Town of St. John

St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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April 6, 2016 Plan Commission Minutes


Mr. Michael Forbes, called to order the April 6, 2016, regular session of the Plan Commission at 7:00 p.m.
(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

Recording Secretary, Susan E. Wright, took roll call with the following members present: Michael Forbes, Gregory Volk, Steve Kozel, Jim Maciejewski, John Gill, Bob Birlson and Jason Williams. Mr. Steve Kil, Town Manager was present. Mr. Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer was present. Attorney Michael Muenich was present.

Mr. Forbes asked for a motion to defer approval of the meeting minutes. “So moved,” by Mr. Williams. Mr. Maciejewski seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Aye --- all. Nays --- none. Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.


Mr. Forbes noted the first item on the agenda was a public hearing for Eden’s Cove for preliminary subdivision with Petitioner, Mr. Dave Spoolstra. Mr. Forbes asked the attorney if the Proof of Publication were in order. Attorney Muenich acknowledged that the proofs were generally correct and subject to a count of green card receipts and the public hearing could be properly conducted tonight.

Mr. Duane Gilllian, V-3 Companies, appeared on behalf of Petitioner, Mr. Dave Spoolstra. He stated that he was at the last study session and he believes Petitioner has addressed all of the concerns noted by the Board at the study session. He stated that the right of way on Joliet Street has been changed in order to save a tree and preserve drainage in this area. Mr. Gilllian started that some engineering questions brought up at the last study session had been clarified. He stated that V-3 had received some comments from Mr. Kenn Kraus related to the development and all of the issues have been addressed through the revised engineering plans.

(Audience members state they can’t hear proceedings.)

Mr. Forbes read into the record a letter from Haas & Associates as follows:

“We have reviewed the preliminary plat for the referenced project and find the following comments: the subdivision project includes approximately eight R-2 residential lots, one lot for the detention labeled “Lot 9”, streets and associated facilities and utilities to be built on 4.69 acres. We have completed our review and find the plan to be satisfactory with the following exceptions: The plan that we received did not have a certifying stamp and signature for the plans or the drainage certification.”

Mr. Forbes asked if the certification issue had been resolved. Mr. Haas stated he had received the plans via PDF e-mail and the electronic stamp and signatures were not the plans. Mr. Haas stated his understanding is that the official plans/ paper copies are usually hand-stamped. Mr. Haas stated he spoke to a representative of V-3 who stated that a stamped/certified paper copy will be forwarded.

Mr. Forbes continued reading the letter from Haas & Associates:

“The developmental fee has not been established at this time. It will be based on two percent of the construction cost of the public improvements as supplied by the developer or a certified estimate by the developer’s engineer. Storm water pollution prevention plan is included in the project plans but has not been reviewed at this time. The fee for this review will be determined at the time of review.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kraus stated there was an item that he forgot to include in the letter. He stated he informed V-3 that Lot No. 7, the corner lot at the new street and Joliet Street does not have the required 120 percent wider width. He explained the reason for the wider width for corner lots is so that the residence(s) could use either street for their address. Mr. Kraus stated that this subdivision has a no-access easement to Joliet Street.

Mr. Forbes noted that the extra width lot size is unnecessary because, as discussed in the study session, Lot 1 and Lot 7 will not be facing Joliet Street. Mr. Kraus concurred, although he confirmed that Lot 1 has the proper 120 feet, Lot 7 does not. Mr. Gilllian stated that a note, as requested by the Board, was added to the primary plat stating no access will be provided to Joliet Street.

Mr. Forbes asked the Board members if they had any questions or comments. There were no questions or comments from the Board. Mr. Forbes acknowledged that this was a public hearing for Eden’s Cove and he would open the floor for public comment.


Marsha Maginow, 10030 Joliet Street:
Ms. Maginow stated she was at a meeting held previously for Eden’s Cove and she just wanted to ensure that when the building (previously discussed) is torn down, that she can straighten the fence out on her property. She stated when she or her family goes to sell the home she does not want any problems related to this issue. Mr. Forbes stated his recall is Mr. Spoolstra stating that the fence straightening would not be an issue.

Mr. Forbes asked about the fence: “The jog in your fence comes deeper into your property to go around the building and you want to move the fence back to the lot line?” Mr. Gillian stated he could explain the fence issue. He stated that the fence that was constructed by Ms. Maginow encroaches on to Lot 6. Mr. Gillian stated that Mr. Spoolstra stated that he would remove the fence and re-attach it to the barn.

(General discussion ensued.)

An audience member stated that the building was on Ms. Maginow’s land, and she notched her fence to go around the building that was encroaching on her property.

Mr. Forbes acknowledged this statement and stated that as soon as the building is gone, Ms. Maginow will be able to straighten out the fence along her property line.

Mr. Forbes called twice more for additional public comment. There was no additional public comment. He closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board. Mr. Forbes asked they Board members if they had any final questions or comments.

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion regarding preliminary plat for Eden’s Cove, referencing the findings of fact. Mr. Kozel made a motion to grant primary subdivision approval for Eden’s Cove contingent upon waiving the width requirement for Lot 7, receipt of a hard copy of the plans with the certification stamp and incorporation of the findings of fact by reference. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.


Mr. Forbes noted that the next item on the agenda was a public hearing on Greystone, seeking preliminary subdivision approval. He asked the attorney if the Proofs of Publication for the Notice of Public Hearing were in order. Attorney Muenich stated, again, subject to a count of the green card receipts, the public hearing could be properly held.

Mr. Jack Slager, Schilling Development, appeared before the Board representing CWS Holdings, landowners of Greystone. He stated that he wanted to briefly go over the timeline of Greystone.

Mr. Slager in 2006, CWS Holdings purchased the Greystone property, located in unincorporated Lake County at the time of purchase. He stated in 2008, CWS Holdings hired attorneys and paid to have the property voluntarily annexed into the Town of St. John with the annexation being finalized in 2010. Mr. Slager stated in 2013, preliminary plans for the Greystone project are first presented to the Plan Commission. He stated that through the years of 2014 and 2015, the Petitioner worked with the Plan Commission reviewing the plans and tweaking them along the way, based upon comments and recommendations from the public and the Plan Commission. Mr. Slager stated in December of 2015, a public hearing was held on the zone change for Greystone, based on the plans worked on with the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission granted the rezoning to R-3, R-2 and C-1.

Mr. Slager stated subsequent to this time, final engineering has been submitted to the Town’s engineer Mr. Kenn Kraus, Haas & Associates. He stated that after the last Plan Commission meeting, Petitioner, Greystone, advertised for tonight’s public hearing. Mr. Slager stated he is present tonight, on behalf of the Petitioner, requesting preliminary plat approval on the final version of the primary plat. He stated the plat reflects single family lots to the south and multi-family lots to the north containing duplexes and cottage homes.

Mr. Slager stated that, due to previous comments, the out lot that was previously lettered as an out lot for the commercial/professional offices, was given a number and is now known as Lot No. 121.

Mr. Slager stated, in summary, that the 71 acres known as Greystone on the east side of Calumet Avenue will have 84 single family lots, 19 duplex lots, 39 cottage homes and four professional office buildings. He stated that there will be covenants in place that will control the strict architectural covenants and landscaping requirements. Mr. Slager stated that there will be parks, walking/bike paths, sidewalks and a beautiful entrance off of Calumet Avenue.

Mr. Slager stated that the development’s layout and engineering have been reviewed over the past couple of months by the Town’s engineer. He stated all of the comments have been addressed. He elaborated on some of the comments. Mr. Slager stated there was a comment related to an existing street that stubs off of Saddle Creek subdivision. He stated that the street is platted with the Saddle Creek development as Dakota Drive. Mr. Slager stated that Dakota Drive has no homes or addresses on it at the present time, but it is platted as Dakota. He stated Dakota Drive will be continued to Calumet Avenue and the developer wants to name it “Greystone Drive.” He stated that this change in street names is an issue that will have to be resolved with the Town Council. Mr. Slager stated a couple of the street names within the subdivision have also been changed to Red Rock and White Sand.

Mr. Slager stated that the neighbors have been invited to tonight’s public hearing including Saddle Creek residents from the newer homes along the proposed Greystone’s eastern boundary. He stated that the Greystone parcel is currently a farm field that sits higher than Saddle Creek. He explained when it rains, about 50 acres of raw farm field (Greystone) drains towards the Saddle Creek homes causing their rear yard drains to become inundated with water and also causing some other water issues in their back yards.

Mr. Slager stated when the Greystone property is developed, Out Lot C, will be designated as a large detention basin and all of the storm water coming off of the farm field will be collected and directed into the storm water basin, discharged into a storm sewer and then flow into a creek. He commented that any of the Saddle Creek residents who are currently experiencing the heavy rain off of the farm field should see an improvement with the development of Greystone subdivision.

Mr. Slager addressed another comment from Mr. Kraus’s letter. He stated that the address for Lot 121, the professional office area, was not given an address on the plat but the developer is requesting a Calumet Avenue address for this parcel, 10501 Calumet Avenue. He stated there will be no access onto Calumet Avenue from the professional office area, but the Calumet Avenue address will give the location a more professional sound.

Mr. Slager noted that the Calumet Avenue intersection will be improved with left-turn lanes in all four directions. He opined that the Petitioner has answered a lot of questions in the past at study sessions, but he would be glad to answer any specific questions tonight.

Mr. Forbes asked the Board members if they had any questions. There were no questions from the Board. Mr. Forbes stated that a stop light was discussed at Greystone and Calumet Avenue. He stated that the stop light will be put in prior to any development occurring on the west side of Greystone development. Mr. Slager concurred. He stated that the Petitioner is requesting approval tonight on the entire east side of Calumet Avenue.

Mr. Slager stated prior to seeking approval to develop the west side of Calumet Avenue, the developer will install a stop light at the intersection. He stated when it goes from being a three-way intersection to a four-way intersection, a stop light will be installed.

Mr. Forbes read the letter from Mr. Kenn Kraus, Haas & Associates, as follows:
” The subdivision project includes approximately 84 R-2 PUD residential lots, 36 R-3 PUD residential lots and one C-1 PUD commercial lot, three out lot streets and associated facilities and utilities to be built on 74.43 acres. The developmental fee has not been established at this time. It will be based on two percent of the construction costs of public improvements, and the storm water pollution prevention plan is included in the project plans but has not been reviewed at this time. The review may be made for each phase as they are constructed or for the entire site or this review will be determined at the time of the review.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes acknowledged the public hearing for Greystone and opened the floor for public comment.


Sharon Pacific, 11423 State Line Road:
Ms. Pacific stated it has always been her understanding that St. John was a town that had strict standards for developers to follow as to the size of housing lots and their frontage measurements. She opined that these “very strict standards have been what has kept St. John a pretty prestigious town.” She asked, “Why have you lowered your standards for the Greystone development and the Gates of St. John by allowing duplexes and cottage homes?”

Mr. Forbes responded that he does not see these projects as lowering the Town’s standards. He stated that these developments are being built to the Town’s standards.

Ms. Pacific stated she is talking about lot sizes. She stated that all one would have to do is drive down 101st during peak traffic times to see what the (lot sizes) are going to do to the surrounding people who live in the area and how it will affect their quality of life.

Ms. Pacific stated that this doesn’t even take into consideration the aquifer. She stated she discussed the aquifer with Mr. Kil a couple of days ago. Ms. Pacific stated that a well is going to be built that goes down 300 feet. She stated that these homes will not be getting water from Lake Michigan but will be getting water from the aquifer that’s under the ground.

Ms. Pacific stated everyone has wells where she lives, and there were standards when the homes were built, five and ten acre lots. Ms. Pacific stated now all of these homes, duplexes and businesses are going to be built in a small area. She asked again, “Why are you changing the standards of St. John?” Ms. Pacific stated that the current residents “Are going to have to deal with all this mess.” She asked if the Board members were from this area or did not care about it.

Ms. Pacific stated she does not understand because St. John has always been a wonderful town that cared about it residents. She stated she does not see that with Greystone; she stated “This is a mess.” Mr. Forbes commented, “I respectfully disagree.”

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment.

Anna Orkeza, 14928 109th Avenue
Ms. Orkeza stated that she lives “Right in shoe corner down on the dead end.” She asked of the covenants and restrictions for Greystone been published yet, and if so, where she could get a copy. Mr. Forbes informed her that he developer would have to provide a copy of the covenants to her. Ms. Orkeza asked if the Board had reviewed the covenants. Mr. Forbes informed Ms. Orkeza that the Plan Commission does not enforce covenants.

Ms. Orkeza asked Mr. Slager if the developer would be willing to provide a copy of the covenants. Mr. Slager responded, “Sure. It will be public knowledge and above the standards of the Town of St. John.”

Ms. Orkeza asked about the timing on the stop light. She asked if the stop light would be installed if Calumet is cut all the way through. Ms. Orkeza asked where the stop light would be located. Mr. Slager stated that the stop light that he referred to would be at the Greystone development’s entrance. Ms. Orkeza asked why the stop light would be located here. Mr. Forbes explained that the light would control the traffic that will be coming from Greystone development.

Mr. Forbes stated 101st and Calumet, 109th and Calumet, Sheffield and 101st, all of these intersections are a separate issue. He stated that the Board has seen the traffic study of the intersection of 101st and have knowledge of what the traffic is like at this location. Mr. Forbes stated that the Town is currently talking with the Lake County and the State and examining everything from 109th all the way to State Line Road as a global project. Mr. Forbes explained if a stop light is put in one place, it will only shuffle the back-up traffic to the next intersection.

Mr. Forbes stated the county, state and Town need to work together to fix all of the problems at the same time or all a stop light will do is push the problem off to the next intersection. He stated that there is dialogue going on right now regarding the traffic/traffic signals and the Town is very serious about it. Mr. Forbes stated that they are currently working on 101st and Calumet because this intersection, due to the most recent annexation, now belongs to St. John. He stated that there is a plan for 109th and Route 41 from Lake County. Mr. Forbes stated the Town is attempting to get Lake County on board to review all of the intersections he mentioned earlier.

Mr. Forbes stated giving a timeline as to when these projects will be addressed is difficult to do when the Town is working with so many entities. He stated it would be a major project and the Town is seriously reviewing, investigating and addressing the work that needs to be done.

Ms. Orkeza asked what water source serves the Town currently until there is a new well built. Mr. Kil stated that the current Town water supply is more than sufficient to serve the new development. He stated when he talked about the need to drill another production well, it is probably five to ten years down the road. Mr. Kil stated a new well project would be undertaken for the general growth of the Town in order to supply water globally to the entire community.

Mr. Kil stated he shared some of the preliminary work the Town has done with Ms. Pacific. He stated that there are a lot of fractures and a lot of different places that can be drilled for a production well. He stated it most likely would be within the Town’s boundaries. Mr. Kil stated this is a difficult subject to address because it’s so far off. He stated that there are probably no less than 30-40 locations where a production well could be drilled.

(General discussion ensued.)

Ms. Orkeza asked about the condition of the highway. She stated that the road in front where the proposed Greystone will be developed is “atrocious in terms of potholes.” She asked for a timeline for repaving or improvements to this road.

Mr. Forbes stated that the road paving project would be inclusive as to what the Town is reviewing and addressing as far as a global plan. He stated since this road is now in Town, at least the pot holes will be patched. Ms. Orkeza stated that the road has been patched several times and it is like driving down a gravel highway. She stated, in her opinion, it would be logical to get this work done prior to having improvements made to the subdivision. Ms. Orkeza asked why anyone would want to buy a lot in the subdivision if the entrance and/or the highway approaching it is in such terrible disrepair. Ms. Orkeza stated she has complained to the Lake County about the road and she was told that St. John is now responsible for it.

(Applause from audience.)

Ms. Orkeza asked if the developer might be responsible for repairing the road in order to get the approval for the subdivision.

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment.

Dale Robert 11990 Heron Lake Road:
Mr. Robert stated he heard numerous times tonight that the development was designated R-2, R-3, and he also heard PUD. He asked which zoning was it, R-2, R-3, or PUD.

Mr. Forbes responded the zoning was designated R-2 PUD, R-3 PUD. Mr. Robert asked, “Why is it a PUD when this is open corn field? Why is it a PUD?” Mr. Forbes explained that this was the zoning that was approved. Mr. Roberts commented what he is seeing is an open corn field that is zoned PUD so the developer can make smaller and sell more lots.

Vince Casboni, 9679 White Oak Avenue:
Mr. Casboni stated he has done several traffic studies on White Oak from 93rd Avenue to 101st and east and west from Monix Drive to Hilltop. He stated there were over 2700 vehicles at one particular time in three hours. Mr. Casboni stated that he has done traffic studies on 101st. He stated the Town’s traffic study from 2005 doesn’t show White Oak from 93rd to 101st, it does not show 101st from Calumet Avenue to White Oak.

Mr. Casboni stated he had mentioned this before, but he asked the Board if they were aware that 101st Avenue is only 22 feet wide. He stated a big subdivision is going to be put in and he asked that the Town widen this road.

Mr. Casboni asked where all of the water would flow to. He stated he heard the gentleman say there was going to be a big retention pond; he asked if the retention pond would be adequate to handle the water. Mr. Forbes stated that Mr. Kraus has reviewed the detention. Mr. Kraus stated that he had reviewed the retention requirements; he stated that the pond will have enough capacity to handle the water.

Tom Kowalik, 10617 Calumet Avenue:
Mr. Kowalik stated he lives just south of the proposed development. He stated he heard about the improvements for the storm water, but the Christian high school is also going in. Mr. Kowalik stated that when the high school goes in there’s going to be even more water. Mr. Kowalik stated he doesn’t think it will be “overkill with the drainage.”

Mr. Kowalik asked the Board if they were going to reduce the speed on Calumet Avenue. He stated that the road is so “crumbly” and it’s up to the Town to repair it and he wonders when the Town is going to repair the road.

Mr. Kowalik stated, as far as a stop light goes, it will just back traffic up to Route 8. He stated he gets up at 3:00 a.m. and traffic is already building. Mr. Forbes acknowledged Mr. Kowalik’s comments and stated that part of the discussion has been to keep the traffic moving.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes stated it would all be in the timing and the timing of the light would control the flow of the traffic. Mr. Kowalik stated he leaves his home at 5:30 a.m. and traffic is already so bad that he sits in his driveway for five minutes trying to get out.

Mr. Kowalik stated everything is growing and the development can’t be stopped but everyone must work together and try and make it work. Mr. Forbes concurred. Mr. Forbes stated that he believes that is why Lake County has also been involved because a lot of traffic that is on these roads is not all from St. John.

Mr. Forbes stated that St. John has the corridor where they see the traffic. He stated he believes that residents will see an improvement because finally someone is looking at the traffic problem. Mr. Forbes stated that he wants to work with Lake County, not bash them, but the county probably should have looked at this a long time ago.

Mr. Kowalik stated the same thing could be said of the ditch where all of the water drains. He stated there was discussion on this and it was a big farce. Mr. Forbes stated that cleaning out the ditches is another discussion that the Town is having; he stated the ditches have not been cleaned out in a long time.

Mr. Kowalik stated that the ditch by his home has been dug out within the last ten years or so. He asked who was responsible for the ditch. Mr. Forbes responded, “The county.” Mr. Kowalik reiterated that they better work on cleaning it or it won’t be effective for drainage. Mr. Forbes reiterated that the Town is working with county to have the ditches cleaned out too.

Mr. Kowalik stated that he was not worried about what the Schillings are doing because he knows they do good work. He stated he just wanted to make sure they don’t go too small because everyone south of their location is feeding into the retention too. Mr. Forbes stated that it seems that there are “100 year storms every other day lately” and the Town does not skimp on the drainage.

Sharon Pacific, 11423 State Line Road:
Ms. Pacific stated since the developers are going to be making all of the money off of this development, why aren’t they required to widen the roads and make the roads more acceptable to the current landowners who live there and are going to have to put up with the traffic. She stated she brought up impact fees before and she asked why aren’t impact fees going to be imposed on the developer as part of just “good neighborliness.” Ms. Pacific stated that the developers should actually be responsible for the road improvements because they will be making a lot of money.

Ms. Pacific stated if the roads were four lanes, the current residents would not have a problem and would be able to live as they’ve always lived. She stated that the developers don’t want to put forth money they just want to take the money.

Mr. Forbes stated that the Town is not allowed to impose impact fees. He stated the Board is working on creating an impact fee. Ms. Pacific stated, meanwhile, the Town is going to allow all of the development to take place and then try to make things better.

(Applause from audience.)

Marilyn Peto, 9430 Hilltop Drive:
Ms. Peto stated that she’s here again to tell the Board that they have to widen the road. She stated that putting up stop lights will stop the flow of traffic. She stated that this developer is putting up more homes and another subdivision is going up with even more homes.

Ms. Peto stated that the last time she asked about the roads, she was told that the Town would have to have easements. She stated that there are no easements on this property because it is still a field. Ms. Peto stated, “Let the developer donate the land and put up enough land for three lanes.” Mr. Forbes stated that the developer is donating land for the easement. Ms. Peto stated that the developer is donating land for the turn lanes and she wants them to donate land to widen the roads. She stated that a turning lane is going to stop the flow of traffic if you can’t get to the turning lane to turn.

Ms. Peto stated she has gone from Hilltop Drive to Route 41 and it sometimes takes her 10 minutes to be able to make a right-hand turn on 93rd Avenue. She stated you cannot make a left-hand turn during peak traffic. Ms. Peto stated that if you go down as far as Route 41, you can be stopped at Olcott because you can’t get up the hill. She stated there are not enough turning lanes on Route 41 to make a left-hand turn, and the Town is talking about putting up more homes, more cars, more traffic. Ms. Peto stated that the Town is not doing this correctly. She stated, “Widen the roads before you build all these homes.”

(Applause from audience.)

Russell Vogel, 10358 Rolling Meadows:
Mr. Vogel stated he talked to Mr. Kil approximately a year ago when he first purchased his home. He stated he gets all of the water from the farm field. He stated he has spent thousands of dollars on his back yard, putting up rock walls and everything else. Mr. Vogel stated his main concern is the water. He stated this water is either going to kill him there or he will have to put his house up for sale.

Mr. Vogel stated he paid over $300,000 for a house and he can’t even use the yard. He stated all of the money that he had to take and add on to his property to slow the water down is going be taken now. He stated he has spent thousands of dollars, “for what?” And a year of his time to try and get his property done.

Mr. Vogel stated he has a drain in the middle of his yard, and it drains at the left side. He stated he is at the lowest point of Saddle Creek. Mr. Vogel stated that if he had known, he would never have built the home. He asked if the Board really thought the retention pond is going to hold all of the water and not overflow onto his property. Mr. Vogel stated that for the way the last two years have been, water has been coming heavy. Mr. Vogel stated if water is being pumped into the lake of Saddle Creek, it is going to over flow.

He opined that the Board should think about this a little bit better because he doesn’t want to have his yard flooded even more than it already is. Mr. Vogel stated he has had engineers and everybody else out to his house. He reiterated he has probably spent $20,000.00 of his hard-earned money into his back yard.

Mr. Vogel stated that he understands that the developer does a phenomenal job trying to keep water away from the house. He stated he was assured of that and that he has seen all of the plans. Mr. Vogel asked if all of the work that he has done in the back yard of his home will be removed.

Mr. Kil recommended that Mr. Vogel show Mr. Slager the location of his home, and Mr. Slager could show him, specifically, every improvement that’s going to be made directly adjacent to him. Mr. Kil stated that if Mr. Vogel had come and talked to him and they could have looked through the plans ahead of time, he would have seen he was at the lowest point where all of the water goes.

Mr. Vogel stated he never thought to look at the field. He stated there is an elevation of 20 feet and he asked the developer intended to lower the ground, or bring it down.

Mr. Slager stated that there is a lot of earth-moving that needs to be done. He stated he would be glad to go over the engineering with him at some time other than tonight.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Slager stated that the only way to slow the water down is to build the detention pond to catch the water. Mr. Vogel concurred. Mr. Vogel stated he has never seen rain in all of his life like he’s seen in the last couple of years.

Mr. Vogel asked if his yard is still getting flooded, would the developer stand behind their work. Mr. Slager stated that the developer will stand behind the design of their subdivision. He stated he does not know about the design of Mr. Vogel’s subdivision. Mr. Slager stated that the proposed Greystone subdivision has been designed the property.

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment.

Terry Pritchitt, 8564 Illinois Street, Merrillville, IN:
Mr. Pritchitt stated he works with Mr. Schilling at Schilling Construction and he’s a potential, future St. John resident. He stated he wanted to make note of the fact that it has been mentioned that the proposed development will have smaller lots. Mr. Pritchitt stated that the smaller lots will make it possible for a blue-collar person like himself, with four children, to actually afford to move to a nicer community, and a community where he won’t have to be afraid to send his children public schools. Mr. Pritchett stated he believes, as far as the water is concerned, the key word is that the water draining into a creek might have been missed by the public, which means it would be carried into a waterway and not into a (unintelligible word) water system.

Gerald Swets, 9490 Joliet Street:
Mr. Swets stated that it has been represented that the proposed development will be up to the standards set by St. John; he asked if all of the lots were a minimum of 100 feet wide. Mr. Forbes stated that the lots are up to the standards of a Planned Unit Development as approved. Mr. Swets commented, then, there were some exceptions being made with lots being less than 100 feet wide; he stated he had wondered about this. Mr. Swets stated he had asked before that the Board try to keep lot sizes that other people have as well to at least 100 feet wide.

Mr. Swets stated he was hoping that some of the traffic studies that were done would be “a little bit more thorough.” He stated that there was a traffic study when the Preserves were being reviewed, and it was a one or two-day study done by First Group. Mr. Swets stated he was really happy when Schilling agreed to do their own traffic study; he stated he was hoping to get a second opinion.

Mr. Swets stated that when Schilling used the same company to do the traffic study, it did not give the Board a real, true analysis that the study was very good or adequate. He stated that the Board has heard in the past study that the traffic studies that were done by “Vince” and “Brian” are quite a bit different than what First Group has done. Mr. Swets recommended that the Board get an another study or an “independent study” just to ensure that the numbers are adequate. Mr. Swets stated that the Town has such a terrible problem with traffic. He stated it would be in the best interests of the Town and the best interests of the sport to get a second opinion on an “engineering traffic study.”

Mr. Swets opined that there are too many multi-family homes being built in St. John. He stated, “I know you have an eight percent --- and I didn’t get an answer at the Council meeting so I’m hoping I can get an answer tonight --- is the eight percent, is that a guideline or is that a restriction or requirement?” Mr. Forbes stated that the eight percent is a guideline.

Mr. Swets asked if the Board would address the eight percent guideline so that a duplex would actually count for two families and a quad would count for four families. He asked if revising guidelines is something the Plan Commission would address or the Town Council would address. Mr. Forbes stated he does not know if Mr. Swets request would be the right way to go about calculating the eight percent. Mr. Forbes stated that the Plan Commission deals with land use, percentage of land use and/or acreage; he stated the calculation should be based on land use and not physical dwellings, whether it was divided out by two, four or six. Mr. Swets stated he would disagree because if there are four families living in one building, there are four times as many people that are using showers, using water and driving on the Town’s roads and street. He stated that these are some of the major issues.

Mr. Swets repeated his request that the Plan Commission would address the eight percent issue. He stated maybe eight percent isn’t a good number, but the Board needs to look at multi-family as true family units. Mr. Swets stated that a house is one family unit, a duplex would be a two family units because there are twice as many people using the resources of the Town.

(Applause from audience.)

Joe Hero, 11723 South Oak Ridge Drive:
Mr. Hero asked the Board members the following question: Is this Plan Commission working for the developers or are you working for the residents of St. John; can you answer that question?

(Applause from audience.)

Mr. Forbes responded, “Residents.” Mr. Hero asked “If you’re working for the residents, and you use the excuse that an impact fee is being studied, while in the meantime, this Plan Commission keeps approving more and more subdivision with high population intensities and not actually making the developer widen the road adjacent to these developments as they go --- are you working for the developer or are you working for these people that are complaining about the traffic, complaining about the water? Why aren’t you making the infrastructure sound now? So that at some point, it’s a less burden on the Town to widen the connecting roads that are not wide enough. So the question comes back again, are you working for the developers or are you working for the residents of St. John?

(Applause from audience.)

Mr. Hero stated if the Board was working for the residents of St. John, you would be widening these roads adjacent to every one of these developments, not just, ‘I’m going to give you an easement’ because there’s already infrastructure along some of these roads that has to be relocated. He stated, just a dedication of an easement isn’t going to pick up the cost of widening the road and moving the utilities. Mr. Hero asked, so who benefits from that? The developer. Because he doesn’t have to spend the money to move the adjoining utilities and put them in the right place. He asked the question again, who is the Board working for? For the monetary benefit of the developers or for the people of St. John who have the flooding problems and the traffic problems?

Mr. Hero stated that the Board can see all of the people have legitimate concerns. He stated it is time that St. John institute a building moratorium and build no more subdivisions and deny Greystone. He stated that the roads should be fixed.

(Applause from audience.)

Mr. Hero stated that the drainage should also be fixed. He stated if the Board is working for the residents and have the residents in mind and they aren’t working for the developers, they would listen to the complaints of the residents and build the infrastructure first, widen the roads and make the developer widen the adjacent roads so that the connecting roads can be built later. He stated this is how the Town of Dyer works with their developers.

Mr. Hero stated if the Board looks at the county roads and as things are annexed, there are no county funds to fix the roads for the Town. He stated that the Town continues to annex and take the property out of the jurisdiction of the county. Mr. Hero stated the only beneficiaries he sees here are the developers.

Mr. Hero stated, in the long term, the residents of St. John are going to have to pay to widen the roads, move the utilities and fix the problems that the Board has neglected to take care of now in the creation of the subdivisions. He asked again, is the Board working for the developers or are they working for the people of St. John?

(Applause from audience.)

Mary Therese Robert, 11990 Heron Lake Road:
Ms. Robert stated, “I think it’s a sad day here when we let greed take over safety.”

(Applause from audience.)

Phil Myrna, 9361 Hilltop Drive:
Mr. Myrna asked what route traffic going east to Route 41 out of the proposed subdivision would take. He stated it would be White Oak to 109th or the traffic would be going to 93rd to get to Route 41. He asked what was going to be done with the traffic. Mr. Myrna stated most of the vehicles will be trying to make it to Route 41. He stated some motorists might even try and come up Hilltop and go around through the park. He stated Hilltop is a narrow street to begin with. Mr. Myrna stated that there are problems with double-parking on the corner near his residence.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment.

Tom Parada, 9535 Joliet Street:
Mr. Parada stated he had very little to say tonight. He stated looking around the room tonight, he sees almost 60 people. Mr. Parada stated, “You guys better start buying some more chairs, because these folks are not going to go away, and they have legitimate requests that need to be filled and answered to. So, we’re not going anywhere. This is going to continue to be the way it is until this stuff is hashed out.”

Mr. Parada requested, again, that the Board provide more chairs for the audience.

Ms. Siminak stated she lives off of 93rd and Cline and she sees a lot of the traffic when going through Town. She noted that many of the developments/subdivisions have been getting PUD zoning. Ms. Siminak stated her interpretation after reading the literature, is that PUD zoning was created with the intent of clustering houses in order to leave more open space, more green space. She asked the Board why the PUD zoning is becoming so prevalent in St. John.

Mr. Forbes responded that the PUD zoning just depends on the development. He stated one factor he relies on when making a decision for a PUD is the surrounding area and development of the area around it has a lot to do with it. He explained Greystone is basically a continuation of Emerald Crossing and on the other side Greystone will be a continuation of Saddle Creek. Mr. Forbes cited Weston Ridge has cottage homes and Homestead Acres has duplexes and Schilling Development has met with some success with these developments. Mr. Forbes stated these are not “slouch developments,” they’re very nice. He explained that it’s the way the area around a proposed subdivision is zoned is what he bases his determination on, in part.

Paul Panczuk, 8410 Magnolia Street:
Mr. Panczuk stated what was just discussed, the PUD, is the exact subject he would be addressing. He stated he was present to oppose the rezoning of the parcel. Mr. Pancuzk stated that his understanding is tha the parcel meets the Town’s now current zoning, but he’s still opposed to the multi-family. He acknowledged that there are lot of multi-family surrounding the proposed development. Mr. Panczuk stated he specifically moved from Schererville to St. John because of the amount of multi-family going up in Schererville.

Mr. Panczuk is very unique in Indiana with half-acre lots and it was prevalent in Town and been a great thing. He stated that this trend is worrying him, especially in this part of Town. Mr. Panczuk explained that unincorporated Dyer, nearby, just west at 101st and at Hart Street is multi-family, and very densely packed in. Mr. Panczuk stated St. John may not be to that density yet, but all the clustering of multi-family homes in one part of Town will bring values down.

Mr. Panczuk stated he heard someone mention of “working class housing” and he sympathizes with this, but Dyer and Schererville is full of “working class, smaller lot size, multi-family housing,” and St. John has always differentiated itself by shying away from that and setting the standard for the area and now it seems like the standard is being changed. Mr. Panczuk reiterated he is opposed to the multifamily and he would like the Plan Commission to consider this in the future, and go back to what St. John was built on. He stated he doesn’t think developers will have problems putting up homes and selling them.

Mr. Panczuk noted Kilkenny Estates is doing real well right now; he stated that there are wetlands and half-acre lots there and it’s beautiful.

Christen Jorgensen, 10157 Wellington Court East:
Mr. Jorgensen stated he lives on 101st. He stated he wanted to talk about timing, as timing has been brought up quite a bit and so has discussion with regard to Lake County and other entities as far as signalization and traffic. He stated he has no doubt that Schilling Development will be efficient in the subdivision and this does not concern him at all.

Mr. Jorgensen stated what does concern him is the entire corridor from Sheffield and 101st and 101st and Calumet. He stated that the signal that is proposed at Greystone, which Shilling is going to put in will be appreciated. Mr. Jorgensen talked about the proposed signalization and redevelopment of Route 41 and 109th. Mr. Jorgensen stated that the development and traffic pattern cannot be looked at in a vacuum.

Mr. Jorgensen stated that he is concerned with the discussion and the timing. He stated if things don’t proceed a timely fashion, there are going to be more problems.

Mr. Jorgensen stated he would like to see some planning and assurance that there will be a meeting and a schedule to coordinate the projects so that signalization for the entire corridor will be addressed. He stated one without the other without the other won’t work. Mr. Jorgensen stated it has to be looked at in conjunction with all of them, and not looked at in a vacuum.

Mr. Jorgensen stated that he doesn’t want to completely distrust the county and county government, but they certainly can make many promises in an election year and the promises won’t be fulfilled. He stated the signalization in conjunction with payment should be addressed. Mr. Jorgensen stated he is all for the Town kicking in money for certain signalization projects, but developers should often kick in as well. Mr. Jorgensen stated he doesn’t know if Providence Bank has offered to kick in for the signalization at 101st and Calumet, but this is a discussion that should be had as well. Mr. Jorgensen stated that the scheduling should happen in a timely matter and the townspeople should know how it’s going to progress.

(Applause from audience.)

Joe Hero, 11723 South Oak Ridge Drive:
Mr. Hero stated all of the discussion points to the fact that there is no solid plan to develop St. John. He stated that the homework has not been done, the roads have not been planned and everything is done piecemeal like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Mr. Hero reiterated his earlier question, “Who’s the beneficiary of this and who loses by this?”

Mr. Hero stated that the developers benefit by a lack of a plan and the lack of the Board’s intentions to widen the roads and/or make the developers do it. Mr. Hero stated a schedule alone isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. He stated that the only thing that’s worth anything is getting it done before the development comes in or as part of the development in order to get final approval.

(Applause from audience.)

Mr. Hero stated that once preliminary approval is given, as long as they follow whatever is planned in the preliminary approval, all of the voices are silent. He stated it is very simple, if there is no plan, a schedule is not worth the paper it is printed on and the only thing that counts is money in the bank. Mr. Hero stated that money in the bank is the actual votes that go in and the drainage that is provided.

Mr. Hero stated that the members of the Board are responsible to make the traffic flow good, and if they don’t do that it’s going to flow bad. Mr. Hero stated that the Board can’t say it will be scheduled five years ahead or this or that it will never happen because the Town won’t have the money to come back and fix what the developer should have done now.

Mr. Hero stated that the developer is going to reap their profit from selling the lots and building the homes now. He asked where the money will come from in the future to do the road improvements. Mr. Hero stated that the Town had to pass a five million dollar bond issue just to repave some of the roads in St. John. He stated the Board has to make the developer pay now and put the roads in now, and this is the Board’s responsibility as a Plan Commission, otherwise they are just bunch of rubber stamps working for the developers.

(Applause from audience.)

Sharon Pacific, 11423 State Line Road:
She asked if Mr. Schilling was present at the meeting, and if he would be willing to step up and say a few words so the audience could get his take on the matter.

Tim Wolf, 8229 Meadow Court:
Mr. Wolf stated be believes that there should be an impact fee considered with all of the developments. He stated all of the developments should be tabled until the impact fee is set. Mr. Wolf stated that the taxpayers are tired of paying the fees for new road improvements and the developers reaping all of the benefits.

Mr. Wolf stated, if worse comes to worse, the ballot box at the next election is where the residents will speak. Mr. Wolf stated, if it has to be done, the residents could boycott Schilling Lumber too.

(Applause from audience.)

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. Mr. Forbes closed the floor to public comment and brought the matter back before the Board.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Slager answered a question about drainage. He stated right now the entire 50-acre farm field is a hill and it drains east and flows unabated into the back yards, (indicating on drawing).

Mr. Slager stated that there are some drains in the back but not enough to handle the amount of water coming off of the field. He stated that the detention pond will be installed to take on all of the water, including some water that comes from across Calumet Avenue, and the detention pond will hold the water and will channel the water into a pipe and bring it into the creek.

Mr. Slager emphasized that the over-sized detention pond (indicating on media screen) will handle all of the development and some of the property on the other side of Calumet Avenue. He stated a berm will be built along the development’s east boundary that will hold back any water that now going into the rear yards (indicating on drawing).

Mr. Slager explained the overflow route where the overflow for the pond would be into the street, into Greystone Drive, which would then run down Dakota and then into the creek.

Mr. Slager stated obviously he is showing the preliminary plat for the parcel, but the developer will have to come back in for final plat as the development is piecemealed together. He stated that the developer is looking to construct 20-30 units a year, in pieces, as they go. Mr. Slager stated that the build-out for the entire east side of the subdivision is anticipated to be five years.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any more questions from the Board. There were no further questions. Mr. Forbes stated he will entertain a motion regarding preliminary plat approval for Greystone, incorporating the findings of fact, by reference. Mr. Kozel stated he believes that Greystone has met the criteria for preliminary plat approval, and he asked that the findings of fact be incorporated, by reference. Mr. Maciejewski seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (6/0). Ayes --- five Nays --- one. Mr. Birlson was opposed.

Mr. Slager read into the record a brief statement in response to some of the misinformation out there. He read as follows:

“We are lifelong residents of St. John and having done business with hundreds of thousands of people, we have always done things to the best of our ability with morals and ethics as our guide. We have recently received threatening phone calls, viewed web sites, read news articles and overheard gossip around town that has been attacking our family, our intentions and our ethics.

We are your neighbors. We work down the street. We may see you at church. We are always available to discuss any concerns you have about what we do. To anyone who spreads false accusations, we take great offense. No one can legitimately say we have ever acted any manner that is not ethical, honest, fair and in the best interest of the Town that we call home, our customers and our employees.

Mr. Slager stated that the letter is directed to everyone. He stated he heard comments this evening about boycotting Schilling Lumber, and he stated this is completely out of line.

(Applause from audience.)


Mr. Forbes stated that the next item on the agenda was the Sanctuary, seeking permission to advertise for a public hearing. Mr. Jim Buchanan, 1064 Shore Lane Road, Crown Point, Indiana, appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.

Mr. Buchanan stated that this parcel is a 7.50-acre lot that was originally slated to be two lots, and it now his customer is interested in just one lot. Mr. Buchanan stated that his surveyor has been conversing with Mr. Kraus related to some issues that need to be addressed.

Mr. Forbes stated that this matter had been discussed at the last study session, and there is one study session left prior to the public hearing. He stated anything not addressed tonight could be addressed at the next study session.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions. There were no further questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to grant permission to advertise for a public hearing for the Sanctuary. “So moved,” by Mr. Williams. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Forbes called for public comment.

Vince Casboni, 9679 White Oak Avenue:
Mr. Casboni stated he was disagreeing with the address of 10119. He asked how this address could be 10119. Mr. Forbes stated he brought this matter up at the study session and Mr. Buchanan needs to look at this.

Mr. Kraus commented that the address is wrong.

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment.

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. Kozel. Mr. Williams seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (7/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.


Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting.

(The meeting was adjourned at 8:22 p.m.)