. Item 6 clearly says the Plan Commission “will take all reasonable, lawful steps pertaining to rezoning,” further implying that the Plan Commission is expected to vote in favor of the developer. Sure it was confirmed at the Town Council meeting and the last Plan Commission Study Session that the Council Members and Commission Members are not under any obligation to vote in favor of a proposed R-2 PUD; but any of us living in the real world understand the bias of and personal pressures by the words of the agreement and the possible impact this has on someone’s decision making, their perception, and consequences, regardless of how they vote.

I have one more paragraph, please. It is important to restate § 24-423 (c) of Ordinance 1483. “The PUD standards are intended to strengthen public control over development while providing the necessary latitude for the owner and developer to make creative and efficient use of their property."

I ask that each Plan committee member remember this definition, especially the part about "strengthen public control over development". Approving 3.26 unit density, no green spaces, no offer of road improvements, request for two waivers of major building ordnances are not examples of strong public control; rather, they are classic examples of developers run wild. Leadership comes forth from responsibility, not from the whims and wishes of a single profit-driven developer. Thank you.

James Litty (8120 Cranberry): I am concerned about the traffic from the 350 estimated houses in the first phase. You’re talking about, uh, probably around 500 cars using Cline Avenue and the new roundabout to access 231; and it’s going to be a nightmare just to get out of the subdivision and get anywhere you want to go. I just, uh, I think it’s unsafe to try and put – which is only about half of the total phase – that many cars on that street with, uh, the new roundabout that is scheduled for Cline and 231. Thank you,

Jim DeBoer (10655 Bell Street, Crown Point): For me too, it’s also about the traffic that’s going to be there. It’s bad enough now. I can see cars backed all the way up from Cline Avenue all the to Parrish Avenue now; and putting that many more homes in, there’s just no other way to do it. I mean, a roundabout, I don’t think, is going to be the answer. I think it’s going to be nothing but chaos and accidents, Uh, it could maybe help with turning lanes; but there – I think there needs to be more – more stoplights up to rotate the traffic and to give everybody more space.

I know of – where over on our street, we can sit there for 25 minutes in the morning and 25 to 30 minutes at night to try to get out because there is so much traffic already. This is just going to make it even worse; and I don’t know what kind of solution can be made. But something needs to be done if all these homes are put in there. Thank you.

Nicholas Crnokrak (10656 Bell Street, Crown Point): Members of the Planning Commission, my name is Nick Crnokrak; and I live in the adjacent subdivision to the parcel in question. I’m here today because I’m concerned about the zoning change. The zone change request from R-1 to R-2 PUD, which is planned unit development, goes against the current conditions and that character of the current structures in the area.

As stated on page 47 of the Town of St. John’s Comprehensive Plan, “Low density, single family residential is the predominate housing type in St. John, which is consistent with adjoining communities.” The parcel in question does have an existing adjoining housing community to the east called “Green Acre Estates”. Green Acre Estates has significantly large single-family homes with large lots – lot sizes, the smallest being one acre.

The proposed housing plan submitted by Mr. Lotton shows four homes per acre and does not take the existing adjoining community structures into consideration. Staying aligned with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan that was presented to the public in January 2017, the map on page 44 shows the lots zoned for R-1; and that zoning should remain to stay aligned with the character and the structures in the area.

For the following reasons, the zoning change request should be denied: The zone change from R-1 to R-2 PUD would go against the conservation of property values throughout the district. Property values in the Green Acres Estates subdivision have minimum ranges from $260,000 to $455,000 with most lot sizes greater than one acre. The proposed zoning change to R-2 PUD would allow four homes to be built per acre; and our homes would have a significant decrease in value.

For the following reasons, the zoning change should be denied: The zone change from R-1 to R-2 PUD also goes against responsible development and growth outlined in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. On page 47, the Town’s plan states that the Town will “continue to encourage the development of single-family residential developments that provide adequate transportation connectivity, open spaces, trails, and amenities to attract new long-term residents.” The plan proposed by Mr. Lotton shows hardly any open spaces, and multiple plots are put tightly together. In addition, the Comprehensive Plan states that you will, “Maintain quiet residential streets with low traffic volumes that provide safe places for children.” The high-population-density plan proposed by Mr. Lotton does not take any of these points into consideration due to the amount of people per acre that will reside in these areas. For the following reasons, the zoning change request should be denied. Thank you.

Linda Sullivan (10511 Juniper Lane): I am opposed to rezoning from R-1 single-family to R-2 PUD single-family for the following reasons: First and foremost is the road and traffic impact. As other people have said, uh, 93rd, old Joliet, Cline, 231, they are backed up significantly as it stands now, without these additional homes being built. Two lanes should be four lanes.

Nowhere in the planning has anyone considered reserving some of this land so additional lanes can be put in at a future date. The homes are allowed to be put right up to the existing lanes; and that is just causing problems. Later on, what’s going to happen if you have to expand these roads? We’re going to go out and try to buy these homes back. That doesn't seem very intelligent.

Uh, I’m concerned about safety. We need an additional firehouse and police department before adding anymore housing. Uh, the original plat for The Gates of St. John included a fire department. Can anyone here tell me what happened to that?

(Mr. Forbes stated that the land is still there.)

Okay. Why isn’t it being built because, right now, we have a railroad crossing that makes response time in an emergency longer and questionable as to getting there in time to avoid loss of life and property? Okay. Let’s consider doing that before we keep giving Mr. Lotton everything that he desires.

Okay. There’s a school impact. We should be a good neighbor. Crown Point was not advised. Uh, Mrs. Dowling found out the day before the last Town Council meeting about this proposed change. She stated that they will be severely and adversely affected by the proposed density. We’re not the only ones that live in this area; we should be a good neighbor.

The flooding possibility is going to be increased. The less space you have for water to go where – what’s going to happen? The retention pond behind my house right now rises 5 to 10 feet during storms. What’s going to happen when there’s more homes? And from what I’ve seen so far, there’s not significant or adequate retention being considered in this proposed development. As well as Magnolia Gate, uh, a previous person’s already is, you know, having a lot of flooding. There’s just not proper planning, in my estimation. And for all these reasons, I believe that R-1 should be maintained in this development. Thank you.

Edward Gierczyk (10843 Walnut Drive): I’m a new resident of St. John in The Gates of St. John. The last 20 years, I’ve been a resident in Schererville and lived at Briar Ridge in an incredible subdivision that’s very well-organized, done very professionally, and has been maintained that way since its inception.

I personally have been in the development business since 1977 and have been involved in mammoth projects. I’ve been involved and in front of village boards in probably 500 communities around the Chicago area and in three states. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a development run as loosey-goosey as this particular subdivision. I don’t know what you call it; it’s so discombobulated. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Um, I received an occupancy permit that I had nothing to do with for my residence, and we have no life safety support for our home whatsoever. We have no phone service. We have nothing except for water, sewer, and whatever was there that you guys allowed to approve. Um, I – it’s very disappointing because for some reason, Mr. Lotton, who has no vested interest in this community other than his – the investments he’d have to return, uh, money. He doesn't live here. We’re all residents. You’re all residents. You’re all responsible with the decisions that get – be made to go ahead and allow one individual profit from every transaction that gets made.

We don’t – we don’t know what a homeowners association is here.

(Mr. Forbes instructed Mr. Gierczyk to address the board.)

We – we don’t know what our homeowners association is here; there’s several of them in the subdivision. Um, I don’t know how you could even consider an expansion for anything else that could be done here when we’ve got development that’s going on already that I – I don’t know if it’s been approved or not. There’s no, uh, uh, stormwater protection program that’s in place over at The Gates. There’s, uh, 200 acres – or 100 acres that’s being developed right now straight down the main drag of The Gates that’s being cut, filled, no, uh, uh, silt fencing whatsoever, no SWPP program, no – no instructions, no – no guidelines, no nothing. It’s completely the “Wild West”. You are all responsible for that.

You are responsible for the fact that everywhere we turn in our subdivision, it’s unfinished, and we’re going allow another 680 homes. Where were the feasibility studies for traffic, for the schools, for the infrastructure on our sewer and water? Where are they? Can you provide those to us?

There – there – there is – there is a class-action that’s being put together on this subdivision. We are not expecting that this village board or town board is going to approve any more expansion with Lotton Development until the mess that’s in The Gates is completely addressed and the residents that are paying the taxes here so that all of this can happen are addressed first and satisfied. So please be aware that this just isn’t a Lotton Development issue, this is a Town of St. John issue. Thanks.

Paul Geslakowski (10353 Cline Avenue, Crown Point): We’re the first lot immediately south of Magnolia Gate; and our principal reason we’re here is, as many of you know, is because of the ongoing flooding in that corridor. Like has already been said, major flooding occurs on the south side of Magnolia Gate, the east side of Magnolia Gate, the south side of 101st, as well as our property and the neighbor immediately south of ours. Now, I’m looking at the retention areas on here; and uh, I hope that they’ll be sufficient. I’ve been told, both privately by Steve and John, that our problems going to be solved. I heard it here in this very room. I’ve heard it many times that our future drainage flooding problems are going to be a thing of the past.

I just want to ask a question. We owned that property before Magnolia Gate was planned and built; so we went through this whole process back in 2004, 2003, whenever that was, public hearings, public comment; and at that time, we did what everybody else is doing. We asked all the questions; we got all the answers; and most importantly of all, we got all the reassurances that the stormwater would be accommodated. Now, you know, I talked to Mr. Lotton privately; and he confided to me that he didn’t think the plan put forth by the County was adequate, but he met his burden. He met what was required of him. I mean, we’re currently petitioning the Lake County Drainage Board because of the situation that we now face.

So I guess my question is this – everybody’s telling us this is going to be okay; our problems are going to be solved; our yard and our property will no longer flood, nor will theirs. But our question is this: What if that’s not true? What if it doesn't work? What do we do then? Right now, we can’t sell our house without disclosing what we know. We just can’t. Would you buy our house knowing what happens there right now? I don’t think anybody in this room would.

So my question is – and I don’t know if you can answer it or not or this is just a forum for me to speak publicly – but what if this goes forward and the current plan for stormwater is inadequate, then what? Do we take this up with the Town of St. John? Do we take it up with the developer? Do we go back to Lake County? What then? Can anybody offer an answer to that question?

(Mr. Forbes stated that they live against an open field and explained that the drain tiles don’t handle the sheet draining from an open field. When the homes are built, there will be streets with storm sewers, rear-yard stormwater collection, retention ponds; there will be a system in place where all the water is collected and rerouted. Mr. Forbes advised that we go to great lengths to address drainage problems; and there will be a significant difference in the area. Mr. Forbes assured him that we are fully aware of his concerns as well as the concerns of the residents of Magnolia Gate. Mr. Forbes stated that Silver Leaf had the same issue with sheet water causing problems, and since Greystone has developed, that problem is gone.)

And again, our only question is in the event that this goes forward and it doesn't solve the flooding problems, then what?

(Mr. Forbes stated that at that point he would come to the Town because –)

And petition the Town for drainage relief? Okay.

(Mr. Forbes finished his statement – because the property that is in Town is developed, and we handle it.)

Because – because technically, everybody knows, we’re unincorporated Crown Point. We are the hole in the doughnut. There – St. John is on all four sides of us now, okay; and when Magnolia Gate was built, an existing drain system was modified, okay. And that’s what I meant by when I spoke with John, he said he knew that plan wouldn’t work. Well, we still don’t know exactly what’s in that field. I mean, you probably don’t either; but we do know – we found some drain tiles that directly convey water, not sheet drain it, directly convey it onto and under our property where it gushes out of our ground drains.

Now, again, I – I mean, we – we hope you’re right. We really do because we’re very near the end. It’s at the point where we might just have to walk away and take a loss, which we don’t want to do. And again, if this doesn't work, then what? Do we start that whole petition process over with the Town of St. John, cause I – I mean just looking at this and then my private conversations with Mr. Lotton, I have confidence that this plan, as you just stated, will work. But again, what if it doesn't? There’s more than just us; there’s lots of people affected by this flooding.

(Mr. Forbes stated that there is never 100 percent guaranties on anything, but we are aware of the problem; furthermore, Mr. Lotton is aware of the problem, and part of his focus is to solve your problem.)

I – I do want to say that this last major flooding event, when we had that lake return to our backyard, Mr. Lotton was in my driveway; and we had a delightful conversation about what the plans were. And again, like I said, I’m looking at this. I’m not an engineer. I don’t know specifically what effect this will have overall; but I do know there are lots of properties being affected here. And with these homes and this retention right behind our house designed to collect the water and hold it until it can drain, our problem right now is it backflows upstream. So the only outlet, if it’s blocked, that water’s got nowhere else to go, so.

(Mr. Forbes assured Mr. Geslakowski that everyone is aware of the issue and working towards a solution. Mr. Forbes stated that when it gets to the engineering stage, the drainage will be thoroughly reviewed.)

Okay. Thank you.

Erica Hill (10454 Redwood Drive): So I just have a few comments. Um, one, I – the whole reason I’m here is because I’m asking you to reject the R-2 PUD and stay with the R-1 that we always have, and as part of our ordinances as a town. Um, I haven’t actually heard a reason why we should do R-2 PUD. There’s no actual reason why, and there’s no reason for us to – to change what is already in our Town ordinances, which is always to traditionally go with R-1, um; so that’s one thing.

Uh, the other reason is in The Gates, in the original plan of The Gates, there was a fire department. There was, as far as I know is no plans to put one in The Gates; and now we’re adding another 300-plus homes into the – to The Gates, um, area; and um, it’s in – I personally feel that there is a really big safety concern because of that. Um, I know that you could say that the Fire Department always gets, you know, they're within so many minutes; but is that the actual truck, or is that the Chief? Because if that’s the Chief that’s great; but unless he has a hose with water, that really doesn't help when there’s a fire. So I think that, that information needs to be exact and shared with us.

Um, there’s also, again, no parks in The Gates, which is a huge, now, development that we’re talking about. There’s no parks; and in the proposed, um, plan, there’s no green space, really. So I’m not, really, sure how that’s adding to our property values or our quality of life or maintaining, you know, a great place to live. I’m not sure, exactly, how that fits any of that. Um, and also, to what people said, um, our infrastructure, our roads, Joliet, all the roads surrounding, you know, some of them have been fixed. But there’s so many that haven’t, and the added traffic will, just totally, deteriorate those roads even more. It’s like – it’s like you’re driving on gravel at – like up and down hills half the time that you’re going, um, into where we live.

And you’re talking about adding, you know, like close to 400 more homes in – going over roads that are already deteriorated; and now you’re going to add so – so much more traffic. I work from home, so I’m – I’m fortunate in that way where I don’t have to, like, go – I choose not to drive during times when everybody’s coming home or leaving for work; but I have that luxury. Most people don’t, so I can’t even imagine how long it takes them to get home. Um, but I just really think that there’s – there hasn’t been a – a reason presented to me why there’s that – this needs to be R-2 PUD.

Um, I don't think it’s really accurate that – there might be some homes in The Gates that are, you know, 11,000 square feet; but I know mine and many of my neighbors are like 12,000 plus. The Renaissance, which is also part of The Gates, are much larger than that, so I think that’s a really skewed, you know, point. Um, and I – I really don’t understand why it’s even something being presented. I know that there was some agreement with the lawsuit, whatever; but it’s not in there that we have to do this. And I don’t see any reason why we should. So unless you’re going to say that we’re getting parks and we’re getting a fire department or another fire station and, you know, other quality-of-life things, I – I don’t understand why you would choose to – to make this an R-2 PUD. So that’s it.

Virginia Vizdal (8173 West 102nd Avenue): I would like to address a couple of points regarding the Indiana Zoning Ordinance for preparations and considering proposals under the 600 series. The Plan Commission should pay regard and particular attention to No. 2, current conditions and the character of the current structures and uses in each district. The land requested for rezoning is adjacent to the lovely neighborhood known as Green Acres with spacious yards and homes with character and style. It also borders a couple of horse barns and stables. Your plan of lots zoned for R-2 PUD hardly complement this area.

The plan you are proposing looks similar to low-income housing projects in Chicago, instead of beautiful areas with green spaces and parks. This would affect consideration No. 4, conservation of property values throughout the jurisdiction. Overcrowded cookie-cutter style houses with small lots will not protect our property values.

And lastly, The East Gates subdivision is not responsible growth and development, consideration No. 5. The smaller lots put a strain on the schools and services of our town and surrounding towns. There is no allowance for extra schools, buses teachers, fire departments, police officers, EMTs, and Public Works. The Town cannot support the added burden of over 300 homes in such a small space without putting all residents at risk.

There is no allowance for road improvements; and it adds extra traffic to our already-crumbling roads and dangerous intersections, again, putting all residents in danger. There are several reasons for not rezoning the property to smaller lots and no good reasons to do it, except to satisfy the greed of one individual. We need to step back, like Merrillville, and study the impact of the rezoning of this area before you rush to make a bad decision that could, adversely, affect generations to come. What is the rush?

I’m sure the new Town Council will carefully weigh the implications of the development. I am not against growth and development. I would just like to see it held to a higher standard than what is proposed here. Thank you.

Layne Platupoulos (9760 Garden Way): I must say that I had a lovely speech prepared for today; but after hearing all of you, I am a little inundated with processes in my brain that make me think, “What the heck are we doing?” So the first thing that Mr. Lotton’s attorney said was, “We’re here, part of a settlement agreement.” And I believe if I look that up, that has to do with a sewer litigation between Mr. Lotton and the Town. So being concerned about all of my fellow residents, who have flooding issues, I’m thinking if we already screwed it up once, why do we want to screw it up again?

So maybe we need to take a step back, if there was litigation that cost the Town, my taxpayers, uh, a tort – the only people who make money in a litigation is attorneys. I’m one, I hate attorneys, for the most part. But let’s face it, they are the only people who made money there; and now we are all suffering because we’re looking at an R-2 – or R-2 PUD stupid rezone. So first of all, let’s go back to the sewers and not mess that up again.

Second of all, comparing a covenant that is not yet prepared for a homeowners association is the most ridiculous thing. Currently, I believe there are, at least, seven to twenty versions of covenants for The Gates of St. John, so I ask you, what’s the lot size, because The Renaissance, where I live, was annexed in by the lovely Town Council into The Gates of St. John? My lot size is about 14,300-some-odd square feet. Lovely neighbor gave me the math because I don’t do math. Lawyers don’t like math, unless it’s about a bill. So 14,000 square feet compared to 11,000 square feet, that’s a big difference because my house costs a lot more than an 11,000-square-foot house or an 11,000-square-foot residence; and that’s going to depreciate the entire portion of us along with parts of The Gates.

Then we come to safety. My father was a fireman my entire life. He’s 77 years old. He is a retired fireman who inspected everything known to man and was an arson investigator. My niece was working at Cherie’s Garden the day of the fire as an employee of Cherie’s Garden. I must tell you that every bone in my body cringed when I heard that it took 10 minutes for the Fire Department to make it to Cherie’s Garden with two people on a truck, so a two-man truck. A fully engulfed, basically, daycare center with 60 kids was only evacuated due to the employees knowing what to do. Two men could not put out that fire. It took another ten minutes for another one-man truck to get there and then another eight minutes for three more men to get there from our town. We called three municipalities. Now, luckily, Cherie’s Garden is on the side where we can take 41 straight down. It takes 7 minutes to get there with no traffic, so 10 minutes I’ll give them, pretty good. Two men scares the hell out of me.

I live on the other side of the tracks. The tracks are always busy. Uh, my kid is late home from school almost twice a month because there is a train stuck on the tracks delivering to Schilling or whatever. So I have a fire, the Fire Department now has to go down 41 to 231, down Parrish, around that lovely roundabout to get into The Renaissance, which will take probably an additional 10 minutes. That’s not safe, and now we’re adding 300 additional houses with no fire station.

I lived in a town with 9000 people before I came here, two fire stations. Do we know why? Train tracks divided the town. How are we going to get there if there are not two manned fire departments? We have got to think about the residents and the safety because me depending on myself and my husband to put out a fire isn’t the safest thing when I have three small kids under the age of eight that I have to get out of my house to make sure they’re safe.

So let’s start thinking about the families that are moving here, because that’s all that’s moving here. Families move here for better education from Illinois, for better taxes from Illinois, and we’re sitting here and giving them Illinois. If I wanted Illinois, I would have stayed there. I came here because I came to a town that looked at growth, that looked at making sure that their citizens would know what could come, and what they could produce. We’re producing what? Construction, bad roads, and no parks for me to take my kids to; so I drive to other towns to go to kids’ parks. That’s ridiculous.

Mr. Lotton said there would be parks. There’s one park; it’s a soccer field where adults play soccer. So my 8 year old, my 4 year old, and my 2 year old aren’t going to go there. So I ask you to consider the safety, first, of us because I can’t wait 20 minutes for an ambulance if I’m having a heart attack. Right? You’re having a heart attack, you can’t wait 20 minutes either. So think about the fact that we need to plan appropriately.

He can put a church, which he said he would put there. There’s a church in The Gates. He said he would put a park; there’s a soccer field. And he said there would be a fire station; there’s not. So I ask you to consider our safety and to deny the annexation change. Thank you.

Robert Vizdal (8173 West 102nd Avenue): We attended our first Town Council meeting ever two weeks ago. Seventy years and I never went to a Town Council meeting. I guess I never had a reason to. Um, along with many of these other residents who also, uh, uh, came to that meeting and we were – uh, we seen that, uh, the Town Council voted at that time for R-2 PUD housing that is presently before you.

At that meeting, in spite of huge criticism of the proposal, the Council still voted for the developer; and against the citizens who will be affected by allowing this project. Now you have a chance to do the right thing and to vote this down. I ask you, if this is such a great deal for the Town of St. John, why isn’t the developer here actually, you know, taking the criticism and everything from all of us instead of just sending his lawyer?

He – he obviously cannot take the criticism and cannot handle the truth. Most probably, all he cares about is himself and how much wealth he can attain without ever worrying about the repercussions of his actions. People like the developer think that all their wealth is never enough so they can do anything and everything that they can to squeeze every penny out of every project. But you have a chance to stop him, or at least to slow him down, so that our town will grow quickly but responsibly. The power is not in his hands, but in yours. So if you feel the same way that everyone in this building feels, you will not let this go through as proposed.

Now, if you feel that costing the town millions in schools, police, fire, roads, and traffic is good for the town, there must be a reason why. The only reason that I can see for you to vote for this thing is if you were to look at this proposal through the developer’s eyes. I’m afraid that he does not see a vibrant, responsible, honest town of St. John. All he will ever see is what he wants, and that’s a town called “Lottonsville” where the more he has, the more he wants and the more he gets. It is up to you to do the right thing. Make us proud of your decision, a decision that will not keep you up at night wondering what Mr. Lotton wants next. Thank you very much.

Mr. Forbes asked the audience to refrain from applauding or making noise while someone is speaking; however, applause after the individual is done speaking is fine.

Doug Blocker (10591 Juniper Lane): I’m here; I’m not in favor of rezoning the property to R-2 PUD. As I view it, the proposed development is not preserving open space or conservation land as the Zoning Ordinance dictates for – for the PUD. The approval of proposed PUD zoning with the proposed plan will not protect the town’s residents’ health, safety, and well-being. If the Plan Commission tends to go forward with the R-2 PUD zoning, the proposed plan, even though it is not preserving open space, you should address the following in the PUD agreement.

First, the 8,400-square-foot lots should only be considered for a senior housing development or an age-restricted development, not just general lots. All of the lots, in my opinion, should have a minimum of 11,200 square-foot with 80-foot wide minimum lot width and 10-foot side-yards provide adequate, uh, light, ventilation, and drainage. The lots should increase in size as you get further away from the “interial” streets. This will reduce the density further inside the development, which in turn would reduce traffic and increase safety for the residents of the development.

The proposed plan is designed with a grid system, which provides for maximum density. If there are curved streets, the density is reduced and also slows down the traffic, again, making it safer for the residents. Joliet Street, Cline, and Route 231 are arterial streets. The developer should provide a 50-foot right-of-way dedication for Cline and Joliet Street and a 60-foot dedication for Route 231. All arterial streets should be developed with left and right turn lanes at all entrances to the subdivision and possibly, um, signalization where, uh, they also may enter. There should also be curb and gutter, storm sewer, sidewalk, streetlights, and parkway trees installed across the entire frontage of the development.

The main roads into the development should be classified as a collector road and have a larger dedication of right-of-way and a larger roadway to handle parking and traffic. The homes on this roadway should also have larger setbacks. The development should provide 5.5 acres of park property for every 1000 people anticipated. Landscape buffers should be provided along the arterial streets. These buffers should be on a separate outlot which will be owned and maintained by the HOA; this way berms that may be created do not extend into the right-of-way or backyards as they currently do in The Gates.

Detention ponds should be landscaped with aerators, trees planted on all sides of the ponds, wetland plants at the shoreline to protect them from erosion. Also, a maintenance plan should be implemented to remove the invasive plants form the wetland area. Parkway trees should be planted every 50 feet in the parkway. These trees should be planted by the developer to ensure proper size and type. Fruit trees should not be allowed in a right-of-way as they currently are in The Gates.

The builder should include all-brick, stone – all-brick or stone front elevations or first floor brick on all four sides. The builder intends to use the same building guidelines as The Gates Homeowners Association; however, he has changed the covenants for The Gates, I believe, 17 to 20 times, therefore, making his standards unreliable.

Consideration should be given to a school impact fee contribution for purchase of property for a new school. Also, an impact fee should be considered for the Town for fire, police, Public Works, and transportation. All the – after all, the Town will need new fire trucks, police cars, snowplows, and road improvements. I think it’s time for the Town to dictate how development should be done in town and not let the developer tell the Town what he wants to do. Thank you.

Diane Paarlberg (10775 Scarlet Oaks Drive): When Mr. Kuiper started today, uh, this evening, he said, uh, something about there were a lot of rumors going around that they were going to put apartment buildings and high-rises and that kind of thing. I never heard any of those rumors, and I’ve talked to a lot of people, uh, that are concerned about the rezoning and annexation, um, and how that’s going to impact our town. Um, he also said, uh, don’t worry about the flooding, don’t worry about the roads because all – we’re going to take care of all that; and it’ll be okay.

Um, a lot of people tonight have expressed their concerns about flooding, about traffic, about schools, about safety, about emergency response; and I’m just thinking that aren’t we putting the cart before the horse? Shouldn’t we be prepared for this prior to allowing it? What’s the rush? I know you’re trying to meet your deadline of the end of the year. Um, but I don’t think that’s necessary because, as Mr. Kuiper said at the end of the Town Council meeting the other day, that there’s really no plans right away for them to start building in that area.

So, um, my concern again would be not to say that I’m against expansion of St. John, but reasonable expansion, not high-density, uh, where people are going to be crowded into a small area that is going to impact our resale value and our house values. I am really concerned about police. Someone talked about the daycare, um, fire, um, and the fact that there was, um what they termed to be a delayed response by the Fire Department. I don’t know; I wasn’t there. But I do know that, that was at the end of my street; and many, many of the residents ran down to that daycare and took kids from the arms of the employees. And if it wasn’t for the – the residents in the area helping them get those children out of there, take them across the street to safety, I don’t think all those children would have made it out of that – out of that building.

So we’re going to add another subdivision adding 100 to 300 and some homes without an additional fire department. It doesn't make sense to me. Um, and also, the training of these people, the training of the Fire Department and, uh, of the – the Police Department is crucial. How are – are they trained to, um, be ready for this influx of people that’s coming to the area? So all I’d say is please don’t think you have to rush this through. Let’s – let’s not put the cart before the horse, and let’s do – let’s hear some specifics about how these concerns are going to be handled, not it’ll be okay. Thank you.

Donna Fathke (10729 Maple Lane): I’m going to make some references tonight to the Zoning Ordinance, so I’ve got a couple of pages that have those areas highlighted I’d like to hand out to you.

(Ms. Fathke handed the documents out to the Plan Commission members.)

First of all, I’d like to add something to that statement that Mr. Kuiper made at the beginning of the session about The Gates of St. John’s lot sizes being smaller than what they’re proposing. What he failed to add in here is a lot of St. – of St. – of The Gates has, um, duplexes and townhouses in it that have very tiny lots, so that would throw it out of scale proportionately; and that was not a valid comparison

So tonight I am talking about how I do not, um, want this new zoning proposal to be accepted. Um, I tried educating myself on St. John’s zoning codes, and the first thing I did was to look up the R-2 PUD zoning, and I couldn’t find it in the ordinance because it’s not there. We have R-1; we have RC-1; we have – um, sorry, RC-1 PUD. We have R-2, RC-2 PUD, and R-3; and that’s all. There’s no R-2 PUD as proposed by Mr. Lotton.

And it doesn't even come close to any of these other zoning districts. And do you know why? Because it violates every zoning and principal in the book. From your own Zoning Ordinance, the PUD purpose is to demonstrate a creative approach to the use of land that is not possible under strict application of the provisions of the zoning chapter. I don’t see anything about this site plan as an example of what it is. It’s just flat farmland. There’s no reason why a regular zoning district can’t be overlaid on this property with normal lot sizes and building sizes and setbacks.

So then I, uh, started looking at the RC-2 PUD thinking, well, it’s only one letter off, so maybe this is closer. But this section reads, “The purpose of the RC-2 PUD district is to provide for single-family residential development in areas facing conversion from a rural or agricultural nature to a suburban nature by the preservation of natural features and the provision of open space.” So I see the “C” stands for conservation as in conservation of open space or natural geographic features like wetlands, perhaps. But again, I don’t see anything like that in here, no open space other than the water – the required water retention basin.

Um, permitted uses in the RC-2 PUD, “Within the RC-2 PUD district, lot area, lot width, yard requirements may be reduced below the requirements of the underlying R-2 district,” as Mr. Lotton proposes, “provided that that provision of open space and conservation land results in an overall density for the development that is no greater than what is applied or allowed in the underlying R-2 district. All other provisions of the R-2 districts apply.”

Obviously, with smaller lots, smaller buildings, and shorter setbacks, the proposed zoning is more dense than the R-2 zoning and violates this section of the ordinance as well. If you recommend this proposal, you will be allowing a developer to dictate to the Town what is acceptable development. You will be setting precedent for all future development in this Town. You will be violating the spirit of this Zoning Ordinance, something that was put in place specifically to protect the health, safety, and welfare of St. John’s residents. That’s what town officials do, that’s not what developers and their lawyers do.

You did not have to do this. You should not approve this. Your duty is to protect the investments that residents have in this town. So do your duty and vote no on this proposal.

Len Barman (7910 West 109th Avenue, Crown Point): I’ll be speaking for the Barman family. We’ve been at that location for 160 years. Um, I guess my first question is, I was here yesterday looking for documentation about what we’re discussing, and there’s no documentation available. So I’d like to understand how we’re discussing this when there’s nothing available for the public to review ahead of this meeting. Seems to me that that’s kind of a sham that there’s nothing available. Um, so I – first question is, um, and I agree with all the folks here that – we’re not in support of increased density at that location.

Um, I’d like – our initial view was we wanted to see how you were going to address drainage because that is our top concern, um, because Mr. Lotton has illegally tied into a field tile and dumped surface water into a field tile when he developed the Magnolia Gates; and we’d like to know what’s being done to address that. And we’d like to see that addressed before any further development is done in that area.

Um, also, um, like to suggest that, since there seems to be a lot of issue with flooding, and has been, and no one has seemed to resolve that, um, and the answer to the previous folks was that, um, come back after your proposal for a solution doesn't work. Well, I’d like to – I’d like to see a bond posted that will cover whatever’s going to be required for these people that are being flooded. Um, so put some money up if you think that you have a solution, cause no one here believes you have a solution.

And I have other comments about the annexation, but I guess that’s next on the agenda. I’ll bring that up. Or are we talking about the piece that’s also your referring to for annexation?

(Mr. Forbes responded that we are talking about the zoning.)

Just the zoning, okay.

(Mr. Forbes explained that the annexation is not on the agenda for the Plan Commission; it is a Town Council matter.)

Okay. I’ll be there. Um, so I guess lastly I’d like to say that I’d like to see you folks step up, do your responsibility to the citizens of this community, and do what’s right for them, and quit allowing developers to run roughshod over this community as they have for the past decade.

Heather Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street on behalf of Julie Stevens, 9040 West 103rd Street): Mrs. Panczuk read a letter on behalf of Ms. Stevens. Said letter has been attached hereto and made a part thereof as Exhibit No. 2019-09-04-PC2.

Bryan Blazak (9199 Franklin Drive): We’re back again, folks. I’ve been here for years, and we seem to be discussing the same thing over and over and over. You’ve just heard people here presenting what the laws stipulate, what certain ordinances stipulate.

I believe at one point, when we were discussing the PUD event a year or two or three ago, PUD was in the ordinances that said it was for hardship. Now, I’d like to see somewhere in writing where Mr. Lotton’s hardship is to go to an R-2 PUD from R – R-1. I mean, did anybody see what the hardship was? Because, if there’s no R-2 PUD in the code – cause I remember it was dropped out – that’s because there is no hardship; therefore, we’ve got people that are concerned, rightfully so, about safety, about fire stations.

Okay. We’ve got people concerned about roads. I’ve been pushing roads in this town for three or four years. The Town Council has failed to execute on any of the impact fees. However, the roads, I didn’t – is there a traffic study for this certain development? Is it on file? That’s funny, I couldn’t get it out of the – the, uh, Town; so I guess it doesn't exist yet. Does it? Therefore, you’ve got road problems. You’ve got green space. People like to look out their windows and see trees and bushes and all kinds of nice things. And do you think when you’ve got 3.26 homes per acre sitting on top of each other, like Downtown Chicago or like Calumet City, you think people are going to be able to see a lot of trees and a lot of green space? No, there is none; 3.26 is ridiculous.

I’ve fought against smaller lots and smaller homes for years. And this is just another example of letting a developer get away with whatever he wants; and you’re responsible. It’s about time this Planning Commission stood back and took note of what these residents want. They want R-1 lots, period, end of story, not R-2 PUD that doesn't even exist in our ordinances today. Thank you.

Timothy Bots (9180 West 107th Place): I hear all this comment about Mr. Lotton, and from some people, mostly up here in this area, on what a nice guy he is and all. And this is just hearsay that in The Gates of St. John each homeowner pays $400 a year for the upkeep of common area. And from hearsay, I was – I heard that Mr. Lotton had turned over the roundabout over by the water tower to the city; and if so, why does the city accept any of that stuff from Mr. Lotton that he’s taking money for, for the upkeep and taking his liability away from him? That’s all I have to say.

Donald Barman (7910 West 109th Avenue, Crown Point): We’ve owned that farm at the corner of Cline Avenue and 231. I’m fifth generation there; and this drainage was put in there for that area by the United States Department of Agriculture for that watershed area. And that tile always flowed for years until Magnolia Gate went in there and Mr. Lotton tied into the drainage tile there. And that’s why all this is flooding. It hasn’t affected me and – and the farm; I own 28- acres there. It hasn’t affected me on the farm; but I will tell you – and I’ve told him and the county surveyor and the county drainage board, and they all know about it, the State, the Department of Agriculture – and it – that – if I’m flooded out there, there will be litigation and I’ll tie this damn thing up until it’s straightened out. That’s all I got to say.

Having no one else coming forward to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Flores stated that he’d like see the land stay as R-1 and that it isn’t fair or right that the schools weren’t notified about the project as it will impact them. He further stated, as a police officer, that this project will put a drain on the Police Department and the Fire Department and that he agrees that there should be another fire station, which should have already been built.

Mr. Panczuk stated that no matter what develops in that area, when it is developed, that will be engineered to capture the water. Mr. Panczuk stated that the drainage would be taken care of whether it is R-1 or R-2; however, R-1 would be better due to less impervious surface area. Mr. Panczuk stated that there is no enforceable quality by the Town, so there is no guaranty we will get beautiful homes with agreeing to the R-2 zoning.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is going to dispute Mr. Kuiper’s claim that it’s the same as The Gates: Considering adjacent properties and how they’re developed, we have one unit per acres in Green Acres; we have 2.3 units per acre over 702 acres to the west; and we’re going to sandwich 3.26 per acre right in the middle, which is not conforming to adjacent properties. Mr. Panczuk added that there has been no traffic studies or proposed road improvements.

Mr. Panczuk made reference to the Zoning Ordinance statement that states, “The PUD shall demonstrate a creative approach to the use of land that is not possible under the strict application of the provisions of this Zoning Ordinance” and stated that there is no hardship shown that disputes that statement. He further stated that the only thing creative about the plan is how many homes could be crammed into 108 acres.

Mr. Kennedy stated that no one can guaranty that a house on an R-1 lot is more valuable than a house on an R-2 lot. He stated that he lives on an R-1 lot and has friends who live on an R-2 lot whose house has an assessed value more than his; therefore, there is no guaranty that a larger lot will give you a more valuable home.

Mr. Kennedy stated that many have spoken about public service and fire stations and roads, which costs money; so when you look at a development, you have to look at the assessed value because it is cost sharing. When assessed values go up, tax rates go down and things are cheaper for those in the community. Mr. Kennedy commented that there is no specific standard for the houses on these lots; however, we were told to follow the covenants for The Gates of St. John which meets or exceeds the current standards of the Zoning Ordinance. The Zoning Commitment doesn't meet the minimum square footage on a house; and a larger home will be assessed at a greater value and provides more revenue for the Town.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the proposed density of this project would severely impact the schools; and commented that he really has an issue that there are no improvements for roads, no parkland, and no green space, nothing even close to The Gates. Mr. Panczuk stated that it is hard to do the math on increased assessed value because money will be coming in one hand and going out the other.

Mr. Kozel stated that we are only voting on zoning right now and all the other issues would be addressed at engineering. Mr. Forbes concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that roads intersection improvement wouldn’t be addressed at engineering.

Mr. Forbes advised that the Zoning Commitment includes lot sizes and minimum building sizes, which is as far as the Plan Commission’s jurisdiction goes. He stated for the edification of the public that the covenants, to increase the value of the homes, are presented from the developer to the homebuyer. The Town does not enforce that document as we don’t have that ability by law; the documents are given to us as a matter of public record.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the plan is strictly schematic, not cast in stone, and would be addressed at primary plat. Mr. Kil responded that the Plan Commission has the sole authority on how the layout of the subdivision is platted, which is handled at primary plat.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Kil if the lot count is not cast in stone.by any action tonight, regardless of direction. Mr. Kil responded that the only thing the Plan Commission is voting on tonight is the actual average lot size and zoning, not the layout. Mr. Kil explained that the layout will be subject to engineering, especially the drainage.

Hearing no further discussion, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion.

Motion to send an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council regarding the rezoning of the 108 acres in The East Gates from R-1 to R-2 PUD by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Flores.

Roll-call vote:
Steve Flores - Aye
Nick Georgiou - Aye
John Kennedy - Aye
Steve Kozel - Nay
Paul Panczuk - Aye
Michael Forbes - Nay

Motion carries 4 ayes to 2 nays.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2019-0011 THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Permission to Advertise for Primary Plat Public Hearing – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Tim Kuiper)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner is seeking permission to advertise for a Public Hearing to consider the primary plat of 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue and between US 231 and Joliet Street.

Mr. Forbes explained to Mr. Kuiper that this is an at-your-own-risk petition based on Town Council approval for the zone change.

Mr. Kuiper confirmed that they understand that it will all be contingent upon the action taken by the Town Council and that they would withdraw or defer the matter at the October meeting if the Town Council takes no action or a negative action at the September Town Council meeting.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he takes issue with it as the publication would have to be out before the Town Council meeting and they would be publishing for something that doesn't exist yet, so it is false advertising. He further stated that it is intentional misinformation to the public.

Mr. Forbes asked if the board can actually say no to this request. Mr. Svetanoff stated that it is permission to advertise.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Kuiper stated that he takes issue that it is misleading the public because it is a public notice and things are contingent on other things all the time; and the requirement to come and ask for permission to advertise is extra jurisdictional from the Indiana Code. The Plan Commission doesn't have any criteria for granting or denying; it is just a notification.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Svetanoff if Mr. Kuiper is correct that this is an additional burden. Mr. Svetanoff stated that in his view it would be an additional burden, and with the comments that have been made by some Plan Commission members, it might be treading on dangerous ground. Mr. Svetanoff advised that Mr. Kuiper stated that it is a contingency and that he agrees.

Mr. Kuiper stated that the same people who would be notified are the same people who are here tonight and understand that it is contingent on the Town Council’s action.

Mr. Panczuk questioned why this policy is in place if we can’t say no to it. Mr. Forbes explained that this particular item came about because way back when, he was the president of the Plan Commission and was receiving mail notifications informing him that there would be a public hearing on a certain subdivision that was sent out without his approval and had his name on the document. No one on the Plan Commission knew a public hearing was coming other than by this letter; so he included this little hurdle to cause a developer to come to a public meeting and request a Public Hearing in order to ensure that the public knew about it.

Mr. Forbes stated that he understands the issue with the timeline, but it is not a unique situation. There have been developers that were given permission to advertise that didn’t advertise for three or four months. It has never been an issue before. Mr. Forbes added that whether or not this public hearing will take place can be put on the website and all the Facebook pages.

Mr. Panczuk asked if verbiage could be added to the advertisement. Mr. Forbes responded that there are specific requirements for advertising, and we can’t control that.

Mr. Forbes stated that all the agendas are posted online now, somewhere, somehow, so word will get out as to whether this public hearing will happen or not.

Mr. Georgiou stated that he had been at meetings where there was to have been a public hearing and the developer withdraws from the public hearing at the meeting, and Mr. Kuiper knows that he is doing it entirely at risk. Mr. Georgiou stated that he sees no issue with it.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding the request for permission to advertise.

Motion to grant permission to advertise by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 5 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Panczuk.

Mr. Forbes stated that we will ensure there is notice out there as to whether or not a public hearing is going to occur at the October meeting.

B. THE PRESERVE PHASE 3A – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Schilling Development/Jack Slager by Scott Zajac)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Preserve, Phase 3A. The petitioner is seeking Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Scott Zajac stated that he is here on behalf of The Preserve, SJ, seeking Secondary Plat approval for two lots, Outlot H1 and Outlot H2 on 101st Avenue. These two residential lots have improvements; and the fees have been calculated and paid to the Clerk-Treasurer’s office.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the plat is satisfactory. The Developmental Fee is $900. There are no public improvements associated with this project so a Letter of Credit is not needed.

Mr. Forbes asked if the Developmental Fee has been paid. Mr. Zajac responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to include referencing the Findings of Fact.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for The Preserve, Phase 3A, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

C. CULVER’S RESTAURANT – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Fred Terpstra/Russ Pozen)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Culver’s restaurant. The petitioner is seeking Secondary Plat approval of its one lot subdivision located at 9845 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Russ Pozen stated that they have been before the board; that he believes they have met all the requirements; and that they had a favorable outcome at the preliminary platting stage.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the plat is satisfactory. The Developmental Fee is $900. There are no public improvements associated with this project, so a Letter of Credit is not needed.

Mr. Pozen advised that the fees are paid.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for Culver’s Restaurant referencing the Findings of Fact by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Comment.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I had two options tonight. I’ve discarded the first one, and want to take time to thank the Plan Commission for hearing the, um, citizens and for voting to at least defer this until additional studies can be made and we can better understand what’s going on. Thank you again.

Erica Hill (10454 Redwood Drive): I just want to reiterate, thank you very much for hearing our concerns and, um, voting against the change of – to R-2 PUD. You – you know what I’m saying anyway. Sorry, it’s late. Um, I just wanted to make one comment so I – I think everybody understands in terms of like the fire department. And obviously adding an additional station would cost a lot of money, but in the – I just want to remind you, in the – in the original proposal of The Gates, there was one.

There probably was one for a reason and they probably realized that we needed one. But, um, it’s something to consider for the Town Council, which I’ll bring up at the next meeting, but, um, I think there’s been some approvals this year for, um, for bonuses in the – in the amount of $180,000; just think what that could have done towards putting another fire station.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Georgiou Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 8:58 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

09-04-2019 Plan Commission Exhibit PC1.pdf
09-04-2019 Plan Commission Exhibit PC2.pdf
09-18-2019 Plan Commission

September 18, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on September 18, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: Steve Flores and Steve Kozel.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. CONTINENTAL – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the Continental. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of Unit 1 of this development that is located north of 93rd Avenue, across from Prairie West Park.

Mr. Scott Zajac of Schilling Development, representing Hickory Terrace Development, stated that they would be seeking Primary Plat approval in a couple weeks for Lots 1-17. Mr. Zajac gave an update on the project: The bridge is built with just a bit of stonework yet to be done; the infrastructure is nearly completed; the roads will be stabilized tomorrow; and they will follow up with the rest of the storm and water. In about two weeks, they should have the curbs and possibly roads in at that point.

Mr. Kraus stated that the road by Lot 17 doesn’t have a name and that he asked Jack Slager about it, who told him that they wanted to hold off until the next phase to name that road. Mr. Kraus asked for Mr. Zajac’s input on that.

Mr. Forbes asked if they could come up with a name in two weeks. Mr. Zajac responded that he would do his best.

Mr. Kraus stated that it is unusual to have a street on a plat without a name.

Mr. Panczuk asked how the progress on the emergency access connection is going. Mr. Zajac responded that it is going in with this phase; it will be paved; but it probably won’t get a gate this year. The full gate enclosures will happen next year when residents start moving in.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is concerned that people will use that as a shortcut, especially for construction crews. Mr. Zajac responded that it is completely off limits for construction crews. Mr. Panczuk asked if there could be a barricade or something put up until such time as the gate is installed. Mr. Zajac responded that they have had some barrels, caution tape, and Jersey barriers there, that it wouldn’t be a problem; however, they would like to get the road in first and then put something up.

Mr. Forbes stated that the access road doesn’t look very inviting.

Mr. Kennedy asked for confirmation that the primary approval was contingent upon emergency access gates being installed prior to any occupancy. Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Zajac stated that the first occupancy wouldn’t take place until about this time next year.

Mr. Kraus asked how much time before the detention basins and the whole storm system for this phase are done. Mr. Zajac responded that all the catch basins and inlets will be in by the middle or end of next week and that all the mainline structures are already installed.

Mr. Kraus advised that he would contact Jack Slager next week for an update in order to calculate the Letter of Credit or Surety Bond amounts, and if they didn’t want to do either option, they could request withholding signatures on the Mylars until the work is completed.

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 20B -- Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 20B. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this unit at the October 2 meeting.

Mr. Don Torrenga of Torrenga Engineering, representing BLB, stated that this is the balance of what was originally the Suncrest Christian Church Addition. It is The Gates of St. John, Unit 20, which contains twenty single-family R-2 lots and one outlot. This will complete the Suncrest Church subdivision.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the outlot is going to be. Mr. Torrenga responded that it is a low area that was deemed to be a wetland, so it is just avoided.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus if he needed anything. Mr. Kraus responded that he has all the information he needs and that he will be completing and sending the review letter before the next meeting.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the 40-foot right-of-way that is along Parrish Avenue is an existing right-of-way. Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative.

C. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 1G – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 1G. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this unit at the October 2, 2019 meeting.

Mr. Don Torrenga of Torrenga Engineering, representing BLB, stated that this is the balance of what is left in Unit 1. It contains ten multifamily lots. Hickory Place is the last portion of the roadway within Unit 1 needing to be constructed.

Mr. Panczuk asked if this is the area southwest of the water tower. Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked what Martin’s Commercial Addition is. Mr. Torrenga responded that it is the commercial area at the corner of Parrish Avenue and 109th Avenue.

D. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Primary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner will be seeking Primary Plat approval at the October 2 Plan Commission Meeting for 108 acres on the east side of Cline Avenue.

Mr. Tim Kuiper, representing LBL Development, stated that Don Torrenga, who is also here, is the engineer for the project. The unit consists of 356 lots on 108.71 acres.

Mr. Kuiper stated that this Primary Plat approval petition is contingent upon the Town Council acting favorably on the rezoning petition that is before them. If the Town Council does not act favorably, they will withdraw or modify this petition based on that decision.

Mr. Kuiper stated that while this will be called The Gates of St. John Unit 21, 22, 23, etc., it will not be part of The Gates of St. John Homeowners Association, consistent to what they committed to before. Colloquially it will be called “The Gates East”. Mr. Kuiper stated that the bike path will be installed throughout the project and that the plan has the well-site dedication.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the bike path is shown on the plat. Mr. Kuiper stated that it is not directly called out, but it is on there. It will come along the main entrance, east through the project, and then follow a north-south street, which is to be determined based on information they receive from Schererville about where the connectivity would happen. Mr. Georgiou asked if the bike path is going to be in the street right-of-way. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes advised that the bike path in The Gates along Park Place is done that way.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there is signage or delineation that it is a bike path. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus to pay very close attention to the drainage. Mr. Kraus confirmed he would.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the lots showing a 52-foot frontage is correct. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative. Mr. Panczuk asked if the square footage of 7000 to 8000 square feet is correct for about eighty lots. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is opposed to lots that are that small and should be closer to the 80-foot lot width, even if it means less depth.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there are similarities elsewhere in The Gates of St. John. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative. Mr. Georgiou asked which areas. Mr. Kuiper responded that Unit 6 has some lots that are 55 feet wide by 120 feet deep with 6-foot side-yard setbacks.

Mr. Forbes advised that there are lots in The Gates of St. John where it has four single-family detached units on one lot with approximately a 50-foot frontage.

Mr. Kuiper stated that McFarland is building some homes in Orchard Gate on Cline Avenue that has that same type of characteristic where four homes are on one lot, so some of them end up at 40-some-feet wide.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the side-yard setback is 6 feet. Mr. Kuiper confirmed the same.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the quantity of lots is open to discussion. Mr. Kuiper responded that the layout is such based upon the proposed zoning. He added that they are willing to talk about it, but he is unsure how much that would end up changing.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the density on The Gates East is significantly different at 3.26 versus 2.3, and “The Gates classic” has more open space than The Gates East. Mr. Panczuk reiterated that he would rather have more width and less depth if possible.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the blocks seem very long without any east-west breaks and asked if the blocks are an average size. Mr. Forbes responded that he doesn't believe there are any limitations on that and that the only thing we limit is cul-de-sacs.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he is wondering from a public safety standpoint if there needs to be more east-west connectivity because it seems there is only one way to get from parcels 1 and 2 to parcels 3 and 4. Mr. Kuiper stated that there would be property to the north and south of this that will have additional crossings of the NIPSCO parcel if they are annexed into town.

Mr. Kennedy requested for that drawing to be shown to the Plan Commission if it makes it to the next meeting. Mr. Kuiper agreed to the same.

Mr. Georgiou stated that Mr. Kuiper had said the lot sizes are consistent with what is in The Gates of St. John and asked if that is a variable because it is a PUD. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative and noted that the condition of the zoning, if it is approved, is that the average lot size would be 11,200 square feet with 6-foot side-yard setbacks. Mr. Georgiou asked if they met the average lot-size commitment relative to this plat. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see the lots shrunken or enlarged closer to the average size to get closer to an 80-foot width.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions or comments. None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:23 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

10-02-2019 Plan Commission

October 2, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Kozel called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on October 2, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, Steve Kozel, and Paul Panczuk. Also Present: Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director; Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer; and Joseph Svetanoff; Town Attorney.

Absent: John Kennedy and Michael Forbes.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Kozel advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the September 4, 2019 Regular Meeting and the September 18, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same.

Mr. Flores stated that he would abstain from voting on the Study Session minutes as he was absent from that meeting. Doing so would create a lack of quorum for a vote on those minutes; thus, they were deferred until the November 2, 2019 Regular Meeting by default.

Mr. Kozel entertained a motion regarding the September 4, 2019 Regular Meeting Minutes only.

Motion to approve the minutes from the September 4, 2019 Regular Meeting by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly asked the board to consider moving the Continental petition ahead of the Public Hearing, as that is anticipated to be a very short discussion, and the other three items are all related to The Gates of St. John.

Motion to amend the agenda and move item 6 A, Continental, before item 5 A, The Gates of St. John East, Public Hearing by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS – As Amended by Vote

A. CONTINENTAL – Secondary Plat

Mr. Jack Slager with Schilling Development representing Hickory Terrace, the developer of the Continental, thanked the board for allowing the change to the agenda. He stated that they are here tonight requesting Final Plat approval for Continental, Phase 1. There are basically no changes from the original plan, which includes the improvements to 93rd Avenue, the entrance, and the first 17 lots.

Mr. Eberly advised that there are two letters from Mr. Kraus regarding Continental and the Secondary Plat. The actual hard copy of the Unit 1 Secondary Plat is the second 11 by 17 drawing in their packets.

Mr. Eberly asked if the unnamed road is still to be named. Mr. Slager concurred and stated that it is a street that is stubbed for a future phase and that no lots would be fronting on it in this phase; so they would like to reserve the name for a future plat.

Mr. Georgiou asked if they would be using a Letter of Credit or a Surety Bond. Mr. Slager stated that the Letter of Credit is for the remaining sidewalk along 93rd Avenue. They had hoped to have it in already; however, the weather has set them back. They intend to have those installed on Monday, weather pending. They are requesting withholding signatures on the Mylars until the sidewalk is installed; furthermore, they also would like to have the option to still have a Letter of Credit in the event the sidewalks can't be it installed.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Slager for clarification that he is seeking a motion to accept the secondary plat on the condition that signatures be withheld until the final improvements are installed, inspected, and approved and asked for confirmation that the Development Fee has already been paid. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative.

Motion to grant Secondary Plat approval to Continental, withholding signatures on the Mylars until all improvements are completed satisfactorily by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2019-0010 THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Primary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Tim Kuiper)
Mr. Kozel advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner is seeking Primary Plat approval.

Mr. Tim Kuiper, representing LBL Development, stated that Mr. Don Torrenga, engineer for the project is present as well. They are here for The Gates, Units 21 26, which is commonly located the on the east side of Cline between U.S. 231 and 101st Avenue. They are requesting primary approval for the subdivision, which consists of 356 lots. The zone change from R 1 to R 2 PUD was approved last week by the Town Council. All the publications and notices are in order for the Public Hearing on this matter.

Mr. Kuiper stated that all the engineering requirements have been met and that Mr. Kraus issued a letter confirming that everything was satisfactory. All the drainage concerns have been addressed. What they are proposing will take care of the water from Magnolia Gate, take care of the vacant property to the south, and take care of the property to the east, commonly known as Green Acres. It will collect, store, and release the stormwater at an appropriate rate.

Mr. Kuiper stated that there are turning lanes, accel and decel lanes. Denny Cobb has given preliminary approval on the design, and a traffic study is underway. If any changes are required, there is plenty of room inside of the easements and dedication areas to ensure it is accomplished appropriately. Mr. Kuiper advised that the bike path is not in the street and demonstrated where it would be on the media screen.

Mr. Kuiper stated that the well site is shown on the plat and will be dedicated for those purposes. They would like to get going on that so that the well would be operational and provide potable water for the Town this year.

Mr. Kuiper stated that the entrance and landscaping will be similar to The Gates of St. John; it will have a berm and trees and look very similar Orchard Gate.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the east west segment of the bike path appears to be down the front yards and asked if it is a sidewalk or a full width bike path. Mr. Kuiper responded that it will be an 8 foot sidewalk.

Mr. Panczuk asked if that is a similar width that was installed on Joliet Street going west out of The Gates. Mr. Torrenga responded that it is within the right of way of the street; they added right of way to 105th Avenue.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there would be a curb then the path. Mr. Torrenga responded that there will be a curb, a traditional width parkway, and then an 8 foot bike path. Mr. Kuiper stated that it could be thought of as an extended sidewalk.

Mr. Eberly advised that the right of way from that street is 63 feet as opposed to 60 feet to accommodate the extra 3 feet of width for the bike path.

Mr. Kozel asked if the bike path will continue. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative and stated that when it is all done, it will connect to Schererville's bike path.

Mr. Flores asked if there is any green space or parks in this plan. Mr. Kuiper responded that there is a Park Impact Fee that is collected for every building built, and the Town has taken it upon itself to put those facilities in.

Mr. Flores asked what the distance is between the road to the north and 105th Avenue on Whitney Place. Mr. Torrenga responded that he doesn't know the exact dimension, but it is probably about 1200 feet.

Mr. Flores stated that the distance is pretty long and asked if there are any standards for street length, because if there is a fire in the winter it will be hard for a tanker to get down that street. Mr. Kuiper responded that this does meet the standards and that there are only requirements for cul de sacs.

Mr. Eberly advised that some communities do have a maximum length of run, but there isn't one in our definition of blocks.

Mr. Flores commented that if a water main breaks and they need to use tankers, it will be a nightmare.

Mr. Flores stated that he would like to see the traffic study before making any decisions. Mr. Panczuk concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that a roundabout may be needed in the future, and the traffic study would help provide that information. Mr. Kuiper responded that they are not required to provide a traffic study, they are doing that to confirm what the Town Engineer and Denny Cobb have said is acceptable.

Mr. Kuiper stated the reason for the traffic study is to confirm that the lengths that have been provided don't need to be extended. He further stated that there is enough area there that if a roundabout would be required, they could do that without having to redraw everything.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it is the Plan Commission's discretion on whether or not to require a traffic study. Mr. Eberly advised that Subdivision Control Ordinance, Title 5, Section 17, states that if the Plan Commission requires a traffic study, the developer must provide one. He further advised that the developer was not directed to provide a traffic study prior to this discussion.

Mr. Panczuk stated that a subdivision of this magnitude needs a traffic study and that he's not comfortable moving forward without the data and the real drawings. He further stated that it's been protocol on anything this large to have the data in front of us before committing on Primary Plat. Once we commit to Primary Plat, it's done.

Mr. Georgiou asked what location Mr. Panczuk is referring to for a traffic circle. Mr. Panczuk indicated that it would be at 105th Avenue and Cline Avenue.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it is in the Subdivision Control Ordinance that when a developer has development on both sides of an arterial right of way, the intersection is to be planned out appropriately. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Kuiper stated that it is two different developers; however, the traffic study is underway and will be provided.

Mr. Eberly advised that what is important is that the Primary Plat provides enough room to accommodate either of the options that Mr. Panczuk discussed. Mr. Eberly stated that he believes that we will at least need opposing left hand turns for both northbound and southbound traffic on Cline Avenue to make turns onto 105th Avenue.

Mr. Eberly advised that he is unsure about a roundabout because they do not control the property on the northeast and northwest corners on 105th Avenue and Cline Avenue; however, Mr. Torrenga did confirm that there is enough room for opposing left hand turns at the intersection.

Mr. Torrenga stated that there is 90 feet north of 105th Avenue and 100 feet south of 105th Avenue and commented that a problem with a roundabout there is the retention area on the southwest corner.

Mr. Kozel asked Mr. Eberly if there is enough space that there would time if we wanted to do something additional to that space. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly stated that if they were to make a decision tonight, they could make it contingent upon the traffic study and what it determines needs to be done with the intersection at 105th Avenue and Cline Avenue.

Mr. Flores stated that he believes Mr. Kil brought up the fact that the Plan Commission would likely be asking for a traffic study at the last Town Council meeting and for them to expect it. Mr. Kuiper responded that Mr. Kil said it's typically done, which is why he informed them it's underway. Mr. Flores stated that he understands, but he would like to see it before making a decision.

Mr. Panczuk stated that we do have a Park Impact Fee; however, we cannot put a park in the street. Mr. Panczuk stated that the Plan Commission can't require them to donate parkland, but he would ask that they kindly consider donating a small area for a park that the Town could own and put equipment on it at some point.

Mr. Kozel opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Donna Fathke (10729 Maple Lane): Since this development is, at best, unusual and it has not been given much visibility to the townspeople, I'm urging this committee to take very careful consideration and time in reviewing the development plan. The rush to push this plan through is being detrimental to this town; and as you probably know, none of us are very happy with it. So the best thing that you can do is be very open and transparent with all the studies and reports that you will require in the development plan.

I urge you to carefully review and critique every required report and to require excellence in the details of each report. This development could have a very negative impact on St. John. We must strive to minimize those impacts, and what you do with this development over the next few weeks will set precedence for all future developments. What you do with this development will either make or break St. John. Thank you.

Diane Paarlberg (10775 Scarlet Oak Drive): I would just support what Donna said and, uh, ask the, uh, Planning Commission to follow the process for approval and not grant anything prior to having results of studies that are definitely required for this project. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): I'm sure that if you're not aware – you were present at last week's Town Council meeting – and if you're not aware, it was standing room only, two people deep all the way around. The citizens 100% were against the annexation and against this development; and they were ignored by the Town Council.

Now tonight, you bring in the print, which looks like downtown Chicago or Calumet City. You've got homes that you just said are four football fields long sitting next to each other when the gentlemen asked about safety concerns. You have house upon house sitting on top of each other 12 foot apart. Is this what we want for St. John? This is absolutely ridiculous, and the citizens told everybody that last week. And yet it's sitting here tonight.

Mr. Slager is sitting here representing Schilling. They brought in The Preserve, which I fought against; but they did everything right. They brought in paper probably several inches thick, including the traffic study and all the requirements. Why are these individuals being allowed to go, "Well, maybe we'll have it, you know, the next meeting. Maybe we'll get – we'll get the traffic study to you"? That's unacceptable. You're circumventing the process for one developer over another; and that's not right.

Same thing that Mr. Panczuk just said, the Town is responsible for the park, according to the Council, for the developer. Where is the space for the park? You expect all these homes, you expect all those kids to go and walk blocks and blocks of four football fields to be able to go to a park? I don't believe so; that's wrong, period. And yet you want to approve this? This is just sad.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I stood at this podium for this group, amongst others, have, uh, expressed a lot of thoughts. I've been coming here for about 2, 2 1/2 years or so; but since June, it got surreal. It's like we went down a rabbit hole. I'm talking to you as a citizen, someone who cares. I – I will accept at face value that the boards, the Commission cares. But it's like a movie script from Netflix. This is unbelievable. I see intrigue. I see some sewer hookup that may or may not happen, may or may not be a problem, which resulted in a contract which guaranteed something, but it really didn't. We were just pretending.

It ended up in a series of, uh, meetings that rushed through. We had people, uh, repeating what others said. People came up here to protest what happened. And I will say the Plan Commission did vote negative on the last meeting; and I thank you for that vote. The Town Council, on the other hand, said let's – I think the word was outboard the Plan Commission recommendation. I digress for just a moment. You are an accomplished group of people. The Town Council just said screw you. They gave no reason. They never talked about your reasons. They never talked about what you seen as concerns. They stiffed us, no comment, no nothing.

I – I implore you, look at this and say, “What is happening?” What's going on in this town that forces a citizenry to come up here repeatedly to talk to you about issues and we don't get the courtesy of knowing what you're thinking? I'm speaking here mostly of the Town Council, and that's not appropriate here, and I apologize for that. But as a citizen, I'm trying to be transparent. I'm sharing my thoughts with you. I expect the board and, certainly by association, the Council to say the same thing.

If – if you don't accept our arguments, tell us why. If we're doing something wrong or we don't see the world the way you do, that doesn't make us jerks. It doesn't make you guys jerks. But there's a lack of communication in this Town, and it's ran with – and it's exerting itself in an upset citizenry. It's totally unnecessary. There's a process to follow.

There's a rush going on in this town. Something is happening behind the scenes. Someone's been told something. I don't know if people have been told they have to do this because of some mysterious argument out there. Is there some, um, mystic force that's telling us we have to do this right away?

What I do know is that the people who approved this are stepping aside. They're rushing this through. I implore you to share with us what you might know that's forcing this issue to be fast tracked and greased so that it goes through. This development is smaller – no, small is the wrong word – more dense than most every other part of this city. It's got substandard housing to our normal codes. We've got some very serious codes. We pride ourselves on our code. We pride ourselves on our city. And yet the developer says, "Eh, that's not necessary. We can do smaller homes, maybe make some more money."

I presented to this panel at a previous meeting. There's over $6 million additional funding going to the developers and the builders as a result of extra homes that are being built; and yet the Town gets nothing for that. The Town Council noted this in the last meeting. I – I'm sorry – excuse me. The Plan Commission noticed this in the last meeting, but the fact that you've got a R 2 development has value. You're caving on the requirements and – and the ordinances that we've had in place for so long, and you're saying, "Eh, let's just waive them." But you waive them, and you get nothing.

We talk about parks. There's no parks here. This is an exercise to cram homes into a given small space with the sole objective of making more money by selling more homes. Without a reason coming back to us, the citizens, for why you're doing this, what's going on, and what's behind the scenes driving all this, leads us to really negative thoughts.

I implore you to work to your process. The ordinances of the city provide a process and orderly fashion of what has to be done. That doesn't mean you can do things later. It – it’s obvious to all of us that this is to be approved. The forces that be in this Town want this approved while the current Town Council is there. It's incumbent on you – and I'm repeating – it's incumbent on you the panel, even though the Town Council may reject you and look at you as frivolous, it's incumbent on you to make the right calls and to defend this city. And if you're not going to agree with us citizens, at least give us the courtesy of knowing what you're doing and why you're doing it. I thank you for being here, and I understand the tough choices you have to make. Thank you.

Doug Blocker (10591 Juniper Lane): I live in the Orchard Gate subdivision. Um, first time I seen this plan, really, I seen this 8.5 by 11 and very small. Um, and I could be wrong on certain things. I believe the Town board approved a PUD for the R 2 PUD zoning, but I don't believe they approved a subdivision plat or layout and so forth. Um, they approved a minimum, an average lot size, I understand, of 11,200 and some square feet, uh, no minimum size.

So I'm looking at this plan and trying to figure out where it came from. To me it's something a high school kid drew up, or whatever. I mean, it has no imagination. The streets are all linear streets; it's a grid pattern. And that's done in order to get the, uh, get the maximum density that you can in it.

Um, if you have an average lot size, you don't – doesn't mean you have to have 50 foot lots and 100 foot lots. I mean you could have 10,000-square-foot lots and 12,000-square-foot lots to get that average size. So I'm not sure why he thinks he should be allowed to put in 50 foot, 52 foot wide lots. If you look at the plan, I think they're all on the east side. Don't they back up to 1 acre lots? I mean that's just poor planning, put 52 foot lot – wide lot next to a 1 acre lot, that's – that's ridiculous.

And again, looking at the plan, I see no streets going to the east. So I don't know if that's the boundary line or future boundary line between Crown Point and St. John so nobody could cross – cross, you know, back and forth between towns, but I see no streets going to the east. Um, 105th street, in my opinion, that should be considered as a collector street. It's, I mean, all your streets are going there. I would say that should be a minimum of an 80 foot right of way with a 40 foot wide road so that you're allowed to have parking on both sides and still have traffic lanes going both ways. Um, though a traffic study's been done, but what about the impact for your left turn lanes to the subdivision? And what about the impact to, uh, Cline Avenue and 100 – and, uh, Joliet road? That intersection's going to – is already a – a problem. What – what improvements are going to be done there? He talked – for road improvements? I see no perimeter road improvements.

Am I – I'm sorry, I'm – I'm from Illinois, and I don't know if Indiana's backwards or whatever. But you know, I see no improvements to Cline. In Illinois, you'd be fully improving Cline on your half, curb, gutter, sidewalk, streetlights, parkway trees. There's nothing, just ditches. Uh, the developer talks about he's going to be nice and put in berms along Cline street to match the rest of them. Well, those berms should be on a separate outlot, home – that's going to be owned and maintained by the association.

Right now in The Gates, that berm, half that berm is on the property line, on the property; so that backyard for those homes in The Gates is useless because you end up, maybe, with a 30-foot backyard. Next thing you know, 15 foot of that berm is half that backyard. And then, by the way, utilities aren't going to put their utilities on the berm, so they're going to want extra right of way for your utilities. The other half is on the right of way; so in the future when this Town goes to improve Cline Avenue, there are going to be problems because, hey, I got half a berm there now on the right of way.

Also, as far as landscaping – I mean parks, there should be open space for parks cause, again, the Plan Commission, you talk about a PUD. You're granting a PUD in order provide for – for open space. There is no open space here, unless he's considering the Com Ed line as an open space area. But I'm – he's not preserving that cause he's not going to be able to do anything on there. The – what type of landscaping does he intend to do in this subdivision?

I've heard that they intend to follow The Gates covenants, which are worthless cause the developer does what he wants. You go look to the original Gates covenants, and he says all the homes, the front of the homes will be brick and stone. Well, you already got two subdivisions going right on the west of Cline here; they got no brick or stone in the front. Talks about parkway trees, got to have two parkway trees per lot. There's no parkway trees in Orchard Gates, uh, Prairie Gates, and Garden Gates; there's no parkway trees. So I mean, I think the Town should be looking at either adopting ordinances to require these or put these as part of the improvements.

Tell them to provide a landscape plan. Make that part of the plan. How's your detention area going to be landscaped, just with, uh, normally the crabgrass that goes around it? Uh, he's got, you know, where it fronts the roads, should be – should there be trees, or parkway trees or something, uh, in front of these detention basins? No, it's just, hey, you just see the water. But then all the cattails grow up, and he doesn't maintain it, so then it's just, uh, nothing but weeds.

You got, uh, the, you know – are there going to be aerators? Should there be aerators required? Probably. Are they going to put them in? Well, that all depends if he wants to spend the money or not, probably not. And, again, I just don't see cramming these lots in without having curves in the streets and stuff to slow traffic down. Um, I mean, they're just going to be drag strips going north and south on those roadways. Maybe he'll put in speed bumps; I don't know. Hopefully you tell them they try again, submit another plan that, maybe, it will work.

Rick Thomas (10705 Manor Drive): I got to tell you guys, looking at this plot map, that's the worst excuse for a plot map I've ever seen. It's just sardine packed people on land; and when you pack them that tight, you're asking for problems. Been there, done that.

I heard someone ask to – to have them make allowances for one tot lot. One tot lot park for 356 homes? You have 4 tot lots; you're having 90 homes with one tot lot; that's ridiculous. And the size of the streets, you're going to have traffic problems. Just people that want to have a little party, maybe for a graduation party, and they got cars parked all over the streets. You just got one situation after another. It's just going to be problems. Thanks.

Jerry Shallon (10295 South Oakwood Drive): I just have to agree with most of the other speakers. That looks like plans for lockers in a high school or something. That doesn't look like a subdivision. And that north south street and parking, like for a party or something like the gentleman said, it's going to be ridiculous. People at one end are going to be flying down the street to get home or – or leaving for work. You're going to have kids all over the place. It – it just doesn't look like a community.

Having no one else coming forward to speak, Mr. Kozel closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Eberly or Mr. Svetanoff if the Plan Commission is charged with only determining if this plat meets the requirements of the rezoning ordinance and/or requisites based on the Town Council approving the zoning. Mr. Eberly explained that the reason that this is before this body tonight for that plat is because the Town Council approved the rezoning, and there is a zoning commitment that was supplemental to the rezone and annexation ordinance. The property we're looking at here was already in town. This was not annexed in this latest action; however, the property was part of an agreement between the developer and the Town Council that allowed development of this property and zoned this as an R 2 PUD. Ordinarily, the Plan Commission has to judge a plat against the requirements of our Subdivision Control Ordinance and our Zoning Ordinance, but a PUD allows flexibility to that. Now this has to be judged against the conditions in the Zoning Commitment and the Annexation/Rezone Ordinance that was approved by the Town Council.

Mr. Eberly advised that the developer has to hit an average of at least 11,200 square foot lots in the entirety of the development, including the area that was annexed. There is no minimum lot width; there is no minimum lot depth. They are to have 6 foot minimum side-yard setbacks, a floating front yard setback of 25 to 40 feet, and a rear yard setback of 30 feet. Those are conditions that this body has to consider in any plat that for this development that this developer brings before us for consideration, and the members of Plan Commission must consider those conditions whether they like it or not.

Mr. Eberly stated that the average size of the single family lots in the existing Gates is 12,200 square feet, which is 1,000 square feet larger, on average, than what is in this proposed development.

Mr. Georgiou asked if engineering is submitted with Primary Plat. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the engineering package includes complete detention designs, roadway designs, and the whole complete package. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kraus stated that it does cover all those items, and they have covered all sorts of drainage calculations. The streets are designed according to code. There were three areas of concern for the drainage: The water going on to the Jamar Estates area and Magnolia Gates, and they came up with a good solution for that. The second one was what runs over Bell Street to the east in Green Acres. There was a 20 acre area of farm field that drains right to them and runs off unchecked. It's channeled between two houses and goes down to Bell Street. This plan will cut off all but maybe 4 acres, and the 4 acres will just be the backyards of those lots that butt up against the east property line. The third place was drainage from the Barman property. There is a field tile that was put in many years ago that will be tied into this storm sewer system and take it to the detention basin. Mr. Kraus stated that he believes they've handled all of the areas that were of concern for drainage.

Mr. Eberly stated that he wanted to address the comments regarding the lack of park space: As Mr. Panczuk mentioned earlier, because we have a Park Impact Fee and because state law doesn't allow the Town to require parkland dedication, you don't see parkland dedication in this development. Some developers will give parkland even though each lot pays a Park Impact Fee, others choose not to. This developer chose not to in this case. Mr. Eberly stated for the edification of those present that the Park Impact Fee is $1,801 per residential permit that is issued.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is wondering if 105th Avenue should be widened as it is a collector street, which may be justified by the traffic counts. Mr. Kuiper stated that it would not change with the traffic study. The traffic study will study Cline Avenue and 105th Avenue at the intersection. Mr. Kuiper added that Mr. Kraus has already said that the interior streets are already sufficient, per code, to handle those things.

Mr. Panczuk stated that 105th Avenue becomes a collector street whether we like it or not. He further stated that it is within the Plan Commission's right to ask that a study be done and that there should be sufficient room to adjust the width of the street without impacting site planning.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the berm is in the right of way. Mr. Kuiper responded in the negative. Mr. Panczuk asked if there would be a landscape easement on the back of the lots. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative. Mr. Panczuk asked if the berm would be taken care of by the HOA. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is concerned with the length of the streets; if it is deferred, he'd like Mr. Flores to take it to Public Safety, especially the Fire Chief, to see if they have any concerns.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the frontage along Cline Avenue needs to have the sidewalk installed there. Mr. Kuiper stated that they have not requested a waiver on that.

Mr. Georgiou asked if there is a completion date for the traffic study. Mr. Kuiper responded in the negative and stated that Mr. Cobb is working on it.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Eberly if there is normally internal meetings with Police, Fire, and Public Works when subdivisions are reviewed. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative and stated that there has not been one on this project yet.

Hearing no further discussion, Mr. Kozel entertained a motion.

Motion by Mr. Flores to defer the petition to the next meeting with the conditions that the board receives the results of the traffic study, that they have time to review said traffic study, and that a safety meeting is held prior to any decision being rendered by the board. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk.

Vote by roll call:
Mr. Flores Aye
Mr. Georgiou Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Kozel Aye

Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Kozel advised that this motion for a deferral has carried with specific conditions and that the developer is required to meet those conditions.

Mr. Kuiper thanked the board and stated that they have no control over scheduling safety meeting.

Mr. Kozel asked Mr. Eberly if he would set that up. Mr. Eberly agreed to the same.

Mr. Kuiper stated that as soon as he has the traffic study, he will get it to Mr. Eberly so it can be distributed before the next meeting.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN, POD 1G – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Kozel advised that next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 1G. The petitioner is seeking Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Torrenga stated that this is last portion of the Unit 1 subdivision that was approved in 2015 and that Mr. Kraus has reviewed the engineering.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Development Fee has been paid, and no Letter of Credit is necessary as all improvements are installed.

Hearing no questions or comments from the board, Mr. Kozel entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Secondary Plat for The Gates of St. John, Pod 1G by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

C. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN, POD 20B – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Kozel advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 20B. The petitioner is seeking Secondary Plat approval.

Mr. Torrenga stated that this is the second half of what was presented as Suncrest Christian Church Addition; that there are 21 R 2 single family residential lots that meet the requirement of 15,000 square feet per lot; and that Mr. Kraus has had an opportunity to review the engineering.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Development Fee has been paid and that the public improvements have already been installed, so no Letter of Credit is required.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the sidewalk heading north has been installed. Mr. Torrenga stated that he doesn't know if it has or has not.

Mr. Eberly stated that what Mr. Panczuk is referring to was in Unit 1. He further stated that he is not certain if it has been installed or not.

Mr. Kozel stated that we have the sidewalk that goes from the church all the way to 99th.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it was to connect 100th all the way up to the roundabout, but he hasn’t seen any of it installed yet. He further stated that if it has not been installed and it is not part of this plat, we should still have an outstanding credit for it. Mr. Kraus responded that it would have been part of 20A.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly if he would investigate that. Mr. Eberly agreed to do the same.

Mr. Kozel entertained a motion.

Motion to grant The Gates of St. John, Pod 20B, Secondary Plat approval by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Kozel opened the floor for Public Comment.

Diane Paarlberg (10775 Scarlet Oak Drive): My only question is to the presenters on the streets. How are the streets going to be named? I'm on Scarlet Oak; is that going to continue all the way down to, uh, to the highway, the street names?

(Indiscernible answer by Mr. Torrenga.)

No, I'm not asking that. I'm asking the names. What – are they going to be named like –

(Mr. Torrenga stated the names are on the plat.)

Like this is Scarlet Oak Drive right here. So is Scarlet Oak Drive going to continue down to the east?

(Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative.)

So that would all be Scarlet Oak Drive?

(Mr. Torrenga responded in the affirmative.)

One T or two Ts?

(Mr. Torrenga responded that he doesn't know.)

Oh, well, that's the confusion. Part of them are two Ts and part of them are one T.

(Mr. Torrenga asked her which she would prefer.)

One T, Scarlet Oak Drive.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I'd like to address Rick, if that's possible at the podium. Um, your lot size density, I've had an opportunity to look at your numbers. I agree with them and believe they're 100% accurate. But the way they're presented is extremely deceptive.

(Mr. Eberly asked in what way.)

Okay. You've got lot sizes which are equivalent, but you're talking about far different densities. So if I had lot sizes that are equivalent, I'd rather be in a less dense neighborhood; and I think that gets masked the way it's presented. So while your numbers are right and those lot sizes may be, let's call it, equivalent or even larger, um, the lack of density in the existing Gates makes a big, big difference.

(Mr. Eberly stated that there is a lot more open green space in The Gates. There's 702 acres total in the existing Gates. Originally, there was supposed to be 1450 residential units in that area, now that number has gone up to 1615 units. However, it does come out to a density of 2.5 or 2.6 in the existing Gates, and it's 3.25 in this proposed Gates.)

It is surreal. But I would – I would appreciate, from the standpoint of clarity, that whenever those comparisons are made, it's made – also pointed that there's a substantially different density.

Secondly, you may have answered my question, but you confused me because you talked about the commitment and you talked about the agreement. And you indicated this Commission was obligated to vote a certain way because of a signed agreement. I'm confused because I thought agreement was not mandatory. Can you explain what you meant?

(Mr. Eberly explained that the Zoning Commitment has conditions in it that says that the proposed Gates, what is being called Gates East, must meet an average lot size of 11,200 square feet.)

What is that? I – I – I don't understand what that – where that comes from.

(Mr. Eberly responded that it's in the Zoning Commitment.)

What's Zoning Commitment?

(Mr. Eberly explained that the Zoning Commitment was supplemental to the Annexation Ordinance.)

That had nothing to do with the June agreement?

(Mr. Eberly stated that it did. The agreement is the settlement between the developer and the Town Council and that 11,200 square foot average lot size in The Gates East was part of that settlement.)

But part of that agreement said it was not a commitment. Are you saying it was a commitment?

(Mr. Eberly responded that it said it was not a contract; and it said that the Town was not obligated to grant the zoning that the developer was asking for, but the Town Council did accept that zoning.)

Are you saying the Town Council headed off the Plan Commission?

(Mr. Eberly responded that the Plan Commission sent an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council on the R 2 PUD rezoning request. The Town Council overrode the Plan Commission, as it can. The Town Council has the authority to accept or reject that recommendation.)

So last point, by approving what they did at the Town Council, it forces this group to make a certain decision.

(Mr. Eberly responded that it forces this group to consider the conditions of Primary Plat, and among those are the conditions that are in the Zoning Commitment.)

Thank you.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Kozel closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Kozel entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Georgiou Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Kozel adjourned the meeting at 8:16 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

10-16-2019 Plan Commission

October 16, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on October 16, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Steve Flores, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: None.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Primary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner will be seeking Primary Plat approval at the November 6, 2019 meeting of the 108-plus acres on the east side of Cline Avenue between US 231 and Joliet Street.

Mr. Kuiper stated that there is a revised master plan for the property subject to Primary Plat approval. They added a dedicated park area on the northwest corner of Privet Drive and East 103rd Street. The right-of-way on 105th Avenue has been extended in the event it is needed as a result of the traffic study that Mr. Cobb anticipates having that done in the next week or two. Once they have that, they will provide the same to Mr. Eberly for distribution to the members. The first east-west road connection north of 105th Avenue has been moved south to shorten the length of the road to the intersection, and they replaced the initial intersection with a cul-de-sac at the far north end of that street instead. Some of the lots have been reconfigured slightly to make them a little bit bigger, and there is a little bit more room for access at the detention area.

Mr. Kozel asked if Mr. Kuiper has the number of lots that have been made larger. Mr. Kuiper responded in the negative and stated that he just received the revised master plan that day.

Mr. Kozel asked if he would be able to get that information to Mr. Eberly for distribution to the members. Mr. Eberly stated that he would be able to get that information off the plat and do a spreadsheet comparison for the members.

Mr. Eberly stated that he would check to see if the lot count has increased. He doesn't believe it has, and it may have actually decreased with the land for the park. Mr. Kuiper confirmed that the number has not increased.

Mr. Kuiper advised that they have changed the lot numbers so that the lots in Unit 21 will have 21 starting the lot numbers. They will run 2101, 2102, etc. The same numbering system will be repeated in the other units, so Unit 23 would have lot 2301, 2302, and so on.

Mr. Kozel asked if he would check the house numbers to ensure there is nothing confusing. Mr. Kuiper stated that he would make sure someone does that.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the traffic study is inclusive of the first Preliminary Plat or for the whole area. Mr. Forbes stated that he believes it is for the whole area. Mr. Kuiper confirmed the same.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he is concerned with the traffic study because of having multiple access points for the entire development since there is only one access point in the first phase. Mr. Kuiper stated that the summary would be based on a buildout, so it should assume there is only the one exit/entrance for now.

Mr. Flores asked if the names of the streets will change; and stated that East 103rd Street should be West 103rd Street. Mr. Eberly stated that those corrections would be made.

Mr. Eberly commented that the developer told him that the engineer had taken liberties on naming the streets and that he didn't have any intention of using those names anyway.

Mr. Flores stated that the safety team prefers that the names stay the same because they are already used to those street names.

Mr. Forbes stated that historically, when a street lines up with an existing named street, it keeps that name.

Mr. Eberly noted that he has spoken with Mr. Cobb, and he is looking at the entirety of the development in the traffic study, including the access points on 101st Avenue as well as on Cline Avenue.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Kuiper when the next phase would be done, as there will be one access point into and out of the subdivision at this time. Mr. Kuiper stated that the full buildout would take about four to five years.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is anything specified about subdivisions with only one access point. Mr. Eberly responded that the preference is for two access points; however, it is not mandated.

Mr. Kozel commented that The Preserve only has one access point until they reach the phase that will have an access point on 93rd Avenue. Mr. Eberly concurred.

Mr. Flores stated that there are still intersections in The Gates that don't have street signs that have had houses on them for six years. He would like those to be put up as soon as possible. He further stated that there are signs in The Gates that are falling apart. Mr. Kuiper responded that he would bring that up. He stated that if there are any of them that Mr. Flores knows of in particular to let Mr. Eberly know so they could be addressed.

Mr. Panczuk stated that The Gates street signs cannot be read at night. He requested that the signs for this development be made with reflective materials like standard street signs.

Mr. Forbes responded that, since those signs originally were installed, the law has changed requiring street signs have to have measurement of reflectivity. Mr. Kuiper stated that these signs would have to conform to that.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there is only a 2 foot difference between the water retention area and the well and requested that there be more of a buffer. Mr. Kuiper stated that he doesn't think there would be an issue to do something a bit differently with that area to address any concerns.

Mr. Kraus stated that he reviewed the calculations for the detention volume, what is required, and what is being provided; and they are providing probably 1.5 to 2 times the volume that they actually need. The water level will be kept down because it is being spread over such a large area. If we do get one of those frog stranglers, this thing rises up, the pipe leading out of here clogs up, and the only thing we can use is the emergency overflow spillway; it probably would take a thousand year storm to fill that pond up for that to have an impact on the well.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he heard it is only a two-foot buffer. Mr. Kraus confirmed it is. Mr. Panczuk asked if it could be 4 foot. Mr. Kraus responded that they were concerned about the flooding as well, which is why the volume is more than what is needed.

Mr. Eberly asked if Mr. Kraus knows how many feet of storage above the 100 year event is available in that pond before getting to the elevation Mr. Panczuk is concerned about. Mr. Kraus stated the volume is 1.5 to 2 times what they need.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Kraus to confirm that he was saying that the volume is 1.5 to 2 times what a 100 year event storage is. Mr. Kraus confirmed the same.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is concerned about the little ditch that goes to the north if something were to happen. Mr. Kraus stated that they will be doing some dredging of the existing route until it gets to the box culvert at Joliet Street, which is 4 feet by 14 feet and is more than adequate to handle the water being restricted plus the water getting there without restriction north of this section.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wants to be sure that the well station is high enough that, even if there is a little bit of error in the way they grade it or something isn't just right, there is enough buffer. Mr. Kraus stated that he would work with Mr. Torrenga to see if there is a way to get the well site up higher or the road down lower.

Mr. Panczuk asked if 105th Avenue would be wider, like a collector street. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative. Mr. Panczuk asked if there is 30 foot of right of way for the entire length. Mr. Eberly responded that it is a 70 foot right of way and that it is 36 feet back of curb to back of curb.

Mr. Forbes stated that there was discussion that people believed the bike trail was going to be incorporated into the street and stated for clarification that it is not going to be part of the street. Mr. Kuiper stated that it was never planned to be that way.

Mr. Forbes stated that the 10 foot bike trail is not subtracting from the width of the street. It will be in place of the sidewalk along 105th Avenue until it turns and goes up the NIPSCO easement. Mr. Kuiper added that it would be an expanded sidewalk for that portion running along 105th Avenue.

Mr. Forbes stated that the bike path that runs along 105th Avenue is consistent with what's in The Gates along Park Place. Mr. Kuiper confirmed the same.

Mr. Eberly advised that it is an 8 foot concrete bike path along 105th Avenue from Cline Avenue until it makes the turn and goes north up to 101st where it will become a 10 foot wide asphalt bike path. The developer would prefer to meander the bike path through that easement, but he's not sure that NIPSCO will allow that.

Mr. Kuiper advised that the way the development would be phased, if they change the bike path if NIPSCO allows it to meander, it could be reflected on the secondary plat.

Mr. Forbes stated that he wanted to assure everyone that the bike path is not in the street.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the traffic study would evaluate the internal streets as well. Mr. Kuiper responded that it would evaluate both the internal and external streets to recommend what needs to be done for turning, stacking, and so forth.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is a restriction on collector streets for connectivity for private drives. Mr. Panczuk stated that the Thoroughfare Plan calls for trying to minimize it; however, it calls for that to be in place in Schillton Drive, Keilman, and Olcott as well.

Mr. Forbes stated that we don't want the road too wide because of speeding and because the Town will eventually have to repave it, which is very costly.

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN POD 7E – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval of this unit at the November 6, 2019 meeting.

Mr. Forbes further advised that they have a corrected letter from Mr. Kraus that was just handed out.

Mr. Kuiper stated that an easement is being added to accommodate the water line that will be coming over from The Gates East.

Mr. Eberly stated that there is a 20 foot water main easement added to the already approved 7E secondary plat. A letter of credit is being put up for the balance of the improvements that need to be installed.

C. WALDEN CLEARING – Letter of Credit
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Walden Clearing. The petitioner will be seeking a reduction of its Letter of Credit at the November 6, 2019 meeting.

Jeff Yatsko with Olthof Homes stated that all the improvements are in; so they will be requesting to reduce that to $38,025 to cover landscape screening, rule of five, and installation of some common sidewalks.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus if he agrees. Mr. Kraus responded in the affirmative.

D. SUMMERLIN ESTATES – Secondary Plat Approval
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Summerlin Estates. The petitioner will be seeking Secondary Plat approval at the November 6, 2019 meeting.

Jeff Yatsko with Olthof Homes stated that the phase includes 17 lots and two outlots. One outlot is the detention pond; the other is the frontage outlot for the sign. He will be working with Mr. Kraus and Mr. Eberly to get the bonds in place for the remaining improvements before the meeting.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the Plan Commission has reviewed the monument sign yet. Mr. Eberly responded that it has not been submitted yet.

Mr. Yatsko stated that it might have been in the preliminary engineering documents; if not, he will get a copy over for review.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the Plan Commission reviews them to ensure there are no signs blocking visibility. Mr. Yatsko agreed to send that over if it hasn't been approved already.

Mr. Yatsko stated that if they submitted it, it would be with the landscape plans. Mr. Eberly pulled up a drawing on the screen and stated that it shows the entry sign; however, there are no dimensions listed.

Mr. Forbes stated that he recalls discussing the location but never the dimensions.

Mr. Yatsko stated he believes there are going to be signs on both sides and that he would submit a rendering before installation. He further stated that this one is a little unique because there is a right-of-way being platted for a future roundabout.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it looks like the signs are in the right of way.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Yatsko to get the details to them. Mr. Yatsko agreed to do the same.

E. MORNING CREST – Release of Cash Escrow
Mr. Forbes advised the next item on the agenda is Morning Crest. The petitioner is seeking a release of its cash escrow.

Mr. Eberly stated that Brian Lantz was unable to attend the meeting but asked that the cash escrow be released. Mr. Eberly advised that it was to cover the public sidewalks in front of the two outlots as well as the As built drawings. The developer has completed the sidewalks, but the drawings have not been received yet; however, Mr. Lantz has indicated that we would have those by the November 6 meeting.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Eberly to notify the members when he gets the As builts. Mr. Eberly agreed to the same and stated that if we don't get them in time for the meeting, he will take it off the agenda.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:28 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

11-06-2019 Plan Commission

November 6, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on November 6, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, John Kennedy, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Also Present: Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director; Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer; and Joseph Svetanoff; Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the October 2, 2019 Regular Meeting and the September 18, 2019 and October 16, 2019 Study Sessions and asked for any questions or comments on the same.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays for the September 18, 2019 and the October 16, 2019 Study Sessions and 5 ayes to 0 nays with 1 abstention by Mr. Kennedy for the October 2, 2019 Regular Meeting. Mr. Kennedy abstained from voting on the October 2, 2019 Minutes due to absence from said meeting.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

None was had.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS – As Amended by Vote

A. 2019-0010 THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Primary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Don Torrenga/Tim Kuiper)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner is seeking Primary Plat approval of 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue and between US 231 and Joliet Street.

Mr. Eberly provided the board with a newly revised plan, a copy of Mr. Kraus’ review letter, and an Executive Summary of the traffic study.

Mr. Kuiper, on behalf of LBL Development, stated that as of the October Study Session, the only outstanding item was the receipt of the traffic study. That traffic study was submitted last week, and Mr. Dennis Cobb’s findings recommend that both the northbound and southbound approaches to 105th Avenue from Cline Avenue have a dedicated left turn lane, dedicated right turn lane, and a through lane. He advised that there is plenty of right-of-way to accomplish that improvement; that it would be a requirement that would have to be completed in order for the subdivision to go through; and that they are fine with committing to do those as part of the subdivision improvements.

Mr. Kuiper stated that since that meeting, there has been correspondence with different opinions about the average lot size. Ordinance No. 1695, which is the ordnance that rezoned this parcel, incorporated the Zoning Commitment, which predicated that the average lot size across the entire 219-acre project would be 11,200. There are a lot of issues in concertation with that, so they submitted the revised plat, which lessens the number of lots in the subdivision, pushes the average lot size to just above 11,200 square feet, and has 306 lots in total. The park area has been removed. The right-of-way is still in place and all the improvements would still be there. The plat conforms to the R-2 PUD Zoning Ordinance, the other ordinances of the Town of St. John, and the Subdivision Control Ordinance.

Mr. Flores asked why the park area was removed. Mr. Kuiper responded that park-land dedication is not required and the Town will receive over $1 million based upon the building permits for park improvements, so the Town can purchase whatever they want and put in whatever they want, wherever they want.

Mr. Panczuk stated that all the new documentation was just received today and that he would like time to review all the information before making a decision. He further stated that the Subdivision Control Ordinance calls for plats with any significant changes to be submitted 14 days before the next meeting. Mr. Panczuk commented that the lot sizes seemed all right at the last meeting; however, it was discovered that they were not. Now we have a completely new plat.

Mr. Forbes stated that it is not completely new plat.

Mr. Kuiper stated that the configuration stays the same. The traffic study was in a week ago, as was promised. He is sorry that the members did not get it, but that is why the Town employs an engineer to go over those details as well as a Building and Planning Director.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they are not appointed members of the Plan Commission to bear the burden of the vote for lawfulness. He further stated that he, as well as the other members of the board, bear that burden; so he is more concerned about his own review of the materials.

Mr. Kennedy asked if lots 2249-2258 will be replatted. Mr. Kuiper responded that there is no plan at this time. Mr. Kennedy stated that he understands “at this time”; and asked if there will be any expectation to change the plat in a year. Mr. Kuiper stated that he has no knowledge of that.

Mr. Flores asked what the plan is for the large lots. Mr. Kuiper stated that they are to be built on.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the total extent of the recommended improvements are included in the Executive Summary. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked if 101st Avenue is in the property being annexed. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Georgiou asked if the annexed area was taken into account and if that density was a contributing factor for the traffic study. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative and stated that with this area having fifty less lots, that reduces the traffic numbers.

Mr. Forbes stated that Mr. Eberly had advised the board that the final calculation for the entire development is included in the traffic study.

Mr. Kuiper confirmed the same and stated that if the annexed portion were not included, the recommendation would still be the same for the interchange at Cline Avenue and 105th Avenue.

Mr. Georgiou stated that it appears to have adequate right-of-way and asked Mr. Kraus if the traffic items are included in his review. Mr. Kraus responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kozel asked Mr. Kraus if everything is fine with the 306 lots. Mr. Kraus stated that the study was actually made for 356 lots in this phase plus the others, so by reducing the number of lots in this phase, the number of cars that add to the traffic impact is reduced.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Cobb identifies 370 single-family homes and 230 age-targeted single-family homes for a total of 600 lots in the Executive Summary, which will be less than that given the new configuration as the traffic study was based on 600 lots in total.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Executive Summary shows the configuration of the recommendation for 105th Avenue and Cline Avenue and the configuration on 101st Avenue at the western-most access point to that north section of The Gates East. He further advised that Mr. Cobb is recommending a 100-foot taper with a 100-foot right-hand turn lane. The taper will be dependent upon the amount of right-of-way available in that area and that the taper could be as short as 50 feet if the right-of-way is limited. Those are the only improvements warranted and recommended on 101st Avenue. Mr. Eberly further advised that Mr. Cobb recommends that it be maintained as a stop for eastbound and westbound traffic on 105th Avenue, but no traffic control on Cline Avenue either northbound or southbound.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the revised primary plat is satisfactory. The Developmental Fee has not been established and will be based on 2% of the construction cost of public improvements supplied by the developer or a certified estimate by the developer’s engineer. The SWPPP has been provided but not yet reviewed, and the fee for that review will be determined at the time of review.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the traffic study needs to be part of any decision as a contingency. Mr. Forbes responded that it can be attached as a condition.

Mr. Eberly advised that it’s not depicted on the plat; so the recommendations in the traffic study should be made a condition or contingency of a motion.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is a contingency that can be added to ensure that the large lots cannot be replatted. Mr. Forbes responded that he doesn't believe we can do that.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the 14-day stipulation, as mentioned by Mr. Panczuk, is in our ordinance so that we should have received this 14 days ago. Mr. Eberly stated that when we get an initial set of plans, we are supposed to have those 30 days in advance. When we conduct a review, we get back to the developer with corrections and/or suggested changes; and we are to get that next set of plans within 14 days. Mr. Eberly further stated that this is the third or fourth iteration of this plat and that, if the board wants to hold the developer’s feet to the fire for every subsequent submittal, it is up to them.

Mr. Georgiou asked Mr. Eberly for confirmation that this phase, regardless of the overall development, meets the average square footage as stipulated. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion and asked that the Findings of Fact and the contingency for the traffic study are incorporated.

Motion to defer this until the next meeting for further review by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Forbes advised that there is a motion and a second on the floor and asked for a roll-call vote.

Roll Call Vote:
Mr. Flores Aye
Mr. Georgiou Nay
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Kozel Nay
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Forbes Nay

Motion ties.

Mr. Forbes entertained a new motion.

Motion to grant The Gates of St. John East Primary Plat approval for the 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue between US 231 and Joliet Street, with the contingency that the recommendations in the traffic study are made a requirement of this plat approval, referencing the Findings of Fact by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou.

Discussion ensued with a question directed to the Town Attorney wherein the members were advised that since it meets the Zoning Commitment; since it meets the Settlement Agreement terms; since it meets thorough review by the engineer and by Staff, our Subdivision Control Ordinance, and our PUD Ordinance, this is more of a ministerial act on a primary plat.

Attorney Svetanoff was asked if the developer potentially could come back and replat those large lots, bringing them under the lot-size requirement wherein, he advised that the petitioner has given indication that there is no indication they are going to be coming back to try and replat those lots and that decision would lie with the Plan Commission if they did try to come back and replat those lots.

Mr. Kuiper asked for the floor and stated that if the Subdivision and Zoning Ordinance requirements are met, it is a ministerial act that the body is required to approve. Mr. Kuiper reviewed what they have done at the past meetings and stated that they have met all the requirements to have the Primary Plat approved; furthermore, under case law, it is a ministerial act that must be done.

Attorney Svetanoff was asked if he concurred with that statement and stated that it is a fair interpretation under current Indiana case law and zoning law.

Discussion ensued regarding the Subdivision Control Ordinance 14-day requirement wherein Mr. Kuiper stressed that he has been very careful about his wording – “The average across the project would be 11,200 square feet.” – being consistent with the Zoning Commitment and the Settlement Agreement.

Mr. Eberly read the applicable paragraph from the Subdivision Control Ordinance: “One copy of plat plans and corroborating information further shall be in the possession of both the Town Engineer and town staff thirty (30) days prior to any Plan Commission meeting at which the plat will be considered. Corrected plans shall also be in the possession of the Town Engineer and town staff fourteen (14) days before any subsequent meeting. Any additional or subsequent changes shall be considered a separate submittal and subject to the fourteen (14) day requirement.”

Mr. Forbes advised that there is a motion and a second on the floor and asked for a roll-call vote.

Roll Call Vote:
Mr. Flores Nay
Mr. Georgiou Aye
Mr. Kennedy Nay
Mr. Kozel Aye
Mr. Panczuk Nay
Mr. Forbes Aye

Motion ties.

Having a second tie vote, Mr. Forbes stated that this results in a stalemate so this petition will be deferred to the December meeting.

Mr. Kuiper asked if there is anything else that has not been satisfied, besides the 14-day submission. Mr. Forbes stated that he has heard no other suggestions or changes recommended this evening.

Mr. Flores stated that he just wants additional time to read and compare everything.

Mr. Kuiper requested a special public meeting before the Study Session on November 20, if the Plan Commission would be so inclined.

The members of the Plan Commission had no objections; thus, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to approve the special meeting.

Motion to approve a special public meeting to consider The Gates East petition, which shall be the sole petition and petitioner, prior to the Study Session on November 20, 2019 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN, POD 7E – Revised Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Don Torrenga)
Mr. Forbes advised that next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E. The petitioner is seeking approval for a revised Secondary Plat for this pod due to the fact that an easement had to be added to the plat to accommodate the installation of the raw water main through this area from the new well in The Gates East. The developer will be submitting a Letter of Credit for this pod. The Secondary Plat had been approved previously subject to withholding signatures until the improvement were constructed.

Mr. Kuiper stated that this is simply adding the easement for the water main extension, which is typically done perfunctorily and not at the Plan Commission level.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which states that the developer would like the option of providing a Letter of Credit or Surety Bond in lieu of installing the remaining public improvements. If an Irrevocable Letter of Credit were to be provided, it should in in the amount of $1,094,495.80. If a Surety Bond were to be provided, it should be in the amount of $1,293,495.00.

Mr. Forbes asked if they would be providing a Letter of Credit or Surety Bond. Mr. Kuiper responded that they will provide the Surety Bond.

Motion to approve the revised Secondary Plat for The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to send a recommendation to the Town Council to accept the Surety Bond $1,293,495.00.

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to accept a Surety Bond for The Gates of St. John Pod 7E in the amount of $1,293,495.00 by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

C. WALDEN CLEARING – Letter of Credit Reduction – (Petitioner: Olthof Homes)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Walden Clearing. The petitioner is seeking a reduction of its Letter of Credit for Unit One of this development.

Mr. Jeff Yatsko, representing Olthof Homes, stated that they are seeking a reduction in their bond for Walden Clearing, Phase 1.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds the bond reduction request from the amount of $1,120,219.10 may be released and be replaced with a new bond in the amount of $38,024.00 to cover the costs of sidewalks, soil erosion control, traffic signs, and landscape screening.

Mr. Forbes sked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Walden Clearing’s request for a reduction of the Letter of Credit, referencing the Findings of Fact by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

D. SUMMERLIN ESTATES – Secondary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: Olthof Homes)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Summerlin Estates. The petitioner is seeking Secondary Plat approval of this development.

Mr. Yatsko stated that they are seeking final plat approval for Summerlin Estates, Phase 1, that the first phase is 17 lots and 4 outlots; and that the bonds are posted.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the plat is satisfactory. The Developmental Fee for this project is $17,410.03. Public improvements are not complete and a Letter of Credit in the amount of $504,347.14 or a Surety Bond in the amount of $596,046.62 should be submitted to the Town to ensure completion of those improvements.

Mr. Yatsko advised that they have submitted a performance bond.

Mr. Eberly stated that they have paid the Developmental Fee and that he has the bond.

Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to grant Summerlin Estates Secondary Plat approval, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Yatsko asked if he needed Plan Commission approval on the subdivision signage.

Mr. Yatsko reviewed the drawings and stated that there is a monument sign on the west side of the road, and the east side has a monument wall.

Mr. Kozel asked if we have the location of the signs on the property. Mr. Eberly showed the drawing with the placement of the signage.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the tallest point of the sign is. Mr. Yatsko responded that the main sign is about 7 feet tall and the pylons would be about 3 feet tall.

Mr. Yatsko stated that they had to plat a right-of-way for a future roundabout in the event a roundabout would ever go in that location. The monument signs will be positioned right off the intersection, which is within that right-of-way. If the roundabout ever goes in, they will move the signs at no cost to the Town.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they have room to move those signs should it be required. Mr. Yatsko responded in the affirmative and explained that there is ample space in Outlot A and Outlot B should the signage need to be moved.

Mr. Yatsko offered to send in different drawings.

Mr. Forbes stated that they are small compared to many that have been going in and that he has no issues with the signage.

Mr. Kennedy asked why a motion is needed for the signage. Mr. Eberly responded that it is normally done with Primary Plat and that it is clean to have a motion approving it.

Mr. Kozel stated that it is usually on a drawing at Primary Plat and we accept it by virtue of accepting the drawing.

Mr. Forbes stated that we would acknowledge it with a motion since there were questions on it and entertained a motion to accept the design and location of the entrance signage.

Motion to approve the location and design of the entrance signage for Summerlin Estates by Mr. Kennedy. Second by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to send a recommendation to the Town Council to accept the performance bond in the amount of $596,046.62,

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to accept the performance bond for Summerlin Estates in the amount of $596,046.62 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

E. MORNING CREST – Cash Escrow Release – (Petitioner: Lantz Development)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Morning Crest. The petitioner is seeking release of its cash escrow.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter for the bond release request which states that Public Works has reported that all public infrastructure for this project has been constructed and that the current cash escrow, in the amount of $11,990, may be released and replaced with a maintenance bond.

Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the cash escrow release for Morning Crest by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Comment.

Edward Conn (9227 West 91st Court): Mr. Forbes, maybe you can – I wanted to talk to Mr. Lotton’s attorney when he brought this up; but under your Old/New Business, No. 6 with, uh, A. with this plat approval. Um, he originally showed that park section in there. Now they decided to remove it and then give the Town, if I understand, $1 million towards our Parks Department or for this subdivision.

(Mr. Forbes stated that that Town cannot require parkland dedication which is why we created the Park Impact Fee. Instead of getting parkland from a developer, we impose a Park Impact Fee on every building permit that is based on a per-lot fee. The money goes to the Park Department; and the Park Department can use it anywhere within the town boundaries, not specific to the development.)

Okay. All right, that’s all I had. Thank you.

(Mr. Eberly advised that when Mr. Kuiper spoke about the $1 million, what he meant was that with all 600 lots getting built at $1800 per permit going towards the Park Impact Fee per lot, it will generate more than $1 million.)

Okay. I was just curious, you know. When you saw the previous and then the current, you know, the previous was highlighted in yellow where the park was supposed to be; and now all of a sudden, it’s two brand new lots on an angle.

(Mr. Eberly stated that there was no park in the original plat. In one of the subsequent plats there was a park, and now in this last plat there is no park again.)

It’s gone, yeah. Okay. All right, thank you.

Doug Blocker (10591 Juniper Lane): Sorry I missed the last Study Session. Um, we weren’t – I wasn’t thinking that this plan would be discussed. But looking at the plan, that meeting I was at the developer talked about putting a berm along Cline Avenue to act as a buffer, similar to what he has over on The Gates of St. John. This plat shows: one, no landscape easement for a berm, and shows your public utilities right up along Cline Avenue. I think there’s a 15-foot easement dedication. So my question would be is, is he going to put a berm there or not put a berm there?

And I’m assuming if he puts a berm there, utilities can’t go there, so they’re going to be pushed forward into the – that lot. So basically, all those homes along Cline Avenue and along Joliet Street won’t have a backyard, cause you’re going to need, probably, 25-30 feet for a berm, then you’re going to have another 15-20 feet for easements. There goes the backyard. So I don’t know what happened to the landscape berm he – he’s – he said he’s going to put in, but it’s not there. Thanks.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Flores. Motion carries 6 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:51 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

11-20-2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting

November 20, 2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Special Meeting to order on November 20, 2019, at 7:00 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: Nick Georgiou, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Also Present: Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director; Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer; and Joseph Svetanoff; Town Attorney.

Absent: Steve Flores and John Kennedy.

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the November 6, 2019 Regular Meeting and asked for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion for the same.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2019-0010 THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Primary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Don Torrenga)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner is seeking Primary Plat approval of 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue and between US 231 and Joliet Street.

Mr. Kuiper thanked the Plan Commission for allowing this special meeting. He stated that two weeks ago there were no questions at that time and that the 14-day timeframe for a revised plat has passed and requested that Primary Plat approval be granted.

Mr. Kuiper stated that one of the requirements of this approval would be to satisfy the recommendation in the traffic study for the improvements on Cline Avenue and 101st Avenue. He advised that they met all the subdivision requirements based upon the subdivision code of the Zoning Ordinance for this.

Mr. Panczuk asked why the lots on the west side of Whitney Street were 200 feet deep instead of the 150 feet like the other lots on the east side of Whitney and both sides of Morse Place. Mr. Kuiper responded that it is a 50-foot easement for the bike path.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the bike path is located on the NIPSCO easement. Mr. Kuiper responded in the negative and demonstrated where the bike path would be.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is an easement on the back of those lots for that. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the certified plans dated November 5, 2019 are satisfactory. The Developmental Fee has not been calculated and will be based on 2% of the construction cost of public improvements. The SWPP has been provided but not yet reviewed; and the fee for that will be determined at the time of review.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion and asked that the Findings of Fact be included with any motion. Mr. Eberly responded that Mr. Kuiper has prepared the Findings of Fact and passed out the same.

Mr. Kuiper stated that the Findings of Fact are consistent with the Town’s Findings of Fact form and that it just includes the specifics for the subdivision name and the developer’s name.

Motion to grant The Gates of St. John East Primary Plat approval, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion to grant Primary Plat approval fails due to the lack of 4 affirmative votes with a vote of 3 ayes and 1 abstention by Mr. Panczuk.

Mr. Kuiper stated that vote should give the approval as the abstention goes in the majority.

Mr. Forbes advised that we have to have a majority of the membership of the Plan Commission, not just those who are present.

Mr. Kuiper stated that it takes four but the abstention goes to the majority of the vote for the purposes of passing something.

Mr. Kozel stated that it wasn’t a “No” vote and asked if that was correct. Mr. Kuiper confirmed the same.

Mr. Georgiou asked if that is subject to legal interpretation. Mr. Eberly responded that it is the first he’s ever heard of that, so he cannot comment on that.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that he’s never heard of that either.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Panczuk if there is an issue that could be resolved that would eliminate his abstention. Mr. Panczuk responded in the negative and stated that he wants to reference why he is abstaining.

Mr. Panczuk stated that “Although it might meet the technical criteria of 95% of our Subdivision Control Ordinance, I feel it falls short on Section 11 of Design Standards, Planned Unit Development, no different than in the rezoning stage. Our design standards call, again, for a planned unit development ‘is intended to encourage original and imaginative subdivision design which preserves the natural amenities of the site and provides for the general welfare of the Town.’ And I think this PUD does not meet that standard, and that’s my opinion. And I’d gladly vote ‘No’ on it, but I chose to abstain because it’s – technically, it meets it. But on this token, it does not.”

Mr. Panczuk further stated, “I am not pleased with the revision, which I’ve examined closely at this time, to make huge lots just to get primary approval on this parcel as opposed to waiting and getting everything on the plate at once, to respect the Plan Commission’s time to go through it all at once, collectively and properly. I feel like the Band-Aid is being thrown on. This is going to get revised next year; you’re not going to keep 900-foot lots. In my opinion, that’s not going to stay that way. So it really should have been done comprehensively, so I have difficulty seeing how this meet the bar, as far as general welfare for the Town. We’re spending time here we don’t have to spend. But it certainly doesn’t pass the muster of the planned unit development, so I chose to abstain because of that.”

Mr. Kuiper said, “So just so I’m clear for the record, that’s being established anyway. So it meets the technical requirements; you just don’t like the way it looks. You think it should be part of the larger project even though this is what’s before you and this is the only thing you can judge your decision on tonight.”

Mr. Panczuk said, “Correct.”

Mr. Kuiper continued, “And you have chosen to be on this body, and you’ve taken an oath to fulfill the obligations. And if it meets the requirements of the Subdivision Control Ordinance, it’s a ministerial act at that point, and you have to approve it.”

Mr. Panczuk responded, “It meets the requirements except Section 11. In my opinion, it does not pass the muster of Section 11.”

Mr. Kuiper said, “It still meets those requirements, Mr. Panczuk, with all due respect. And by not voting in favor of it when it meets those requirements, you subject the Town to further issues.”

Mr. Panczuk said, “Well, in my opinion, it does not pass the muster of meeting the requirements of Section 11, Planned Unit Development. I just read it on the record. This is out of Ordinance 1252. That’s my opinion, and I chose to abstain because it’s a difficult subject. I don’t feel it meets – if I’m to take this (Subdivision Control Ordinance) as a body, it doesn't meet this section. It needs to meet all of it to me, so I will abstain and hold back from voting. I – I didn’t give a ‘No’ vote, I gave an abstention.”

Mr. Kuiper said, “I’d rather you just give a ‘No’ vote because an abstention is not allowed in this case because you have no conflict or otherwise to just simply abstain. You have a duty as a Plan Commission member not to just sit there and abstain.”

Mr. Panczuk replied, “I’m not just sitting here abstaining.”

Mr. Forbes said, “You are.”

Mr. Panczuk responded, “I – it’s not that simple.”

Mr. Forbes said, “It is that simple.”

Mr. Panczuk said, “Okay, take another vote then; that’s fine. I – I’ll back up a ‘No’ vote and hold this up, proudly; I don’t have a problem with it.”

Mr. Forbes entertained a second motion on this matter.

Motion to grant The Gates of St. John East Primary Plat approval for the 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue between US 231 and Joliet Street, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou.

Roll call vote:
Mr. Georgiou Aye
Mr. Kozel Aye
Mr. Panczuk Nay
Mr. Forbes Aye

Motion to grant Primary Plat approval fails due to the lack of 4 affirmative votes with a vote of 3 ayes and 1 nay by Mr. Panczuk.

Mr. Kuiper thanked the board for putting it on the record and stated that he would see them in two weeks.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Forbes opened the floor for Public Comment.

Gerald Bromley (9124 Cleveland Street, Merrillville): Thank you to the board tonight. I’m new to the area. We’re moving into St. John, hopefully, in January if the building’s completed by then. Currently in an apartment in Merrillville, but, um, wanted to do a little bit of research myself on some of the impact relative to traffic that I’ve noticed on Route 231 and Cline.

Um, being a new resident, what can I do but to help take notice of all the development that’s going on in the area? And there’s quite a bit of plats that are staked out, and I have to think, “What’s it going to look like a year or two from now, and you know, whether or not a traffic study has been done?”

In addition to that, I was able to review some of the letters of the last meeting in – from September; and apparently on some rezoning from R-1 to R-2, uh, right in that area east of Cline, uh, it looks as though there have been like 16 letters of opposition for some of the same concerns relative to impact of traffic, uh, impact of school systems, impact on emergency vehicles. And just, you know, coming in and being a new resident, um, I’ve got concerns myself. Once again, what’s this – what’s this going to look like a year or two from now?

So what I’m here tonight is to, if it hasn’t been done, you know, to implore the board to, uh, at least provide residents and future residents some clarification on what impact studies or school studies might have, relative to the amount of development going on. And I do understand that developers can be aggressive and, um, paint a pretty good picture of what can happen, you know, with new housing.

Obviously, there’s a tax base in, you know, infusion; and that’s going to help, uh, you know, build other things within the village. So I can be very supportive of that; but in the balance of it all, I’m just here to encourage the board and Planning Commission to, maybe, provide a little bit more visibility for incoming residents and those that are here already on what traffic impact might, uh, might involve. And for that, that concludes my comments; and I’m looking forward to being a member of the St. John community.

(Mr. Forbes thanked Mr. Bromley.)

Thank you.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Forbes closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:16 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

11-20-2019 Plan Commission Study Session

November 20, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Study Session to order on November 20, 2019, at 7:16 p.m.

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Nick Georgiou, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes. Staff Present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: Steve Flores and John Kennedy.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. FAMILY EXPRESS – Subdivision Bond Release
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Family Express. The petitioner is seeking the release of its subdivision bond. A bond was established in the amount of $136,000 plus to cover the costs of improvements for the development. All improvements have long since been completed and approved.

Mr. Eberly stated that believes they have had everything completed for quite some time.

Mr. Kraus stated that he has checked with Public Works, and they have said that everything is done. He further stated that Jon Gill stated that the service lines are hooked up to the lift station and everything is in working order. Mr. Kraus stated that he believes the subdivision bond was to cover some landscaping and possibly a sidewalk; however, that’s been done for about a year.

Mr. Eberly showed Mr. Kraus’ original review letter with the exact amount of the subdivision bond, which is dated March 1, 2018 for $137,156.50.

B. MILL CREEK UNIT 5 – Release/Replace Performance Bond with a Maintenance Bond
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Mill Creek, Unit 5. The developer will be seeking the release of its Performance Bond and will be issuing us a Maintenance Guaranty in its place.

Mr. Eberly stated that Jeff Yatsko of Olthof Homes is present.

Mr. Yatsko stated that all the improvements are done for Phase 5.

Mr. Kraus advised that he has checked with Public Works, and they agreed that all the work is done.

C. BRUCE BOYER – Development of the Southeast Corner of US 41 and 93rd Avenue
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Bruce Boyer. The petitioner would like to discuss the development of the southeast corner of US 41 and 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Eberly advised the Mr. Boyer had called him earlier in the day to say that he was not ready for tonight’s meeting and asked to be placed on the December 18 Study Session Agenda. He further advised that Mr. Boyer wants to seek permission to advertise at an upcoming meeting and to present something to the board at a Study Session before coming formally to ask for a 1-lot subdivision there.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

12-04-2019 Plan Commission

December 4, 2019 Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Michael Forbes, President Steve Flores Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy, Vice-President Nick Georgiou Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, Secretary Paul Panczuk Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
TBD    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes called the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting to order on December 4, 2019, at 7:00 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: Steve Flores, Nick Georgiou, Steve Kozel, Paul Panczuk, and Michael Forbes.

Also Present: Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director, and Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer.

Absent: John Kennedy and Joseph Svetanoff; Town Attorney.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the November 20, 2019 Special Meeting and the November 20, 2019 Study Session and asked for any questions or comments on the same.

Motion to approve the minutes for the November 20, 2019 Special Meeting and the November 20, 2019 Study Session by Mr. Georgiou. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays and 1 abstention by Mr. Flores due to absence from said meetings.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

None was had.

OLD/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2019-0010 THE GATES OF ST. JOHN EAST – Primary Plat Approval – (Petitioner: John Lotton/Tim Kuiper)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John East. The petitioner is seeking Primary Plat approval of 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue and between US 231 and Joliet Street.

Mr. Kuiper, representing John Lotton and LBL Development, LLC, reviewed the past meetings where Primary Plat approval was being sought for this property and stated that the engineers and Mr. Eberly have expressed that all of the Subdivision Control requirements have been met.

Mr. Kuiper referenced letters the Plan Commission members received from Ice Miller dated December 2, 2019 and December 4, 2019 which supports and verifies that the Primary Plat is not in conflict with the Subdivision Control Ordinance or the Master Zoning Ordinance and that the approval of the Primary Plat is ministerial at this time and is required by Indiana State Statute.

Mr. Flores stated that he is concerned with the layout of Lots 2250 to 2257, that he is disappointed that there isn’t a park; and that he wanted to make it clear on the record that he is unhappy about the park being removed and the lot sizes he mentioned.

Mr. Panczuk concurred with Mr. Flores and stated that he feels the Subdivision Control Ordinance needs to be updated to provide more concrete information.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the certified plans dated November 5, 2019 are satisfactory. The Developmental Fee has not been calculated and will be based on 2% of the construction cost of public improvements. The SWPP has been provided but not yet reviewed; and the fee for that will be determined at the time of review.

Motion to grant Primary Plat approval to The Gates of St. John East for the 108 acres lying east of Cline Avenue and between US 231 and Joliet Street, referencing the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. FAMILY EXPRESS – Subdivision Bond Release – (Petitioner: FE Rep)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is Family Express. The petitioner is seeking the release of its Subdivision Bond. All improvements have been inspected and approved. The bond was in the amount of $137,156.60; this bond can be released.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which states that all the improvements are completed and the bond may be released.

Mr. Eberly stated that the petitioner had contacted him; and instead of releasing the Subdivision Bond, good through March of 2020, and replacing it with a Maintenance Guarantee, they would prefer to extend their Subdivision Bond to cover through August 23, 2020. The improvements were accepted on August 23, 2018, and a Maintenance Guarantee is for a period of two years.

Mr. Forbes advised that as long as we don’t release the bond, the bond is still in effect. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Eberly advised the board that they could take action and deny it if they wanted to. He further advised that they may request that action be taken to accept the extended bond if the board would like.

Mr. Forbes stated that he would prefer that it is on a future agenda so that there is a record of it. Mr. Eberly responded that he would place it on the January agenda for action.

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion, for a matter of record, to deny the release of the Subdivision Bond for Family Express at the petitioner’s request.

Motion to deny releasing the Subdivision Bond in the amount of $137,156.60 for Family Express at the petitioner’s request by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Georgiou. Motion to deny carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

C. OLTHOF HOMES – Release of Performance Bond – (Petitioner: Jeff Yatsko)
Mr. Forbes advised that next item on the agenda is Olthof Homes. The petitioner is seeking the release of its Performance Bond. All improvements are in and have been inspected and approved. The bond was in the amount of $25,447.50. This bond can be released.

Mr. Jeff Yatsko of Olthof Homes requested the release of their Performance Bond.

Mr. Forbes read Mr. Kraus’ review letter, which finds that the all improvements are in and that the bond may be released.

Motion to approve the release of the Performance Bond in the amount of $25,447.50 and to accept the Maintenance Guarantee for Olthof Homes by Mr. Flores. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Eberly advised that there is nothing on the agenda for the December Plan Commission Study Session Meeting; therefore, there is no need to hold that meeting.

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kozel. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:15 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission

12-18-2019 Plan Commission Meeting Canceled

Meeting Audio Recordings

01-02-2019 Plan Commission

01-16-2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting

01-16-2019 Plan Commission Study Session

02-06-2019 Plan Commission

02-20-2019 Plan Commission

03-06-2019 Plan Commission

03-20-2019 Plan Commission

04-03-2019 Plan Commission

04-17-2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting

04-17-2019 Plan Commission Study Session

05-01-2019 Plan Commission

05-15-2019 Plan Commission

06-05-2019 Plan Commission

06-19-2019 Plan Commission

07-10-2019 Plan Commission

07-17-2019 Plan Commission

08-07-2019 Plan Commission

08-21-2019 Plan Commission

09-04-2019 Plan Commission

09-18-2019 Plan Commission

10-02-2019 Plan Commission

10-16-2019 Plan Commission

11-06-2019 Plan Commission

11-20-2019 Plan Commission Special Meeting

11-20-2019 Plan Commission Study Session

12-04-2019 Plan Commission

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