St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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April 20, 2016 Plan Commission Minutes

Michael Forbes, PresidentStephen Kil, Town Manager
Gregory Volk, Vice-PresidentKenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, SecretaryDavid Austgen, Town Attorney
Jim MaciejewskiMichael Muenich, Town Attorney
Jon Gill 
Jason Williams 
Bob Birlson 

Mr. Michael Forbes called to order the St. John Plan Commission Study Session on April 20, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

Roll call was taken by Susan Wright, Recording Secretary, with the following Commissioners present: Michael Forbes, Steve Kozel, Jim Maciejewski, Jon Gill, Bob Birlson. Staff present: Kenn Kraus, Stephen Kil. Jason Williams, David Austgen and Michael Muenich were absent.

A. SANCTUARY – Review of One Lot Subdivision – White Oak and 101st Avenue (Mr. James Buchanan)

Mr. Kil advised that Mr. James Buchanan has worked out an address for the property as 10119 White Oak Avenue, as it is just one lot. Mr. Buchanan should be ready for Public Hearing on May 3, 2016.

Discussion amongst planners as to whether there would be sidewalks for this development. Mr. Kraus advised that there are no other sidewalks on White Oak and that the bike trail starts just north of this location. There could be no connections to other development sidewalks as there are none in the area.

Mr. Kraus advised that they will need a waiver for the detention portion as there is a natural low lying areas in the back to retain a lot of storm water, as it naturally exists there at 101st and White Oak Avenue where Bull Run goes through.

Mr. Forbes noted that the building will be on the one section of the lot and that the remainder is going to remain a natural preserve.

Mr. Kraus noted that the impervious surface for this is very insignificant to the size of the lot and is not an issue.

Mr. Kil advised that they will be ready for Public Hearing on May 3, 2016 for the one lot subdivision.

B. 8650 PATTERSON STREET – Site Plan Review – Driveway Addition

Mr. Daniel Ruzbasan advised that he is the owner of the property at 8650 Paterson Street. Mr. Kil placed a site plan on the screen, and advised that every home has one driveway cut into the road and that this gentleman is asking for two (2) roadway cuts, and asked Mr. Ruzbasan to appear before the commission as there are currently no regulations on this particular topic. Therefore, he is looking to the Plan Commission for direction or any objection.

Mr. Kozel inquired about the distance of the fire hydrant and the telephone pole shown on the site plan. Mr. Rusbasan said it was sixty-four feet (64’). Mr. Ruzbasan advised the reason for the additional driveway was due to Patterson Street itself. The road rises by 17.6” in the 200’ of the property that rises 12’. Basically the line of site is thereby obstructed in a manner from either direction to an unsafe level.

Mr. Ruzbasan advised there are no guidewires or hydrant within twelve feet (12’) of the proposed driveway addition. From the proposed driveway radius the owner can see traffic on 85th Street and can see approximately 500’ south to assure a safer view of traffic.

Mr. Williams asked how high the wire is. Mr. Ruzbasan advised that would have to be moved as there are trees missing. About 11’- 13’, going to have to ask if new pole can be put in. He noted that this was not a power line by Nipsco, but an AT&s;T line. Pole at South property line is 275’ to the North. Fire hydrant is 10’ – 12’ South of where new driveway would be placed. So if we go to 64’ there is no hydrant and no pole at issue. Pole right now is 20’ off of existing driveway. Mr. Kozel made a calculation of 30’35’ away as shown and does not see a problem with the plan.

Mr. Forbes noted that it would definitely make a safer ingress and egress to the residence. It was also the consensus that the matter does not require formal Plan Commission action and that Mr. Gill could go ahead and issue the permit.

C. PROVIDENCE BANK DEVELOPMENT – Two Lot Subdivision (Mr. Philip Mulder)

Mr. Philip Mulder of Lagestee-Mulder introduced himself and advised he was there on behalf of Providence Bank. The bank has currently purchased the property at the Southwest corner of 101st Avenue and Calumet Avenue and consists of 24+ acres. They are seeking to develop the North 1.9 acres for a retail banking facility. The current location of this bank is approximately ¼ mile west in a commercial development in Dyer.

The new bank facility will be six thousand square feet at this corner.

Mr. Forbes noted that the bank would be on one lot and the remainder of the acreage would be on the other lot. Mr. Mulder confirmed that they would be looking for a two-lot subdivision. Lot 2 is not shown now as it’s just the initial presentation of the bank and how it was going to lay out on Lot 1.

Mr. Mulder advised that when they do a two lot subdivision, the plat will have those both on the plan. Lot 2 will be to the South and there is no planned use at this time. The southwest corner triangle area is where the detention is.

Several planners discussed the traffic flow of this location at 101st and Calumet Avenue, as it is now really poor. It was mentioned that it was rated an at “F”, and asked what improvements the bank would be required to make at that intersection.

Mr. Kil advised that it warrants signalization right now and had indicated to Mr. Mulder that it would come up tonight.

Mr. Mulder advised that they haven’t spent a lot of time looking into that aspect. The parking lot will have twelve (12) people parking there at any given time. The bank is willing to do whatever they can to help, however it is not their intent to put in a traffic light just because it’s on the corner.

Mr. Kil advised that Mr. Kraus (Town Engineer) has done a preliminary layout of that area and what it would take to put a signal there. He further stated that it would be appropriate for the bank to construct and undertake the improvements that are just on their corner itself. That would be a reasonable request and that would require a right-turn lane on 101st Avenue for southbound traffic on Calumet Avenue, and also eastbound to southbound. Basically another lane, but for designated right turns.

Mr. Forbes asked about drawings made from County discussions; a draft drawing based on the traffic study? Mr. Kil advised that he did not have those here tonight, but would have them downloaded. Mr. Kil advised that a rough drawing by himself and Mr. Kraus has been going back and forth. As soon as Mr. Kraus gets it fine-tuned then it would certainly be sent out to the planners for review.

Mr. Kraus advised that the traffic study requires a right turn lane 200’ long with 100’ of taper; Twelve feet (12’) wide, exclusively for right turning. Of course there is signalization needed there and also the controls of the signalization. There is going to have to be a right-of-way acquired on the southeast corner of that intersection. Bank cannot be responsible or the North and East side of improvements as they do not own it; and should not take on any more of this improvement.

Mr. Mulder advised they would work with everybody else in the signalization costs, however they do not have anything laid out and what Mr. Kil has so far is very preliminary.

Discussion continued as to the timing of the signals timings would be critical to make it work correctly without having a left turn lane for westbound on 101st Avenue to turn onto Calumet Avenue, so this is being worked out with Mr. Dennis Cobb (Traffic Engineer), since this intersection is a “T” site. He (Mr. Cobb) did ask for a left turn lane for eastbound to southbound Calumet Avenue.

Mr. Maciejewski asked how does this interact with the corner development. Mr. Kraus advised that he does not have that information yet as he has not seen any plans to overlay the 200’ length with the 100’ taper.

Mr. Kil advised that improvement alone would double as their decel lane as you are coming into the Bank site. Mr. Mulder advised that plan does not show a decal lane, but it is quite a bit off the property line so it should work.

Mr. Forbes asked if the turn lane effects the monument sign. Mr. Mulder advised that no it does not. There is a fifteen foot (15’) right-of-way running off Calumet Avenue and a fifty foot (50’) right-of-way off site. Mr. Kil advised he has a 11”x17” plan that he could scan and send to the planners.

Mr. Mulder asked when the traffic light would go in. Mr. Forbes advised even if the Town put in the light and fixed that intersection that all we would be doing is moving the problem somewhere else. That is why they are in communication with Lake County Highway, the Surveyor, Commissioner Gerry Schueb and others as a whole project.

Just like the 109th Avenue and U.S. 41 improvements are starting, their application is in at NIRPC (Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission) right now. They are working with INDOT for improvements. They were advised of the traffic study which suggests a light at Calumet Avenue and 101st, and that they would need to undertake an improvement at 109th and Calumet Avenue; and more importantly at Sheffield. Depending on what the Plan Commission does, the Town Council can authorize the project to be engineered and right-of-way purchased for this intersection so that the second we get the layout worked out with Lake County, we can go. The Town can construct a signal at some point in the future, when its coordinated with County so we do not just move the problem to Sheffield.

Mr. Birlson asked if any of the area property owners were being invited to the meetings with County. Mr. Kil advised the property in the Southeast corner, which is just farm land is solely owned by Mr. Leon Heldt. Mr. Kil advised that they have had only the one preliminary meeting, so they haven’t had a chance yet.

Mr. Kil pointed out that it is appropriate for the Bank to bear the cost of the right turn lane, as shown, and that that’s the biggest cost of the project.

Mr. Kraus stated that there are so many variables to this, could not even give a range; however, some cost estimates would be:
$ 150,000.00 Signalization and Controls
$ 20,400.00 Right Turn Lane and Taper
$ 2,100.00 Pavement Marking – Grading and Restoration

So, Mr. Kraus advised it at a range of $198,000.00, plus a fifteen percent (15%) contingency since it is so early in estimating such cost factors.

Mr. Forbes advised they would definitely be pursuing a timeline to get that traffic signal in, but again a traffic light is not going to fix the overall problem and will require a lot of teamwork.

Mr. Kil pointed out that the site plan tonight addresses one (1) immediate problem with the additional lane on 101st with the taper; it basically adds a lane to the intersection. Mr. Kraus discussed with the traffic engineer (Mr. Cobb) that there could be back-ups at peak times and that the 200’ turn lane with the 100’ taper is just what would be needed.

Mr. Maciejewski asked what is the disposition of the drive-through of the facility that would be vacated. Mr. Kil advised that it is not in St. John, that it is unincorporated and that information is unknown.

Mr. Mulder and the planners started discussions of stacking issues with the drive through. Mr. Mulder noted on the plan that the parking layout would direct vehicles to go around the north side of the building. There are a lot of parking spaces noted and Mr. Mulder advised that is how the bank wanted the facility designed and has done so at all their facilities.

Mr. Forbes asked if this was a multi-story building. Mr. Mulder advised that this is a single story, all brick facility. It will be built as their other bank facilities and photos can be sent to Mr. Kil to send out to the planners to see.

Mr. Mulder advised there are no plans for the South, Lot 2, leave options open for connection in the event it develops as commercial. He further advised that due to this factor, that is why they placed the detention in the southwest corner to cover this. There is a storm crossing right now in Calumet Avenue, which is why we have that depressed area shown along Calumet Avenue by the parking lot. There are also existing storm sewer easements back there by the pipeline.

Mr. Kraus asked if sidewalks were going to be required in the development. Since the area east that is developed as Saddle Creek, and the Greystone Development, it was assured that this development would also require sidewalks.

Mr. Mulder advised that he will proceed with the site plan as presented tonight and will be before the board again soon.

D. HEARTLAND PARK – Re-Subdivision and Site Plan Review (Mr. Doug Rettig)

Mr. Doug Rettig of Land Technologies advised that he is here presenting the expansion proposal of the Ice Arena which is part of Heartland Park. The primary objective of the whole project is to put a sizable addition to be arena building.

We will be building a new parking lot east of the new addition. The old house along White Oak Avenue has been torn down. There is still room for the volley ball courts and has spoken several times with Chip Sobek, the Park Superintendent, to make little changes in the design to accommodate the specifications that he wanted and the dimensions as requested. Mr. Sobek stated that he was satisfied with the location.

Mr. Rettig advised this is to re-subdivide the property into one (1) large lot, in which the Ice Arena entity would own all of Lot 1.

Mr. Kil advised that dedicated easements run through the parcel; access to the baseball and softball fields with shared parking. The Town will maintain ownership of the main parking area. They are going to rebuild it, dedicate it to the Town, because its shared parking for everything in that area.

Mr. Rettig advised that the Ingress-Egress will run through the parking area there, and will be re-drawn for clarity. Storm water detention is already in place. They will be relocating a bit of storm sewer due to the addition, but believe they can utilize the existing detention basin. Mr. Kraus will be checking the calculations.

Mr. Forbes questioned the width of drive along the South side of the building. Mr. Rettig advised it was approximately fifteen feet (15’). There is also a sidewalk that runs all around the building. Mr. Kraus advised that the width of 15’ is more than enough room for a fire truck or garbage truck to maneuver.

Mr. Rettig advised they are trying to save the existing walking path; however, if it is torn up, it will be replaced.

Mr. Birlson asked about the loss of some parking spaces versus the addition of parking spaces on what is being submitted tonight.

Mr. Rettig advised that they eliminated the space of six (6) old volley ball courts and moved them and it will be four (4) new volley ball courts. Mr. Sobek advised that was adequate for the volley ball league use. There was continued discussion as to the location, parking and interest in volley ball in general.

Mr. Kraus advised that he will be looking into the drainage and parking calculations also. Mr. Rettig advised that the building is pretty straight forward. Similar materials to be used as is there already. The total is 43,000 square feet of addition; about an acre of addition and similar in look and finish to the existing building.

Mr. Kil advised that the petitioner will be coming before the Board of Zoning Appeals for a sign variance and have laid out a timeline with the petitioner at a staff meeting.

Mr. Kil also advised that the development agreement needed to be signed-executed by the Town Council. Mr. Rettig advised that they are anticipating coming in May to request permission to advertise for the public hearing in June 2016. All of this is contingent on the Town Attorney having the final papers completed.

E. EDEN’S COVE – Secondary Plat Review (Mr. Tony Strickland)

Mr. Tony Strickland advised he is representing Mr. Dave Spoolstra in the development of Phase One of Eden’s Cove. This plan develops the first two (2) lots on the west, lot 8 and lot 9. Lot 9 being the detention pond and Lot 8 being a residential lot.

Mr. Forbes noted that Lot 8 opens onto Graselli Avenue and lot 9 is where the detention pond will be for the entire development.

Mr. Kraus advised that he sent the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan – Form 1 to Building and Planning to be paid. Mr. Strickland advised that they would get all information over to Mr. Kraus for construction costs review.

(With no further business before the board Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 7:59 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary pro-tem
St. John Plan Commission