The regular meeting of the Porter County Plan Commission was held on Wednesday, December 8, 2004 at 6:30 p.m. in the Administrative Center, 155 Indiana Ave., Suite 205, Valparaiso, Indiana.
Those members present were Eric Biddinger, Mike Bucko, Rick Burns, Robert Detert, Commissioner Bob Harper, Frank Mahnic, Bob Poparad and Kevin Breitzke, President. Those members absent were Mike Sheetz. Staff members present were Robert W. Thompson, Patricia S. Gibson, Fred Siminski and Attorney Marko Molina.
Mr. Mahnic moved to waive the reading of the October 27, 2004 minutes and approve them as received in the mail. Mr. Biddinger seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous voice vote.
Mr. Mahnic moved to waive the reading of the November 10, 2004 minutes and approve them as received in the mail. Mr. Detert seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous voice vote.
Commissioner Harper moved to take the presentation of Harvest Homes on the Open Space Ordinance first. Mr. Mahnic seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous roll call vote.
Scott Jones stated I am representing Harvest Homes and this is John Kremke with Duneland Group. He stated our address is 2400 Eisenhower Avenue, Valparaiso. He stated we are here to talk tonight regarding a parcel that we are working on for a major subdivision near the intersection of CR 150 N. and CR 150 W. He stated it is a 39-acre parcel, roughly 26± lots with well and septic. He stated we have been working on this site for several months and actually before the passing of the Open Space Ordinance. He stated what we would like to do is before we go to far down the process of engineering and developing the site and a lot of planning because the open space being new working with Mr. Thompson we thought it would be a good idea if we could at least talk about what our conceptual is. He stated we would come back to visit you for final passing after we visit with TAC. He stated we want to make sure we are on the same page going into this. He stated we have met with Mr. Thompson and we have visited the site. He stated what we have here is our conceptual drawing to show how not only meeting the existing subdivision requirements but also the new Open Space Ordinance for set aside.
Mr. Thompson stated I did go out with Scott and John to the site and actually looked at it and walked around some of the areas. He stated to explain it to all the members first in my opinion from what I saw there are no environmental features on the site. He stated they did the design based on the minimum of 10% but they went the 16% to be able to include detention facilities within the open space per ordinance and also to be able to get the intensity bonus if they had good soils out there and possible 100-foot widths on lots. He stated the only comment that I had and I explained it to John earlier about this site and that was that the detention facilities cannot be in the initial 10%. He stated it has to be within the 6% area. He stated that is additional above the 10%. He stated those were my only comments. He stated to let everybody know it is an agricultural field and that is what it was formerly. He stated that is why I said there are no environmental features on it and it would have to start out with the minimum of 10%.
Commissioner Harper stated Bob, why don’t you explain to us what these open areas are going to be or maybe they can.
Mr. Kremke stated this site off of CR 150 N. and CR 150 W. both of these roads are significantly lower than the site and the site rises from there. He stated those are the only two points of connection to the public road except for the positive connection to an entrance into Hidden Acres to the southwest. He stated if I understand it that subdivision only has one entrance now but we will make that connection. He stated the open space has been located as such one because those areas are lower than the site but also because what we did was still provide a natural buffer between the road and the development so as one is driving down the county roads they see landscaping in the natural area and the homes themselves are buffered by the county road and the rural atmosphere is still maintained. He stated the detention area and the open space surrounding it on the west is there simply because it is the lowest area of the site and it makes sense to be there from an engineering point of view.
Commissioner Harper asked what can these spaces be used for.
Mr. Kremke stated I know we anticipate that the entrance is going to be landscaped and dressed up as a landscape entrance and I am sure there will be a sign there. He stated the other areas we anticipate keeping them as natural areas and planting some trees where necessary and in the open space ordinance it actually prescribes what kind of landscaping and trees and natural vegetation that needs to go in there.
Mr. Bucko stated concerning the access point to the detention pond the 2.6 acres. He asked what is that width?
Mr. Kremke stated it is 50-feet, which is the minimum.
Mr. Breitzke asked are you planning on having retention or detention ponds and what kind of design do you anticipate.
Mr. Kremke stated we are looking at detention.
Mr. Mahnic asked what percent of your shaded area is considered open space of your overall plat.
Mr. Kremke stated 16%.
Mr. Breitzke stated this is just conceptual and we are not binding at this point. He stated we have things to work out with the Drainage Board as far as what policy we are going to have as far as maintenance.
Mr. Poparad asked who will own the big pond and the 2.64 area of green space?
Mr. Kremke stated that is yet to be discussed but at this point it is a POA.
Mr. Mahnic stated because the open space ordinance is new does this comply with the new ordinance that says 20% of the new development will be open space.
Mr. Thompson stated there are two routes to go on that. He stated number one if there was an environmental feature that would have been present on the parcel whether it was wetlands or a wooded area as defined within the ordinance then they would have had to start out with 20%. He stated I went out there and looked at it and I saw basically fence-row to fence-row agricultural. He stated there were some tree lines along the fence line to the south and a subdivision as you see in the southwest corner but I did not feel that there was an environmental feature on this parcel to warrant a 20% open space. He stated the ordinance does state if it was a former agricultural field with no environmental features on it the minimum to start off is 10%. He stated they chose to go above 15% because 15% is another key point where if they preserve greater than 15% then they can go into an intensity form and reduce the lot size possibly down to 30,000 square feet and 100-feet of frontage if they get good soils and approved by the Health Department.
Mr. Mahnic stated I don’t want people to come back with a concept and say this was our understanding. He stated when we are looking at a concept I feel that we are looking at your ideas. He stated then when you come back as a primary it maybe somewhat different.
Mr. Bucko stated the 16% includes the shaded areas that also include the detention ponds.
Mr. Kremke stated it includes all of the shaded area. He stated it would be designed to meet the open space requirements for open space.
Commissioner Harper stated I would like to thank Mr. Kremke and Mr. Jones for bringing this in and I would like to thank Bob for working with them.
Case 04-FP-18. Petition of Duneland Development Group, LLC, c/o Attorney Karen Tallian, 6195 Central Ave., Portage, Indiana seeking secondary plat approval for Eagle View Subdivision to be located at the Southwest corner of CR 100 N. and Tower Road in Center Township, Porter County, Indiana. (To contain 23 lots on 14.4 acres. Property is zoned R-1 and R-2.)(con’t from 11-10-04 meeting.)
Ms. Tallian stated we are here requesting final approval on this subdivision. She stated we have completed all of the infrastructure except that NIPSCO has not been out to put the gas lines in. She stated we presented our bond to the Commissioners on Tuesday and we believe we have everything else finished and ready to go.
Mr. Mahnic asked on your “no access” on these four lots are you going to have some type of barricade there to keep these people from accessing those pieces of properties from outside the subdivision.
Ms. Tallian stated on lots 1, 2 and 3 we have driveways onto CR 250.
Mr. Mahnic asked are those driveways going to be separate driveways or are you going to have two together.
Ms. Tallian stated we think that two of them will be together and one will be separate.
Mr. Mahnic stated you will have some type of restriction
there other than “you can’t do that” a barricade or something there or a tree line to keep those people from making driveways from the county road so they are more or less forced to go through the subdivision road.
Ms. Tallian stated on lots 4 and 22 there is an existing tree line. She stated on lots 18 and 17 there are some trees but I suppose you could drive right in off of CR 250. She stated I would expect that when these individual lots go in for their approval that this would be a restriction on them.
Mr. Breitzke stated anytime anyone accesses our county roads they need to get a county highway permit.
Mr. Poparad moved to approve Case 04-FP-18 contingent on a $20,000 bond. Mr. Biddinger seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous roll call vote.
Case 04-FP-20. Petition of Bernard Madej, 5583 Paw Paw Lake Road, Coloma, MI seeking secondary plat approval for Eagle Ridge Subdivision to be located on the Southeast corner of U.S. Hwy 6 and CR 200 W. in Liberty Township, Porter County, Indiana. (To contain 112 lots on 63.5 acres. Property is zoned R-1.)(con’t from 11-10-04 meeting.)
Bill Fergren stated I am from Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans and Mike Duffy from the Duneland Group is here with me. He stated this was continued from last month because of erosion control issues. He stated we believe we have those issues addressed now.
Mr. Bucko stated there was some discussion brought up about some refuge traps and things like that. He stated it was in the original minutes about refuge traps and Mr. Hanes asked me to ask that question. He stated he didn’t have any problems with it but he had some concerns if refuge drains into the ponds and would pass through the ponds and follow the normal course.
Mr. Breitzke stated they have standpipes designed for this subdivision.
Mr. Mahnic moved to approve Case 04-FP-20 contingent on a $1.4 million dollar performance guarantee. Mr. Bucko seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous roll call vote.
Case 04-SE-7. Inspection Committee Report for View Outdoor Advertising, LLC, 1000 E. 80th Place, Suite 700 N., Merrillville, Indiana for a Special Exception to permit a 300-square-foot double-sided billboard to be located at 151 W. U.S. Hwy 30, in Center Township, Porter County, Indiana.
At this time, Mr. Thompson read the Inspection Committee Report.
Mr. Bucko moved to forward Case 04-SE-7 to the Board of Zoning Appeals with an unfavorable recommendation. Mr. Detert seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous roll call vote.
At this time, Mr. Breitzke read the rules of conduct for a public hearing.
Case 04-Z-8. Petition of BDP Properties, LLC, c/o Todd Leeth, Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans LLP, 103 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, Indiana for a proposed amendment to the Master Plan to rezone a parcel of land from RR, Rural Residential to C-4, General Business to allow for the sale of automobiles subject to written commitments to be located on the North side of U.S. Hwy 6, between CR 200 W. and CR 75 W. in Liberty Township, Porter County, Indiana.
Todd Leeth stated I am from Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans appearing on behalf of the petitioner. He stated joining me is Adriane Patten the principal of BDP Properties. He stated the case announced by the President of the Commission relates to a rezoning of a parcel that is approximately 2.9 acres on the north side of Hwy 6 in a commercial area of Porter County. He stated we are seeking a C-4, General Business District classification for a property that is currently zoned rural residential to allow for automobile sales. He stated I have also provided to you at the time of the filing of the petition a proposed agreement for written commitments. He stated the current community as I indicated is commercial in nature. Mr. Leeth stated this is an exhibit out of your comprehension plan, which was recently adopted a few years ago, as you will recall. He stated while this is the future land use plan it is significantly similar to the land use plan, which is figure 28 in your comprehensive plan. He stated Hwy 6 is this road right through here. He stated Meridian is here. He stated as you can see there are three ovals or circles along Hwy 6 between Meridian and the Lake County line. He stated those three circles represent existing commercial development along that stretch. He stated I think just by eyeing that and I haven’t taken any measurements, you can see approximately two-thirds of the distance between Meridian and the Lake County line is by your own plan, the existing Land Use plan, figure 28 in the comprehensive plan, that land is already existing commercial development. He stated while this property doesn’t have the zoning of the commercial capacity I suggest to you that the drafters of the comprehensive plan recognize that it
is either in a commercial area and district or should be. He stated Hwy 6 and I don’t need to remind you is a major thoroughfare through Porter County. He stated that is denoted because the triangles on LaPorte County and Lake County sides of Hwy 6 have the triangle indicating that significant thoroughfares through our county should have gateways. He stated also within this area and in close proximity to the property that we are talking about is commercially zoned property, C-1 and C-2. He stated immediately south of this property on the south side of Hwy 6 I am told that just last year the Board of Commissioners adopted a C-4 zoning classification to allow for exactly the same use, automobile sales. He stated this exhibit is a proposed site plan for the property in question. He stated Hwy 6 is the southern boundary of the parcel in question. He stated the parcel is a rectangular parcel that is platted into two lots. He stated we are showing the building in the back with the parking area for the cars to be sold in front of that. He stated on the west end of the parcel would be detention areas in a pond. He stated on the north side and to the west is the Liberty Hills Subdivision. He stated recognizing the nature of the use and the Liberty Hills Subdivision we have prepared this site plan to provide for in visual components screening and buffering to that and enhancing what your zoning ordinance would require in any respect between commercial and residential developments. He stated as I have indicated we have proposed certain commitments. He stated in fact I have drafted the agreement with the specific provisions that we are proposing and submitted this to staff in the Plan Commission office at the time that we have filed this petition. He stated the proposal removes some of the offending uses that would otherwise be permitted, such as truck freight terminals recognizing that this is a State Highway. He stated we removed that. He stated that would not be an allowable use. He stated light industry is also allowed in some respects in C-4. He stated we removed that as well. He stated one of the uses that is actually permitted throughout the entire commercial area would be filling stations or gasoline stations. He stated we removed that as well. He stated again the first part of the agreement for written commitments removes, in my opinion, offensive types of uses that could or are inconsistent with the neighboring single-family homes. He stated the second provision of the written commitments provides that there is a solid six-foot high privacy fence along the north and along the west property lines. He stated in addition to that there will be landscaping, plantings, trees and flowers and such and that the petitioner would spend no less than $10,000 for all of those components. He stated the last provision that is important is that the site plan that we have prepared and shown you today would be the method of development of the property. He stated in other words we couldn’t flip it around and have the car lot on
the western side of the property or change significantly in any way the plans so that it would be different as we proposed here tonight. He stated again this is an agreement that prior to 1997 or 1998 was not in our toolbox of things that we can use to show you that we intended to do what we said here tonight. He stated this contract is just that, a contract between Mr. Patton and the County Commissioners. He stated it is even more than that. He stated it is a contract that once adopted by the County Commissioners is recorded. He stated that makes it binding not only on Mr. Patten and his company but if he were to sell it to anyone else they would have to develop it under the same criteria that we have here today. He stated it is not a light or frivolous promise that we are making here tonight. He stated it is well thought out. He stated we have contacted a surveyor to have the site plan prepared professionally. He stated we have prepared and submitted to you at the front end recognizing the need to buffer and written commitments so that those can be incorporated into the Board of Commissioners ordinance adopting and approving the petition. He stated that is our hope, certainly and Mr. Patten and I stand ready to answer any questions that you might have or those of the public.
At this time, Mr. Thompson read a letter from James Barbarossa, 215 Sauk Trail, Valparaiso, Indiana who is in favor of this petition.
Don Gilger stated I live at 134 Lexington Street. He stated my property is directly behind this proposed development. He stated we have concerns over drainage from this property to our property. He stated our septic and is directly north of his property. He stated we feel that the drainage is stressed now. He stated additional concerns for us would be noise, lighting for the lot. He stated this commercial corridor that you are speaking of have had various businesses and lots put up along this area and some were successful and some have failed. He stated on the lot directly south they were selling cars and fireworks over the 4th of July. He asked what is going to go on in the future? He stated our major concern is drainage for the neighborhood. He stated my yard is wet from spring to the middle of summer.
Terri Gilger stated I live at 134 Lexington Street. She stated my concern is that we have one access in and out of this subdivision. She stated some days at certain times of the day it is nothing for us to sit there for 15 to 20 minutes to try to get out of our subdivision. She stated now you want to add another business. She stated I am not naïve. She stated our subdivision is an older subdivision. She stated Mallard’s Landing is the newer one. She stated when the Hwy 6 project goes through they
will probably get a light but what do we do. She stated we have one access. She stated in regards to the letter from the neighbor who is in favor of this petition. She stated the same guy started building his house twice and let it rot. She stated this is the course over quite a few years. She stated we had to live with that too and no one did anything.
Janet Ferris stated I live at 138 Lexington Street. She stated I live right behind the proposed used car lot. She stated I have the same concerns that the neighbors do. She stated I have brought pictures and I would like to give them to the Commission. She stated we are in a natural waterway. She stated our lots as you are well aware are two small for the drainage and for the traffic system. She stated we cannot take any more water. She stated we have done everything we could in the past 37 years to try get rid of it. She stated two summers ago my husband and the neighbor next door underneath the whole east section of our lot clear out to the middle of our front yard dug a ditch and put gravel in it. She stated up towards the front of our lot dug an enormous hole and filled that with gravel. She stated we just can’t take any more. She asked if they pave any part of that land what am I going to do? She stated I can’t walk out in my yard as it is now. She stated also when we talk about the business’s along Hwy 6 an example when the C-4 was passed I think you are aware of a man approaching the Zoning Board and said he wanted to park two trucks. She stated now we have a trucking firm there with at least 20 trucks and maybe 50 now that are there. She stated the next lot over, you mentioned Mr. Barbarossa and his letter, he stood before the Zoning Board and told you that he was very concerned about his children having a livelihood and he wanted to build a home and downstairs would be the insurance company and his children would live upstairs. She stated no one has ever seen an insurance sign. She stated we now have a storage two-column area on his lot that people can store items. She stated we have a house that they built behind that. She stated there is a building there and I don’t know what purpose that serves. She stated they are building a pole barn on it and have a truck parked with advertising on it. She stated once it is rezoned it seems to me that there is a great deal of difficulty controlling these people with them changing their minds and they seem to have cart blanch to do whatever they like without any more permission. She stated I wish you would take this into consideration. She stated we can’t take any more water.
Jackie Sterling stated I live at 148 W. U.S. Hwy 6. She stated my parents developed the property in 1931. She stated in 1961 Liberty Hills was platted and I can remember my father shaking his head as truck after truck brought fill into that area
because it was kind of swampy. She stated my husband has recently had open-heart surgery and we take walks down Concord and Lexington and York Town and we can see the water running down to the drains. She stated I live south of there and I have a drainage problem but my concern for these people that live in Liberty Hills is with the asphalt and concrete that is going to be poured and where is this runoff water going to go. She stated I also have a concern as you know, when I appeared before you in 2003 in reference to the property next to us that was rezoned for a used car business. She stated there were stipulations made. She stated I have a concern and I don’t want a tavern on that property. She stated I don’t want anything illicit on that property because more than likely you are going to have it rezoned. She stated sometimes it is so hard to fight City Hall if you know what I mean. She stated there are many things that I would like you to have in written commitments and to deal with Ordinance 03-10 if you so approve this change. She stated there are two lots. She stated the minor subdivision has put this property into two separate lots. She asked will there be two separate businesses on those lots? She stated she has a concern for her neighbors.
Rosalie Malocha stated I live at 801 Concord Street. She stated I would like to tell you the experience that I had. She stated I was walking across my lawn and I hit a five-foot sinkhole that I almost feel into. She stated I could put an ice skating rink in my back yard in the winter. She stated there is a lot of traffic too.
Julie Wilson stated I live at 803 Concord Street. She stated I have the same concerns as my neighbors. She stated also used car lots come and go.
Hart Roberts stated I live at 140 Lexington Street. He stated again I reiterate all of my neighbors concerns but there is a few other things that haven’t been address yet especially with a used car lot. He stated anyone who has an older car knows that they leak and all of those fluids have to go somewhere. He stated I have some small children and my neighbors have small children and we have wells not city water. He stated we have to worry about where all those fluids are going to go. He stated I see that he has a retention pond on here but I am sure that is not going to take care of the entire problem. He stated especially when we have a heavy or steady rain. He stated it is not shown on here but there is a retention pond for the subdivision due north of that and it takes a long time for the water to get to it and it floods up too. He stated I notice that Mr. Barbarrosa address is at Sauk Trail and it is no longer on Rt. 6.
Mr. Breitzke stated that is how he signed the letter.
Mr. Roberts stated Mr. Barbarrosa probably doesn’t care if he is not there anymore what goes on at that property. He stated I am sure Mr. Patten and his council wouldn’t want to have a car lot next to their house.
Lorrie Roberts stated I live at 140 Lexington. She stated my concerns are the same as all of my neighbors who have children. She stated I really love the area and the schools. She stated I don’t know that I would be willing to stay in the area where I have a car lot in my backyard. She stated I do oppose this.
David Keiser stated I live at 142 Lexington. He stated my concerns are the same as my neighbors. He stated I have four small children and our property backs up to the lot. He stated I am sure that they are going to be putting tall lights up there and they will be on all day long and all night long.
Lloyd Kittredge stated I live at 155 Lexington Street. He stated I would just like to reiterate the same concerns as the rest of my neighbors. He stated I have small children also and I also have water problems just like everyone else.
Aurora Kittredge stated I live at 155 Lexington Street. She stated we don’t butt up against the proposed lot but we face it. She stated we also have small children and are very concerned with the traffic that comes through there. She stated used car lots are not always very sightly. She stated I have concerns on whether this is going to affect the resale value of my home.
Jo Ann Kaiser stated I live at 142 Lexington Street. She stated we live directly behind the proposed lot that they want to put the car lot on. She stated there is an existing used car lot on the south side of this proposed lot. She asked do we really need another used car lot there. She stated there is also about a half mile away two more used car lots. She stated I know it is competitive business but do we really need all these used car lots in one area. She stated my biggest concern is the safety of my children.
Luis Gallo stated I live at 125 W. U.S. Hwy 6. He stated I bought here and built my house. He stated sometimes I wait 15 minutes to get out of there. He stated this is going to add traffic to U.S. 6. He stated this is a busy area. He stated I am concerned with the drainage. He stated there is a drainage problem and when you put in asphalt it will make it worse.
Mr. Leeth stated as I have indicated we have gone through the trouble of preparing a site plan in attempts to address the concerns of the neighbors. He stated we have heard some concerns such as drainage. He stated as we show on the site plan half of the property is dedicated to open space and the pond. He stated I am confident that upon engineering the site and upon approval of the zoning change we can address the runoff that is required both water running onto the site from the north and the west as well as any additional water that would be generated due to the development of this site. He stated, as you know before a building permit can be issued to a commercial site the project has to be reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee and reviewed there by professional engineering. He stated that would be taken care of at that point in time. He stated in regards to lighting and noise issues I think we have addressed the noise issue as best we can but perhaps we can talk about the hours of operation restriction to add into our written commitments. He stated with regards to lighting a similar type of response with regard to TAC we can apply something in the written commitments that talk about the style of lighting and the fact that it is downward facing. He stated we can provide a photometric study that shows that there is no spill or overflow of lighting. He stated those things can be addressed through the written commitments and TAC. He stated with regards to the house that was erected and not finished I want to make it clear that wasn’t Mr. Patten. He stated that was on the neighboring property and not Mr. Patten’s property at all. He stated Ms. Sterling commented about some potential objectionable uses and specifically referred to the earlier ordinance. He stated I know that the earlier ordinance had, I believe, one commitment on a use and I was not aware of others. He stated we can certainly address those and work with the written commitments and add any other objectionable uses that we heard here tonight. He stated I think it was Ms. Kaiser that indicated that we have enough use car lots. He stated zoning is not a matter of trying to control the number of types of uses. He stated I think that is inappropriate. He stated in fact I would suggest to you that it is unconstitutional to focus on competition and that is exactly what that type of comment leads to. He stated it’s do we have enough or do we have too many of one particular type of use. He stated I think you are best suited when you look at does that use fit in the neighborhood. He stated I have suggested to you that I think that this community certainly is a commercial area. He stated recognizing that we are abutting up against a long-standing subdivision we can address some of the concerns that your ordinance perhaps does not in buffering. He stated what I say to you is if you are uncomfortable with the drainage issues and if you are uncomfortable with some of the development concerns and some of the additional use concerns that we have
heard tonight allow me the opportunity to revise the written commitments to address those specifically. He stated I can take Mr. Patten and our surveyor and provide some drainage calculations then go to TAC and return here at your next meeting, which would be in January and that would give us enough time to do all of that. He stated if you are uncertain as to those kinds of concerns that you have heard tonight, allow us to do that and I think that we can address the concerns that we have heard tonight with regards to drainage. He stated I don’t believe that is a concern at this point in time but we can address it because we have half of our property dedicated to that. He stated we can address the noise issue, we can address the lighting issue, and we can address some of the additional or enhanced uses that we have listed here in the ordinance. He stated we can look at that other ordinance 03-10, I think it was referred to, and change the written commitments to address all of those concerns and return to your next meeting. He stated I tried to, rather than go through the list of comments that were suggested, I answered the one question and addressed them point by point rather than addressing each of the remonstrators in the interest of time.
Mr. Roberts stated Mr. Leeth did not address the concern of the leakage from the automobiles. He stated all of this will go down into the water table and eventually find its way into our wells regardless whether there is a pond there or not.
Mr. Gilger stated we believe that your opinion that this maybe a commercial corridor is incorrect. He stated we have seen these businesses’s come and go and change. He stated we will welcome Mr. Patten as a resident or putting in residential homes but his idea of a business along this corridor we feel is incorrect.
Lorrie Roberts stated I would just like to say that we live in a very good neighborhood. She stated we have very good neighbors with no problems. She stated everyone is very dependable and hard working and to change that in the area is not a good idea for the whole county. She stated by putting business’s in a person's backyard is not where people want to raise a family. She stated the issues of the property value are real and are there and that is something that we will have to deal with.
Terri Gilger stated she is right. She stated I raised two children in this neighborhood and it was a safe, quiet neighborhood. She stated we never had worries about our kids going out to play. She stated with these business’s that in the last few years have gone up is changing and people aren’t going to want to be living around there anymore. She stated I don’t
think it is right for any individual to come in and try to change people who have lived there for twenty or thirty years.
Janet Farris asked if he presents another plan to increase the retention pond or comes up with any other ideas and he goes ahead and does this what will happen when this doesn’t work?
Juli Wilson stated along with everything else my neighbors said I too abut against the property. She asked how will they dispose of the leakage from the cars and changing the oil. She stated I am concerned also about the junkyness.
Mr. Leeth stated Mr. Roberts is correct. He stated I did not in my initial response to the publics concerns address the issue of fluids leaking from the cars, which even new cars are an issue. He stated that is something that I have indicated is part of the drainage issue. He stated I suggest to you if that is an issue for you that is something that we can address in our drainage calculations and our drainage plan that I am suggesting to allow us to prepare and submit to TAC. He stated Mr. Gilger takes exception to my characterization of Highway 6 as a commercial area and with regards to that I disagree with him. He stated I think it is well demonstrated by not only the uses but your own comprehensive plan that is in fact a commercial area. He stated Liberty Hills Subdivision is along the northern property line as well as along the western property line. He stated Concord Street is here and there is a row of lots and then there is the western edge of Liberty Hills Subdivision and there are two or three commercial businesses then immediately abutting Liberty Hills Subdivision to the west. He stated in other words Liberty Hills Subdivision has one street, Concord Street, as it comes out and intersects with Hwy 6 with lots on either side. He stated Liberty Hills Subdivision goes back the depth of the property in question and then balloons out and goes back further to the north. He stated this parcel the parcel that we are talking about is not part of Liberty Hills Subdivision but you can tell that it was back in its day par tent parcel of that overall property. He asked why wasn’t this three acre parcel platted as Liberty Hills Subdivision. He stated they recognized that this wasn’t residential property when Liberty Hills was platted. He stated Ms. Farris asked what happens if our revised plan doesn’t work. He stated I guess there are two questions in that one question. He stated we are going to propose a plan and have it reviewed by the county staff, the Technical Advisory Committee, which has engineers and all of the zoning and Health Department representatives on that Board. He stated our plan is going to be reviewed by the county and they are going to issue a report or at least there will be minutes of that meeting that you can review to see that we have discussed each of these items,
including the fluid leakage from the cars and those other issues. He stated that is how the plan gets approved. He stated now if we don’t implement the plan that entire plan is going to be incorporated in the agreement for written commitments. He stated it is enforceable by the county just as any other zoning violation is enforced by the county. He stated that is how the plan gets approved and how the plan works.
The public hearing was then closed.
Commissioner Harper stated as I think of that area of Hwy 6 I think of what a mess that has been created. He stated we don’t have any access roads and we really don’t have a plan for Hwy 6. He stated Portage has started to get a plan together for Hwy 6. He stated they started to get it together late in the game but you can already start to see a change. He stated it is a corridor that if we just keep haphazardly changing this, that and the other without a plan I think that it is going to be one of those areas that is going to limit economic development in the county. He stated I don’t think we should go any further right now until we have a plan together. He stated this is the biggest example of bad zoning you can possibly imagine because apparently this subdivision was allowed to be built in an area where drainage couldn’t be handled and it wasn’t stopped when it should’ve been stopped. He stated I also have the concern that when people do move into the area and we allow residential in the area they should have some expectation about that area. He stated hopefully with this new plan coming into affect we are going to have a plan for Hwy 6. He stated my concern is also that we don’t have specifics in our ordinance about buffering and just what kind of buffering. He stated we don’t have standards.
Commissioner Harper moved to forward Case 04-Z-8 to the County Commissioners with an unfavorable recommendation. Mr. Detert seconded the motion.
Mr. Poparad asked if used car sales are only allowed in a C-4 zone?
Mr. Thompson stated it is allowed in a C-3, C-4, I-1 and I-2.
Mr. Poparad asked why didn’t you ask for a C-3?
Mr. Leeth stated C-3 is a Shopping Center District and I don’t think it applies.
Mr. Thompson stated you have to have a minimum of six acres for a C-3 zoning.
Mr. Poparad stated they could ask for a variance.
Mr. Thompson stated yes.
Mr. Poparad asked are you planning on keeping the water on site?
Mr. Leeth stated yes.
Mr. Poparad asked you aren’t going to discharge any of that water out of that pond?
Mr. Leeth stated we are going to collect the water and hold it on site. He stated if it can be retained we will agree to do that. He stated I don’t know from an engineering standpoint if that is feasible.
Mr. Poparad asked Mr. Patten did you purchase that property knowing it was RR?
Mr. Patten stated yes I did. He stated I have owned the property for maybe one and a half to two years. Mr. Patten asked if I could I would like to address some of my neighbors concerns. He stated since I have had this property I have met a few of my neighbors out there. He stated my wife and I are semi-retired. He stated we owned a pretty successful business at U.S. Steel for a lot of years and we sold out about a year and a half ago. He stated I bought this property kind of as a semi-retirement thing for me. He stated I have always tried to do things as legal as I can possibly do them. He stated I could probably have built us a retirement home on one of the lots and buy law I can sell twelve cars a year with no license. He stated my wife could sell twelve cars a year with no license of any kind. He stated we chose not to do that. He stated what I would like to do is make this like a little retirement lot. He stated I don’t want the people to be able to look on the south side of the highway and say it is going to be another car lot because I agree that the one across the street is an eyesore. He stated since I have had this property I think the people have seen me out there I have spent over $2000 cleaning up a couple of piles of junk that has accumulated from the neighbors over the years there. He stated we have that cleaned out and we have tried to clean the lot out and make it as nice as possible. He stated if we could do something with this retention pond I would maybe like to build a house on the one lot there where the retention pond is at and have my lot next door as a retirement thing. He stated this is just something small for me to do.
Mr. Bucko stated there has been some reference a couple times to the future and the comprehensive land use plan by Mr. Leeth. He stated it is just a plan and it isn’t law. He stated the thing that we do have though obviously is our zoning ordinances and we do have our Hwy 6 overlay ordinance and that is clearly in place. He state this phrase really sticks in my mind that is on our staff report and it simply says that from CR 200 E. to 300 W. there are scattered commercial and mobile home residential areas with R-1 and R-2 zoning along U.S. 6. He stated then it says clearly, “Any commercial changes should be carefully considered for an impact on the area.” He stated I look at that and how the area is framed out and I guess I say here are two residential lots. He stated they are going to be made commercial. He stated it is set clearly around and across the street from things that are prominently residential lots. He stated that is what they appear to be on the map that we were given. He stated I think that to change those now with all of these residential lots and these people out here would be an injustice to them. He stated it sounds like this gentleman has got a good heart and a lot of good thought in mind. He stated I clearly have to look at how it is going to impact the neighbors that are existing in this area that have got their livelihood wrapped up in those homes. He stated in my mind I feel that this would be an infraction against them. He stated I couldn’t support the commercial venture here for this piece of property.
Mr. Biddinger stated this is the type of decision that is hard to make sometimes because there is so much that goes into it. He stated I can definitely understand both sides of the argument. He stated this U.S. 6 corridor is why planning and zoning exist. He stated on one hand we can’t really deny somebody fair use of their property but on the other hand we need to help protect the neighbors and such. He stated it really makes the decision difficult in some cases. He stated the other thing I always find myself wondering if everybody understands from the Plan Commission side is that we are simply at this point making a recommendation to the Commissioners. He stated whether it is a recommendation for approval or denial this will go to the Commissioners and they’ll have the final decision on this. He stated the other thing is that we are not really deciding on a plat here but we are deciding on rezoning.
Mr. Breitzke stated this will be heard by the Porter County Commissioners on January 18, 2005 at a time to be decided later.
Motion carried on the following ballot vote:
Biddinger - Yes Bucko - Yes Burns - Yes
Detert - Yes Harper - Yes Mahnic - Yes
Poparad - Yes Breitzke - Yes
Case 04-Z-9. Petition of Birky Family Trust, c/o Todd Leeth, Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans LLP, 103 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, Indiana for a proposed amendment to the Master Plan to rezone a parcel of land from AG, Agriculture & Open Space to RR, Rural Residential to allow for a major subdivision and development of single family homes to be located on the East side of CR 300 E., North and South of CR 550 S. in Morgan Township, Porter County, Indiana.
Todd Leeth stated I appear before you on behalf of the petitioner in this matter, Birky Family Trust. He stated the property in question is 185± acres. He stated CR 550 S. bisects this property. He stated in other words approximately 40 acres lies north and the balance of the property to the south of CR 550 S. and is all on the east side of CR 300 E. He stated it is all today zoned agricultural and we are seeking a zoning classification change to the RR, Rural Residential zoning classification to allow for a subdivision of the property. He stated the plat maps as you review the community in proximity to this petition shows that there are a significant number of small lot sell offs. He stated we used to call them frontage lot sell offs. He stated then we called them after 1995 minor subdivisions. He stated there are a significant number of those in and around the parcel in question that have in my opinion changed the character of what would be clear agricultural and open space. He stated even with that you have to recognize that the rural residential zoning classification is just that. He stated it is a residential classification meant for the rural or agricultural areas. He stated I am going to share with you some language from your zoning ordinance in a moment. He stated also I have provided to you just as the hearing began a copy of the future Land Use Plan for Porter County, which is part of the Comprehensive Plan. He stated the property in question is represented by the blue dot in the south and east portion of Porter County. He stated immediately to the south and west you will find a red “X”. He stated that red “X” is in Section 5 of Pleasant Township as we are in an area where Pleasant and Morgan Township meet. He stated that red “X” represents an entire section a square mile and is zoned rural residential. He stated as you can see the corner of our property and the corner of Section 5 touch in that one corner. He stated so I don’t think it is an extension to far from what your existing zoning ordinance has already adopted as rural residential zoning. He stated it is the next logical step in my opinion. He stated as I indicated I believe that this property is already converted in many respects to the intent of the zoning ordinance with regard to rural residential property. He stated the definition of rural residential reads as follows, and I am only going to read the first sentence of that definition, “The rural residential zoning
district is intended as a transitional zone between predominately agricultural areas by providing for relatively large lot residential uses within rural agricultural areas, which appear to be in transition from agricultural use to residential use.” He stated that is exactly what we have here today. He stated this is a piece of property or an area of our county that due to the significant number of frontage lot sell offs, minor subdivisions and small lot developments along the corridors or the county roads have created, I think, bad planning because we have dotted along there a driveway for every home. He stated to allow for a residential subdivision in this area I think is good planning in the fact that it creates or requires that new homes, the housing stock for our current citizens today and the future citizens of tomorrow be submitted to the subdivision control ordinance and have all of those review process’s that are required and that we are not utilized primarily when those frontage lot sell offs occurred over many, many years. He stated, as you know Porter County just recently adopted a new ordinance increasing the requirements for open space during development of residential land in Porter County. He stated the Open Space Ordinance as it is called imposes significant open space requirements on new development. He stated the subdivision that my clients are proposing on this land in the future would have to meet that. He stated rural residential is large lot transitional rural housing development with paper size lots. He stated that in and of itself creates by law in my opinion a rural and open space type of development, very much consistent with the area. He stated but now on top of that we have the new open space ordinance that will require ten, fifteen, twenty or even more percent of set aside. He stated in this it certainly wouldn’t require more than twenty because I am not sure that we would have any environmental features. He stated however, with that we have significant open space that is going to be provided for because of the low density zoning and in addition to that the Open Space Ordinance that was recently adopted. He stated for all of those reasons I think that the petition is well taken and has merit.
No one spoke in favor of this petition.
David Martin stated I live at the south east corner of 300 E. 550 S. He stated my family moved out there in 1987 from a subdivision in Valpo. He stated this isn’t just rolling normal agriculture ground but this is good agriculture ground. He stated I believe that somewhere in the future, not close future, long distance future the people in this country and the people in the world are going to be looking for good soil to grow food on. He stated I think not just in my back yard but all of South County anywhere there is good agriculture soil things need to be considered a little better than what we are doing here. He
stated not too many people really realize the ground water problem in this area. He stated we have had some major events. He stated there is a major aquifer in this area. He stated it goes as far as a half mile to the west and a half-mile to the east, a half-mile to the south and as far as two miles to the north. He stated in 1991 we had a major event. He stated starting New Year’s Day our sump pump kicked on and cycled every half a minute. He stated this didn’t stop in a few days, a few weeks or a few months. He stated this went all the way to the first week in July. He stated my basement is only 40 inches in the ground and that is waist high to me. He stated that is the same as a bi-level home first level a crawl space in some instances. He stated late in the spring I tried to dig a fence posthole to put in a post and I got down to 24 inches and it liquefied. He stated I couldn’t dig at all. He stated this doesn’t happen all the time. He stated it happened in 1991 and I spoke to a neighbor that had been there in the early ‘80’s and said they had a similar situation in the early ‘80’s. He stated we have had minor events through the years with the sump pumps kicked on for a few days or a couple of weeks. He stated it is not just the perimeter drain around the outside. He stated it actually comes up from the cracks in the center of the floor. He stated the hydraulics of ground water are very powerful. He stated you have a higher source from the north and it has to come up somewhere. He stated I have a couple of pictures here that I would like to show the Commission. At this time, Mr. Martin submitted the pictures to the Commission for the record. Mr. Martin stated those two pictures were taken in the spring of 1991. He stated I can’t verify the actual date but there the maple trees are leafed out pretty good. He stated it appears that the cropland has been worked. He stated the one with the van is from our rear deck facing northeast across the 40-acre parcel. He stated the second picture is facing straight south for a half mile then fans out all the way down to CR 600 S. He stated it is covered wall-to-wall water. He stated not too many people realize that on an acre of ground 209 by 209 one inch of rain equals 100 tons of water. He stated that is over 27,000 gallons of water. He stated this is a lot of water to deal with. He stated this aquifer underneath starting in glacier times from the Valparaiso Moraine goes towards the Kankakee River and that is what it is all about. He stated this ground starting at three feet turns into pretty good sand gets better until it turns into white sand and there is always water there flowing south. He stated there always will be. He stated it just fluctuates in height at different times. He stated I believe this is the wrong place for a subdivision and I really hate to see good agricultural soil be turned inside out and upside down just for a near future profit for a few. He stated you really need to think about the long-term future.
Rich Bilic stated I live at 278 E. 550 S., Kouts. He stated Dave has covered a lot of that because in 1991 I was there and a lot of the basements were flooded and there was no way of getting it out of there. He stated it was dredged and it helped for a while. He stated the ground is beautiful for farming but for septic and well it is not.
Orchid Stalbaum stated I live at 369 E. 550 S., Kouts. She stated I am a little concerned about 185 acres. She stated there is a lot of additional housing in that area. She stated we have been there for over 25 years. She stated I am confused on where this subdivision is because every property I can think of in that area is not in a subdivision. She stated there are houses and agricultural and it has been that way for several years. She stated where we are located there is no drainage problem and we don’t want one. She stated I am also concerned about the school system. She stated we have problems now keeping the school system up and this is going to add to that. She stated we are also concerned about the roads in that area. She stated we don’t have a lot of traffic in that area and the roads are still not in good shape. She stated with this much-added traffic what is this going to do with the roads.
Matt Teitge stated I live at 363 E. 550 S., Kouts. He stated I have the same concerns as my neighbors. He stated about 140 or so acres south of here there are power lines that go through the center of it. He asked how would they get around that. He stated I have lived here about ten years and it was pretty much a rural area.
Wendell Rawersma stated I live at 546 S. 300 E., Kouts. He stated I pretty much agree with my neighbors. He stated I have lived out there for about ten years and I don’t want to see a subdivision come in.
Aimee Tomasek stated I live at 302 E. 550 S., Kouts. She stated my husband and I are interested in purchasing a 26-acre parcel with the intentions of leaving it agriculture. She stated our concerns are the same as what has been brought up by the other citizens.
Jane Maxwell stated I live at 9 S. SR 49, Valparaiso. She stated I am a resident and a farmland owner in Morgan Township. She stated historically when farmers hear the word “subdivision” we cringe. She stated we cope with the changes that are being made in our territory. She stated after the changes are in place we attempt to compromise with our new neighbors and that goes very well as long as they get their way. She stated for example, combines have to use the roads, big four-wheel drive tractors
have to use the roads. She stated farm equipment is getting bigger all the time. She stated I watch this all the time. She stated it is the farm equipment that has to pull over as much as he can and stop to let that car pass because they think that they own the road. She stated it seems a little unfair to her since farmers pay taxes to the middle of those roads for miles and miles in the rural area. She stated that is just one example. She asked what happens when the prime agricultural land is subdivided. She stated enough is enough. She stated we don’t need any more character changes, as Mr. Leeth so puts it. She stated I firmly believe that when somebody owns something it is theirs and they should be able to do whatever with it in their best interest. She stated however, with the rapid population growth in Porter County there has been helter skelter development and without any consideration of the present long-term residents. She stated we can all agree this is a great place to live. She stated I hear over and over that people are locating here to improve their quality of life. She asked has anybody ever considered our quality of life. She stated the farmer doesn’t just live in the country. She stated it is his business and it is big business. She stated less than 2% population in this country produces enough food to feed the world. She stated agriculture is the largest industry in the United States and I hope that it remains that way forever because I don’t want to ever have to depend on another country for my food supply. She asked how about you? She stated Bob Harper was brave enough to initiate action on an open space ordinance to set the pace for some organization for development in Porter County. She stated I supported that idea, Bob, not because it is perfect for everyone but because it was a beginning for more orderly planning for development in this county. She stated I am here tonight not to cry “save the farmland” or “ban the developer” but to question how you can rezone 185 acres of prime farmland from agriculture to rural residential for the purpose of developing a major subdivision when there is no plan, no study of infrastructure, which affects the roadways paid for by the farmers tax dollars, no drainage plan and this is in the Crooked Creek Watershed that is maintained primarily by the farmers and no compassion for the agricultural business’s and long time neighboring residents. She stated as I said before the owners certainly have their rights. She stated I just don’t understand why it should be rezoned now when no perimeters are in place. She stated farmland is a hot commodity right now and not only developers are buying but investors and farmers are paying very good fair market prices. She stated farmers can’t operate without land. She stated we cringe, we cope, we compromise. She stated tonight I am asking the Plan Commission for a little compassion and reject this proposal to rezone for the sake of preserving the quality of life to our farm community and to help preserve the farming
operations. She stated we could go out and get a handful of landowners and put together 10,000 acres come in here and we would request RR. She asked what would you do? She asked how is that any different from what is on the floor now? She stated I want to emphasis that I have the up most respect to the landowners of this property. She stated it is theirs, they own it. She stated I respect each and every one of you for devoting your time to this Commission.
Paula Nicholson stated I live at 373 E. 550 S. and I have lived here for 32 years. She stated CR 550 S. does not extend to the East more than about one half mile from this proposed subdivision. She stated it comes to a dead end. She stated that means that there is just one way out and that is through the area of the subdivision and going west towards SR 49. She stated there are seven homes East of this proposed property that relys on this road for access in and out. She stated ten years ago there was such an eruption of the roads in the spring that stayed that way for four months before it was fixed. She stated during that time there were days when a car could not be driven down the road. She stated I think the impact of so many homes in that area with construction equipment etc. would have a major affect on access besides the high power of electric lines that go through that property are not a desirable place to build a house close to those power lines. She stated this is excellent farmland.
Verna Fedornock stated I live at 534 S. 300 E. She stated my family and I have lived there for 25 years and I agree with all the others who have spoken. She stated my front window faces the field across from CR 300 E. and we have watched some of the best crops grow there. She stated my neighbors have spoken about the drainage problem we had in 1991. She stated we haven’t had any big problems since 1991 but we have had mild winters and mild springs. She stated we had about $15000 worth of damage to our lower level to our house in 1991. She stated another problem would be the schools. She stated we all cry about our taxes. She stated people seem to come into the new subdivisions and they have young children. She stated our school right now especially the elementary is overflowing. She stated I oppose this petition.
Bob Saltzman stated I live at 357 E. 550 S. He asked have you ever been to CR 550 S. between SR 49 and CR 300 E.? He stated it is barely a lane and a half wide. He stated I have to pull over into people’s yard and if you have a big vehicle you surely are leaving tire tracks into their yard. He stated if you put all those houses there it is going to be a lot more traffic.
Ron Birky stated I live at 264 S. SR 49, Valparaiso. He stated I oppose this subdivision in this area of Porter County.
Cheri Birky stated I live at 264 S. SR 49, Valparaiso. She stated I oppose this subdivision for all the various reasons that were spoken.
Ron Krok stated I live at 359 E. 550 S. He stated I am opposed to this land rezoning because of the fact that I moved down there to get away from subdivisions. He stated the road that I live on, CR 550 S., whoever takes care of it, is very negligent at times and it makes it kind of rough. He stated I can’t see how this subdivision is going to make it any better. He stated it is going to make it worse with more traffic on top of that.
Greg Birky stated I live at 221 E. 550 S. He stated we have farm property directly to the west and we don’t want to see houses going up.
Doreen Birky stated I live at 221 E. 550 S. She stated I oppose this subdivision.
John Remster stated I live at 368 E. 400 S. He stated I do not live next to this but I do live in the neighborhood. He stated I am here to do two things, to oppose the subdivision and to promote production of agriculture in Porter County. He stated I would have to take somewhat an issue that this is a transitional area from agriculture to residential. He stated this is probably a term Todd and I could debate for a while. He stated I have lived here all of my life in Morgan Township and in this community. He stated I farm the farm where my father grew up and I farm the farm where my mother grew up. He stated the production of agriculture in Porter County is a major economic factor in this area. He stated this is good land. He stated I did a check of the soils map, the Porter County Soils map. He stated there are four primary soils on this property. He stated each has a description of the good and bad points. He stated all four soils have some common things that ran through them and they all have sever limitations on septic tanks. He stated they are all good for producing crops, grain crops or hay crops. He stated Mr. Martin spoke of the water problem. He stated some of this ground can be very wet. He stated we are in a dry period right now. He stated we will go back to a wet cycle. He stated there will be a lot of problems with basements. He stated some of these soils said basements should not be built on these soils. He stated this is some of the prime agriculture land in our county. He stated we mentioned earlier that we need areas for future generations to live but we also need to retain areas to grow crops. He stated I am opposed to this subdivision.
Doug Lins stated I live at 548 S. 300 E. He stated a lot of points have already been made so I just want to go on record as opposing this subdivision.
Tom Hannon stated I live at 349 E. 500 S. He stated I have ground adjacent to this property and I definitely think that it should remain agriculture ground. He stated some were talking about drainage in that time frame and I have a neighbor that has a couple of holes dug in his field within a half-mile of this property. He stated in that time frame the water was coming out of the top of those holes and running across the top of the ground. He stated that is how much water pressure there was at that point in time in that area.
Mr. Leeth stated I think I agree with some of the things that were said particularly by Ms. Maxwell. He stated I do take exception to a few other things and I will try to address those. He stated there were obviously some good points made. He stated Mr. Martin makes a very good case with regard to some water problems. He stated the testimony indicates that obviously there was a significant event in 1991. He stated the testimony also indicates that there hasn’t been as a significant problem since then as there was in that year. He stated one of the things that is required of any developer of property is that they comply with the subdivision control ordinance. He stated some of the remonstrators have questioned the difference between a minor subdivision and a major subdivision. He stated that distinction today has no difference due to the recent action of the Board of Commissioners. He stated before a major subdivision was anything more than four lots. He stated so when this ordinance proposal and petition was filed it was a request for a major subdivision on this property. He stated both parcels, the north of CR 550 S. and the larger parcel south of CR 550 S. both have minor subdivision previously approved. He stated that is the minor subdivision that has been referred to. He stated we are now asking to rezone the balance of the property to allow for consistent zoning use on the balance of the land other than those two small approximately nine acre minor subdivisions that have four lots. He stated this is a request to follow the subdivision control ordinance and develop the property as a major subdivision. He stated the remonstrators are exactly correct. He stated we don’t have a subdivision plat. He stated we did not want to incur the expense of preparing a plan and having the ground water storm system engineered. He stated that requires thousands and thousands of dollars to do that. He stated as I indicated in my initial comments we have large lot development, we have open space requirements and that is over the top of the requirements to manage professionally the storm water that is created by any subdivision development. He stated from a general
nature what is generally good farm ground is also good ground for septic systems. He stated it is generally bad planning in my opinion to say to any landowner “your ground is prime agricultural ground so we are only going to put the septic systems in the bad ground.” He stated I am not sure from a public policy standpoint that is the direction that our county should be going and you as leaders of land development would spearhead that policy. He stated there was a question in regards to the school system. He stated this petitioner and any landowner do not create the need for housing. He stated the market place does that. He stated people do not build a house simply because somebody on a piece of paper draws lot lines. He stated the market place creates the need for housing. He stated if this land is subdivided it will take years to develop the entire acreage. He stated as that subdivision is being developed along with all other subdivisions within the school system will be accommodated by the School Board. He stated unfortunately, the State Law does not allow the School Boards to create schools for anticipated future need. He stated they can’t spend money on the entire or premise that somebody is going to build a subdivision in the next five years or the next ten years. He stated it is much more closely planned. He stated they have to plan for what they have and what is going to be on paper anticipated in a short period of time. He stated those building projects, those expansion projects have occurred within the school system. He stated in the future they are going to need more expansion and potentially new schools regardless of whether or not this land is rezoned. He stated they do that with tax dollars that is generated primarily by existing homes, existing businesses as well as the future business’s and homes. He stated the tax base increases for the services as they increase as well. He stated Ms. Maxwell talked about the conflict between agricultural and residential areas. He stated one of the things that we often loose sight of is that agriculture is a business and it is not always compatible with residential use. He stated that incompatibility is limited generally in time. He stated there are particular times of the year planting and harvesting and so forth that the conflict is greatest. He stated for the large portion of time there is no conflict. He asked how do we deal with the times that there are? He stated if we subdivide this property CR 550 S. may be improved through the road agreement. He stated there will be additional right-of-way dedicated as required by the subdivision control ordinance. He stated the right-of-way will be increased and the ability, potentially, depending on the highway engineers determinations, CR 550 S. could be enhanced in size, paved rather than chip and sealed. He stated the same can be said for CR 300. He stated CR 600 is in good condition and has been recently repaved. He stated as I indicated in reviewing the intent language of the
zoning ordinance this is the type of zoning that your ordinance anticipates to have that transition between agricultural and residential. He stated as I indicated we have rural residential zoning touching corner to corner with Section 5 of Pleasant Township and we have a number of single-family homes the same type of lot development that we are talking about in the general area. He stated I think it is very consistent as a next logical step to allow for this land to be rezoned. He stated rural residential is low-density residential development very much consistent with Morgan Township. He stated the balance of the comments from the neighbors were essentially in the same vein and had some of the same concerns and comments as the earlier remonstrators and I think I have addressed again in a general nature and not each individual concerns. He stated Mr. Remster did quote the fact that there were four soil types and was promoting production agriculture and again as I indicated I think that rural residential zoning classification provides for that very type of issue with the large lot low density zoning classification.
Mr. Martin stated anybody wishing to be able to verify where those pictures were taken and the direction they were can come down to my place and I will be glad to show you. He stated the landmarks are all there yet and it is easy to see where they were taken. He stated there is a major NIPSCO power line running north and south through that south parcel. He stated it is a double stand big cross-country power line. He asked does that qualify for open space? He stated I have worked construction for forty years and I know what contractors do. He stated they will cheat every time they get a chance especially when it comes to a major subdivision. He stated when they start trucking thousand tons of material needed there they will keep those roads to a halt. He stated two semi’s can’t pass each other on either one of those roads, two cars can barely pass each other now. He stated one of them is going to be on the edge. He stated even CR 600 is not meant for heavy truck traffic and the ditches are real close.
Orchid Stalbaum asked how will the water table be addressed with 185 acres with new houses to this area? She stated we have a drainage problem now that is also going to impact the water table. She stated the volunteer fire department takes care of this area right now. She stated they are adding a very large group to that area for them to service. She stated also the other thing that wasn’t addressed is that you are having 185 acre lot and typically they aren’t going to have big expensive homes on these lots because we are not on U.S. 30 with a great entrance. She stated this will impact property values of the homes that have already been there.
John Remster stated this is the kind of soil that is like a cork in a bottle. He stated if you shake the bottle and take the cork out things fizz out of the top. He stated I think one of the neighbors thought he was going to do himself a favor by digging a couple of ponds hoping that he would lower the water table. He stated essentially all he did was take the cork out of the bottle and raise the water table and it came up and flooded over to his field. He stated this is a very wet area. He stated I farm for a couple that have a small 8-acre parcel and they put a house on it two years ago. He stated they dug their basement and it was so wet that the basement flooded that year and they waited for a year and they ended up having to dig another hole for a basement. He stated the drainage is one of the big factors that you have to consider on this particular parcel.
Jane Maxwell stated just to correct Mr. Leeth on farming being seasonal. She stated it is for some but for livestock producers it is year round.
Rich Bilic stated I am concerned about the drinking water.
The Public Hearing was then closed.
Mr. Leeth stated Mr. Martin asked the question regarding the new open space ordinance whether the NIPSCO transmition lines would qualify for open space. He stated that is a unique question because the open space ordinance is brand new and I am not clear and I don’t want to make a representation one way or the other but as I review it it does not appear to have any restrictions on whether or not that would qualify as common open space as the defined term under the open space ordinance. He stated Ms. Stalbaum raised the question regarding the water table and its impact. He stated as I indicated any subdivision is required to go through the requirements of the subdivision control ordinance with regards to the availability of safe drinking water as well as the professional management of storm water. He stated with regards to property values and the impact that is a very nebulous type of impact. He stated in my opinion the neighboring uses one to the other are more dictated by the maintenance of that use rather than the type of use. He stated in other words if you build a manufacturing facility next to a single family residential development and the manufacturing facility is well done of brick construction and not shoddy pre-engineered corrugated metal and has some landscaping that is more appealing and the residents maintain their property values rather than two homes next to each other, one of which is in disrepair, cars are on blocks and the landscaping is non-existent. He stated I think that has more of a negative impact on property values than does the use. He stated with that said I don’t know
if you can measure the impact on property values between a residential subdivision that is professionally done in accordance with your zoning ordinance and following the dictates of your subdivision control ordinance how that would negatively impact on existing uses. He stated I understand and agree with Ms. Maxwell’s comments with regards to livestock operation having more of an impact on a daily basis than would the raising of crops. He stated Mr. Remster’s comments with regards to soils, likewise, I have no comment or response to those as well.
Mr. Breitzke asked do you have any comments on water quality and wells?
Mr. Leeth stated I indicated in response to an earlier comment that the subdivision control ordinance, TAC specifically looks at all of the development types of issues, the professional management of storm water as well as the well and aquifer issues.
Mr. Mahnic stated I agree with the people and the farmers out there because my map shows, and I do know that we have two or three four lot subdivisions that TAC has approved in an agricultural zone. He stated this whole area is agricultural. He stated we do have only ten subdivisions within the area and that is up here in the northern part above Malden. He stated I know that this is good agricultural land. He stated I do know that they have a water problem. He stated I don’t believe we should take good farmland and put a big subdivision in there. He stated I am critical of what TAC did and I think that we need to address that later on throughout the year. He stated when you put a four lot subdivision here and a four lot subdivision here shrewd people come in and they say that this is a transitional area because we already have twelve homes in there. He stated I am against this.
Mr. Poparad asked Mr. Krok when he moved to this area?
Mr. Krok stated I moved there 32 years ago.
Mr. Poparad asked what was there?
Mr. Krok stated five acres and there were seven lots for sale there.
Mr. Poparad asked if this was farmland?
Mr. Krok stated yes.
Mr. Poparad asked would everybody in the audience that moved there in the last 30 years raise their hands.
At this time, those people raised their hands.
Mr. Poparad stated 30 years ago not in this building but in the old courthouse we had the same argument. He stated we had the older residents saying we don’t want these people to move here. He stated the fact that it is farm ground personally, is irrelevant to me. He stated it is somebody’s property. He stated the objection to this is the amount of homes or the fact that we are taking farm ground. He asked if this was a 40 acre subdivision would this room be full of people because you don’t want anymore homes down there or because you like the farmland? He stated I am torn between, I do understand what you are talking about, but the Birky Family Trust has some rights to do with their land with what they want. He asked if there is a lot of minor subdivision built on the county roads.
Mr. Thompson stated there were two minor subdivisions approved.
Mr. Poparad asked in the last 20 years?
Mr. Thompson stated since I have been in the county working since 1989 there was a group of homes on the west side of CR 300.
Mr. Poparad stated in the general area the method was to do a minor four lot facing the county road.
Mr. Thompson stated yes or metes and bounds.
Mr. Poparad stated in regards to the school issue I don’t even know if that is relevant because it is so far down the road. He stated the roads are an issue.
Commissioner Harper stated my first question is this. He asked if we rezone this why even have any more meetings and why not rezone all of this green? He stated if we are going to go out in the middle of this green and rezone it why do we have any more meetings. He stated if it is green and there is not subdivisions coming up on the side of it I think it is spot zoning. He stated the other big problem is the drainage issue.
Mr. Detert stated I feel that way too. He stated this is pretty far south to be putting in this big of a subdivision in. He stated this is like spot zoning. He stated this area was meant to be agricultural and it continues to be agricultural.
Mr. Biddinger stated concerning infrastructure problems. He stated those are rural roads. He stated they are chip and seal. He stated they are not designed and they are not up to
standards for high amounts of traffic. He stated you are putting a rather large subdivision a good distance off of a major thoroughfare, which is SR 49 therefore all the roads in between those area would be subjected to a lot of wear and tear and therefore need upgrading sooner than what they would otherwise. He stated the second concern I have is police and fire protection. He stated when you build a development out in the middle of nowhere you add substantially to the cost of fire protection and police protection. He stated you have a development in the middle of nowhere of high density therefore you need to get somebody over there. He stated your ambulance time is going to be slow. He stated your police response time and your fire response time are all going to be lower than what they would be if you were closer to a municipality. He stated regarding soils you probably seen me flipping through this book. He stated this is a soils survey. He stated every one of these soils have limitations due to moisture. He stated they are all except for one small area very limited on septic systems. He stated the building sites are the worst rating of soils. He stated the earlier rezone the people were complaining about the water ponding. He stated you are going to have the same problems here unless you do some significant planning and significant engineering on this particular plot. He stated I don’t have any idea how you do it. He stated concerning agricultural conflict, this is one that touches real close to me because I deal with this on a very frequent basis on my job. He stated the agricultural season is pretty much April to November and it can extend beyond that. He stated you think of planting season and you think of harvest season. He stated what about pesticide applications, fertilizer applications, summer tillage and irrigation. He stated the complaints I hear on subdivisions calling me and saying that the neighbor is running their irrigations rig and every time the rig is turn on they loose water pressure. He stated that is an issue. He stated spray drift getting into residential areas. He stated people complain on this. He stated people complain about equipment running till midnight. He stated this is a standard agricultural procedure. He stated my bigger issue here is do we want to become suburban Chicago or do we want to maintain the rural character. He stated if we just put subdivision anywhere and everywhere we are encouraging sprawl. He stated you have property rights versus protection of property rights. He stated last time I looked and I think it was the 1997 Census of Agriculture by the United States Department of Agriculture. He stated agriculture in Porter County was a $56,000,000 industry and that is just gross revenues. He stated most of that money stays right here in Porter County through taxes, through equipment dealers, fuel costs, seed costs and inputs. He stated a lot of that money recycles right back into this community. He stated it is a very
viable and very active industry. He stated the other thing that really bothers me is when people say, “I moved out to the country to get away from people.” He stated if everybody does that we are all going to be sitting in each other’s laps again. He stated where do we finally take the stand and say that this is agricultural ground and we are not going to allow subdivisions in here. He stated I realize there are the property rights and that is what makes it tough to do. He stated as a community we need to decide what is best for the community at large. He stated where do we want as a community as a group to go within the community. He stated I guess what I am saying is that if we want to put houses everywhere that is fine if that is what you folks want to do.
Mr. Burns stated I have two concerns. He stated this is spot zoning and the roads.
Mr. Bucko stated in 2001 that is when we paid for this. He stated we put this into effect. He stated this Board has been approached with reasons for subdivisions and urban fringe development areas recently around Rt. 6 and those areas. He stated we have been approached with suburban development areas, conservation development districts both plan areas 1 and areas 2. He stated we also have a rural agricultural development section in this Comprehensive Land Use Plan. He stated it is pretty clear when it comes to subdivisions in that area. He stated this is not something that a couple of people did. He stated this is something that was clearly worked out over a long period of time defined and agreed upon and signed by the Commissioners of this County as the planning process. He stated if you go down to Section 4, page 64 under Rural Agricultural Development you will see that in reference to what was said earlier about subdivisions it does say, “While subdivisions are encourage in this Land Use Category their exact location should be the subject of the significant Plan Commission review. Subdivisions should be located along the major arterials to minimize the impact on the surrounding land uses and the roads.” He stated it is clear by our staff report here that this is not along a major arterial. He stated one may be significantly widened but the other two are clearly chip and seal and not major arterial roads. He stated the one portion where the map shows an “X” on it if I interpret that correctly that road to the right to the left of the “X” is SR 49 a major highway that can handle that but the agricultural land is only on the southwestern most portion of that piece of property, which is defined suburban development where the other half is still rural agricultural development and falls underneath Category 4.
Mr. Leeth stated the entire section where the “X” is zoned RR.
Mr. Bucko stated it is still defined in this as rural development and for agricultural development. He stated the second portion of it is, “The Planning Commission should carefully consider the productivity of the land being proposed.” He stated that was said several times out here in the audience. He stated it is the productivity of the agricultural land.
Mr. Breitzke stated topographically this is extremely flat. He stated drainage is going to be a very difficult problem here. He stated what concerns me more back in 1998 or 1997 I voted against a rezoning in northern Morgan Township that was also farmland. He stated that was rezoned. He stated it was like a magnet. He stated it attracted two other developments. He stated at least that was towards the north end of the township. He stated at this end of the township, although this is next to rural residentially zoned land, it is really not in use as rural residential as far as development at this time. He stated I don’t know when that was rezoned but it doesn’t really make much sense to me other than someone was trying to create a boundary. He stated CR 600 N. is two miles north of the heart of Kouts. He stated they rezoned an area both R-1 and Rural Residential kind of around the Town of Kouts, probably for the growth of Kouts. He stated for the use of its infrastructure, its roadway system, hopefully for water supply for wastewater treatment. He stated these many things that as you are developing are becoming more significant in the way we treat land. He stated all be it there are some people that want larger parcels of land. He stated I don’t think we are denying that subdivision of large parcels of land. He stated I prefer not to see it. He stated I would like to see some kind of way to go about breaking some of these into smaller parcels but that can be done by way of variance on individual home sites. He stated here again I think it is kind of an intrusion into that agricultural atmosphere that we have right now until such a time that it is built out maybe to that limit that you would adjoin additional zoning. He stated to use the argument that it is rezoned diagonally and across the street really doesn’t carry a lot of strength with me unless it was really a heavily developed area then it may make sense. He stated at this time I don’t see the kind of impacts that we would see with a dense subdivision.
Mr. Leeth stated the proximity of the existing zoning I think addresses the concerns or at least the comments that I have heard that this is spot zoning. He stated if the petition did not touch zoning that is consistent with what we are seeking then potentially you have spot zoning. He stated when they touch even at a point, I think you have to at least acknowledge that it is not spot zoning. He stated you may differ with regard to the issues that Mr. Biddinger mentioned, with regards to infrastructure and so forth.
Mr. Breitzke stated it is not spot zoning in my opinion but my opinion it is not appropriate zoning for where you are at.
Mr. Leeth stated I appreciate the distinction. He stated my point was I don’t think this is spot zoning and that is why I think the RR zoning classification that I have highlighted on the map is important. He stated Mr. Mahnic mentioned that the zonings in subdivisions in Morgan Township form the northern end and that again leads to the fact that this parcel on the very south end of Morgan Township is out of place. He stated my point with regards to the proximity of the existing homes that are there now those are in Morgan Township. He stated Morgan Township north to south is six miles and the zoning classification that abuts and touches this property is actually in Pleasant Township. He stated I think that you have to look not just at Morgan Township and the fact that the subdivisions are at the north end, five or six miles away, but you also have to look at the existing zoning and the developments as they occur in this area that is on that drawing that I passed out to you. He stated Mr. Bucko is referring to that as well in the fact that a large portion of what I am referring to and this is the red “X” on your drawing. He stated a large portion of that, Section 5, is not developed. He stated the point is that it is zoned rural residential, which is exactly consistent with and is the same classification that we are seeking to extend here. He stated I don’t think that it is spot zoning. He stated I don’t think it is out of place to extend that zoning to allow my client to develop their property consistent with the best practices of the subdivision control ordinance.
Mr. Bucko stated I say that there is some merit to what he says if it was developed. He stated I think that is exactly where you were going. He stated there is nothing to show development out there. He stated I went to the corner of CR 550 and CR 300 this afternoon. He stated the lady over here talked about looking east on CR 550 going East on CR 300. He stated if that is all there is I would agree with that. He stated I went to the first one and turned around because there was nothing on that side of the road until you got to her house. He stated when you look across the field to the Southeast you have to squint to see the farmhouse because there was nothing of any rural development. He stated at the South corner of CR 300 E. and CR 600 S. there was a newer home that was facing north. He stated there were three lots of a proposed four-lot subdivision that was being built there. He stated to the west there was some metes and bounds sell-offs that were on the north side. He stated I don’t believe I saw anything to the south side. He stated on the west side of CR 300 going north from CR 550 there was a string of homes there and there was nothing beyond the piece of land that
they own and have the homes on. He stated it is clearly a rural agricultural area and to use that I think as a transition definition from rural agricultural to subdivision equal to 200 acres in size is a bit of a stretch in my part. He stated I think that this would be a slap in the face not to these people as much to what we did to find out what their thoughts were when we produced this book. He stated if we don’t go by the book we might as well throw it away.
Mr. Burns moved to forward Case 04-Z-9 to the County Commissioners with an unfavorable recommendation. Mr. Bucko seconded the motion, which carried on the following ballot vote:
Biddinger - Yes Bucko - Yes Burns - Yes
Detert - Yes Harper - Yes Mahnic - Yes
Poparad - Yes Breitzke - Yes
This case will be heard by the County Commissioners on January 18, 2005 at a time to be determined later on January 4, 2005.
Case 04-P-16. Petition of William Rensberger, 1105 N. 100 E., Chesterton, Indiana seeking primary plat approval for Glendale Valley Subdivision to be located on the South side of CR 250 S., between CR 675 W. and CR 600 W. in Porter Township, Porter County, Indiana. (To contain 31 lots on 67.97 acres.)(Property is zoned RR.)
Todd Leeth stated I am here this evening representing the petitioner, Mel Nelson, who is developing Glendale Valley Subdivision. He stated as was indicated it is on the south side of CR 250 S. and we have a copy of the primary plat displayed. He stated I will be referring to the drawing. He stated for orientation purposes the parcel size in this area is 68 acres. He stated CR 250 S. is here in the northern boundary. He stated CR 675 intersects in this location just to the west of our intersection with CR 250 S. He stated the proposal is before you for primary plat approval of the subdivision, which is 31 single family residential lots. He stated the current zoning for the property is rural residential, which requires under your ordinance a minimum lot size of not less than one acre. He stated with the math the acreage and the number of lots relates to an average lot size of 1.8 acres. He stated that is exclusive of rights-of-way. He stated Fieldstone Manor Subdivision was previously platted by a different developer. He stated Fieldstone Manor is immediately to our west. He stated Mr. Nelson intends to develop Glendale Valley in a significantly similar manner with regards to infrastructure, covenants etc. to kind of carry the same theme and type of development as you see
in Field Stone Manor today. He stated we know that drainage is a chief concern in the area. He stated I have represented other property owners and developers and in fact I represented the developer of Field Stone. He stated we know that in this particular area drainage is a significant issue. He stated we also know that as we had gone through the TAC process. He stated Mr. Rensberger joins me tonight from Davies Rensberger surveying. He stated they are the project engineers and professional design team for this project. He stated through that process we know that drainage is a chief concern. He stated to handle the storm water the storm water will be collected in side swales, storm ditches, tiles and drains throughout the subdivision and carried within the subdivision to two ponds. He stated I am going to refer to them as the east pond and the south pond. He stated that is the general flow of the natural flow today. He stated we are not disrupting or changing the natural flow of water there today and its undeveloped state but in fact we are going to capture and carry it and detain it in those two areas. He stated if you have a copy of your plat I want you to look carefully on the plat because in each instance near the pond there is a notation as to the required number of storage capacity for those ponds and the amount of storage provided. He stated in the east pond it is approximately four times the number required. He stated in that instance in the east pond the storage capacity is four times what the drainage calculations require. He stated on the south pond we have the same issue. He stated it is approximately three and a half times the storage required under the drainage calculations. He stated the ponds are oversized intentionally recognizing that we have a specific concern with regard to drainage. He stated we can do that because the soils through this particular area and through this particular area are hydric soils and not conducive to building. He stated so we have a lot of square footage or land that we can utilize and dedicate to the detention basin areas. He stated it was an easy fix because we had the land available in the hydric soils. He stated Porter County Drainage Board has indicated that they would like and the developer is agreeable to provide for the drainage facilities in the development to be regulated drains pursuant to State Law and under the jurisdiction of the Porter County Drainage Board. He stated the 31 lots will be serviced by well and septic systems, on site septic systems. He stated the Health Department report is on file. He stated each of the 31 lots have been soil sample tested by a qualified and licensed soil scientist. He stated those reports were submitted to the Health Department through the Technical Advisory Committee review. He stated their report is on file as is required by the subdivision control ordinance. He stated the streets and the roadway system for the subdivision will be provided for public streets within the subdivision. He stated as I indicated we have one access to
the existing county road, CR 250 S. He stated we also have an interconnection or connectivity to the existing Fieldstone Manor Subdivision in this area. He stated we have connectivity provided or stub streets both to the south and to the east. He stated the Technical Advisory Committee required those of the developer. He stated that is consistent with or evidence by their minutes of August 13, 2004 where they asked for those to be provided. He stated there is an entrance plan, an acceleration taper a deceleration taper and a deceleration lane provided for at the entrance in that part of the plan as well. He stated that is consistent with the Highway Report, which is also on file and is a requirement of your subdivision control ordinance. He stated as I have indicated there is some significant pockets of hydric soils on the property. He stated Mr. Walker has confirmed that those hydric soils or hydric areas are not wetlands under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers. He stated evidence of that is also on file in the Plan Commission office. He stated the proposed primary plat that is before you comply with each and all of the requirements not only of the zoning ordinance but of the subdivision control ordinance. He stated there are no variances required.
Phil Stoner stated I live at 448 W. 300 S. He stated this was zoned by the County some time ago, fifteen to twenty years ago. He stated we have bent over backwards to go along with every requirement. He stated it was turned down once before. He stated I always felt it was because it was manufactured housing. He stated this is not manufactured housing.
Charlyne Price stated I live at 5381 Dexter Drive, Merrillville. She stated we own 35 acres on Rt. 2 that goes to the back of this property. She stated the problem is the water. She stated the water is so bad. She stated we were out there yesterday and the ditch across SR 2 is filled to the top. She stated they are beautiful homes but there is a water problem that is bad. She stated I don’t think the ponds are good enough. She stated a lake or something has to be put in. She stated I am to the point that if he wants to buy our place and put a lake in I am ready to sell.
James Miller stated I live at 656 W. 250 S. He stated I own the parcel of land in the northeast corner there. He stated there are three major problems. He stated water is one. He stated in a good rain even my property is pretty well soaked. He stated with beans and corn in the fields it slows it down somewhat. He stated when you put streets in there and a lot of asphalt you are going to have a lot more water problems than we have now. He stated the second one is that on my property we have part of a frog pond and I am afraid that when
you put this in the lawn fertilizers and pesticides some of this runoff is going to run into our property and to the pond. He stated the third thing is the water does tend to go as they show it to the south and to the east but a lot of it does go to the north and right through my property. He stated I don’t know how much water is going to go through my property in the future and I really think that there is a danger to the value of my property down the road. He stated also to the new subdivision across the street from me. He stated some of it runs through my property to the ditch and then to Mr. Gariup’s property, which is along the side of mine and to a lake there. He stated I don’t know where it goes from there. He stated the perk tests on the previous one in 2000 they were going to build a lot of manufactured homes. He stated when they did the perk tests they would have had to put in the mound systems. He stated I can look out my back window and see perhaps 32 mounds and the runoff from all that. He stated maybe if they did 15 homes that would be better.
Laurie Burton stated I live at 660 W. 250 S. She stated I have been here a few times before talking about this. She stated my issue is not the people. She stated I love people. She stated the issue is the drainage. She stated the funny part of this is that they are calling this Glendale Valley. She stated it is a hill. She stated what bothers me is that when there are heavy rains that water comes down from the hill and we have this 96 X 40 pond that I am part owner of. She stated I take care of it for the State of Indiana. She stated we monitor the species in the pond and make sure they wake up accordingly and that they reproduce and hibernate and there are new species showing up there. She stated my whole issue is the drainage.
Mr. Breitzke stated you were holding up a sign. He asked what does the sign say.
Ms. Burton stated it says The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. She stated that is the official name. She stated my house is about right here at the corner and the pond is right back here. She stated there is drainage tile from the field here so the tile comes down the hill into my backyard. She stated it is not marked but I know it is there. She stated there is a drainage problem. She stated it rises to a peak about here. She stated if someone could thoughtfully redo the drainage so that it wouldn’t come down the hill I really would appreciate it. She stated also in this area there are tons and tons of deer. She asked where do they all drink? She stated they all drink out of the pond back here. She stated I don’t want to kill the animals.
Michele Green stated I live at 656 W. 250 S. She stated I know for a fact that this is really low right in here and that water sits in there. She asked to put this road in here won’t you have to put in culverts under this? She stated you will have to put in culverts or something because there is going to be water in here. She stated that is going to drain onto her property and her property drains onto my property. She stated then it goes down in here and it drains through this property. She stated we already have enough water from her property. She stated I know that this water is going to double and I can’t even get in there and cut grass until late July. She stated this is going to make it really bad.
Ken Burton stated I live at 660 W. 250 W. He stated this is actually three, three-acre plots. He stated I am on the left hand and Michelle is in the middle. He stated this is a wooded area. He stated the drainage that they are going to take care of is going to have to go up hill from this area forward. He stated I currently have drain tile in this area feeding my pond. He stated nobody has addressed this. He stated the last time they proposed this I notified Todd. He stated that is all they did was try to repropose it. He stated there is currently drain tile that runs this area and across the entire frontage and over to Michael Gariups and into the creek that fills Michael Gariups lake. He stated nobody has addressed this. He stated they are addressing it by putting ponding down here and ponding down there. He stated this is a ridgeline. He stated even with the drain tile in here this area does flood on occasion. He stated last year the telephone company came through and they bore a fiber optic cable down the street line and accidentally hit the drain tile. He stated what we had was water coming up like crazy in Michele’s and Jim’s front yard because this thing is continually draining. He stated nobody has addressed it because it is old farmland and nobody knows the tile is there. He stated nobody has much as knocked on my door to ask if there were any drain tiles. He stated the idea that water is going to flow up hill instead of down is a joke. He stated this is uphill. He stated this is far enough uphill that I go out in the backyard and I have a rifle range and I use that as a backdrop. He stated I actually shoot into that hill. He stated I won’t be able to when there are people there but the point is that this is a rise and it is not downhill. He stated I don’t disagree that these are low areas here and will get some of this. He stated my concern is up where I live. He stated last time this was proposed I asked what are they going to do about it. He stated there was just an answer at the meeting and nothing more. He stated this is the high spot of the two lots and it naturally flows down to about here and then over. He stated they can say they addressed the drainage. He stated they may have addressed
some of it down here but this stuff goes into Michaels property and then eventually into his lake. He stated the other concern that I have is now you put in septic systems in there. He stated the septic systems across the street have had a lot of problems. He stated I have been over there helping people putting dirt on septic systems, etc. He stated it is the same type of ground. He stated not this subdivision but the subdivision that you approved years ago across the street. He stated the point is once the developer is done he is gone. He stated the people who move in have a problem. He stated I don’t want that septic system leakage coming down into my pond coming across this way. He stated that stuff that they haven’t addressed. He stated nobody has ever knocked on my door or give me a phone call to discuss this. He stated I don’t think that they care. He stated what they care about is getting this divided up. He stated this was turned down five years ago. He stated drainage was part of it. He asked what did they do? He stated they split it in half. He stated they took this half ran it over here and said they would get that half approved. He stated when that was brought before the Board I didn’t get a notice of it. He stated I am far enough away they didn’t have to tell me. He stated they got this half approved and now we are down into getting the problem half approved. He stated when they couldn’t do it as a whole they’ll divide it up in pieces and do it in parts. He stated I suggest that if you do approve it then somehow they need to post a bond so that after all these houses get built if some remediation has to get done we can go back to the developer and not go after the poor people who got stuck buying the lots. He stated you always hear about the schools and you always hear that stuff. He stated I am retired and I’ve been retired for five years. He stated I just heard from Todd on the last one that when you put more people in there is more tax base and so the taxes are fine. He stated well my taxes have quadrupled. He stated I have never complained about it and I’ve never had a kid in school. He stated I have never had anybody on that system. He stated the point is that as more people come in I haven’t seen taxes go down or even maintained. He stated mine are over four times what they were since I’ve been there. He stated I’ll take the taxes but I don’t want to see more dumped on us to build more school systems and that is what our primary taxes are in the county. He stated I think it is unfair to us and unfair to the farmers who are paying taxes on their land also. He stated anytime you put more people in an area it takes years for their taxes to get caught up with paying the difference.
Roy Kasten stated I live at 674 W. 250 S. He stated my concern is like everyone else’s. He stated there is five drain tiles that come from my property and the neighbors property and they all go through that property and it goes off towards the
corner where the telephone company messed up. He asked what is going to happen with my drainage? He stated it already backs up on me somewhat. He stated right now you can’t go out there in the dirt. He asked what is going to happen to that water? He asked are they going to address it, play with and do what they did on the other side? He stated the guy put a septic field right up my neighbor’s property and now he has a wet hole down there.
Tom Hannon stated I live at 349 E. 500 S. He stated I farm the ground that is immediately to the south of this proposed subdivision and also Field Stone. He stated my biggest problem there is the amount of water that they are running off onto the property owners who have a unregulated drain going through there that is completely plugged up. He stated it won’t handle the water that is coming out of Field Stone right now. He stated Field Stone’s retention pond is essentially the same size as the one they are proposing. He stated Field Stone has one retention pond and it all comes to the back to the same area as that retention pond on the bottom. He stated I think that retention pond has three foot stand tubes two of them that are letting the water out of there. He stated three times in the past two years that retention pond has gone over the top of its banks. He stated yesterday I was over there just before noon and the water was coming up to Hwy 2 in those ditches along there from not only this property but also all the surrounding properties. He stated they were right to the top of the banks on both sides on SR 2. He stated it wasn’t a big rain but it extended for quite a period of time. He stated two years ago the water was up on SR 2 plus a whole bunch of corn stalks that are still in the ditch there because I guess the State has jurisdiction on that and they don’t see fit to do anything. He stated I guess they want the property owners to worry about it. He stated I guess my problem is if you want to drain it and run it through there maybe somebody better get the drain through there regulated so that somebody helps pay for all the grief that the property owners have to stand to where it is going through on an unregulated drain.
Mr. Leeth stated the first thing I would like to do is before I address drainage, which was the large issue, talk about some of the other issues that were raised. He stated one of which was the ecosystem, actually two of the remonstrators talked about frogs. He stated detention ponds in urban settings in subdivision settings can support frogs and I can testify to personal knowledge of it. He stated I happen to live on a pond and in the summertime I open the windows and the bullfrogs in the pond in the back of my home keep me awake some nights. He stated they are very healthy. He stated I don’t think that there is an
inconsistency between the supporting of that type of life in
ponds. He stated these ponds may or may not support that depending upon whether or not they hold water. He stated I am going to call upon Mr. Rensberger with regards to some of the issues that were raised to address the drainage problem. He stated secondly we heard some evidence about septic systems and so forth and the suggestion that perhaps 15 homes on this 68 acres is more palatable or better planning than the 31 that is being proposed to you. He stated as I indicated the zoning ordinance allows us to have a minimum lot size of one acre and our average lot size is 1.8 acres in size. He stated the reason for that is there are some significant challenges that Mr. Rensberger had when he designed the subdivision. He stated it was primarily the hydric soils. He stated the hydric soils are shaded in the brown or tan tone on the drawing that I have shown you. He stated there are also some steep slopes. He stated that is the reddish or purple shading on the plan. He stated as the subdivision is laid out those hydric soils and steep slopes are accommodated such that the larger lots incorporate some of those poor soils or soils that don’t support septic systems. He stated it was all done with science recognizing and incorporating the land as we have it today in order to accommodate the septic systems. He stated as I indicated on file in a report from the Health Department, which is required as we go through the TAC process that this layout is a rather voluminous soils report conducted pursuant to your ordinance for every one of the 31 lots. He stated it tells my client, Mr. Rensberger and the Health Department where the septics can go and what is required of each individual system as far as design and so forth. He stated that is what has been done in order to address the requirements of your ordinance that results in 31 lots. He stated we didn’t just say that maybe it should be 40 lots or 30 lots. He stated there was science based upon this report and the requirements of the State Health Department through the administration in oversight of the County Health Department. He stated you will see that in some areas and I will focus particularly right here and down in this area, we have hydric soils where the roads are. He stated through the TAC process in those areas the road design is different than in other parts of the subdivision. He stated the road design requires the developer to place drains to keep the road base dry in those particular areas. He stated again, based upon where the hydric soils have been identified with the topographics and with the soils reports. He stated we have made changes in the road design in those particular areas. He stated the same is true in the area that I believe Ms. Green in her comments talked about culverts. He stated those are issues that are addressed again in the road design that Mr. Rensberger has designed for the subdivision. He stated Mr. Burton mentioned to you that this land was the subject of a previous petition that was denied and that is true. He stated this land and the land to
the west, which is Field Stone Manor was denied a subdivision in 1999. He stated that developer was proposing manufactured homes on the entire development. He stated for many reasons that subdivision was denied. He stated sometime later the land was then sold or placed under contract by the developers of Field Stone Manor. He stated they had a different drainage plan. He stated they had a different parcel because it wasn’t the entire parcel and they presented a petition or a primary plat to you. He stated some of the same neighbors I am sure came out then and testified to you and the drainage plan that Field Stone Manor had was significantly different then the 1999 petition that was denied back then and Field Stone Manor was approved. He stated again, tonight we are presented a primary plat with a design that is different significantly than the Irish Homes petition from 1999. He stated as we indicated the ponds are three and four times the size that their drainage calculations require. He stated that wasn’t true in 1999. He stated Mr. Rensberger will address the drainage issues now.
Bill Rensberger stated I have a contour map here that shows elevations of the property. He stated there is a higher area right here and if you look at my drainage arrows it shows the direction of flow. He stated some goes that way and the majority goes this way. He stated both ladies were right. He stated there is a pocket in here that I have captured with a pipe or a culvert and we are going to have it come down and go into this pond. He stated there is going to be a 12-foot cut that we will put a pipe in through the higher area. He stated they can go down to 25-feet with a cut with a backhoe. He stated this will be a 12-foot cut and it will be carried to another culvert and then to the pond here. He stated we are not going to change the amount of water. He stated God makes it rain a certain amount and we aren’t going to make it rain any more. He stated we stopped the water flow considerably from what it is naturally there now. He stated we oversized these ponds so it is going to slow down the speed of what the water flows off this property. He stated we are creating a regulated drain system through here so that it can be maintained by the county and taxed by the county. He stated each pond is way oversized and it is going to stop this water that is running there now and it will release it at a regulated rate.
Mr. Breitzke stated there is still the question of whether you will meet with the neighbors to find out where these field tiles are and connect with them and direct that water flow.
Mr. Rensberger stated Field Stone had the same issue over here. He stated there was a field tile running through it. He stated when construction took place they rerouted this field
tile. He stated if there is a tile through here what we have is 3.5 acres in here of watershed. He stated this watershed comes this way and through here. He stated the majority of the water goes through Field Stone and down into the Field Stone pond, which is over here. He stated so all of this water stays off this property and goes this way. He stated we only have 3.5 acres here that this field tile could be running so there is not a whole lot of water. He stated it can’t be because my contours show draining that way and this way. He stated what we have is 3.5 acres here, which is nominal that could be coming through a field tile at this point. He stated at that time they are going to have to build on there but when the road takes we can redirect this field tile into a storm sewer system and take it to this pond, if that indeed happens.
Ms. Burton asked what is the term for the soils?
Mr. Rensberger stated hydric soils.
Mr. Burton stated we still have field tile to the rear of the property and field tile to the side of the property. He stated he heard that they will do something about it but I haven’t heard anything on what they are going to do or how they are going to do it. He stated I would like to hear that addressed a little bit more.
Ms. Green asked if Mr. Rensberger did the drainage on the other subdivision? She stated it is not working and I have pictures to show that it is not working.
At this time, Ms. Green submitted the pictures to the Plan Commission members.
Mr. Hannon asked if the detention pond at Field Stone was bigger than it was needed to be by someone’s regulations or whatever?
Mr. Kasten asked when you go in there to do that up there by my property the tiles that lead into it out into your roadways will I be able to be there and will somebody contact me to make sure that those tiles get into that catch basin?
Mr. Rensberger stated I am not a soil scientist but septic systems are not suitable in hydric soils. He stated Board of Health oversees all of that. He stated we had a soil scientist come out and mark where the hydric soils were and I mapped them.
Mr. Leeth stated hydric soils are soils that have a presents of water or hydrology in them naturally and occurring
and maintained throughout the seasonal cycle. He stated this is the way I would define hydric soil. He stated muck is a hydric soil and there are other soils that are less saturated with water that would have a definition of a hydric soil. He stated that is the type of idea of my layman’s definition of a hydric soil.
Mr. Rensberger stated throughout the county there are field tiles that drain and the exact location is hard to determine at times when taking witching wands out and it is a trial and error thing. He stated Dave Schelling from the county came out on one project and witched it. He stated if we encounter any field tiles we will incorporate these into the storm system if possible. He stated if they are deeper than our storm system we will not disturb them and they will just continue under their natural course. He stated if we block a field tile it is going to cause a problem for any homeowner in this development. He stated it doesn’t make any sense to want to stop this water from going in its natural course. He stated we can put on the secondary plat that any field tiles that are disturbed will be redirected to the storm system here or maintained to their natural course. He stated my office did have a hand in designing Field Stone Manor. He stated the developer designed it and oversaw the works of it. He stated my engineer did the drainage calculations. He stated there is a pond down here. He stated what you have is about 20-feet of fall from the county road down to here. He stated water runs fast down this way. He stated this pond that we designed here and I don’t remember and I don’t have it with me, but it seems to me that it stores just enough and it wasn’t oversized much. He stated when you have that much water coming down and you have a huge watershed coming through here this pond stops the water to the normal state then releases it. He stated these ponds are four times as big as required. He stated it is going to stop this water and hold it a lot longer then release it slower than the Field Stone one did. He stated I don’t know what has happened to the Field Stone pond right now. He stated I have heard that water continues to run south but it always has run south. He stated when I did my survey there were ruts through the field because the water runs so fast. He stated that is because you have a 20-foot elevation change from here to here. He stated water goes fast and it was channeled through a lower area here. He stated it naturally comes out here and it naturally comes out here. He stated I can slow the water down but I can’t change its course.
Mr. Leeth stated I also want to mention that Mr. Rensberger mentioned that there was a large watershed that came from the north through Field Stone Manor. He stated that is not true on this side of the property line on the proposed Glendale Valley. He stated the watershed off site that we are accepting from the
north is very small. He stated in fact it is this portion here and a small strip on the north side of CR 250 S. He stated there is a very small portion of the watershed that comes onto this property that we have to catch, manage and be responsible for, which is unlike Field Stone Manor where they had a much larger off site watershed that they had to capture.
Mr. Rensberger stated if there are some issues with this I don’t think the developer will have any problem getting an easement over to this pond. He stated with this pond being oversized will even slow this water on this side down even more to take and divert it into this pond if it will even work. He stated if it works we will have to take it back to TAC for secondary and look at that.
The public hearing was then closed.
Mr. Bucko stated this ridgeline that comes down through lots 2, 3, and 4 that is where the people over here and here were concerned next to Roy’s piece of property east. He asked if this was correct.
Mr. Rensberger stated correct.
Mr. Bucko stated obviously that is the high ground and you have some roads through there and you are going to take care of that drainage down through that road area and over to the pond. He stated you are going to cut a drain coming from the entrance area. He asked if this was correct?
Mr. Rensberger stated that is correct.
Mr. Bucko stated obviously you will have the natural flow that will come off of the lots going to the north and to the east and that won’t be any greater or less because that is just the way it flows. He asked is this right and is this what I heard you say?
Mr. Rensberger stated there is a natural ridgeline right here and it kind of flows this way. He stated when a house gets built here some of it will be directed that way and some of it will be directed that way.
Mr. Bucko stated I understand too that if you got lots 2, 3 and 4 even though you may put a house on that and there will be some rooftops, lawns and everything else you are also going to then have turf that is grass that is going to be significantly denser than what you have as far as bean rows and corn rows and what have you and water is not going to run as fast across that
turf as it does now today across that open ground. He stated it sounds to me like the drainage and everything else if you take care of the tiles that comes across there and make sure that they get directed into the catch basins where they do the work and take it to the pond rather than just cutting them open and letting them run out on the ground and across these peoples property it should be sufficient. He stated these ponds will then run off on the surface, if I am right, because you are going to be regulated but the piece of ground next to it is unregulated because we cannot regulate somebody else’s piece of property as a drain in Porter County. He stated so it is allowed to run as it naturally does today but it will be ran at a significantly lesser speed because you will be letting it out as a slower rate from these two major ponds. He asked is it the understanding then that may or may not reduce some of the erosion affects of that water that is running off at that time?
Mr. Rensberger stated the ponds will slow the water down. He stated we do have an erosion control plan. He stated Charlie Walker insisted I have this prior to primary. He stated we will have erosion control set up and it will be part of the contractor’s duty to establish that.
Mr. Bucko asked will that erosion control plan be in effect in such a way and will the pond’s be built prior to so we are not letting water run off and not have a place to go to?
Mr. Rensberger stated there is a sequencing plan with erosion control and it is a letter that I submit down State and there is a penalty imposed if they don’t follow that sequencing. He stated the first thing they do is build a construction entrance. He stated the second thing they do is build their ponds. He stated then from there they put the infrastructure in. He stated the ponds will be made and then there will be rip rap and throughout the ponds there will be silt fencing installed.
Mr. Burns stated it seems like drainage is the biggest issue here and I guess I have to ask our experts for the County is this approved by our engineers or should we take a second look at it. He stated I don’t have a problem if our engineers say that this is all resolved and there won’t be a drainage problem. He stated if we can’t say that right now then maybe this should go back to TAC and take a second look at it.
Mr. Breitzke stated this is a multi headed beast. He stated you have drainage coming from several different areas. He stated as much as a half-mile north is Windy Oaks…and that actually goes east or bypass this then comes back into the same drain that Mr. Hannon was talking about. He stated we have a
drop of better 50-feet over that mile. He stated this takes care of a portion of it. He stated Field Stone takes care of a portion of it whereas with Field Stone there is really not a bypass. He stated they are taking on the water from the north and it is coming through Field Stone as well as what they are responsible for. He stated what we may do as what Bill suggested is looking at the connectivity in the pond to help even slow down possibly more. He stated from the standpoint of the responsibility’s of what our ordinance calls for of what our requirements are to date they have been very conservative and put in some extra precautions. He stated add to that the interception of these field tiles that should affectively help dewater some of this land around the way. He stated piece by piece the county steps in and regulates the system. He stated Field Stone Manor has a system regulated and this has a system. He stated we have a gap between this and Yellowstone, which is a half a mile south of SR 2. He stated we are still missing about a mile and one of the developers to the south, specifically Tom Harrison, had committed to helping us get the easements through to the property owners to the north to help with that connectivity. He stated we are still awaiting that.
Mr. Burns asked if we are making an improvement?
Mr. Breitzke stated I hope so.
Mr. Burns stated maybe we should take a second look at it with all these other issues.
Mr. Breitzke stated no, we can address those issues as part of the plan.
Mr. Detert stated this has been notorious for water problems and I think it is just another one of the subdivisions that are coming into us on larger land. He stated in all due respect to the engineers sometimes you are wrong. He stated sometimes TAC is wrong and sometimes we end up and we have subdivisions that we end up with water problems. He stated it looks to me like it is sure stupidity to go into an area where the drainage is bad and put a subdivision in there. He stated that drain starts up at CR 100 S. and that flows down and Mr. Leeth would have you believe that it is all to the west but I have seen it come down behind Windy Oaks and across 250 S. and I could hardly get through with my car. He stated the other thing that bothers me is the traffic. He stated CR 250 S. is a main artery to the new high school. He stated we keep adding and adding to that traffic and we are doing nothing with the roads and we are doing very little with slowing the speeders down. He stated I think that we are just asking for trouble. He stated it
is a marginal property that we are developing when there are other properties that we could develop and we are asking for trouble. He stated we have trouble in Seasons View. He stated we have water problems off of Field Stone now. He stated anybody that would build a basement in this particular area would have to have rocks in his head. He stated I don’t know how you could avoid the water. He stated from CR 100 S. it is all coming down this way and it we are pushing it all towards Mike’s house and then on to Hebron.
Mr. Mahnic stated I don’t have much of a problem with this for one reason. He stated this has been to TAC and I admire those people. He stated they are engineers and they know what they are doing including the people from the Health Department. He stated they tell me that the mound system is more effective then a septic system and it has work a lot better from all the surveys they have taken. He stated you meet all the RR requirements. He stated there are no variances and you have addressed drainage to the satisfaction of TAC and you went back there twice after they gave their favorable recommendation. He stated this is identical to the three subdivisions that are side by side. He stated it is a little better and more enhanced then the one you had here a few years ago but we did turn that down. He stated I can’t say whether I want to say “yes” to go ahead with it or “no” you can’t.
Mr. Biddinger stated this property has a lot of problems with it when you start looking at drainage. He asked is this plan going to work? He stated I don’t know. He stated I am not an engineer. He stated I have a background in soil science but I am kind of hesitant on this one. He stated I am not sure what to say. He stated one thing I will ask and I think that you kind of already alluded that you are willing to work with the neighbors on the drainage tiles and such. He stated I really strongly encourage that you continue to pursue that. He stated only by working with the neighbors can we even come close to making everybody happy on this. He stated I have had some arguments with Kevin and sometimes I wonder if the engineering mentality is to get the water from here to the Gulf of Mexico as fast as possible and that is how we take care of our storm water.
Mr. Poparad asked is TAC okay with the drainage?
Mr. Breitzke stated yes.
Mr. Poparad stated in referencing our last public hearing everybody seems to want to save prime farmland. He asked is this prime farmland?
Mr. Breitzke stated no.
Commissioner Harper stated I want to ask this gentleman who was farming south of this. He asked do you farm south of this proposed subdivision and the subdivision next to it, Field Stone?
Mr. Hannon stated yes I do.
Commissioner Harper asked how many acres do you farm down there?
Mr. Hannon stated I farm 150 acres.
Commissioner Harper asked do you feel that somehow the drainage off this is going to affect your farming operation?
Mr. Hannon stated it has because Field Stone has been put in. He stated before Field Stone it was in CRP and very little runoff. He stated CRP is a program where they let it grow up in grass. He stated I will admit when you crop it on a big rain it is going to run off. He stated also when you put houses on it and streets.
Commissioner Harper asked how has it changed since Field Stone came in?
Mr. Hannon stated the ditch goes through the property to the south of it. He stated there are a couple driveways in there with 16-inch culverts. He stated very seldom before that time when you had a big rain those culverts wouldn’t handle it. He stated now there are two in Field Stone and this retention pond is coming out of there. He stated there are two 36-inch rise pipes with holes in them. He stated yes the holes slow it down until they get to the top of them. He stated then when they get to the top you got six-foot diameter water coming out of there. He stated besides that three times in the last two years water has gone completely over the bank of this retention pond. He stated it has spilled out into the neighboring property that you’re talking about approving right here. He stated when it gets down there in a hurry it fills up the ditches along SR 2 and it goes over too. He stated a few years ago the one ditch that comes out by Gariups there was a young girl killed there in a time of rain when the water was over SR 2 and the State or county whoever came in there and put in a bigger tube there.
Commissioner Harper asked what do you visualize what this is going to do to your farm?
Mr. Hannon stated it is probably going to double the water that is coming down through there because this other retention
pond on that side they are going to put two tubes probably the same size coming up on SR 2. He stated instead of one retention pond coming through this small ditch you are going to have two.
Commissioner Harper asked the lady who brought the pictures, what were they suppose to show us?
Mrs. Green stated the water that goes through there all goes onto our property.
Commissioner Harper asked where is this house located?
Mr. Hannon stated there is a cul-de-sac there right before the retention pond. He stated that house is located right there. He stated up further in this field one of the drains off of the roads was laid on top of the ground and it is probably a 30-inch tile, covered with soil and it goes back to the waterway that leads into this retention pond. He stated today sometime in the last month or so there has been a house that owns the lot right beside this, there is a basement there. He asked is that going to work?
Commissioner Harper asked Mr. Breitzke if Field Stone would have these kinds of problems?
Mr. Breitzke stated at the time we suspected it would. He stated the pond was designed to do what was required as far as the volume out. He stated that is why they agreed at this time to increase the size of the ponds. He stated I could be mistaken but I think that pond was built to 1.4 or 1.3 times the size. He stated they increased it a little bit but not significantly. He stated they were taking the water from up north in a natural channel. He stated one of the other things to bear in mind what Tom is referring to the CRP is where we pay the farmer not to farm. He stated so it is left fallow. He stated that slows down the water. He stated we are in a period right now in the development stage where there isn’t grass out there and there is nothing slowing down the water. He stated the pictures you saw were a new house under construction with the water running around it and the pond filling up. He stated Field Stone Manor really hasn’t been tested fully as they just started seeding and grassing this area. He stated we still have more work and we hold some bonds on some improvements to go in there including the grass swale that comes from the county road to the north of this.
Commissioner Harper stated we have subdivisions that aren’t working that have been approved and they are having water problems and so forth. He stated I think we should make sure. He stated drainage is the issue here. He stated I think that the
neighbors are pretty leery that we handle that correctly because of other examples and they have seen how it has been handled. He stated I am not so sure that this shouldn’t go back and be reworked and make sure and see some of these neighbors. He stated I think that they should know where some of these field tiles are.
Mr. Breitzke stated typically, primary plats for the county we don’t require all the drawings and the internal examination. He stated gratefully they came to us with all this stuff and pre-design and a set of plans for roads and with their storm system fairly complete. He stated that is really not required. He stated that helps a lot in this analysis.
Mr. Detert stated I think my point was just made about the drainage. He stated we have an engineered pond that isn’t working in the subdivision next door that is overflowing. He stated this passed our TAC and we are still having problems. He stated we are talking about an area that is prone to get a lot of water. He stated the flow is all South from CR 100 S. down there. He stated I guess we get fooled by retention ponds. He stated retention ponds means exactly what it says. He stated it retains the water and flows it out at a slower rate. He stated we do that because you can’t put more water down stream than you did before. He stated now you have the subdivision and you have more water because you have roofs and paved roads and now that water is metered out at the same rate. He stated Tom gets in his field and maybe he can’t get in it for a week. He stated what the retention pond is going to do for you is you can’t get in it for three weeks because it is going to flow longer. He stated we are not solving the problem we are just sending it down but only at a slower rate.
Mr. Rensberger stated if you want it at the same speed I can send it at the same speed. He stated I can make these pipes bigger and send it down at the same speed. He stated I slowed it down because I thought it would solve the problem. He stated just because a detention pond overflows doesn’t mean that it is not working. He stated they are built with spillways to overflow. He stated there were ruts in the ground south of the property prior to me when I did my survey. He stated when it overflows this pond that means there is a lot of water coming down. He stated the pond is slowing that water down to where the calculations showed it to be. He stated just because it is going over the top of the pond doesn’t mean it is not working.
Mr. Detert stated someone just said here that we are improving the situation and yet the ruts were there when you got there and the ruts are still there. He asked have we really improved the flow downstream?
Mr. Rensberger stated like I said the pond was sized in Field Stone from what it needed. He stated it wasn’t oversized. He stated these ponds are oversized three to four times.
Mr. Detert stated he said it was 1.4 times.
Mr. Rensberger stated I don’t remember exactly.
Mr. Detert stated there was some oversizing of it. He stated the subdivision isn’t half built and we are flowing over that pond. He stated tell me what is wrong.
Mr. Rensberger stated like I said, just because it overflows the top doesn’t mean that it is not working. He stated it slows down the water to the natural state.
Mr. Detert stated not when it goes over the top.
Mr. Rensberger stated it depends on how much water coming down.
Mr. Detert stated I agree.
Mr. Burns move to continue Case 04-P-16 and remand it back to the Technical Advisory Committee to look at all of these drainage recommendations, looking at the neighbors field tiles and to look at Field Stone Manor to see what went wrong at Field Stone Manor and to report back to the Plan Commission at the next meeting. Mr. Mahnic seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous roll call vote.
Case 04-P-17. Petition of Total Site Management, LLC, c/o William Ferngren, Hoeppner, Wagner & Evan LLP, 103 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, Indiana seeking primary plat approval for Brigata Hills Subdivision to be located on the South side of CR 500 N., between CR 250 W. and CR 175 W. in Center Township, Porter County, Indiana. (To contain 95 lots on 80.495 acres. Property is zoned R-1.)
Bill Ferngren stated I am from Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans. He stated I have with me tonight Bob Palm from Palm and Associates our surveyor and engineer and Rick Carlson from Total Site Management. He stated the property consists of just over 80 acres, about 80.5 acres. He stated it is on the south side of CR
500 N. He stated all the property surrounding this proposed development is undeveloped with the exception of the southern boundary where there is Pepper Creek Subdivision, which is underway with the roads installed in that location. He stated the property is zoned R-1 as is all the adjoining surrounding
property of this particular site. He stated the project is Brigata Hills. He stated it is a single-family residential subdivision consisting of 95 lots. He stated the average lot size is just over a half of an acre in size. He stated there is a single entrance location off of CR 500 N. located primarily in the center of the northern property line. He stated there are two future connectivity points provided down in the southeast corner to the adjoining parcel to the east and then also along the western property line somewhere along the midpoint of that parcel to allow for future connection to development in those areas. He stated the City of Valparaiso will be providing utility service to this project. He stated I have provided Mr. Thompson a letter from John Hardwick from the Valparaiso City Utilities indicating domestic water and sanitary sewer service will be made available to the property. He stated there is adequate capacity. He stated the actual connections will come from the water and sewer service from CR 150 W. through Pepper Creek and up into the southern portion of this property and then spread throughout the various utility easements in the development. He stated water and sewer are going to come in at the southwesterly corner of the development. He stated as it sits today there is just over 20% of this is in open space primarily along the eastern property line. He stated there is severe sloping in that area and it is heavily wooded in that area as well. He stated there are other detention basin areas figured into that open space and included within that are also an open space park type of atmosphere. He stated along with these open spaces being provided in the plat the restrictive covenants will include the open spaces primarily along the perimeters on the south and the east being a preservation type of an area, which will require a replanting of trees in the event that any of these trees are damaged or cut down inadvertently at a specified rate. He stated so the intent is really to provide a series of different types of open space active and a passive type of recreation for the property owners in the area. He stated this has been through the site review committee with the City of Valparaiso in a joint session with the Technical Advisory Committee from the County. He stated the Technical Advisory Committee has reviewed this project three times. He stated this is in a potential annexation area for the City of Valparaiso. He stated that is why they participated in the site review and at the request of the county. He stated the City has no objection to this plan. He stated they have given it a favorable blessing. He stated naturally, it has not been annexed yet but some day maybe it will and that is why we felt in the spirit of cooperation with good land planning and what the county has asked us to do we went to them and asked them for their input. He stated as I stated they are okay and just fine with this development. He stated finally, I though it would be important
to note that there will be sidewalks provided throughout the property so that the homeowners in this area can get to and from by foot traffic to the various open space parcels throughout and to visit with their neighbors and that sort of thing.
No one spoke in favor of this petition.
Ralph O’Keefe stated I live at 522 N. 175 W. He stated I was wondering about the drainage. He stated there is a culvert that comes across the road there and dumps water on us. He stated if they build houses and streets there is going to be more water.
Keith Gesse stated I live at 238 W. 550 N. He stated I need a magnifying glass to see that. He stated I would like to see where the water does go because I farm the land, not the 80- acre parcel to the west, but the next piece over. He stated there is erosion in that 80-acres to the west of that property.
Bob Palm stated I am from Palm and Associates. He stated the drainage generally runs from east to west across the property. He stated there is only about a 16-acre offsite watershed that comes onto this. He stated there are two large watershed areas within the development. He stated we have a retention detention basin here to intercept that water and another one here. He stated then there is a smaller watershed that flows to the north through the culvert, I believe it is the one that the gentleman was talking about. He stated these will have release rates at the 10-year predevelopment rate. He stated total we have about 67 or 70 inlets that will collect that water and intercept it 67 places within the curb and gutter streets before it gets to these points.
Louis O’Keefe stated I live at 522 N. 175 W. She stated the water always runs down that road and the road isn’t wide enough so stopping the water you need drainage to stop there at the corner. She stated also at that corner of 175 W. and 500 N. when we get a snow day you will be in our fields. She stated this is a dangerous corner on top of the fact that the water flows into the fields along there and then back to our back 40 acres. She stated you are going to have to do major drainage along there. She stated there is always mud, snow drifting and water going on that road. She stated you are going to have to do more drainage along 500 N. to keep it from going into our fields
and flooding our farm fields as well. She stated when the County blacktopped that road they did damage along the culverts and it also increased the water flow.
Keith Gesse stated I know what that 80 acres to the west
looks like. He stated there are some huge gullies from the water. He stated it is scary that that much infrastructure is going to be changing that area. He stated that 80 acres to the west…I’ve seen it and I know what comes off that because it keeps coming. He stated it has been damaged by the runoff because I know the gentleman that farms it. He stated the gully’s are pretty good size. He stated it is going to be interesting to see, because I have another situation similar to this only closer to me and when this does go in how much it changes it because I know what it looks like now. He stated every day is a learning experience. He stated when and if this does happen how water can be controlled if it can be at all. He stated I don’t know if you looked at that to the west. He stated it is a viable situation from that owner’s perspective of how this water is going to be controlled. He stated I know the guy who farms it and I have seen how deep those gully’s get.
Rael Betensley stated I live at 115 Broadway, Beverly Shores. He stated I own the property, the 79 acres directly to the west. He stated there are no problems with gully’s whatsoever. He stated it has been rented to the same person, Ralph Roeske, for the past 15 years. He stated as I said there is no problem whatsoever. He stated I have no objection.
Mr. Ferngren stated the property owner it is his land and he testified as to what the gentleman back here is concerned about and Bob has mention previously that this is designed in accordance with the standards and provided you with the release rate.
Mr. Palm stated we are not significantly changing the topography here. He stated we have designed the streets and lots and the drainage to conform with the existing patterns. He stated that is why these basins and where they are at and that is where these natural flow areas are now. He stated these ponds are designed to collect the water from the storm drainage system and pond it there to slow it down at a rate…right now when it rains you get a 25 or a 50 year storm you are getting the brunt of the entire storm. He stated these are designed to only release a storm you get in a 10-year release rate. He stated size pond and the outlet is to run at a slower rate hopefully to reduce any problems down stream.
The public hearing was then closed.
Mr. Bucko stated you were talking about the roads flooding and everything else on CR 500 N. as it is already and it looks like there was a problem. He stated I got pictures with mine. He stated it doesn’t look like there is any roadside ditches
going west on 500 N. to handle any kind of rain to keep it in the ditch and off the roads. He stated I don’t really seem to have a problem with this. He stated if TAC looked at this and the calculations satisfy them and it meets the requirements I am fine with it.
Mr. Burns stated I have to rely on TAC our experts. He asked did they approve this or is this marginal?
Mr. Breitzke stated they forwarded this with a favorable recommendation.
Mr. Burns asked did it barely pass?
Mr. Breitzke stated I don’t think it was marginal at all.
Mr. Biddinger stated I have no problem.
Mr. Detert stated I have no problem.
Mr. Mahnic stated TAC had a couple of recommendations. He asked do you have a letter from Valpo sewer?
Mr. Ferngren stated yes.
Mr. Mahnic asked did you get the pond outlet 15-feet away from the property line?
Mr. Ferngren stated yes that is done.
Mr. Mahnic asked did you change the street name?
Mr. Ferngren stated yes.
Mr. Mahnic asked is there a 34 X 60 foot turn-around?
Mr. Breitzke stated yes.
Mr. Mahnic stated that is what was left hanging.
Mr. Poparad stated I have no problem.
Commissioner Harper stated I have no problem.
Mr. Breitzke stated as we go along with this I hope we respect the O’Keefe’s and try to figure out something to help them as we go through this process. He asked could you point out to me which portion of this subdivision goes to the north over 500 N. and what portion might go in other directions.
Mr. Poparad stated there is a question I would like to ask. He stated the part up there that has a small pond in the upper right hand corner.
Mr. Palm stated it is a smaller watershed area.
Mr. Poparad asked are you going to increase the amount of water going that way?
Mr. Palm stated it is a 10-year rate predevelopment.
Mr. Poparad asked you are not changing the topography of the ground.
Mr. Palm stated no sir. He stated this is the watershed, which is about 10½ acres that goes to the north. He stated this is the larger portion that I was talking about, 42-acres, 30-acres and a 6-acre watershed in this corner.
Mr. Burns asked can anything be done to improve it and help the O’Keefe’s? He asked can we make additional improvements?
Mr. Palm stated I am not sure what problem you are talking about.
Mr. Burns stated O’Keefe’s are getting flooded and that is what I understood.
Mr. Palm stated that is what we are doing with this basin here. He stated we are slowing that water down. He stated there is already a culvert under the road, which we are utilizing.
Mr. Breitzke asked would you be willing to make the pond a little larger and the outlet a little smaller just to decrease that?
Mr. Palm stated sure.
Mr. Mahnic moved to approve Case 04-P-17 for primary plat requesting a smaller outlet (pipe) and a larger pond at the north end. Mr. Detert seconded the motion, which carried on the following ballot vote:
Biddinger - Yes Bucko - Yes Burns - Yes
Detert - Yes Harper - Yes Mahnic - Yes
Poparad - Yes Breitzke - Yes
Commissioner Harper moved to continue the “Other Business” portion of the agenda to the next Plan Commission meeting. Mr. Poparad seconded the motion, which carried on a unanimous voice vote.
There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 11:15 p.m.
S/ Kevin Breitzke, President
Attest: Robert W. Thompson Jr. AICP, Executive Director/County Planner