February 3, 2016 Plan Commission Minutes
|Michael Forbes, President||Stephen Kil, Town Manager|
|Gregory Volk, Vice-President||Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer|
|Steve Kozel, Secretary||Michael Muenich, Commission Attorney|
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Michael Forbes called to order the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting on February 3, 2016 at 7:00 p.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance (recited and all took their seats).
Roll call was taken by the recording secretary (Susan E. Wright). Commissioners present: Michael Forbes, Gregory Volk, Jon Gill, Steve Kozel, Jason Willilams, James Maciejewski, Bob Birlson. Staff present: Kenn Kraus, Stephen Kil and Michael Muenich.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS:
Mr. Forbes noted that the first item on the agenda is the Election of Officers and entertained a nomination of President of the Plan Commission for 2016. Mr. Volk nominated Mr. Forbes for President. With no further nominations, motion carried by 7 ayes – 0 nays.
Mr. Forbes entertained a nomination for Vice-President of the Plan Commission for 2016. Mr. Forbes nominated Mr. Volk for Vice-President. With no further nominations, motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
Mr. Forbes entertained a motion for Secretary for the Plan Commission for 2016. Mr. Forbes nominated Mr. Kozel. With no further nominations, motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of December 2, 2015. Mr. Forbes entertained a motion. Mr. Kozel motioned that the board approve the December 2, 2015 minutes as submitted, motion seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
PLAN COMMISSION APPOINTMEN TO BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS:
Next item on the agenda is an appointment of a Plan Commission member to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Forbes advised that Mr. Williams has offered to accept that appointment. Mr. Forbes asked for any objections from the board. With no objections, Mr. Forbes nominated Mr. Williams as the Plan Commission member to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
A. EDENS COVE – Rezone from R-1 to R-2 (Mr. Dave Spoolstra).
Mr. Forbes advised the next item on the agenda is a Public Hearing for Edens Cove for a zone change from R-1 Single Family to R-2 Single Family, and the petitioner is Dave Spoolstra. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Muenich if the proofs of publication are in order for this public hearing. Mr. Muenich advised they were, he examined them this afternoon.
Mr. Dwayne Gillen of V3 Companies introduced himself and advised that Mr. Spoolstra is in the audience. Mr. Gillen advised that they were here a few months ago to introduce this project, it is a zoning change to allow eight (8) lot single family homes. It is located north of Joliet Street and just East of Grasselli Avenue, and is about a five (5) acre parcel. I have submitted layout and engineering plans, and he has copies for the board members. It is the plan that was discussed before, and two comments that the Plan Commission had was to add a right-turn deceleration lane off Joliet Street, and also to expand Lot 8 which up along Grasselli, so it was made wider to the north, away from existing residences.
Mr. Forbes asked the board members for any questions or comments. Hearing none Mr. Forbes opened the floor to public comment. He further asked that they step up to the podium and please state your name and address for the record.
Marcia Maginot (10030 Joliet Street): I live West of the farm where they want to put the new homes. My concern is the lawn service that was used to mow the farm area, they were mowing my lawn, and I had to tell them they were on my property. I want to make sure that my home is mine. Also, when my mother and my uncle decided to divide the farm up, we have a fence running north and south, can I straighten my fence out, so if I ever sold that home, I don’t want someone else’s fence on my piece of property. (Mr. Spoolstra advised that would address her concerns and give her a survey showing her property and be mindful of same).
Sharon Pacific (11423 State Line Road, Dyer, Indiana): She wanted to know the difference between R-1 and R-2. (Mr. Forbes advised that R-1 lots are 20,000 square feet and R-2 lots are 15,000 square feet. And is there any difference the actual width of the lots at all? Mr. Forbes advised that both are 100’ wide).
Mike Alonza (9665 Grasselli Avenue): He had a question about the storm water basin and he wanted to know how the property was going to be drained, mechanically where the pipes are going to be running, or how that is going to be tied in. (The developer’s engineer advised that there are inlets on Grasselli that our storm water basin will discharge directly to the West through an underground storm sewer and tie into the existing system by the road. Lot 9 will be part of the storm water management basin, so there will be a swale and a storm sewer that goes out to the street).
John Koontz (9965 Maginot Circle): He was curious if there was talk about a fence going between our property, which is just north of there, and the new project. (Mr. Gillen advised not at this time).
Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I guess just one question, is Edens Cove, are you approving the zoning change or the development tonight. (Mr. Forbes advised the discussion tonight is about zoning).
Marcia Maginot (10030 Joliet Street): Again, so the storm basin is going to be right behind my home, is that going to have any effect like flooding on my property. (Mr. Gillen advised that it should be the opposite).
Dale Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): So looking at this property they want to zone it as R-2. Is there a variance they are getting for the lots? (Mr. Forbes advised that the engineering is not on this drawing, this is the draft, and advised that the developer is not asking for a PUD).
Hearing no further public comment, Mr. Forbes closed the floor and brought the matter back to the board.
With no questions from the board members, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion that will be a recommendation to the Town Council, when making a recommendation please reference the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Kozel made a motion to grant a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for zone change from R-1 to R-2 for Edens Cove and referencing same in the Findings of Fact. Motion seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
B. THE GATES OF ST. JOHN – UNIT 10 I – Rezone from R-1 PUD to R-3 PUD (Mr. John Lotton).
Mr. Forbes stated that the next item on the agenda is The Gates of St. John – Unit 10 I, this is a public hearing for a zone change from R-1 PUD Single Family to R-3 PUD Duplex. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Muenich if the proofs of publication were in order. Mr. Muenich advised that they are and the public hearing can proceed.
Mr. Lotton advised that the Unit 10 I is currently zoned R-2 PUD single family, and they are looking to do R-3 PUD “restricted duplexes”. The area to the East of this unit is R-3 PUD, those are 2-3 and 4 units. To the North is single family, and to the South is the day care center, which is commercial.
Mr. Forbes inquired about the boundary, that the eastern boundary of this unit is R-3 PUD. Mr. Lotton advised that POD has 2, 3 and 4 unit building in there, and Parrish Avenue is the boundary to the West.
With no immediate questions from the board, Mr. Forbes opened the floor to the public hearing, reminding those wishing to speak to please give your name and address for the record at the podium.
Sharon Pacific (11423 State Line Road, Dyer, Indiana): By zoning this from R-1 to R-3 duplex, how many more people and vehicles does that put on our roads like Route 231, cause right now it is horrible, and to me a Plan Commission should care about the residents who live there now. She mentioned seeing two and three-story buildings. (Mr. Kil advised that she is looking at the assisted-living facility). Ms. Pacific stated her concern over Greystone and the Preserves and having too much traffic on the roads, including those outside of the Town’s boundaries. She stated that they will be destroying the quality of life in St. John, Cedar Lake all the surrounding area they love.
Robbie Hidenriech (10748 Maple Lane): I live in the duplex abutting this property. I am in favor of the change, because it is going from single-family homes to the duplex. Duplex, you have rules and regulations where people cannot put in play gyms and swimming pools. Your typical single-family home has a lot of people because there are children there, and so there is going to be more people, whereas the duplexes you are typically going to have one or two people to a unit, not so many families and I think it will be quieter. I believe it will enhance what we already have with the duplexes that are already there, so it will be a nice continuation.
(Announcement: Mr. Forbes asked the ladies and gentlemen not to interfere with someone making their comments at the podium. I think it is pretty unfair for you when someone has an opinion opposite what you have, that you attack that individual, and yet you applaud and support those that are on your side. Let’s be courteous to those coming up to the podium).
Mary Therese Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): We have duplexes behind, or swimming pools behind the duplexes behind my neighborhood, so that is not a true statement, they do go in, so do the gyms, so do the pergolas, it is at those peoples’ homes, so that is untrue.
Cindy Carlson, maiden name Hogan, born and raised in St. John (9371 Keilman Street): I don’t know where to begin, this is the first planning commission meeting I ever attended, which is shame on me. I am sorry that it has to come now, when I have seen our town just go from a great thing growing up to, I almost said something nasty. But, if there was a reason to vacate this town, we can’t do it. I can’t even get out of my driveway in the morning, with the school traffic and the traffic that comes off of 93rd. The traffic that comes off Indianapolis Boulevard or Wicker Avenue, it’s just ridiculous. And I don’t understand the continual building. I understand everybody has a right to build, to prosper, but what about us. Where is our right in all this? And when I heard through the grapevine that Keilman Street is on the agenda for going to be a one-way, or they want to do something about Keilman Street. (Mr. Forbes stated I have no idea what you are talking about). Well, that’s the rumor I heard and that’s why I am here tonight, because I want to know, if that going to happen, aren’t you going to even address the people who reside on the street? (Mr. Forbes stated I really have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. That has never been brought to my attention). Well, that’s a good thing; however, if something does need to be done about Keilman Street and I prefer that we have a three-way stop at 93rd to stop that traffic. (Mr. Forbes: Ms. Carlson I appreciate this discussion, I understand your concern, but, it is not the topic on the agenda. If you want to continue this discussion under Public Comment, I would encourage that, but do you have something for this item). I do, I do, because like I said I never came to a plan commission meeting before, so I don’t understand some of this terminology that you use, like the PUD, what the heck is a PUD? (Mr. Forbes: It’s a Planned Unit Development) And what is an R-3 (Mr. Forbes: a Residential District 3, it allows for “duplexes”, it is 15,000 square foot lots and you are allowed to put duplexes or up to 4 units max). Are there duplexes out there already? (Mr. Forbes: Yes, a lot).
Mr. Kil pointed to the meeting room screen and directed the attention to the area in question. They are two-unit building.
Ms. Carlson (continued): ... so there are no three’s there are just twos.
Gregory Tippery (9639 Maginot): The question I have based on a previous comment. I believe it is R-2 right now. So we are going to single family to duplexes, not from duplexes to more units. For the Town Plan is there a level of duplexes that we are seeking to have in our Master Plan and are we above or below it right now. (Mr. Forbes: At a maximum it is at eight percent I believe. We had a discussion about that at our last study session. Mr. Volk reaffirmed that number).
Mr. Kil commented about the overall residential units in the Town. Our goal and the Town goal is to keep single-family as “dominant” in the community, such that they occupy 92%, +/- of the housing stock of the community.
Mr. Tippery (continued): I thought that was the case, but there are petitions going around and I thought it was going above the 8%, and I believe it serves us better to have the single family that it is already zoned, rather than increasing this. The town is seeking to find different funding for the roads, and the roads are suffering, and in our area it is getting overwhelmed. When I get on Joliet to Parrish, the roads are falling apart. This time I think we are better served by keeping the zoning the way it is.
Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court, Golden Pond): Are there any rules on the books that if developers are building condos, that they cannot be rented out by the builder. Because I know of one developer that builds condos, then if he doesn’t sell them, he rents them out. Is there anything..,.
Mr. Kil advised Tim that he could answer that question. It is our understanding when things come in front of the board, in front of the Plan commission and Town Council, that they are “owner occupied” units. If somebody chooses to rent out their home, the town simply has no legal mechanism to prohibit it, and Mr. Muenich can probably speak legally about that.
Mr. Wolf (continued): But if the builder is renting out homes, that he hasn’t sold (Mr. Kil: is he the owner?) Well, he probably is, but if he has ten condos he hasn’t sold, is he going to be able to rent out ten condos to renters? (Mr. Kil: I can’t say, it simply is not my property) So then you are bringing in a different type of person, then.,. (Mr. Kil stated that he knows very, very, very few, percentage wise, that I am aware of personally that are rented. This town is owner occupied units, and if you look at the Census data, it backs up owner-occupied units to a tee). Legally you cannot put something on the books that say that condominiums cannot be rented out.
Mr. Muenich advised that would violate the Fair Housing Act.
Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I would like to ask, there are some new members here that I am not familiar with on this Plan Commission. It just says member; do you work for the town sir? (Mr. Kil advised that the name plates have not come in yet). Mr. Gill and Mr. Forbes advised “yes, he is the Building Commissioner. Okay, this gentleman over here, do you work for the Town? (unknown who he is pointing to): “I do not”. I am pointing to the next guy.,. “I do not”. Are you residents of St. John? “Yes” Both of you, okay, just wanted to get that clear. This guy here, are you the plumbing inspector? (Pointed to Mr. Kozel, who responded that he is the Assistant Building Inspector). So we have people here who work for the town, and who owe their jobs to the Town Council and Mr. Forbes you are the President of the Town Council, so I got a question. Have you filed a Conflict of Interest Statement Mr. Forbes to be sitting here today?
Mr. Muenich intervened advising “Mr. Chairman, the discussion about the occupancy of the Plan Commission is not relevant to the public notice. The matter of the constituency of this board is not a subject for a remonstrance, if he has a remonstrance against the agenda item he is free to do so, as you aware the statute requires certain members, a certain number of members of the Plan Commission be employees of the Town. So whether Mr. Hero likes it or not, that is a requirement, and there is no obligation for any of you to file a Conflict of Interest Statement, you are appointed as members of the Town, as opposed to citizen members of the Plan Commission. So, if Mr. Hero chooses to make a remonstrance he is free to do so; but interrogating the Commission is not within his pervue.
Mr. Hero (continued): My question was not of these other individuals for a Conflict of Interest, mine was for Mr. Forbes, because I attended a hearing where your personal attorney was the attorney that just gave that opinion, okay. So, is that a conflict of interest for you to be sitting up there if that is your personal attorney in a defamation suit against you? How do we influence this board and its opinions that are given by the attorney, if that is your personal attorney?
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Hero, do you have any further comments.,.,.,.
Mr. Hero (continued interrupting): I don’t think this is a full and fair hearing if that is your personal attorney and you haven’t identified that to the people here. That’s my first objection to all these things on the agenda tonight. The second thing is; what this Plan Commission has been doing is killing the Town of St. John by series of small cuts. Every time you put another duplex in, you increase the population, you increase the burden on the sewers. And even though it may not look like much, for this one little thing, if you keep doing this over and over again, you have to say what is the capacity of terminal treatment plant for the sewage in Schererville. What is the capacity for the water, what is all the capacities for drainage and everything else? Because, when you make things smaller and smaller, there is less ground area for the water to trickle down. So you are talking about storm water, so I think we need to re-examine all of these things, and I object to keep cutting the integrity of the town and the systems by small cuts. And I object to the duplexes, because they are not how this thing was originally zoned. And every time you do this, without doing a study for the roads, a study for another water tower, a study for the sanitary sewers, a study for the terminal treatment plant, and every time you do another little cut, at some point all these little cuts end up bleeding this town dry. So I object to that. I object, my personal opinion is you have a conflict of interest, getting an opinion from your personal lawyer in a defamation suit. And I think all these, with you presiding, are unfair in these circumstances Thank You.
Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): I oppose any reduction in zoning. It is currently R-2, it was platted that way. Even if it was under a PUD, and I prefer for it to keep that way and regarding the percentage of multi-family in town. I just have a question about the mathematics of the eight percent calculation, I know Mr. Volk you had come up with that, and I appreciate that. (Mr. Volk commented that “No, I didn’t come up with that, actually the Town’s Comprehensive Plan Consultant did”). Okay, I had a thought in the back of the room, was that calculation done on number of lots, like adding up R-3 lots, adding up R-1 and R-2 lots, or was it done by residents, so an R-3 lot might have 2 residents or more. So I am curious of how that percentage was calculated, cause it would come out quite differently, can you really can’t count a multi-family lot as one, in that math. Do you recall what the mathematics was on that?
Mr. Volk looked to Mr. Kil who advised that they are referring to the Comp Plan.
Paul Panczuk (continued): I would like that to be investigated if it’s possible, because I think it makes a big difference. If we’re gonna have a target we are shooting for, I would like to know where it is gonna land, and um,., and I was at the Comprehensive Plan meeting and I’m fairly educated on the Comprehensive Plan and I don’t think I met a single resident that said well we want any multi-family, so less is better. And we need to make sure we’re doing that math the right way, in general. But, for this particular development, I am opposed to any reduction in the zoning. Thank you.
Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I didn’t hear the answer to the how the calculations were made between the multi-family.
Mr. Kil advised that he would have to confirm with the Comprehensive Plan people, that was done a while ago, so I can confirm with them and let you know and get back to you on it.
Gerry Swets (continued): But we have a goal or limit of eight percent I believe? (Mr. Kil advised that has been the goal of the Council). I think Mr. Volk made the comment that I read in the newspaper that it the limit that the Town had put on multi-family. (Mr. Kil: I think that was the goal that was said). And if you guys have no idea what the real percentage is, cause a duplex should be two families. (Mr. Volk: Based on units).
Mr. Kil stated, then again there are different way like Paul (Panczuk) said, on how that can be done. You can do it by zoning, you can do it by lot count, there are different ways you can come up with that percentage. I think the point that Mr. Volk was trying to make was that the “dominant zoning” and the “dominant structures” of the town right now are single family. They out-weigh the multi-family, if you will. If you drive around the town it is pretty obvious.
Gerry Swets (continued): My point then I guess, and my objection to approving this tonight, would be that you don’t know what the percentage is. You are taking somebody’s word that yes we are under eight percent, but you’re not quite sure how that was figured out. And if that’s even accurate, unless there is a true study that’s been done. So, until you guys know exactly what percentage we are at, I would encourage you to not approve any more multi-family zoning, until you know where your number are.
Al Halajcsik (9931 Joliet Street): I lived in St. John for thirty years, this October. I’ve seen a couple of cows in the road across the street from my house. Though I can’t get out of my driveway now. And I have asked Mr. Kil a couple of times about possibly putting in a couple stop signs, reducing the speed limit and possibly getting some police out there to control the traffic. I haven’t seen any of it. And I was wondering if it would be that difficult just to put in a couple of stop signs, maybe one at Parrish, one at the tracks...
Mr. Forbes: Again sir, at this point, this is not the time for this discussion, if would you can bring it up under the Public Comment.
Al Halajcsik (continued): ... putting in more housing is making things worse. So I just want to you to think about the problem we have now, and bringing in how many more cars, that will be running up and down these roads. Our street went from a country road to a highway. And we need to do something about it before somebody gets killed. I try to back out of my driveway when nobody is around, I put it in drive and there’s somebody on by butt. There’s a problem and it needs to be addressed before some kid standing there waiting for a school bus gets run over. There’s cars passing cars on that street. Far as I know a stop sign wouldn’t cost too much. Definitely better than somebody dying over it, too much traffic on a country road. Used to be country road.
Tom Parada (9535 Joliet Street): My first question is when is the group from LaPorte gonna come out and do the, this traffic study for the light at Route 41 and Joliet Street. (Mr. Forbes: They have already come out). Any idea when we’re gonna know the findings? (Mr. Forbes: It’s in the paper today, isn’t it?) Another thing I want to say, I seen an awful lot more people coming to these meetings than there have been before. A couple of you guys have been here way too long, first off, and I think you really don’t.,.,
Mr. Forbes addressed Mr. Parada. We are discussing the change in zoning in The Gates. I have reminded several other people that we are discussing The Gates.
With no further public comment, Mr. Forbes brought the matter back to the board. Gentlemen, and questions or thoughts. As with the last public hearing this is a recommendation to the Town Council, either favorable, unfavorable or no recommendation; whatever motion is made please incorporate the Findings of Fact by reference.
Mr. Maciejewski asked Mr. Kil, if he could answer, the total number of units in The Gates. Mr. Kil answered 1,450 ultimate build-out, you mean? Mr. Kil asked developer Mr. Lotton in the audience to correct if wrong, it is 1,450. Mr. Maciejewski asked, and what does this change constitute as part of that overall percentage. Mr. Kil advised to his understanding is really nothing. We are going to stick with the 1,450 units that were agreed to. Mr. Kil advised they are not increasing the number of units that the Annexation Ordinance approved. Mr. Forbes noted that there were areas that were supposed to be three-units, that downgraded to duplexes. So the total number of units has not changed.
Mr. Kozel made a motion to make a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for The Gates – Unit 10 I rezone from R-2 PUD to R-3 PUD duplexes and incorporate the Finding of Fact into the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 6 ayes – 1 nay (Mr. Birlson).
Mr. Lotton stated at this time he would like to advertise a Public Hearing for March 2, 2016 for the re-subdivision of Unit 10 I, contingent on the Town Council granting the zoning change on February 25, 2016.
Mr. Forbes asked the board members for any thoughts on the request. Mr. Kozel made a motion to approve the request. Motion seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
OLD / NEW BUSINESS:
A. THE PRESERVES – Primary Subdivision Plat Approval (Mr. Jack Slager)
Mr. Jack Slager of Schilling Development introduced himself to the board. I am here tonight to request Primary Approval for The Preserves subdivision, located at 93rd and White Oak Avenue, to 101st. Mr. Slager directed their attention to the plat shown on the meeting room screen.
Mr. Slager advised this is 432 lots on 319 acres. I wanted to bring back the timeline this evening, that was before you at the last study session, the same information, but I wanted to go over it one more time.
Talking about the history of this parcel and the property and the approvals we have received over time, going back to May 2015 when we filed for annexation of this property. The annexation was passed in June 2015, we went through some study sessions, we received rezoning in November of last year. During this time we’ve attended ten plan commission meetings, study sessions, public hearings; we have advertised three different times in the newspaper, public notices to the adjoining property owners, both for the annexation, the rezoning and the subdivision public hearing.
The public hearing began on December 2, 2015; there was not enough members present at that time, so we did hold a public hearing at that time, and it was continued until tonight.
Again, 432 lots on 319 acres. We have previously received the RC-1 zoning, which is a residential conservation zoning. It allows us to have some smaller lots in order to come up with some creative layouts for the subdivision, in order to preserve some of the woods, preserve some of the wetlands and nature areas. I wanted to remind the plan commission that we are looking at a 15-year development plan. We were previously talking ten years, but by the time this is all developed and built out we’re thinking it going to be more like 15 years. We are looking at 30 to 50 lots per year.
The first phase will be 57 lots off White Oak, and in subsequent years would come in with additional phases of 30-50 lots. The overall density of this project is 1.36 units per acre. One (1) of the lowest densities of any single-family development in town. As compared to like a Lake Hills which is a 1.4, a Renaissance which is a 1.8. Because of the amount of open space that we are preserving we have a low density. There will be 40 acres along 93rd Avenue that will be dedicated as a nature preserve, we have some other areas where there is some woods that we are going to preserve. There is a park, with some nice trees right here in the center. Of course, all this nature buffer along the creek, kind of a wildlife corridor.
The community will include parks, which I just talked about. A walking/bike path that will ultimately connect to other bike paths in the town. It’s going to go all the way from 101st and White Oak, wind around the wetlands, all the way up to 93rd Avenue, along 93rd and ultimately to Schillton Drive along 93rd. We are also going to require a 7’ sidewalk along this main road, East-West, which will eventually connect to future development to the West.
A large split-divided entrance, with an island at one location and also at the other location (showing on screen). I have been listening to the feedback of the residents, and I have heard some comments about entrances being maintained. We will set up a Homeowners Association before we sell the first lot. The HOA is fully funded, and these entrances will be maintained. There are additional funds put in so that the entrances can be maintained, the natural areas, the bike paths can be maintained, set we have set that up right from the start.
One of the things we pride ourselves on is utilizing the best engineers and consultants. Wetland consultants, traffic consultants, the engineering company that we have hired on this project is Manhard, out of Illinois.
One of the main points that we heard in the feedback from the community, both at the Plan Commission and Town Council, we have come to meetings where we were not even on the agenda, and we listened to the feedback. In addition to what you heard tonight, talking about traffic.
Through our development we have followed both the 2005 Thoroughfare Plan and the recently released 2016 Thoroughfare Plan, although it is still in the draft stage. Some of the recommendations that they have is that new development will provide adequate right-of-way for future road widening, 45 to 50 feet. We have done that long all of our boundaries. The development will be linked to adjacent undeveloped parcels; we have done that with a stub road out to the West. And new development should not allow driveway onto arterials and collector streets. We have done that by not allowing any driveway onto White Oak or 93rd Avenue.
At the request of the Plan Commission, after feedback from the public, we hired First Group Engineering to perform a traffic study. I have the traffic study at 120 pages, it came out last Friday. The Town’s Engineer has had a chance to review it since Friday. I wanted to point out the recommendations down on the bottom. The three recommendations that came out of the traffic study are to (1). widen the southern approach at Monix Drive intersection to two (2) lanes. (2) The area adjacent to all three intersections have vertical curves in the vicinity intersection site distance should be checked by the site civil designer and if not sufficient, stop ahead or intersection advisory signs should be installed (3). At 50% development the project should be re-studied to determine if the assumptions on distribution were correct and determine the impacts of the full development.
So, because this is a 432 lot development, over a 15-year time period, the traffic impact study has to make some assumptions. Where are the cars going to go when they leave the development. They looked deep into the project as to what kind of homes are going to be in there. $400,000.00 and up homes, professional families, probably one or two working in Chicago, what direction is the traffic going to be going when it leaves and comes back to the subdivision. We have agreed to re-study at that 50% mark and follow their recommendations at that time.
Some of the intersection improvements that are going to address the traffic issues; this will be the first entrance that will be constructed, it is Waterleaf Drive off White Oak Avenue. Mr. Slager showed it on the screen in relation to the entrance to Rosewood. There was the recommendation to have left and right exits out of the development, so we have actually widen the entrance from the original design to allow for side-by-side traffic exiting the development. This will be installed along with a decel lane, decel taper and an accel lane coming out.
The second phase of the development will improve the intersection of White Oak and 93rd Avenue. This is probably the biggest factor in the whole traffic study plan. Obviously the current intersection is inadequate, there is a single lane in each direction. We have voluntarily agreed to improve this intersection to widen it, so that there is a left turn lane on 93rd, right turn lane on 93rd, and then a left and right on White Oak.
During the third phase of the development, we have agreed to improve the intersection of 101st and White Oak. Again, left, left-right at both White Oak and 93rd, and this will coordinate with the new bike path, and we will create a cross walk at the intersection, that will ultimately connect that bike path up to others.
And lastly, the last intersection that will be improved, and this will be done when this entrance is installed; will be at Monix on 93rd, directly across from Monix Drive in Schillton Hills. Again, in the traffic study they requested both a left and a right dual access out of the development. In addition, you will have left, straight and right. This will dramatically improve the traffic along 93rd.
Once that second entrance is constructed, we will re-study the traffic to confirm the numbers, see where the traffic is going that enters and exits the subdivision.
One of the items I wish to discuss, that I haven’t in the past, especially since we have some we plan commission members, maybe some new residents. I want to discuss the history of Schilling Development, what we have done in this town. We pride ourselves in some of the finest developments, we have been here for many years; Rosewood, Wellington, Crossing Creek, Cardinal Cove, Weston Ridge. The history of Schilling; first residents in the town. Gas station in 1930, built one of the first banks in town it is now the Subway, and the fact that we all live and work in this community. We have heard comments that developers just want to make money and leave; however, we live here, we work here and we are here to support this town.
Some of you may be aware of our involvement with the prayer trail at the Shrine of Christ Passion, the nativity sets that are put up all around town during the holidays, again, supported by Schilling Lumber and Schilling Development is a division of that lumber yard which has been in business for 85 years. We have been developing for 120 years. Five (5) generations of developing. Mr. Slager identified the third generation that is currently developing Copper Creek in Crown Point.
Mr. Slager advised the long term benefits of this development being a 15-year development. When we are done with this, basically we are putting in the roads, the sewers, the water main, and then we are turning it over to the Town of St. John. We are putting in 20 million dollars’ worth of infrastructure, fixing water main issues that are lacking right now. Fixing drainage issues by installing retention ponds. Over time, we are looking at over 5 million dollars in building permits. We are estimating 3 to 4 million in property taxes annually from this development, once it’s built out. Increased revenue for local businesses and the economy, people that live here, work here and shop here. As the new residents move into this development we anticipate homes from $400,000.00 to $1,000,000.00. When you talk about you want to see more restaurants, this is what they want to see, new homes with new residents and money to spend at the restaurants.
Mr. Slager advised that was all he had right now and asked for any questions from the board that he could answer.
Mr. Williams asked about the preserve area where they talked about boardwalks that was discussed earlier. Mr. Slager stated there is a 40-acre nature preserve dedicated (trying to display on meeting room screen) along 93rd Avenue. They had a meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers that went really well. Their excited about the development, this wetland and wooded area with the bike path winding around it, these ponds are going to be planted in a native grass that attracts birds and butterflies.
They were extremely excited that we’re looking at this area, and what we can do with it. The first step is in the Fall, what’s called a controlled-burn, where they come and burn off all the invasive species and start over with some plantings. There is an existing trail that we just need to find and rehab it.
Mr. Maciejewski stated that the study that was turned in gave grading scales A through F for intersections, can you quickly summarize the levels of service that are there now, and what the improvements will do to improve those scores. Mr. Slager asked Mr. Kraus if he had this report more readily available, but from his recollection, the intersection of 101st and White Oak is basically an “A” in all directions. The 93rd and White Oak is rated B, C, and D. Mr. Kraus advised that the left-hand turn onto White Oak, is right now ranked at a “C” in the morning and a “D” in the afternoon, between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. And at times it actually drops to an “E” for about 15 minutes, and only affects about 16 cars.
Discussion ensued amongst the planners, Mr. Kraus and Mr. Slager as to the varied details of the traffic study, including the number of cars that would warrant a traffic signal device. They reiterated that once The Preserves is 50% built-out that the study would be done again to revisit the numbers and calculations. Mr. Slager noted that the widening of the intersections, those improvements are being made, so if a traffic signal is warranted, that the property dedicated to that matter is already in place.
Mr. Williams reminded Mr. Slager that he was going to walk them through the 93rd Avenue and Monix Drive intersection. Mr. Slager advised the biggest concern highlighted in the traffic study was getting out of our development, and the original was a single lane out and a single lane in. So we have actually widened this to two (2) lanes, one left and one right, and this was the modification that was made after the traffic study came out.
Mr. Forbes read a review letter from Mr. Kenn Kraus of Haas and Associates. We have reviewed the preliminary plat for the referenced project and have the following comments. The subdivision includes approximately 432 residential lots, 12 lots and associated facilities and utilities to be built on 321 acres. We have completed our review and find the certified plans, including the intersection improvement plans, 8 sheets, to be satisfactory with the following contingencies:
o The recommendations included in the traffic study be followed, these recommendations include having two northbound lanes to 93rd Avenue from Tall Grass (which is shown in that drawing). And conducting a new traffic study once the occupancy of The Preserves is at or near 50%.
o The intersection of White Oak Avenue and Water Leaf Drive will be improved during the Phase One construction.
o The intersection of White Oak Avenue and 93rd Avenue, will be improved during the Phase Two construction.
o The intersection of White Oak Avenue and 101st Avenue will be improved during Phase Three construction.
o The intersection of 93rd Avenue and Tall Grass Avenue be improved during Phase Six of the construction.
o The improvements or replacement design of Lift Station No. 4 be engineered and those plans reviewed by the Town before Phase 6 starts construction.
o The construction of the Lift Station improvements will be part of Phase 6 or Phases 7 through 11, if constructed before Phase 6.
o This work needs to wait on finalizing Town strategies for improvement in force main re-routing plans for Lift Stations 1, 2, 4 and 5.
o The connection of a new 12” water main to the existing 12” water main at White Oak Avenue and 101st Avenue, will occur during Phase 3.
o The Developmental Fee has not been established at this time, it will be based on 2% of the construction costs of the public improvements, as supplied by the developer or certified estimate by the developer’s engineer.
o Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is include in the project plans, but has not been reviewed at this time. The review made be made for each Phase as they are constructed or for the entire site. The fee for this review will be determined at the time of the review.
Mr. Forbes advised that there was a Public hearing held on this, and was closed to the public. I am going to ask the board if it is their desire to re-open the public hearing to the public for comment. Hearing no objection from the board, I will open the floor to comment from the public.
Again, please state your name and address for the record.
Rich Sorenson (9161 Franklin Drive): My question was not what you were doing, but could we get an explanation of these letters you were throwing about. A,B,C,D.,. (Mr. Forbes advised that is a rating, A being “best” and “F” being worst) So it has nothing to do with traffic flow, it’s just a condition?
Mr. Forbes: No it’s a determination using the amount of traffic going through the intersection. Mr. Kraus: Level of service A means you don’t have to wait, or it only took 9 seconds for you to make your movement, Level B will be between 12 and 15 seconds, C is 15 to 20 seconds, and E is anything over 30. So in this study, the worst case we had was an E for 15 minutes during the afternoon hour that affected 16 cars, so they had to wait 30 seconds per car. So if you have several cars in a line, it will take you a while to make that turn, but with this new intersection plan, the idea is to give them their own left turn lane. So anybody who wants to come up to 93rd Avenue and turn right, won’t have to wait for all those cars in front of them wanting to turn left.
Sharon Pacific (11423 State Line Road, Dyer, Indiana): What Mr. Slager said was very interesting. Number one he said he was a resident of St. John, and I’d like to know if he lives in this area. She wanted to know where (Mr. Slager asked where she lived?) I actually live in the unincorporated area, south of Exchange or 101st. So you don’t live in that area, but one of the things he mentioned was that these homes were gonna run anywhere from $400,000.00 to a million dollars, but he guesses there’s only going to be one or two people, one of these homes working in Chicago. Now you and I know, all of you know that, that there are not any jobs in this area that’s gonna pay that kind of money to afford those homes, unless they are coming from Chicago or Illinois.
The other thing is I wonder why the traffic study did not include all of 101st over to State Line. Because that is what is going to be affected by this subdivision. It’s not gonna be just White Oak and 93rd, its gonna to 101st all the way over to the State Line. And we people on State Line who have to cross 101st, cannot cross it now during peak times of traffic. When people are coming home from work, when people are going to work, no one will let us through. I have, I explained this last time, I have to go all the way back, go down 113th and go down Calumet Avenue to the stop. It’s horrible and I don’t understand why that traffic study would not include all of 101st, when that is where that is where the traffic is going to be coming from. That’s why I protested the thing about The Gates of St. John, because all that traffic now is coming that way. And the people are actually coming down 101st or Exchange, going south on State Line and going down 113th, then going north on Calumet, and going across on 231 to avoid 101st. It’s horrible in that area. And if you allow these subdivisions to come in, it’s only going to be so bad that the people that have lived there like me for 35 years, you’re destroying our home life. I hope you don’t approve this. I really do. And I think a traffic study should be made on all 101st, not just where Mr. Slager had the study conducted.
Dale Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): I’ve been studying these Planned Unit Developments. And to me, I look at ‘em, their reducing the size of the lots to a minimum or maximum, wait minimum of 80’. All that’s doing is selling more lots. It’s not making the environment better. There’s nothing to that. All their doing is making smaller lots as far a PUD. I don’t know where they come up with this, why do you even have a PUD, just so they can do what they want, I don’t know. Mr. Forbes, I did bring up a question about wetland that was in the middle of that farm, can you show that on the map for me please.
Mr. Forbes advised there are several. Mr. Slager pointed to points on the map.
Dale Robert (continued): There is a wetland called BEMIC, are you familiar with that one sir? That one is on 97th Avenue, it’s not on there, you got lots on top of it. This is on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife web-site mapping wetlands. You should look it up. I brought that up to your attention before. This is a freshwater eminent wetland, and it is on the Fish and Wildlife.
Mr. Slager advised that he is very familiar with it, and it is not always accurate to what is in the field. We actually have wetland scientists. There are maps that show potential wetlands that you can find on-line, which is where I am assuming that is where you found that. We have wetland scientists go out, walk the entire property, identify wetlands and then the Army Corps comes out and concurs with their findings, that has been done.
Dale Robert (continued again): That’s why I think this board should look at this entire area, where the designated wetlands are at. Mr. Forbes was aware of the one on 101st and White Oak. I believe that’s the one he mentioned, and didn’t know nothing about the one in the middle of the farm. I don’t know if all the approvals have been turned in on this. Um, there’s a lot of things that really, I don’t know if they have all been turned in. Amendment to the zoning districts? Natural features, such as strange wetlands, woodlands, you know, all these under your zoning ordinance of B-6. Did they turn in all of this documentation? Before they got approval for PUD?
Mr. Kil advised that it is not a PUD, it is an RC-1. Mr. Kozel and Mr. Kil reiterated for Mr. Robert, “not a PUD, it is an RC-1, a Residential Conservation 1”, an RC-1.
Dale Robert (continued again): So, but there are 232 – 80’ lots. Bringing up the point too, um. (Mr. Kil advised that Mr. Slager already went through the densities on the development). But that doesn’t mean anything to me. To me I’m questioning, what I’m questioning is, he has a standard lot of 80’, where the rest of the town the standard lot is 100’ frontage. He has a premium lot of 100’, well that’s a standard lot or the rest of the town. So, what are you guys thinking here? So, then advertising on this is also questionable on this also. The question to have is a safety of this. I think every subdivision should have an in and out, before its being constructed. If you have a fire at the beginning, right at the beginning of the subdivision, what is the rest of the people in the subdivision, where are they gonna go? I think the infrastructure and roadways should be put in before the building starts, so that you do have safety for the fire, for the police. My opinion is the Council should make an ordinance to have the fire and police sign off on these subdivisions before their approved, because of safety. It is big concern. Nobody ever questions this; I don’t know why not. That’s all I have at this time, I hope this subdivision doesn’t get rubber stamped like everything else has been doing here.
Cindy Carlson (9371 Keilman Street): First of all, I have to say born and raised in St. John. I am very familiar with the Schilling family. I grew up with your parents and um, too bad Schilling’s didn’t develop the whole damn town, cause they do quality work. However; I am very concerned about the traffic that will affect me. And as I said before, I cannot even get out of my street now. And 93rd, if you widen it, how would that happen, how from, Wicker all the way through where, would you go to accommodate traffic coming in and out of that new subdivision. And then when you do the grades for the traffic study, is that just for that development? For the traffic going in and out of that development?, or does it affect the surrounding streets and subdivisions. I don’t understand, what does the traffic study do?
Mr. Kil asked Mr. Kraus to go over that study again. Mr. Kraus advised that when they do a traffic study they pretty much study a 25-mile radius, around the development that they are looking at. The traffic study, the level of services that are determined, are for all the traffic, not just what is going to come out of this subdivision. So it is basically what’s there now; and what will be generated from the subdivision add to it. They look for traffic patterns 25 miles away to see what is coming here and if this development; what it adds to that traffic pattern.
Cindy Carlson (continued): So it would affect my street. And the other thing that I don’t understand to, is when you come out, about having two lanes coming out of their subdivision. I don’t see how.,. I think that would create more havoc than it would if it was just one,., one car coming out instead of two cars coming out,., no that would be 3 cars coming into that subdivision, so I don’t understand, that would just put more traffic in the flow quicker.
Mr. Kraus commented that as you know it is hard to get onto 93rd, especially if you are making a left-hand turn. What this recommendation was saying was; for cars going north out of this new subdivision, onto 93rd, there should be a left-turn lane and a right-turn lane, so that the people turning right don’t have to wait for the one turning left in front of them. Because it is going to take that guy longer to make his turn than the guy turning right.
Cindy Carlson (9371 Keilman Street): That was my main concern. And the other thing is I didn’t ask before under the Edens Cove, how many, I know you guys say units. How many total family would be under that development. (Mr. Forbes advised eight (8). And on the duplexes, how many would that be? (Mr. Forbes and Mr. Kil advised eleven (11)). Eleven duplexes, like eleven homes. (Mr. Forbes: Eleven units of Two, so twenty-two). And then my last question, um,,, is when a developer comes into the town, and they do the sewer, they do all these things, like they added a water tower or they built a fire station, or the storm sewers and all that other kinda stuff,., and they pay for that all up front. How does that affect us as taxpayers in the future, cause their not gonna continue to update it or whatever, so what kinda of a cost are we looking at for future,., for us?
Mr. Kil said he believed he could speak to this a little bit. We charge on building permit fees, we charge system development fees. Every home that comes into this town, new home, pays $1,500 for water and $1,500 for sewer. That money then, what we do is then, we have been repairing the old water mains in the community. Those system development fees don’t pay for anything in the new development, it’s all brand new. We use that money to update the older sections of the town and update the utilities that way. So, try to wrap your arms around this; that’s the fee structure that comes in so that new developments actually pay for the updates for the older developments.
Cindy Carlson (continued): So if we have no development going on? All you need to do is put police on Keilman Street and we would be rich, cause they speed up and down there all the time and on 93rd. We would be awesome in money.
Donna Spila (9665 Rosewood Drive): My concern is with the entrance for the new section, that is right on top of the ridge, when you’re coming down White Oak. So my kids get on the school bus every day. School busses come under our trellis to turn left onto White Oak; somebody decides to come out of the new section, turns in front of that school bus, and school bus ends up in the ditch. Which has happened numerous times, not with school busses, but with cars. That road is just not wide enough there. And at the beginning, obviously construction traffic, cement trucks, and semis and everything else turning in and out of there, I Mean, we have all seen construction go on in the town. And on White Oak, there’s just not a lot of room there for things like that. And when you come up to that ridge you won’t see the bus coming out of my subdivision. Because it goes up, so the bus is lower than people that are going to be turning in and out of that entrance.
So it is definitely a concern as far as, you know, what is gonna happen when somebody obviously pulls out in front of that bus, with that road not having any shoulders. Or curbs, or you know, anything. And then just past that entrance, it goes very low there, so is that going to get built up to road level, or are those houses going to be down. (Mr. Forbes advised that there won’t be any houses down there).
Mr. Slager spoke to Ms. Spila of the areas shown on the screen that will be widened, and where tapering will occur. (Mr. Slager advised that across from the entrance where she lives is actually where the widening starts, we actually have to, what they call “mitigate” in that area). Discussion ensued between Mr. Slager and Ms. Spila regarding the widening and tapering of that section of White Oak.
Donna Spila (continued, back at podium): If there anyway that you can make the construction trucks not be able to go to 93rd Avenue (Mr. Forbes: Probably not). Because turning semis and everything else back onto 93rd to back everything up, it’s just obviously gonna be more of a cluster than it already is. Maybe that is something that needs to be looked at as well.
Julie Belicek (9417 White Oak Avenue): This project will be our new front yard. I know you had mentioned about adding right and left turn lanes on White Oak, going north to 93rd, how far back are those lanes going to go. (Mr. Slager pointed to the first house on the corner, and the second; so I cannot read those numbers but I believe it is about 300’, plus the width of the road). And then my next question is we have drainage problems now, and I know you said you are putting in retention ponds, is that going to benefit our side as well, we just don’t want any more than we have right now. (Mr. Slager pointed out some drainage point that goes across and comes into the new development, that will be picked up in the new storm sewer and it will be channeled into this detention pond right here. If there is any drainage coming under or over is going to be channeled through storm sewers into a new drainage system).
David Makowski (9871 Ponton Place): You gotta have development for anything to grow. My question is, with all the new homes that has come in, all the new subdivisions. Where’s all the infrastructures to support these. You can’t drive down Parrish Avenue now without your car falling apart. Your car falling apart cause the road is such shit, it’s gotten worse, worse and worse over the five to ten years I’ve been here. But yet there is more development, more homes, more this. Why don’t we put the infrastructure onto the developer, instead of the town? Have you drove down Parrish Avenue? Did your teeth jar? That’s not a problem, an issue that needs to be addressed? Joliet Street is the same way, it’s getting there. It used to take 15 minutes to get from my home to 394, it’s now 45 minutes to an hour just to get there in the morning. The infrastructure has got to be upgraded, before any more homes come in.
Mary Therese Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): I spoke to the Army Corps of Engineers today; your plan has not been approved yet (Mr. Slager: Correct). So we’re moving forward without the approval of what needs to be done? (Mr. Slager: We need Town approval before Army Corps approval). Oh, okay!?!, Thank you.
Paul Panczuk (8910 Magnolia Drive): First of all, I am glad to see a traffic study and some actual data, so that’s helpful. And I saw some improvements that were added, so that’s a good step in the right direction. I have two questions; um, and I am not sure if our engineer or Mr. Slager can address it. Was a round-about ever considered for 93rd and White Oak? (Mr. Forbes answered that it was; but it would require us to take three (3) houses). Is there any way to, and that’s always a worry obviously to take houses and no one wants to do that, I didn’t know if there was any way to engineer it more into the new development, in other words, give some more right-of-way, or at least for future expansion there, didn’t know what kind of possibilities existed, for it to be built more onto the new property, as opposed to taking out the old, so to off-set it some (Mr. Forbes advised that round-about(s) require that roads come in at 90˚ angles to be fully functioning). That’s the ideal case, I’ve seen them done other ways (Mr. Forbes advised that they have to, and people are confused enough about round-about(s) and if you start coming in at angles, it just really messes it up that much more). I fear a problem with that intersection for sure. The second question I have is that regarding the trigger for the re-study of traffic, are you approving all, or is he seeking approval on all 400+ lots, or a certain amount of phases, because it seems that the study should be tied to a second approval, or coming for a second phase.
Mr. Slager advised that he could answer that. So, we are seeking primary approval for the entire development tonight. We will have to come back after each phase, or during each phase for final plat approval. So we will be back here, every year for final plat approval; and at any given point, when we get to that Phase 5 or Phase 6, whatever they agree to with Mr. Kraus, that is holding our commitment to these improvements in the re-study. They can deny us a final approval at any of the given phases; so we’ll be back in here, we are anticipating ten to eleven phases. So, we will be back ten or eleven times seeking their approval on final approval of a certain phase.
Paul Panczuk (continued): So that will be,., you’re thinking that will be Phase 6?, is that a fact for sure that it will be Phase 6 is when that re-study will be done. (Mr. Forbes: whenever they reach 50%. Mr. Kraus commented that he thought it would be closer to Phase 5). So, I just wanted to keep that in mind. Okay, so it’s just on public record, we know where it’s at, we know when to expect it. My final comment, nothing to do with traffic, just having to do with lot size. I understand the benefits of the additional wetland and leaving the open space. I live in Kilkenny Estates, and there is a significant amount of wetland and open space, and we all have 100’ wide lots. So I oppose any lot under 100’, as a general rule in town, and so I will oppose it here too, despite the open land he’s leaving, because they are not having any problems selling those new lots in Kilkenny, their putting up houses as fast as they can on 100’ wide lots. $600,000.00 - $800,000.00 houses, easy. So I would like to see this updated to a 100’ minimum.
Sharon Pacific (again): The traffic study that was done, is that based on the traffic that’s there now? (Mr. Kraus advised that the traffic study that was done now, studied the traffic that is there now, plus what will happen through computer-programming and software, what will happen once this subdivision will be built). So it’s actually projecting. So you know what the projection is? (Mr. Kraus: Yes, we talked about that earlier, the projections of the intersections at White Oak and 93rd, will remain of the same service level, but we will be able to handle more vehicles because of the improvements). What about actual cars? (Mr. Kraus advised it is in the 120-page report, those projections are in the technical data of that, and although I looked through all of that I don’t know what the numbers are. The level of service is what’s important on this, it doesn’t matter how many cars go through it, it how fast you can get in and off of the street). But even with the improvements didn’t you grade the one a “D” and even an “E”. (Mr. Kraus explained the timing issue involved with the grading). Did you say the lowest was an “F”? (Mr. Kraus advised that they can keep on going, but they usually don’t go past “F”, “E” is a 30-second wait, but that is a 30-second wait for every car making that turn).
Mr. Kraus and Ms. Pacific continued a detailed discussion as to the 120-page report. Mr. Kraus advised of diagrams, and percentages projected to occur. Ms. Pacific wanted a copy of the report. Mr. Kil advised that the report will be downloaded on the web-site for everyone to look at.
Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): I see that the traffic study went out the 2nd of December, arrived, did he say last Friday Mr. Slager? And I thought the Town’s PUD requirements Mr. Kil said that should have been submitted originally, when the PUD was requested, why wasn’t that done. (Mr. Kil: It is not a PUD). When this was a PUD, is it not a PUD now? (Mr. Kil: No). So therefore, his submission is to get first approval, this isn’t to finally approve a PUD? (Mr. Kil: No, there is “No Final Plat Approval being sought tonight, it is all primary plat approval”). Yeah, but the development can go forward, is that not correct? (Mr. Kil: The installation of improvements can go forward, nothing can be built without final approval). You checked this report and you’re gonna put it on the web-site, or should I come in tomorrow and make a request for the complete report. (Mr. Kil: We’re gonna put it on the web-site, but if you want to, you can make a request for it). I was just wondering if it was available, because Mr. Slager said it was delivered Friday (Mr. Kil: It was delivered to Mr. Slager Friday and the engineer, I have the copies right here now, I reviewed for the first time today). But my point is, you’re sitting here approving things, and the traffic study just arrived, and this is a serious problem. I don’t know how they got these counts. Do they have the criteria for the study in the report. And they didn’t count cars. It didn’t have anything with Mr. Kil sending town employees over there, in my back yard last Wednesday and Thursday? Cause I have pictures of trucks parked in my yard, and when I went out and knocked on the window and said “Excuse me, who are you and what are you doing parked in my yard?” and he goes, “I thought I was on the right-of-way”. I told him no the right-of-way up in front of you, so I said “what are you doing?”, he said he’s out counting cars, and another guy will be out here in the morning, and he’ll count from 8:00 in the morning till 12:00 p.m., so that means, in total, since that’s my back yard. I’ve been living there for 25 years, so you really can’t tell me anything about that corner that I don’t know. Cause I look at it, any number of times a day, a week, a month for 25 years. So therefore, I didn’t see anybody out there counting anything. (Mr. Forbes stated that he did see the vehicle out there counting). How many times was it out there. To go out one day, a criteria for an exam or a study of this nature. (Mr. Forbes advised he saw the counter out there twice, on 93rd Avenue and White Oak, on two (2) separate days, and I saw it on White Oak and 101st, for one day). Were they in a vehicle? (Mr. Forbes: they were). They must have been hidden cause they sure weren’t in my back yard. (Mr. Forbes: they were parked right by the transformer, on the AT & T pad, they were right there). Well, all I can say is we have a problem with traffic, we have a problem with those, and I don’t believe that their criteria for that exam, actually tells the truth. When you say there’s a 5 and 6, there’s a one (1) fifteen-minute period, where traffic. I can sit there on a summer day and watch nine-ten cars back up waiting to make a left turn. And the widen Mr. Slager gonna be to the top of Hilltop? Is Hilltop going to be where you stop the three lanes, and it all funnels down into two again? Is that where your responsibility is going to end? (Mr. Slager advised that they have no responsibility to improve that intersection; we’ve offered to do that). Please, don’t make it sound like you’re being good guys. You don’t get your development improved unless you put in some skin in the game, let’s be realistic. But what I’m asking you is, you’re gonna put three lanes up the Hilltop, out of the goodness of your heart, so therefore the people coming over that hill on Hilltop, coming down, not only is it bad in the wintertime, but once you start filling that subdivision up, those people are going to be turning left, onto White Oak, and right now they go 6-7 cars deep. They only have a 100’ turn lane figured on your drawings, therefore, that gonna give four cars room. Cause you ain’t gonna put 5 cars on 100’, nobody sits on anybody’s bumper. So therefore you’re gonna have four cars, therefore the cars coming in, past Hilltop, are going to be pulling up on the tails of people wanting to turn left. Do you know what that is going to do to that intersection? It’s gonna turn it into a nightmare. It’s already bad. So widening the road across the development, that swell, but its gonna funnel into 2-lanes going toward Route 41. It’s going to accomplish nothing.
Vince Casboni (9679 White Oak Avenue): Good evening, my name is Vince Casboni. We live right across the road from the big subdivision. We have drainage that comes in from the north, and now we’re gonna have drainage coming in from 400 and some-odd homes, plus 319 acres. Bull Run Creek starts in that subdivision, comes across by 101st, crosses at 101st and White Oak, goes along the east side of White Oak, cross into Rosewood subdivision and part of our property. We are constantly getting flooded out from the north subdivision, and now we have this big one. I have asked a number of times, everybody is talking about traffic, which I’m gonna bring up also. What are we doing about the storm water run-off? I have contacted the Corps of Engineers; they are gonna get back to me tomorrow. I have contacted the Drainage Board, the Surveyor’s Monday, met with two of the fellows over there and they have absolutely no, nowhere in the big subdivision that they have nowhere, they have got no applications, why? You’re gonna pass this here with no authority from the Drainage Board of Lake County?, their surveyors know nothing about this, so you’re gonna pass something without their knowledge? Any regulated drain has to be approved by the County. Nobody knows about this project, but you’re gonna put a stamp of approval. That’s one issue. The other issue is the traffic study. I don’t know where you’re coming up with this traffic study. I was out there for two days; November 24, 2015 from 3:10 p.m. to 6:31 p.m. Three hours and twenty-one minutes. From 93rd to 101st, I counted 517 cars, from 101st to 93rd, which was northbound, 408 cars. 925 vehicles in 3 hours and 21 minutes, and I don’t know where they are coming up with this traffic study. So, I decided to do one again. December 9, 2015 on a Wednesday; from 3:05 p.m. to 6:05 p.m., 3 hours. Again on White Oak, 93rd to 101st, 675 vehicles. White Oak north from 101st to 93rd, 502 cars, total of 1,177 vehicles on White Oak only. And I did make a count on 93rd Street, going east and west. From Monix Drive to Hilltop, 779 vehicles, from Hilltop to Monix 663. That’s 1,442 vehicles, so in one day three hours, I counted 2,619 vehicles, and I don’t where you’re coming with some of these studies that they did. I question that. Serious thing you have to worry about is the traffic and the drainage issue. That is my biggest concern. You did a 2005 draft of the traffic. If you look at the draft that you have, didn’t even show White Oak from 101st to 93rd. Doesn’t even exist. You have 101st from White Oak, all the way to Calumet Avenue, according to your draft, there just 22 feet wide, that’s the narrowest road. Has any of you down 101st from White Oak to Calumet Avenue, but you’re putting in subdivisions over there. Before you pass it, my biggest concern is the drainage and the other thing is the traffic. Let’s do some traffic studies that are accurate.
Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): First of all, to the Schilling Development Group, I would like to say thank you, because you have done some serious improvements based on some of the feedback that you have received. And I appreciate that. To be honest with you I am looking for more, we really think more needs to the done. I come here, and it seems like the last few months, it seems like ever development that comes before this board asks for an exception. Well, we have a set of ordinances, and I think we should abide by those ordinances, and leave exceptions for an exceptional case. You know you’ve got Lotton comes in here and he ask for approval for five-foot side yards, and you guys approve that (Mr. Forbes: that was not approved). Thank you I didn’t know that, I was out of town when that meeting, I assumed that you approved that so I apologize. Thank you very much. And that’s what I’d like to see. I’d like to see, you guys abide tighter and tighter to the ordinances that you guys have put together. I know this is a new group of guys, but these ordinances have been in place, and put in place for a reason. And then Schilling comes here in and asks for two hundred and some lots at 80’ and he has been in front of this body a number of times, and nobody called into account for the 80’ lots. I think that’s is a problem, in a town where our standard is 100’. Every lot whether you’re R-1 or you’re R-2, it’s a 100’ lots. And I think we need to maintain that standard. You talked about,., no, I don’t even want to go there, I’m sorry. I just hope that this group, this new building and planning commission is wise enough to see the necessary steps to approve the subdivision, which it’s a wonderful thing for St. John that we grow, but the necessary steps for the subdivision aren’t completed yet. I mean we talked, and I talked to a number of people who would like to see four lanes, 93rd, White Oak and 101st, from the very beginning. Right now, ya know, the studies are okay, but the studies don’t take in every day, cause they were out there for a day or two, okay. But if every day you guys are out there and you see what the people have to go through. They’ve paid good money to live in this town. I and I heard a gentleman say that now it takes him over an hour, or takes him 45 minutes to an hour, just to, extra just to go to work every day. It shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t be that way. Things should be getting better, not getting worse. And to approve subdivisions like this of this size, without first putting in everything in place to make sure things are done and proper order, and that the traffic is handled properly, and that any rain water problems and issues are handled properly. I think those need to be done first, and you guys haven’t done that yet. So I’m not speaking against the approval, but I think you need to delay, and hold off, and I’d like to see some more changes done. And then open this back up for public comment again. And Mr..,., actually for the entire board, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to speak today, we really didn’t plan that we were going to have that opportunity, cause it was mentioned a couple of times, so I would like to thank you for that. But I would hope that this board, um, would have enough,., wisdom and insight to know that this development cannot yet be approved until those improvements are made. Not only planned for, but also made.
Tom Parada (9535 Joliet Street): I noticed this weekend, at the end of The Times article, the wound was opened up again about Joliet Street. And what’s gonna happen there and what Boyer’s planning on doing. I guess the best way I can say it,., I don’t give a damn what Boyer has to do. As far as building his, ., he can build somewhere else.,. (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada we are discussing The Preserves). Okay, I wasn’t aware, I thought there was some other things being said too. Okay, Okay, I’ll be back, I have time.
Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): See a lot of retention, retaining water, in this subdivision. Uh, the Zika virus is in Florida right now, and the World Health Organization tonight on the news said that this could be a worldwide problem. Is there going to be any movement of this water, in all of these ponds. (Mr. Slager: The majority of these are dry ponds. Detention areas). Okay, well that answers that question. Have you don’t any impact studies with the schools’ system as far as elementary schools. Are there enough roomed classrooms in the existing elementary(s) to accommodate all of these children that are gonna be coming into these subdivisions. Or, are we, the taxpayers gonna have to build another elementary school, and purchase land that you have not donated any land for an elementary. Are we going to be liable for the building of a new school if we needed a new elementary school? (Mr. Forbes: We are pretty much forever responsible for building the schools. Indiana is a referendum state, so any time the schools want to build something, they do a referendum). Well, a lot of times the developer will include land for a school, that.,. a The Gates of St. John, they included land for a private schools. My other question is, the impact study on water, are we the taxpayers going to have to pay for drilling the new well and the water tower, and the pump to pump the sewage out to Schererville Treatment Plant. (Mr. Forbes: There is currently no new well being made, there is no new water tower being made, and this sewage is paid for by the individual homeowners). The sewage pump, the treatment plant.,. (Mr. Forbes: Yes, that is part of the fee you pay every month). I see, oaky. And as far as 93rd and 41, do you have land there to increase the turning lanes, and. (Mr. Forbes: That’s up to INDOT, we don’t.,.) No, 93rd, do you have land on 93rd to make that four lanes. (Mr. Forbes: That is a sticking point, we would have to buy easement on either side of the road). Or, you could just have the people funnel through the parking lot of the church, like we have to in Golden Pond, go into the parking lot of Lake Central Plaza to get to a stop-light.
Bill Mearna (9361 Hilltop Drive): And I agree with Bryan back here, with this traffic down there off of 93rd, how terrible it is, you got speeders flying up east and westbound on 93rd. And if you put a traffic cop out there, St. John will make a ton of money. And uh, I never heard of no traffic study done on 109th of how they come outta Weston Hills down there. That subdivision, when you come down to 109th and 41; there is a single lane going eastbound. And that is going to be a nightmare down there. Of course, I got my own nightmare on Hilltop. Sometimes I don’t even get out of my own driveway, and I brought that the that time and I think we’re still working on that. I suggested the southbound of the street you either make it “no parking”, make it a “no parking” on that southbound side of the street. Cause I gotta picture on my cellphone, and right at the end of my driveway, there’s a car parked there, and if I ever gotta get out to go east, I better knock on his door and ask him if he’ll move his car. It wasn’t that way years ago, when we moved in there. And like some of the people said, St. John’s a good town, we don’t want to lose it. And the biggest concern is the traffic. And when I come down, coming westbound on 93rd to turn onto Hilltop, that car coming eastbound kind a just jumps out at you, and if you don’t watch it you’re gonna hit him. Because it’s going uphill, and I’m looking at’em going downhill, I can’t see what’s coming at me. But if you shaved it down, or something like that, but then, I don’t know what that would do. I mean, you would be able to see what’s coming, you know, eastbound. But that study for 13 seconds to make a left turn off White Oak, I would like to see it, because I waited there and it took me more than 13 seconds. Thank you very much.
Chris Lafond (10236 Windsong Way): Just a quick question, I appreciate all the improvements that they’ve done with the traffic study, but does that take into account the summer traffic that is on White Oak going to the Midwest Training Center and the baseball fields. And all the traffic that is going to go down that road. (Mr. Kraus: stating that there is a peaking factor, like a safety factor that they figured into their assumptions in normal traffic, and I believe it is 1.4 or 1.5, of what they counted out there right now, to account for special events or certain..). That’s every night of the summer out there, that’s not just a special event, but.,. does that, that’s something included, and what is that 1-point whatever include? Does it include maximum amount of traffic that’s going to go there. (Mr. Kraus: well you can get a copy of the.,.). Yeah, well I understand, but I’m just saying, does that include that amount of traffic that’s going there, cause that’s a lot of traffic in the summertime. Thanks.
Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): Today we see new faces on the Plan Commission. You gotta decide if you’re gonna be rubber stamps like the existing people that have been on this plan commission, or if you’re gonna stand up for your neighbors, for the zoning ordinance and what is the right thing to do. Not be a rubber stamp and worry about your job. That is the attitude you need to have when you decide on all of these projects. I would like to object to this project because of the Conflict of Interest that I believe Mr. Forbes has, by running this meeting and his relationship, in his lawsuit for defamation, where the attorney is sitting there, advising this board, and Mr. Forbes has not come to this board and filed the Conflict of Interest Statement, and let you approve that conflict of interest statement. So, that’s my first objection. My second objection is the traffic study. Where the first draft that was put on-line had a certain company on it, now my understanding is the same company is on the other traffic study, plus members of the town. I think we need transparent, independent traffic study. Not something rushed because it was raised in the last few weeks. I think there is a conflict of interest if we don’t have an independent engineering firm whose if not tied to another contract, with the town doing the same traffic study. So I object because I believe that is a conflict of interest. The other item is simply this. You have to weigh this safety on the people that are going to be living on the west side of town. And it’s very simple, Mr. Forbes, you are aware that Mr. Volk voted against having your own 9-1-1 to keep,., (Mr. Forbes: please stick to the topic). No, you cannot direct a public hearing with your opinion. You have been interrupting these people all day (Mr. Forbes: I have been keeping people on topic). I am on topic, because it’s a safety issue when you have the traffic and you’ve converted to a system that build s delay in for response. So there is a response delay with giving this thing to the County for the 9-1-1, and I believe you need a satellite fire station there 24-7, because of all the traffic issues that are raised. And you look at the delays that have occurred with the new system that Mr. Volk voted for, okay; that impacts this very development and every development on that side of town. You have to resolve the traffic first. If you look at what Dyer has done, as they put new subdivisions in, they added lanes. So you ended up with a four-lane road. You got a time to go back and add infrastructure for making the connection through. But you have to look at the safety and health of the people that live there, for the response time for the police and the fire department. The other issue is, we’ve gone through and we keep adding more development. I wanna see somebody say we don’t need another water tower for so many units. Nobody has presented that study here. And the way this traffic study is done, it has been real quick, one, two three, people have not been able to get that book for what?, two days and figure it all out? I think you need to continue this meeting so the public can look at the traffic study that you’re saying was done. This is not an issue about the Schillings. This is an issue about the public safety of your neighbors and maybe your children if they decide to live in this town. And you gotta take that approach on these projects and not be a rubber stamp for Mr. Forbes. Thank you.
Mr. Forbes asked for any other public comment. Hearing none he brought the issue back to the board. Mr. Forbes asked the gentlemen on the board if they have any questions for the developer.
Mr. Birlson asked, just to be clear; we will have final approval before a single house gets built. Mr. Forbes advised that they have to come in for Secondary Plat approval, before. Mr. Birlson asked, so our approval tonight does not,., has nothing to do with building a house, it has to do with improvements and platting. Mr. Forbes stated “absolutely”.
Mr. Forbes asked for any other questions from the board. Hearing non he entertained a motion for Preliminary Plat on The Preserves, and please incorporate the Findings of Fact with whatever motion is made.
Mr. Kozel made a motion to approve Primary Subdivision Plat approval for The Preserves, to include the contingencies outlined by the Town Engineer into the findings of fact. Mr. Forbes advised that just so we’re clear, you have already included all of the recommendations from Haas & Associates, I would also request that the order of construction Phase One though Phase 6 as implemented as set forth, also in the same thing, so that it is covered, and that we hold the developer to the re-study of this; and I am calling them out just to make them very clear. Re-study and validate the opinions and conclusions of the traffic study, so I believe that is included by referencing Mr. Kraus. Mr. Kozel advised Yes, as outlined, so I am going to include that also. We have that motion; do we have a second. Seconded by Mr. Maciewjewski. Motion carried by 7 ayes – 0 nays.
B. CHERIE’S GARDEN DAY CARE – Site Plan Approval (Ms. Cherie Kelley)
Mr. Forbes announced the next item on the agenda is Cherie’s Garden Day Care, this is a developmental site plan approval. The petitioner is Cherie Kelley.
Mr. Tim Kelley, representing Ms. Kelley, stated that he does not know if there are any further questions as to what we presented two months ago. Mr. Kelly stated that they just wanted to get started. Mr. Forbes asked the board members for any thoughts or questions, concerns.
Mr. Birlson, I don’t know if I asked this the last time or not, but by adding on the additional space, has the parking requirement change? Mr. Kelley advised that yes, it does. And that is shown that.
Mr. Kraus advised that by ordinance they need one parking space for every 350 feet of net usable floor, and they have with the new addition, 749 square feet of net space, divided by 350, is twenty-one (21) spaces. They have twenty spaces and one handicapped space, so they have 21.
(Announcement by Mr. Forbes to audience (due to noise): Ladies and Gentlemen, please)
With no other questions I’ll entertain a motion authorize and approve the Site Plan for Cherie’s Garden Day Care Center. Motion made by Mr. Volk. Motion seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
C. SILVER LEAF – PHASE 2 – Reduction in Subdivision Bond
Mr. Forbes advised the next item on the agenda is Silver Leaf – Phase 2 for a Reduction in Bond. The reduction amount requested is for $267,296.00, and the new Bond amount is to be $600,057.73.
Mr. Kraus, this is new for some of our members, can you briefly explain what this process is. Mr. Kraus advised that Silver Leaf a bond of something like $800 and some thousand dollars right now. And as they come in with Phases in which they have completed the infrastructure, they ask for a reduction for the value of those infrastructure items. They will have to come in with a new letter of Credit, in this case or $600,000.00 which is the costs of the rest of the infrastructure, plus ten percent. So right now they have done a half-black or three-quarters of a block in Silver Leaf, and they have asked for that value to be removed from their Letter of Credit.
Mr. Williams asked what is the original purpose of the bond? Mr. Kraus advised that the original purpose of the bond is to insure that if they sell a lot to a homeowner, that they are going to be insured of all the infrastructure that’s showed on the plans. So the developer could come in here, without putting in any infrastructure in the ground, but have to put up a Letter of Credit for the value of that infrastructure. So, if he folds, goes under, goes to Jamaica and never comes back, The Town will have a Letter of Credit to build that infrastructure that the homeowner is expecting. So you’re saying that they have performed to such a degree that the $600,000.00 amount is no longer needed. They can come in and put all of the infrastructure in before they sell any lots and then there would not be a Letter of Credit, because all the infrastructure would be in place. Mr. Forbes commented that this is a protection for the Town.
Mr. Forbes asked for any other questions. This is a recommendation to the Town Council, so the motion would be to be accept the reduction in the Bond to the $600,057.73 for Silver Leaf. Motion moved by Mr. Maciewjewski. Seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
D. RENAISSANCE – UNIT 7 – Final Plat Approval (Mr. Doug Terpstra)
Mr. Terpstra has asked to be deferred. He will be placed on the March agenda.
Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): Let’s talk about the Performance Bond or whatever you want to call it. My understanding is, the Plan Commission and the Town Manager are responsible for these Performance Bonds to make any engineer that they are correct and in place. I have asked about the Three Springs Performance Bond. That they went bankrupt or something? (Mr. Forbes: They did not). They did not?, what happened with that Performance Bond. (Mr. Kil: Well, you know what happened to it Joe, go ahead.,.) No, I don’t know what happened, I am asking the question. I want to hear your side of the story. (Mr. Forbes stated: Prior to the expiration of a Letter of Credit, several entities in the Town are alerted that the Letter of Credit is going to expire. The engineer’s then; we get the original Letter of Credit in order to re-establish that Letter of Credit. When we contacted the former Clerk-Treasurer to get that Letter of Credit, it was never found, never,., it disappeared. I don’t know where it went, nobody does. During the time we waited for the Clerk to provide that document to us, it expired. So, that is completely and fully a responsibility of the further Clerk-Treasurer). That’s your side of the story, but my question is simply this (Mr. Forbes: That is the truth of the story Mr. Hero). Okay, my question is this. I asked that question at a previous Plan Commission meeting, Mr. Kil said he was responsible, the engineer and one of the other plan commission guys were responsible for control of that. (Mr. Forbes: For establishment and calculation, that is what the responsibility of this board is). Is there an ordinance that says, somebody has to notify you when this expires?, it should be the responsibility of the Town Manager to notify you when it expires. And what it says is simply this, using a Letter of Credit has loopholes in it, and you should ask for an actual Performance Bond, with a bonding company or somebody that’s holding on to the cash. So you’re not releasing, waiting on some Letter of Credit to vaporize into bankruptcy. You need to have hard assets. I hold the Plan Commission responsible and the Town Manager, in my opinion responsible. You have to manage the money of the town when you do these Letters of Credit. And that between the Town Engineer, Town Manager and this Plan Commission. You got to put controls in place and can’t have an excuse “well, I wasn’t notified by the Clerk-Treasurer”, she has never kept track of when these things expire. Your responsibility of Town Manager, responsibility, along with your attorney’s responsibilities to set guidelines in place, checks and balances to make sure those Bonds exist in real cash, protected from bankruptcy and other conditions. It is your responsibility to do that. And I am asking you to do that with all these other Bonds. Thank you.
Mr. Forbes commented that fortunately that weak link has been replaced by a promising and skilled individual. Any other public comment?
Tom Parada (9535 Joliet Street): Yeah, remember me? Okay, here’s my point at the end of The Hammond Times article this weekend. The wound guard opened again about what Mr. Boyer wants to do. I don’t give a rats’ ass how put-out Mr. Boyer is, about what he says to go to acquire the property, okay look. Let me tell you something, a purple tailed google-eyed bobble-link could go over there, be an endangered species, nest there one time, and then the DNR will come in and call it off, and endangered species area. You know what?, we don’t want to be the endangered ones here. Been here a long time. We have been talking about the Joliet Street and the Thielen Street group here. And here’s the way I look at things, you know what?, have some respect for us. This thing, make it go away, we don’t want it, we don’t want a round-about, we don’t want a half round-about, we don’t want a quarter round-about. We want it gone. We want it gone and we’re not gonna put up with it. And that’s mainly what I have to say. No know what?, two of you guys, like I said before, two of you guys been here way too long. You sir and you sir, you know what?, you guys are the endangered political species here, you better start paying attention to how many people come here every meeting, lately, cause this place has been pretty much been packed up for a whole bunch of meetings. Start paying attention to what our needs are, okay. And not Bruce Boyer’s, I’m done.
Mr. Forbes asked for any other public comment. Hearing none, we are adjourned.
(The meeting was adjourned at 8:59 p.m.)
Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary pro-tem
St. John Plan Commission