July 6, 2016 Plan Commission Minutes
|Michael Forbes, President||Stephen Kil, Town Manager|
|Gregory Volk, Vice-President||Kenn Kraus, Town Engineer|
|Steve Kozel, Secretary||David Austgen, Town Attorney|
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Michael Forbes called to order the St. John Plan Commission Regular Meeting on July 6, 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 Williams, James Maciejewski, Bob Birlson. Staff present: Kenn Kraus, Stephen Kil and David Austgen.
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM CHAIRMAN:
Mr. Forbes noted that this is quite a lengthy agenda this evening. During the public portion of any agenda item you may remonstrate either for or against the matter at issue. If you intend to speak, please sign the register, identifying yourself by name and address. Please limit your comments to the matter being heard. Please avoid repeating the same comment in your remonstrance. If you are joining in on a remonstrance already heard, merely indicate that you merely join in “John Doe or Jane Doe” as the case may be.
Please note that pursuant to Section 3 of Ordinance No. 1623, any individual who makes personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or becomes boisterous or delays or interrupts the proceeding or peace of the meeting of the Town Council and Plan Commission, or Town public body; or refuses to obey the orders of the presiding officer, shall be barred from further participation in the proceeding and appropriate action for restoration of order, by the presiding officer may be made. In the event of any disturbance or disorderly conduct during the public meeting, the presiding officer shall be authorized to restore order and direct appropriate actions for the same if necessary.
Persons addressing the Town Council or Town Public Body are to maintain a decorum of civility and presenting personal comments, public comment, and to avoid repetitive comments.
A. COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN / THOROUGHFARE PLAN
Mr. Forbes advised the first item on the agenda is the Comprehensive Master Plan and the Thoroughfare Master Plan, and he asked if the proofs of publication and notices are in order to proceed. Mr. Austgen advised that they have reviewed all the publications and notices and they are in order, I have the documents in hand verifying same.
Before we begin this, I have a question for you Mr. Austgen. Mr. Birlson, a member of this board and commission has remonstrated both in writing and verbally against the Comprehensive Master Plan at the Economic Development Committee. Is he in conflict this evening? Mr. Austgen advised that depends, we have reviewed the law, the 200 Series of the Planning Code, we have reviewed the Statutes in addition to that, you are a quasi-judicial body here, as you have administrative functions related to these matters. The Comprehensive Plan, zoning, subdividing and the like. There is a prohibition discussion in the Statutes concerning public hearings and being influenced, and being contacted. There are cases, relatively recent, even here in this County that have had members disqualified as a consequence of predisposition or actions taken on one side or another of an issue, before the issue was adjudicated as it comes before you. Those cases resulted and some decisions averse to the member, and the barring of the member. It’s clear that some portions of tonight’s proceedings will relate to some of the things that have been talked about. I was at the EDC meeting so I saw Mr. Birlson there. He is a citizen of your town and he did have comments to make, and we respect that. The appearances of that though can be that there is a predisposition, and that the predisposition might render him; might being the key, might render him incapable of being objective here tonight, hearing the whole story, both from a presentation perspective of the Comprehensive Plan itself, as well as, what the public might say in favor of or opposed to, those thoughts or positions. So coming out early, if you will, before the proceeding is conducted gives the appearance of predisposition, bias and the like. Those are incredibly sensitive and hard to define, ethical terms or statutory type terms; however, doing the right thing usually is what it comes down to. It’s really our opinion tonight, and based upon the importance of these proceedings; and knowing the importance to the Birlson family, of what their position was and how it was so passionately stated, that Mr. Birlson is bias and predisposed, and probably should not participate in this public hearing on this matter. However, saying that, I cannot make him do that, and probably you can’t either, statutorily, so I want the record to be clear, the record made to this point seems to indicate all of that and kind of unfortunate because of the sensitivity and nature of this proceeding, but that is our position. Our legal position.
Mr. Forbes then asked, Mr. Birlson, you understand you have a conflict, are you willing to acknowledge that conflict and not participate in this public hearing? Mr. Birlson stated that he does not consider himself to have a conflict. I spoke out in the audience at Plan Commission, I did speak out at the EDC meeting, the Economic Development Committee meeting with regards to the Town Center in the Comprehensive Plan. My opinion hasn’t changed since then, as it effects many homes, um, I’m not on that list, that my home could be taken away, but it does effect the homes. I am a citizen here, just like many of the folks here in the audience. Are citizens here, and they will be effected by it.
Mr. Forbes stated that no one is arguing that you are a resident of this Town, but, you are a member of this Plan Commission, and as a member of this Plan Commission you are supposed to have an air of neutrality, that is not the case in this instance. So, again, I am going to accept the fact that you are not going to voluntarily excuse yourself from this proceeding, correct?
Mr. Birlson: Article 4, Meetings and Public Meeting, conflict of interest. In accordance with I.C. 36-7-4-223, a commission may not participate in a hearing or decision of that commission or body concerning any matter which he has a direct or indirect financial interest. The commission shall enter in its records that fact, that his member has such a disqualification. I do not have a direct or indirect financial interest in this matter.
Mr. Forbes: Gentlemen, any thoughts on this? Hearing none, my objection stands. We will move forward.
Are you ready to give us your presentation?
COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN / THOROUGHFARE PLAN
Ms. Christine Carlyle of Solomon, Cordwell and Buenz, introduced herself. She is a principal at SCB and has been working on the original Comprehensive Plan in 2005, and we are now back again working on the update for 2016. I will be providing a short overview (she directed everyone’s attention to the meeting room screen). She advised that she would be showing the planning process, key issues and the planning recommendations that are contained within the Comprehensive Plan.
SCB worked in conjunction with First Group Engineering who worked on the Thoroughfare portion of the Plan. This was the same team that worked on the 2005 Comprehensive Plan and coordinated efforts of same. Ms. Carlyle advised that a lot has happened since 2005. St. John has seen a lot of development; a tremendous amount of residential expansion, a build-out of the municipal center, as well as new retail development. There has been annexation that allows for additional growth. The goal of the Comp Plan is the quality of life for the residents of St. John.
Ms. Carlyle advised some of the key points in the analysis of the data that went into the updated Comprehensive Plan, including demographics, community survey information, including a public meeting that was held on August 31, 2015. With these components we compiled a Draft Plan and then a Final Plan.
Ms. Carlyle pointing out comparison of “where you have been” to “where you are now”. In 2000, you had a population of 8,382 people; and the estimates for 2016 based on building permit information is approximately 16,987 people. You have had some changes in terms of that the population has gotten a little older, your total households have doubled, and your median income has increased. This all notes that you have had significant rapid growth, whereas some communities have leveled off, you have had steady growth. In 2000 the land area of the town was 7 square miles, but by today you have annexed to 12.4 square miles.
With the community survey that was sent out there; there were over 1,000 responses turned in, that is around 20% response turned in, which is very high. Highlights from the survey, which was very detailed, were the requests for restaurants, improvements to shopping availability, and expansion of the bike/pedestrian path. Of the retail preferences, 78% were in favor of creating a Town Center, and 69% listed the Target and Strack & Van Til as their most frequented visited retailers. 39% wanted more choices of stores and therefore increase their uses of businesses in St. John.
The overall plan is to improve quality of life and economic development; establishing guidelines and improving the U.S. 41 corridor to include some pedestrian access and safety. Proposal of a commuter rail station in the future in conjunction with Regional Transportation plans.
Maintaining the majority of single-family housing, but also providing more choices for “senior housing”. Further, protecting environmental resources and expanding parks and open spaces. Vehicular traffic patterns and safety concerns. Coordinating signalization with retail and traffic patterns as growth evolves along the U.S. 41 corridor.
Ms. Carlyle pointed out current development points along the U.S. 41 corridor; Meyers Development of “Dancing Waters”, Gelatka Property, Boyer Development and Schilling Development. The Municipal Center was looked at in order to connect with the Town Center concept. Ms. Carlyle pointed out conceptual ideas that are suggested in order to connect 93rd to Joliet through Thielen Street, and then through the Boyer properties. These are all conceptual strategic ideas to have them created into a more of a shopping oriented environment.
In terms of the transportation recommendations, we looked at reducing congestion and improving safety, this is in combination with Frist Group Engineering. Highlighting a center turn lane along U.S. 41, expanding the frontage roads where possible, for retail areas so that you do not have vehicles turning directly in and out of U.S. 41, bringing the cars to signalized intersections. This also shows increasing pedestrian safety in regards to walkways, and then expanding pedestrian and bike trails so that you have a greater network.
List of proposed intersection improvements on U.S. 41 includes Wall Street, 93rd Avenue, 96th Avenue, 101st Avenue, 103rd Avenue and 105th Avenue. Map of existing and proposed plans were shown on the meeting room screen. Also, directing traffic to frontage roads, and also pedestrian signalization walkways so people can get from the East side to the West side of U.S. 41 in a safe environment. All this would be in conjunction with State and Federal considerations for improvements.
The last area of concern that we were looking at was a commuter rail station. The previous 2005 plan was North of the Municipal Center and it had issues with topography and the slope of U.S. 41, those constraints and geometries made it less desirable. We looked at other locations, and the other option that was promising was along Route 231. The most Western rail line is a more ideal site and flat site for a train station. It is also great for access from Route 231. There are some wetland components in creating some amenities to allow for open space.
This one view is from Route 231 looking North, in which you have a mixed use retail area, adjacent to a parking deck and train station (in light blue), and then some multi-family housing and mixed use housing.
Ms. Carlyle then showed some examples of some train stations that have been built in a mixed use environment. She advised that is basically the quick snap-shot of the Comp Plan and what some of the goals and how they got to some of those conclusions. Mr. Carlyle then advised she would be happy to answer any questions from the board.
Mr. Williams asked that for the traffic plan it seems to me in the next 20 years that driverless cars are going to significantly impact the way we get around in our communities, was that taken into consideration at all. Ms. Carlyle advised that she is not the traffic engineer and I would have a hard time speaking on behalf of Mr. Denny Cobb on that, but I have to say that until we know how driverless cars actually operate, it is very hard to plan for them.
Mr. Maciejewski requested that Ms. Carlyle speak about the stats regarding density, housing units versus the area of the Town, how it’s expanded and if I understand you it has stayed relatively the same density, because the area has double and the housing has doubled.
Ms. Carlyle stated that is correct, and she said that the only places you could expect any density to change would be is where you plan for it. Right now you have a lot of PUDs which actually lower the density, you tend to have cluster housing and you have opened up a lot of areas to having trails and access. So, if you look at the development that’s taken place between 1980’s and 1990’s, then what happened after 2000, most of that was more generous in terms of land area, but maybe the houses were a little closer together, so it is a different way of looking at your land utilization. SCB did not get into a lot of details in the update focused on your zoning or your “R Districts”, because that was done extensively in 2005, and we got no message that there were any changes to that. So any new development that comes to you, you need to look at very carefully as to what they are proposing for the number of units and does that fit, along with the residential areas.
Ms. Carlyle stated it seems that you have two different types. You have some potential special areas; which could be your Town Center area, which could also be your rail station area, which might have more of a unique character that you want to have a mix of housing types. But, otherwise I think you will be continuing with the residential housing types you have today, so we did not make any recommendations in altering your code in that.
Mr. Forbes advised that he is going to open the floor to public comment, when I call your name, please come up to the podium, state your name and address for the record.
Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): Talking to people around town these last few months, it has become rather obvious that no one real wants to see six traffic lights planned along the Route 41 corridor from 93rd to 109th Street. So gentlemen, I have a wild idea. Why don’t we re-draw the Comprehensive Plan to exclude all of these traffic lights and replace them with frontage roads with access to Route 41 at may two locations. That will save the traffic nightmare that you’re going to create on Route 41 between 93rd and 109th, and be more acceptable to the residents who live here right now. Mr. Kil and the Planning Commission and the Town Council have repeatedly said over and over, this is just a plan. Last time I checked a plan means something’s going to happen in the future. So maybe we can agree to revise the plan, so there are not six stop lights drawn on it, but maybe two. That way when developers realize before submitting plans, or the Route 41 corridor, that they are going to be required to use frontage roads, and they are not going to have stop light access every two blocks on Route 41. We can all drive north to Schererville and Highland, and see what Mr. Boyer and his developers’, and the developers have created on Route 41 through the 41 corridor. Right around Main Street, it is a traffic disaster. People will not go there to shop due to the traffic congestion currently. The residents of St. John who live here now, have to get around town every day. We do not need more restaurants, bars, fast-food outlets and grocery stores that will create bigger traffic problems for the people who live here, when the other shoppers and out-of-towners take their cars and go home. Reduce the six traffic lights drawn on the plan, and re-submit them as two. The second item is the traffic study. The traffic study on page 3 recommends that 93rd be widened by three lanes by the year 2027. This study is so poorly done; the recommendations are an actual comedy to read. With the Preserve coming on line, and Greystone as well, 93rd and White Oak should have been widened last year or the year before. How can the Commission in good conscience accept this poorly done traffic study? It is truly pathetic. The Commission should be embarrassed to even consider this study as valid, especially when it says it ought to be revisited again ten years from now. With the Town paying $211,000.00 for a new traffic study, the Commission should delay approving the Comprehensive Plan forward, until the current costly study is completed. It will answer a lot of questions the current plan raises about traffic, traffic lights and residents driving around town on Route 41, 93rd and White Oak. Do not move the plan forward as it is currently written, it is not in the best interest of people who currently live here.
Jerry Koster (9194 Eggert Lane): Just my comments, and comments of the neighborhood in the subdivision I live in. I think as you look at the growth from 2000 to 2016, you saw the numbers and population growth from eight to sixteen thousand. What was the traffic increase on Route 41 in that same time period? Is there a traffic count on that? Um, I’m getting a little tired, even though I am a native from Illinois, and there is reasons we came to Indiana, because it is a small town. But we get a little tired, and as you saw tonight on the proposal, this is the way we did it in Illinois. Well you know what?, my comment is that if that’s the way you people in Illinois want it, then you should stay in Illinois. You shouldn’t have to design a town of Indiana on what was taken place in Illinois, alright? And the third thing I have to say is that the traffic, stop and go lights, I agree, some are less than a thousand feet apart, and I know it is a proposal, that the State has to approve. But, looking at the overall plan, I think the Town Centers’ have to be off 41 cause there is just way too much traffic. That’s all I have.
Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I am going to remonstrate against the Comprehensive Plan. As I reviewed the plan, and some of the comments made at the previous meetings, I had a few concerns. Main concerns of traffic, traffic flow and the fact that you moved the Town Center from north of 93rd to the Joliet and Thielen Street neighborhood. But I am going to concentrate on some of the regulations. I guess the first question I have is that at the Economic Development Committee meeting, we passed out remonstrance that were written, and we were told that those were gonna be distributed to you guys, so I’m hoping that you guys all received those? (Mr. Forbes: We were copied on those). I’m sorry? (Mr. Forbes: We were copied on those). Okay, thank you, wonderful. Um, second of all, is the State Statutes make it very clear that Mr. Birlson does not have to excuse himself from this hearing because the Statute that he quoted (Mr. Forbes: Do you have an opinion on the Comp Plan?). Oh I do, I do. (Mr. Forbes: Please continue with that matter). Why, does it make a difference? (Mr. Forbes: Please continue your remonstrance on the Comp Plan). State Statute of Indiana Code 36-7-4-501 on the State Comprehensive Plan says that it should promote public health, safety, morals, convenience, order, or the general welfare of a community. I think your plans do not include the necessary findings of fact. The traffic study is defective, and the recommendations seem to have some major flaws. Some of those were covered already, so I’m not gonna put a lot of time and energy into those. Um, but widening 93rd twelve years from now, um, I think is ridiculous. You got a traffic study that didn’t even include White Oak on its traffic study. I think you missed an opportunity to get a second opinion for free when you required Schilling to do a traffic study on The Preserves, but you let them use the same engineering company that you used. You had an opportunity to get a free second opinion there and you missed that opportunity. Uh, we don’t want six more stop lights on 41. The five that are detailed, plus the one that shows north of the hill to be the sixth one, which are on page 56 and 57 of the master plan. And detailed on page 9 of the Thoroughfare Plan. Um, we don’t want to Wicker to end up like the traffic flow that they have on 41 and Main Street. I think it’s frustrated being stuck in traffic, which does not promote improved public health. At the last Council meeting you claimed that not all of those would maybe be done, it would just depend. Well, that’s the same statement that you used months ago about the Town Center and my neighborhood. Um, we were told that it would go away, but yet now its back again. So is the general welfare of the town better, since you introduced this plan back in October? Has your life become more convenient? More orderly? I still have believed that you would put a family, that you would put out a plan that would wipe out thirteen homes, and make five or six remaining worthless for raising a family. You are supposed to protect the values of our homes, but how many people would want to buy a house to raise their family, knowing it’s stamped “Town Center” and scheduled for demolition. Whose gonna benefit from that. I mean, I was one of the people that the 80, the 78% who is in favor of a Town Center. But not at the price of knocking somebody’s house down, and throwing the family out. This whole plan has been a nightmare for us, ever since you,., when it became public last year. I got a call from my neighbor Joe Gerlach; he asked if I knew what was happening, and that the Town was planning to do to our beautiful neighborhood. That started the formation of the St. John Homeowners PAC, and we selected candidate support for election, that were sympathetic to our cause,., (Mr. Forbes: Stick to the Comp Plan please). The PAC was produced and committed and put together specifically to fight the Comprehensive Plan, okay. We have asked you to do that over the past, and it doesn’t seem like anything has happened. Um, we have candidates that we supported, um, in fact I didn’t even go to the first couple of meetings. But, my wife informed me that it was very important that I be there, so it didn’t take long for me to a.,. (Mr. Forbes: All right, you are advertising your PAC, we get it. Do you have any further comments “on the Comp Plan”). I certainly do. (Mr. Forbes: Make them brief please). I think this whole plan and the approval process is tainted. Tainted by the actions that happened back in November, but as far as the plan goes, in 2005; the 2005 plan had the Town Center north of 93rd to include the St. John Mall and that blighted area that’s north of Aspen Café. It’s an eyesore to this town. Um, leave it there. Move it back there. Put in an area that has vacant land. There’s plenty of vacant land left in this town. You’ve stated that the traffic lights and the Town Center, that it’s just an idea and that it may not happen. But let me tell you why that’s troublesome. One, I don’t trust everything that I’m told. But more importantly is, it’s the law. I did some research before I came here tonight. It’s the law. If it’s on your Comprehensive Plan, you’re required to move forward to try and make it happen. That’s what Indiana Code is all about. When the last Comprehensive Plan was approved in 2005, there was a lawsuit. Now, my legal expertise is kinda minimal and the two gentlemen to my left may disagree, because they were both involved in that lawsuit, so they should know what’s going on. But basically it was a zoning issue, that had to do with a disagreement with the Comprehensive Plan. Okay, um,., so the Indiana Court of Appeals interpretation of the State Statute was that a municipality must comply with its Comprehensive Plan’s vision. Indiana Code 36-7-4-603 also states, that when dealing with zoning and approvals, the Plan Commission and the legislative body must pay reasonable regard to a number of factors, including: #1, is the Town Comprehensive Plan. I believe that if you put on your Comprehensive Plan, the Town Center and six stop lights, and someone takes action on that, maybe buying a piece of property knowing or thinking that they are gonna have stop light, or being able to anticipate something else going up there, um, if you don’t follow through with your plans, you leave yourself open to legal action. Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I’ve heard two different Councilmen suggest removing the Town Center from the Plan. You don’t need to approve a plan that destroys our homes. You don’t need to approve a plan that demolishes some of the oldest homes in St. John. You don’t need to approve a plan that will displace families with over a hundred years living in that neighborhood. There are plenty of good locations in this town for that expansion. And that will also maintain the property values and fit better with Indiana Code 36-7-4-501 on Comprehensive Plans. Where places less traffic and improve safety. No roundabout for the school busses to navigate promoted better health and well-being of the community. You don’t need to approve the Town Center as part of that plan. Just remove pages 60 through 63 from the plan before you vote to approve it. Or, bring back pages 53 and 54 of the 2005 plan. Many people comment on how St. John, our Joliet Street area is such a great reminder of the charm, that old communities have. Don’t tear it down. Don’t send in the wrecking ball. Keep the charm in St. John. Thank you gentlemen.
Mr. Muenich: Mr. Chairman, before you proceed, one correction for the record. The Appellate Court decision that Mr. Swets referred to was reversed by the Indiana Supreme Court approximately a year and a half ago to two years after the date of the Appellate Court opinion. And specifically held that the Town does not have to follow its Comprehensive Plan, that zoning is a discretionary matter of the Town Council, to be implemented as it sees fit. I was representing Mr. Chester Borsyk; Mr. Austgen was representing the Town of St. John at the time, and the recitation that Mr. Swets made is inaccurate. Just so that the record is clear.
Joe Gerlach (10946 Thielen Street): I appreciate you gentlemen being here tonight, and also the group of people that are here tonight for different reasons. As I saw the plan and all that was presented was quite thorough. I’m just wondering as I look at each one of you individuals, how much time did you take to look at these plans. How much stock did you put into it? Also in the traffic study, as far as the traffic lights, how much time and thought had you gentlemen put into it. I think back about a number of years ago here in St. John, St. John was always the place to come to. And even other residences as far as Schererville, Dyer and other communities up in north of us; St. John was the place to come to. And its been a great place to bring up my children. Been very active throughout the years. My family goes way back. I don’t have to repeat what some of the things that have been brought up already tonight. But I am concerned about how much you gentlemen have studied what all is involved in this. Not only about the history of St. John, but also the future of St. John. Now when I think about what was brought up about these shopping centers; I got two words to say about it, and that’s “free shipping”. Free shipping is what’s coming our way folks, whether you want it or not. And all these different facilities that you’re talking about, I don’t if even half of them are going to be utilized for shopping area. So I think we’re looking into a nightmare, and this is one of the factors that I can see in the future. I worked down here at Lake Central after I retired from my day job, I could say, and I was training with a number of people that took jobs as bus drivers. And some of them were different uh, carpenters, plumbers, and all because of the housing boom, that fell apart a number of years ago. And they were there to drive a school bus. And the story I’m getting now, that a lot of those gentlemen that were carpenters and plumbers and electricians, they are not going back to that trade. Because they see on the horizon, there’s gonna be another problem with housing. And gentlemen, whether you like it or not, as you hear on the news, we are at war. And you are talking about restaurants? Some of the nicest restaurants in the world are the targets today. You better start thinking about that. And if you attend those restaurants, you better make sure that your back is to the wall, and you be prepared. Because what I see going on, with the Presidential election, those two clowns are not gonna protect us. You better be ready. But I was getting back to the jobs at LC, Lake Central; a friend of mine had two golf businesses, golf stores, one in Lansing and one in the Homer Glen area. Both of them went under. And I asked him, and they went bankrupt. And I asked him what was the problem. He said the problem was the internet killed him. That’s my speech tonight.
Theresa Birlson (9520 Joliet Street): These are my comments on the Comprehensive Plan. Um, my children are the sixth generation to live in my family homestead, which was built in 1840. I hope that my children and my grandchildren will have the opportunity to live in my home after me, and have that same option in the future. And I just don’t understand why you would take away that opportunity from people who have been here, this family was one of the first families that founded this town. That founded St. John Evangelist Church. I also believe that if there is additional commercial development in this town, that there should be a buffer zone between the commercial development and the residential development. When I look at the Boyer Development up in Schererville, and I think if that goes in behind my home, and there’s a roundabout that connects it, what kind of traffic is going to be going by my eight-year-old girl whose riding her roller blades on the sidewalk. And so I feel like that should be respected, when we consider this plan. Um, I am not up here just to complain, there um,., I am reiterating what was in the old Comprehensive Plan. There are other solutions that are viable solutions. We’ve seen them in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan as Mr. Swets stated. When you look at the north of 93rd, north of the Town Hall, that was proposed in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan. That area there, there is already commercial development there when you look at the St. John Town Mall. Its connected directly to the Town offices, the police, the fire station. It has excellent visibility from the bridge on Wicker Avenue, so people can find where it is. That’s a possible train station location, which would allow people to utilize the restaurants and shops without even having to have a vehicle in town. There’s parking already available at the Kolling School for use in the evenings and on weekends. So you wouldn’t need as much parking put in by the town, so it would save us on costs. It would eliminate the eyesore of those empty lots and the hodge-podge of businesses that are located between 93rd and Kolling School. And it wouldn’t take the people’s homes. I don’t understand why someone would needlessly destroy a beautiful, beautiful neighborhood, that I believe is one of the best neighborhoods in St. John. I have friends of mine telling me all the time, if you know any of your neighbors selling their homes, let me know cause I wanna move into your neighborhood. Because you guys are a tight-knit community. There’s also the possibility the new train station down south of town. The Shrine of Christ Passion, I’m sure there will be a lot of development going in, there is a lot of commercial opportunity down there, for people who visit that place. The empty K-Mart building site. So, I’d ask all of you to reconsider and think about this Town Center, it’s been stated pie-in-the-sky, as Mr. Kil has said in the newspaper, and he said it probably wouldn’t happen in his lifetime, so I ask you as members of this Plan Commission to show respect for the residents who live on Joliet and Thielen Streets, for the history of their families. Cause several of them are living in their own homesteads also. And remove the Town Center concept as it stands from the Comprehensive Plan. And give us a good night’s sleep.
Jackie Van Gundy (9510 Joliet Street): July 15th we’ll have been there 44 years. I love our town and I would like to see it expand. We are not Plainfield, we’re not those other towns that were mentioned, Long Grove. We’re St. John, Indiana. And we definitely need to grow and expand, but sensibly. And it tears my heart up to think that we are still considering tearing down our historic neighborhood on Joliet Street. Homes that have been lived in for generations. I cannot fathom why in the world you would even consider destroying historic homes. Our only historic street in this town by the way. To put in a bunch of stores, restaurants, traffic, traffic, traffic. There’s so much empty property south of Strack and Van Til’s, in that mall, it even has a frontage road. Lots of land on both sides of the frontage road. We also have property to the north where the St. John Mall is, been there since I’ve lived here. All the prairie that goes all the way to the school is empty. Perfect for development. Why isn’t that being considered instead of tearing down an established neighborhood as Theresa Birlson has stated. We’ve had people ask us, if you ever sell your home, or any one in your neighborhood is selling, please let us know. They like our little historical area. Also, I just want to know who we are trying emulate, who we are trying to be like. Again, we are not Plainfield, we’re not Long Grove, we’re St. John. And we do need to grow, but in a sensible way. And mindful of traffic, building,., first we put roads in, then we build homes, that’s not been done. My last statement, please change your mind and eliminate these plans for tearing down our street. Last October, Mr. Kil sent us all letters, which I am not going to read, I’m sure you’re all aware of it. The one line I want to quote, he said “I can assure you one-hundred percent, that what you have been told is completely inaccurate. The fact that the area of your home is included in the Comprehensive Plan, means absolutely nothing, unless you and your neighbors voluntarily ever decide to sell your homes”, then in capitals “VOLUNTARILY SELL YOUR HOMES”, well guess what, none of us want to sell our homes. We are very happy where we are. Please eliminate,.,. oh, and another thing I just thought of. While you’ll all sitting there. I would love your individual opinions and thoughts as to why you think this is such a good idea, to tear down a historic street, for a Town Center. What are you opinions, individually, do you have anything to think about this plan? So, we know here, not as a collective group. But as individual people, what do you think of this? (Mr. Forbes: We are here to hear your comments). You have nothing to say? (Mr. Forbes: Not at this time, because this is the opportunity for you to.,.) ….. think about that, maybe the next time we’ll talk about.
Mr. Forbes called Mr. Scott Kilptr.,. [from the audience someone said they had no comment, that all his questions were answered].
Randy Stoltmeister (10760 Thielen Street): I came here I notice one thing, especially my street. People are very-very friendly. I love my neighbors and they love me. When you go to a small,., I came up from a farm community in Illinois, and people go like this (?), you may not know them, but that is what they do, its friendly. And that is what this town has. You know in Munster, they don’t do that there. They don’t do that on Main Street in Highland. I’ve heard that St. John isn’t the top friendliest towns in the country to live. Do you think we are gonna have that status after we do all this? This Comprehensive Plan. You know I am for a Town Center, and there is,., there is some great engineers that can engineer away to make it south of here. We got,., you know like Whiting, you know their stuck. They can’t do anything. And there’s open areas in Munster, and a little bit in Highland. But we have an opportunity now to take advantage of the open area and do it right. And you know, there was mentioning that 78% of the people want a Town Center, but they didn’t say after that, but at the cost of people’s homes? I don’t think you woulda got 78% of that, no way,., no way. No way, especially in St. John. Let’s keep the friendliness, cause if we,., of,., last time I spoke I mentioned about Main Street in Highland, we don’t want that here. It will take away the friendliness, the closeness that we have that’s unique to St. John, we don’t need that here. But let’s re-look at this program, let’s do it right, but let this go south of here or someplace where its open, and we don’t need to take people’s homes.
Tom Parada (9535 Jolie Street): Um, I’ve been kinda quiet about this for quite a while. July 13th is when the first shot in this war was fired. And it was fired at me. Okay, on July 13th, I was contacted by Mr. Kil and was told that the Town was,., wanted to acquire my property. And my answer to that was, I wanna fix the place up and I want to live my life out here. And his was, well we’re gonna do whatever means necessary to take your property. (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada, what does this have to do with the Comp Plan?). EVERYTHING! (Mr. Forbes: It has nothing to do with the Comp Plan) It has EVERYTHING to do with it (Mr. Forbes: No sir, I disagree, do you have any remonstrance?). THIS WAS THE BEGINNING (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada, take it down a notch). It was the BEGINNING OF THE TOWN COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. (Mr. Forbes: You are mistaken). This was the beginning of it. (Mr. Forbes: You are mistaken). NO I AM NOT MISTAKEN, NOTHING MUCH OF ANYTHING WAS SAID ABOUT THIS, and nobody was informed about it, this was before the meeting at Lake Central High School (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada,., Mr. Parada, do you have any comment on the Comprehensive Master Plan). YES I DO, I DON’T LIKE THE MEANS YOUR USING TO TRY TO GET THE PROPERTY, AND THAT’S WHERE I COME IN. YOU TRIED TO BUY MY PROPERTY FOR $31,000.00, AND YOU KNOW WHAT?.,. (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada, Mr. Parada,., Mr. Parada, Mr. Parada,., [knocking of gavel] Mr. Parada). YES MISTER FORBES! (Mr. Forbes: Do you have a comment on.,.) I AM MAKING MY COMMENT (Mr. Forbes: No sir, you are not. This is your last chance.,. sir) I CALLED MR. VOLK LAST NIGHT (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada, do you.,.). I’M MAKING MY COMMENTS AND I’M GOING TO CONTINUE IF YOU QUIT INTERUPTING ME (Mr. Forbes: Stick to the topic). I called Mr. Volk last night. He represents our neighborhood as a councilman. I want to know, we elected you, why are you not coming to bat for us, instead of Mr. Boyer. You’re in there because we elected you. (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada do you have anything to say about the Comprehensive Master Plan) I’M SAYING IT! (Mr. Forbes: No, you are making accusations). It has to do with the Comprehensive Plan, it went away for a while. I went away for a while. Now it’s back, so I’m back. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD TORN APART, because of a PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL that wants to build somewhere in this town that we have (Mr. Forbes: Again Mr. Parada, you are confusing two topics). I AM? (Mr. Forbes: Yes you are). WELL THEN SET ME STRAIGHT ON THAT THEN MIKE. (Mr. Forbes: We are discussing the Comprehensive Master Plan). WHICH THE TOWN CENTER IS PART OF, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT? (Mr. Forbes: I do, and you are not part of the Town Center). I’m not part of the Town Center? (Mr. Forbes: Not the discussion you are having right now. Mr. Parada, we’re done. Mr. Parada Thank You. Your done, Mr. Parada, I have the authority to end this portion). I KNOW, WHICH YOU USUALLY DON’T USE, WHEN YOU SHOULD USE IT IS WHEN BILL WAS OVER THERE, BILL KEITH CRYING ABOUT HE NEEDS A RESTAURANT HE CAN RIDE A BIKE TO. Worst Town Council President that I’ve ever seen in my life.
Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): First of all. I would like to remonstrate against this Master Plan, because I think first of all, people here are not having a fair public hearing. The Town Board President and President of this Council, is shutting down their comment. And for that reason, I think this is an illegal public hearing. And I object to this type of hearing. I also object to this hearing because the St. John Homeowners PAC, which represents the people on Thielen Street, who will be impacted by this Comprehensive Plan, they tried to fight it with the political action, with political signs. The Town Manager took those signs (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Hero,., Mr. Hero). I’M GIVING MY OBJECTION TO THE FAIRNESS OF THIS HEARING (Mr. Forbes: This hearing is fair, I have.,.). LOOK, YOU CANNOT INTERUPT A PUBLIC HEARING (Mr. Forbes: You need to stop your rhetoric. You need to stop your rhetoric. You’ve made one comment that is directly related to the Comprehensive Master Plan. Do you have any more comment). YES I DO!, I THINK THIS HEARING IS UNFAIR AND I OBJECT TO IT BECAUSE I THINK THAT MR. FORBES HAS FAILED TO DISCLOSE THAT ONE OF THE ATTORNEYS HERE REPRESENTED HIM IN A CASE. (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Hero.,.). I THINK HE SHOULD HAVE DISCLOSED THAT HERE, SO I OBJECT TO THIS HEARING IN THAT RESPECT. NOW, I’M GONNA GET DOWN TO OTHER ISSUES; the traffic congestion that this thing will create is going to be horrific with all the stoplights on 41. I think it will compromise the safety of the people, the residents and the property owners. The other thing is, the Comprehensive Plan will not protect the public health, safety, welfare, comfort, and the general welfare of the town. The Comprehensive Plan, in my opinion, has been developed for one person. The outcome of this Plan Commission is predisposed. We heard at the Economic Development Commission where Mr. Kil has already met with INDOT for the 96th Place road, okay, and a State Senator. That tells me that it is predisposed. And the fact that Mr. Parada’s house was to be taken for a turn-around, which eventually this master plan will impact, that tells me this is predisposed and this is not a fair hearing. Uh, also, the Comprehensive Plan, I believe will constitute an unconstitutional taking of people’s properties. People that live on Joliet and the Town Center, the way this master plan is set up, it has to be basically followed. And, rhetoric that says it doesn’t is false, in my opinion. Uh,., I think the municipality will be forced to comply with the Comprehensive Plan, which is going to adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, of the residents, and the property values. The Comprehensive Plan won’t create a efficiency, and economy in the land use development. If you look at 96th Place on that master plan, the road is gonna have to be expanded on the other side. And if you look at the master plan, and the Boyer Development, that shows that 96th Place as a dedicated highway, which means the taxpayers gotta pay for that. I think that is totally inappropriate. And, the way this thing is going, that this thing is set to be voted on no matter what is said here tonight, so I think it is an unfair hearing again. The plan must state the objectives for future development. I see just general rhetoric. I don’t see specifics on how this is gonna improve the town. I don’t see the detail. I don’t see a statement of policy where the land use development is gonna be improved. I think I see the statement of public ways, public places, public lands, public utilities, I don’t see any of that in the master plan in detail. So that it’s reasonable to assume it’s gonna be implemented the way it is. I think this plan is developed for special interest people. I think one of these stop lights is going to benefit special interests people, and not the people in St. John. Because it’s gonna make their land very valuable. So I think the master plan is not geared for the people of St. John, it’s geared for special developers. I think the plan is not giving consideration to the community as a whole, with, with preserving the identity of the community. The present Comprehensive Plan was relied on by people who moved here years ago. I think this diverts the existing master plan. And I think its detrimental reliance that these people moved here on and their property values will be diminished, because you’re putting this new Comprehensive Plan in. The scope and perspective of this Comprehensive Plan creates inefficiencies in the development of the community, and will have an adverse effect, same effect as spot zoning. The Comprehensive Plan will not give the community the best course of development, of real estate. It will not give the best advantage to real estate. This is done for specific beneficiaries of these spot lights, and that is not the beneficiaries of the common people of St. John. The plan does not have a reasonable regard to the factors of conservation of property values throughout the community. It is not responsible development and growth. It is not the most desirable use of the land. It also takes,., damages the current character of the community. The Plan is (pause) arbitrary and capricious, and has no rational basis for development. The Plan will aggravate traffic congestion. Can you imagine six stop lights on 41? The traffic there is horrific now. If we put all those traffic lights in, its going to be gridlocked. Look what the development did in Highland, on the Schererville – Highland border on Main Street. Okay? And what you’re going to be doing is, you’re going to be pushing traffic from 41 onto the side streets on Joliet, School Street, Keilman, 93rd, and you have failed to develop 93rd into an adequate road. This plan will force drivers to use side streets, and neighborhood streets,., as short-cuts to get around the congestion that you’re putting on 41. This plan has no rational basis, its arbitrary and capricious again, the traffic patterns and increased traffic will have an adverse effect on the public health, safety, welfare, morals and whatever. And if you look at the ultimate goal of the Boyer Development, its to hit Joliet Street, put a turn-around there, and I think once you do that, that’s gonna effect the school busses, the children, public safety to the local elementary schools and wherever their going. Uh, this plan is totally defective in my opinion, and it should not be put forward. Um, I think we need to carefully plan the roads to protect the health, safety, welfare of the community, and I don’t think that is done again in this plan because it creates hazards that were not there before, and increases the hazards that are already there. The findings of fact of this Plan Commission is going to lack specificity, okay? Again, I think this think has been pre-destined, going back a long time (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Hero, you are repeating yourself. Can you wrap up please). I think the findings of fact are going to be prejudiced, by all of the factors that I said, and I think theres,., it unbiased and not balanced, and there is no proper reasoning in developing this plan. So I think for these reasons, this thing should not be adopted. If you look at who the beneficiaries are.,. (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Hero you are repeating yourself again). I want you to look,., I DIDN’T SAY WHO THE BENEFICIARIES ARE, I’M ASKING IS THERE ANYBODY HERE PRESENT AT THIS TABLE THAT’S A BENEFICIARY OF A STOPLIGHT HERE? I don’t here an answer, okay. We’ll go look at all the properties along the route of the six stop lights. That will tell you who the beneficiaries are gonna be. So, for all of these reasons I think the Town of St. John; the people are not the beneficiaries. The developers are the beneficiaries, and I think there’s been an undue influence by Mr. Forbes, in conducting this public hearing. I think it is illegal, because he has shut down Mr. Swets, he has shut down Mr. Parada, and he has tried to shut me down. AND FOR ALL OF THOSE REASONS THIS IS NOT A VALID PUBLIC HEARING (Mr. Forbes: We got it Mr. Hero). AND FOR THOSE REASONS I OBJECT TO IT – THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LISTENING (Mr. Forbes: Appreciate your opinion).
Michelle Haluska (12406 Patnoe Drive): This is specifically for the Comprehensive / Thoroughfare Plan. I was here when they did the 2005, and a lot of things have been brought up. At that time they were looking at the Fabian property that is North of the railroad tracks, just north of the mall. That is bad soil. That plan had to be changed. They just want to go back to the 2000 plan, but keep in mind, when you did the Master Zoning Ordinance and U.S. 41 was made our commercial corridor. They didn’t take anybody’s houses. You are having a knee-jerk reaction because you are being part of a Comprehensive Plan, and just like the letter that was sent to you. They are not taking your homes. NIRPC has been working on the high-speed rail system that was supposed to go from Indianapolis to Chicago, and have a train station around here. That was back in the 1980(s). It took 22 years to get the stop light at 97th Lane and U.S. 41. All of Homestead Acres, all 34 phases, was just about completed before that light went in. I do understand that these six stoplights are conceptual. Are they just going to pop up overnight?, No.
Is INDOT going to just put them up because “Hey, we have a comprehensive plan and we’ve had a public hearing, and they want here, here, here and here”? No. We are not Schererville. We are not Highland. We are not Dyer, East Chicago, Whiting, Crown Point.
However, keep in mind, those of you that have lived here a long time, I know the historical value of the different neighborhoods. I remember when Standard Lumber was on par with Schilling Lumber. And both were thriving family-based businesses. Mr. Buchanan Sr. developed that commercial property, and tried to keep the same building. Now, it has nothing to do with the Comprehensive Plan that Mr. Boyer / Buchanan, want to take that old, dilapidated Standard Lumber building and tear it down, and put in some beautiful brick commercial buildings. But anyone that has gone to Dunkin Donuts, and one of my favorite places to get coffee, knows that the intersection is a nightmare, and they also know that the Indiana Department of Transportation is adamant, they will not allow the Town of St. John to put a traffic light there. To divert the traffic to 96th, which is the only one I feel is probably in the near future, is for the safety of the Town, including all the residents on Joliet. Nobody should be making a left hand turn onto U.S. 41, period, from Joliet Street. Traffic shouldn’t be backed up to the light because they are trying to make a left hand turn onto Joliet Street. They need to just settle down. Nobody is taking your homes. This is conceptual. What it does mean is, that if; after all your families at your house have gone, you want to sell it because that used to be the Town’s commercial area. That’s where our Post Office was. You now have Mr. Sarkey’s insurance, and you do have seamstress work there in part of it. If you sell your house and say well it’s going to make our house worth less. No, it’s going to be worth more because then it can be sold for commercial, as part of the Town Center. Only if and when, you choose, to sell your house. [background comments diverting attention] (Mr. Forbes: Ms. Haluska please address the board). Absolutely, sorry. But nobody took any homes on U.S. 41 when they made it all a commercial corridor. They did make standards. Somewhere, somebody has been telling people, and selling them a bill of goods about how they are gonna take their homes away from them. (Mr. Forbes: Mr. Parada, please! Mr. Parada please do not interrupt). They are trying very hard to take a safety issue, which is very poor, and make it better. Thank you for your time.
Mr. Forbes advised that was the last name on the list and he closed the floor to public comment, and bring it back to the board. Mr. Forbes stated to members “ Gentlemen, we have heard a lot of discussion ideas, any thoughts on moving forward, not moving forward, or deferring so that we can have a discussion on this”. Mr. Kozel stated that he thinks the board needs to discuss it just a little bit more. Given the length of our meeting tonight, can we defer this matter to our Study Session? Mr. Kozel said he had no problem with that. Mr. Gill; no objection, Mr. Maciejewski; no objection, Mr. Volk; no objection.
Mr. Forbes stated then he will entertain a motion to defer this topic and continue the discussion at our Study Session. Motion made by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
B. RENAISSANCE UNIT 8 – Primary Plat Approval / Public Hearing (Mr. Doug Terpstra, Wyngate Development)
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda was Renaissance – Unit 8 for Primary Plat approval and Public Hearing. The Petitioner is Mr. Doug Terpstra of Wyngate Development.
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Austgen if the proofs of publication are in order. Mr. Austgen advised that they are and you may proceed with the public hearing.
Mr. Doug Terpstra of Wyngate Development introduced himself to the board. Mr. Terpstra advised that they are here requesting Primary Approval for a three (3) lot addition, final phase in Renaissance at Rosegate, and it includes shutting off Clarmonte Avenue to the Town’s specifications.
Mr. Forbes noted that the board has discussed this several times and ask the board for any questions at this time.
Mr. Kil read Mr. Kraus’s review letter:
“We have reviewed the Primary Plat for the referenced project and have the following comments. The subdivision project includes three residential lots, streets and associated facilities. We have completed our review and note that the infrastructure details will adhere to the original approved Gates of St. John details. We find the plans to be satisfactory, with the exception of an extraneous note to vacate a part of Clarmonte Drive. The Developmental Fee has not been established at this time, but will be based upon a 2% of the construction costs of public improvements as supplied by the developer”.
Mr. Kil stated he thought that they were not going to vacate that part of Clarmonte. Mr. Kraus advised that they did take the all the other indication, the hatching of that, but there is one note that got left on the plan, that should have been removed. So if that one note is deleted like it should have been, them it’s fine. Mr. Kraus said he believes it is just an oversight and should be correct by Final Plat.
Mr. Muenich advised that you cannot vacate all of that entire right-of-way, they have public water mains, sanitary sewers that lie within that right-of-way. So the re-structuring on the cul-de-sac is within, plus the addition from the Final Plat for the ground part off to the East. But you can’t vacate the remainder that goes out to Joliet Street because of the utilities that are in place. I think there is also a telephone line and Comcast lines within that right-of-way. Mr. Kil advised Mr. Muenich that is what they were discussing by not using the words vacate so it stays public right-of-way.
Mr. Forbes advised that this is a public hearing, please come up the podium and state your name and address for the record:
Scott Kielasinski (9600 Berkley Lane): Which is just off of Clarmonte Drive. The question I have is, I don’t understand what they want to do to Clarmonte Drive. Do they want to shut that off? (Mr. Forbes: Yes, that has been in the plans since the inception of The Gates project. Clarmonte Drive will turn into a cul-de-sac, then 97th Place, you will now come down Clarmonte, turn on 97th and go to an extension of Parrish and there will be an aligned intersection of Parrish and Joliet Street). And what is the purpose of them doing that. (Mr. Forbes: To eliminate the jogs in the two streets and bring them back together). Okay, so now the people that come down Parrish will now just go through the subdivision and continue through the subdivision, now going past more homes, it doesn’t not alleviate a problem that they are having going on Clarmonte Drive. (Mr. Forbes: It does slow the traffic down. And it does improve the intersection of Joliet, Clarmonte and Parrish). I think the new homes there are going to be very upset, cause all its going to do is bring more traffic past all those new homes that their gonna build there. It might as well turn onto Joliet Street and go down Clarmonte again. And let them blow the stop signs there, like they do now. Its not gonna stop,., if they take off that street, where they cut into Clarmonte Drive, now you’re talking about stopping the traffic flow. Where they came back in onto Clarmonte Drive, dead-end that street. (Mr. Forbes: Which street?). (Mr. Kil: He’s wants a dead at 97th, not connected to Clarmonte is what he’s saying. You would eliminate the north movement of traffic). Yes. (Mr. Kil: Cause right now they just turn..) Let them extend Cline Avenue all the way through. That’s what they’re trying to do. That’s the only way you’re gonna stop the flow of that traffic through.
Wendy Anderson (9714 Berkley Lane): So, I’m at the corner of Berkley and Clarmonte. I’m where that stop sign gets blown, every day, several times a day, where my kids have played. The problem I have.,. I built my house there over twenty years ago. I built it when it didn’t go through to 93rd. I built it when there were two dead-ends, Clarmonte dead-end and Berkley dead-end. That’s what my subdivision was when I built my house there. We were told, all these different thing, “oh there’s gonna be a park there”; we were told a lotta stuff. But anyway, my problem is, when Parrish initially, the way it was before they moved it over, it did hit Clarmonte. And it was a straight shot. This jog that as Mr. Kielasinski just said, this jog is gonna cause,., it’s a safety issue, because now people are already whipping around. Their gonna whip around, their gonna whip around that corner of those house, and their gonna come right back into our subdivision. So those of us that just wanna just leave the subdivision a straight way, leave the subdivision. Now we have to go through another.,. group of homes,., somebody else’s subdivision. And its completely a safety issue. There is no reason why there needs to be a dead end there. Um, when there were dead-ends before, what was happening,., you got,., you had just people driving down, stopping and turning around, driving stopping. The same thing over and over. Now you’re gonna have the same thing. People are gonna come down Clarmonte, not realizing that the street is the only one to go through. Their gonna stop, their gonna have to turn around, their gonna go back down that street. I think having,., I get oh we don’t need to have the jog, well then we shouldn’t have moved Parrish to begin with. Because you didn’t have the jog before. So I guess my whole thing is that it’s a safety issue, um, and you’re not.,. you’re not, you can tell yourself until your blue in the face that your slowing down traffic. But until you sit in there, or you have police officers sitting there, which I have seen on several occasions, sitting there and see that traffic, zoom in there. This is not gonna stop it,., at all. Its just an extra jog that people are taking that is gonna cause another safety issue.
Mr. Forbes advised that was all that was on the list and he will be closing the floor to public hearing and bring it back to the board. Mr. Forbes asked the commission for any discussion on this.
[Voice in background stating that he was not aware that he was supposed to sign in,., if I may?]
Mr. Forbes asked the gentleman to step up the podium.
Richard Mislan (9780 Clarmonte Drive: Um, you said something about a three lot approval. What exactly are the three lots that are being approved.
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kil to bring up the proposed plat onto the meeting room screen.
Mr. Forbes advised that basically the two lots, those two lots are across the street from you, and one lot is north of 97th Place. [background noises] Mr. Kil will bring it up on the screen in just a second.
[It was noted that the laptop at the podium was still plugged in from the Comprehensive Plan presentation of Ms. Christine Carlyle of Solomon-Cordwell and Buenz, and will have to be un-plugged before the board’s device can display the reference agenda item plat. After unplugging the laptop the meeting room screen malfunction and would not come back down for display].
Mr. Kil showed Mr. Mislan and Ms. Anderson a hard copy at the dais, showing the location of the proposal and answered their questions directly.
Mr. Mislan – continued: Mr. Forbes, the last meeting I was here, was when they tried to change the original plat that we had on this. He wanted to get,., I don’t know, four or five extra lots. (Mr. Forbes: He did not get that). You said you were against that, and you agreed with me. The original plat, and I got the picture here, only showed one lot across from my house, and the other one was an Outlot, that was supposed to be dedicated to the Town of St. John.
[A lot of discussion in the background amongst several persons; cannot ascertain any specific information for the record].
Mr. Mislan – continued: … what is the mountain of dirt you have there. That mound of dirt that you have right across from me. What’s your intentions for that. (Doug Terpstra: To move it). How long will that be there. (Doug Terpstra: as soon as someone buys the lot). Approximately how long do you think that will take. In the meantime your gonna have four-wheelers, that have already been on it, you seen that, you seen that yourself. And it creates a lot of dust and I live across the street from it. So, your gonna leave that pile of dirt there 20’ high? Are you gonna let him keep that pile of dirt there 20’ high, across from my house?
Mr. Kil advised that he can’t keep the pile of dirt there, because he can’t build houses unless he moves it.
Mr. Mislan – continued: Well, what’s the time limit. Are you gonna keep it there for five years, ten years?
Mr. Kil advised Mr. Mislan that he cannot give him an exact day when the pile will be moved; as was stated by Mr. Terpstra.,.
Mr. Mislan – continued: In the meantime, I see you have four-wheelers already been on it. Are you gonna keep them off of it? (Mr. Kil: Am I personally going to chase them off of it?). The Town of St. John, will they keep them off of it. (Mr. Kil: Well, if you call the Police Department, I think that they can take care of that for you). And what other plans do you have on landscaping there. (Doug Terpstra: None). No landscaping at all? (Doug Terpstra: Just seeded grass). Now, are these lots, are they gonna be facing Clarmonte Drive? (Doug Terpstra: Yes). Well, I was under the impression that this was the original plat, and there was only one lot there, that’s what baffles me, I don’t know what happened, but.,. Thank you.
Mr. Forbes asked the commission for any final comments. [A lot of discussion in the background amongst several persons; cannot ascertain any specific information for the record].
Hearing no further comments from the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding Primary Plat approval for Renaissance – Unit 8, and please include the Findings of Fact by reference.
Mr. Kozel made the motion to grant Primary Subdivision approval for Renaissance – Unit 8 and referencing the Findings of Fact. With no second to the motion, motion dies.
(Unknown asking Mr. Forbes for the location of stop signs). Mr. Forbes advised that is at the discretion of the Police Chief.
Mr. Forbes asked the board members for their thoughts on moving forward on this item. Mr. Williams made a motion to defer for further study of traffic impact. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays. Mr. Forbes stated that this will be on the next Study Session.
C. ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT – Chapter 15 Sign Regulations
Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is the Zoning Ordinance 1483, Chapter 15, Sign Regulation Public Hearing. Mr. Forbes asked Attorney Muenich if proofs of publication are in order. Mr. Muenich advised they are in order and public hearing can proceed.
Mr. Forbes noted that he is aware that the commission members were unaware that this topic was going to be on our agenda, as we did not discuss this at our study session. This comes from a request by the Town Council to rescind the Political Signage Section of our sign ordinance. The ordinance calls for the repeal of Section G.2 in its entirety.
Mr. Maciejewski commented that Section G.2 includes more than just political signs, as it includes temporary signs and banners. Is there a reason why the entire section is to be stricken and not just the lower portion. Mr. Maciejewski commented that political signs start at Item “B” through “J”; “A” deals with temporary signs and banners and I’m not sure if the intent was to strike that. Mr. Maciejewski stated his second question was if there is replacement language or are we just striking that.
Mr. Forbes advised that he had requested replacement language and I have not received such information at this time. Mr. Austgen advised he would be happy to give an explanation on the record.
Mr. Austgen advised that the Town Council directed at its May public meeting the political sign portion of this, and they didn’t say specifically political signs portion, but they directed that the political sign component of the Zoning Ordinance not be enforced, and that it be cleared from the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Austgen advised that he knows it was taken generically as a description, a direction and an action. Mr. Austgen advised that he reviewed the Section G.2 of that chapter and it is a 15-page chapter to your Zoning Ordinance, and it has a lot of regulations in it. He advised that the reason for that removal has to do with its application to the Federal and the United States Supreme Court case that came down, that has impacted a lawsuit proceeding against this Town. Mr. Austgen further advised that you have to read all of that, and you just can’t read your ordinance, you just can’t take those 15-pages and read it, you cannot just take the permitted political signs and read, you have to read the Gilbert lawsuit, the decision by the United States Supreme Court. And you have to take and understand that against what the regulations are. Political Signs are permitted, absolutely they are permitted, they are permitted just like other signs are permitted in this Town. So, the deletion of the defined section G.2, Permitted Political Signs, was to take away the, or to remove from interpretation and enforcement, a specifically described content wise, sign in this Town. As of a violation or a regulation that you are creating. In other words, all signs are to be treated nearly the same if not the same. So, we don’t treat some signs as political; and we don’t treat some as otherwise. That is what the case has talked about. So, when I reviewed this, I looked at it in that context, that totality, not just a single or simple component. And I was asked by Mike about the replacement, and its my opinion, at least at this point, still, that the remaining regulations still work, subject to probably some adjustment based upon additional information that I am receiving, and most notably from the Police Chief in the last week. Unfortunately the Police Chief is on vacation, for me unfortunately, good for him. But there is additional information that I have been researching related to some aspects of replacement or additional, but at this point, removal of this seemed appropriate, given the body of the balance of the sign regulation portion of the ordinance.
Mr. Maciejewski said he guessed he understands that for his section question, but his first question was that the first portion of G.2 Item “A”, has nothing to do with political signs.M
r. Austgen read: “G.2 says permitted signs, permitted political signs and “A” is political sign shall not be allowed more than thirty days before.,. and that’s been removed by this ordinance, this text amendment that is proposed, its deleted”. Mr. Maciejewski asked where he was reading that, he believed he was reading something different than what he is reading.
Mr. Forbes read: “I’ve got G.2 Permitted Signs and zoning districts except for commercial and industrial. Temporary signs and banners. Temporary signs, temporary signs, as Jim says Section “A”.
Mr. Maciejewski stated that he thinks he understands everything that they are saying, which is what he is reading as starting as Item “B”, and go down from there.
Mr. Austgen advised that he was just reading from what is has as the code. Mr. Austgen advised that he has additional information to obtain from the Police Chief, and he has no issues with a deferral, once you have the public hearing and access that.
Mr. Forbes asked for any further questions or thoughts from the board. Mr. Williams asked what mechanically are we being asked to do tonight with regard to this situation. Mr. Forbes advised that the ordinance, as written, calls for the deletion of Section G.2 in its entirety.
Mr. Maciejewski stated that in the context of what Attorney Austgen stated that other provisions of the sign ordinance would govern, he just has a disagreement with Item “A”. Mr. Austgen commented that the intent was to delete the phrase “political” from the sign regulations, so that signs are treated the same from a content perspective.
Mr. Maciejewski stated that he then had another question in regards to G.2 Item “F” that political signs are allowed only with the permission of the owner of the premises. Mr. Austgen advised that all signs are permitted on private property, only with the permission of the owner.
General discussion ensued as to similar language in the Zoning Ordinance where this topic was addressed.
Mr. Williams asked if they can keep Item “A”. Mr. Austgen advised that the board could make that recommendation to the Town Council.
Mr. Birlson stated that he did not receive any specific language regarding G.2. Mr. Forbes advised that there is no replacement text, and that they received only the repeal ordinance and reminded that there was no discussion on replacement language. Mr. Birlson stated that he did not receive the original language then. Mr. Kil advised that a Master Zoning Ordinance will be provided to him.
Mr. Austgen commented for record: “There is a prohibited signs section, and you’ll find in “P” signs on any property without the consent of the party having the right of present possession, is a prohibited sign. And I can only liken it to all of you at your homes. Somebody showed up in the middle of the night and dropped a sign in your yard, “for sale by owner”, whatever it says, you gave no permission for it. That is a prohibited sign. And your ordinance says that. Generically, its says that about any sign”.
Mr. Forbes stated he takes back what he said, because Item 4 under G.2 says “temporary signs are only allowed with the permission of the property owner”.
With no further questions from the board, Mr. Forbes opened the floor to Public Comment.
Mr. Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): In the interest of time I am gonna to make this very brief. Um, when can I put up my sign that says “Vote for Gerry Swets, Lake County Recorder”. Is there a time restriction on that. (Mr. Forbes: Apparently not any more). So I can put that anywhere in St. John. (Mr. Austgen: Where you have permission. If you go to Mr. Birlson’s house and he says “no”, or Mr. Forbes house, or mine). Okay, that’s the only question I have.
Mr. Joe Hero (11723 S. Oakridge Drive): I requested a copy of what was on the agenda today from the Clerk-Treasurer and some of these people up here. And there was a lot of confusion. I think this should be, first of all, “deferred” until you have something substantial in your hand, so you can all read to understand what is going on. Because based on the conversation, nobody seem to know what was going on. So, I think in order to make a intelligent decision, you have to have a piece of paper in front of your hand. And obviously that was not provided to you , or not available to the public. Second item is this, I would ask that when you draft the new sign ordinance, that any public official who removes a sign that’s a political sign, for any reason at all, be terminated from the Town of St. John. I ask that you put that right into the sign ordinance, as a penalty for any person who is an employee of the town, that he be terminated immediately. Any employee who illegally removes a political sign be terminated. Okay, put that right in the ordinance. Also, I would ask that you put in the ordinance, that any public official, elected public official who assists in the removal a political sign, illegally, be deemed to have resigned his office. Thank you.
Mr. Forbes brought the matter back to the board. After much discussion, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to defer to our next study session. Mr. Williams made the motion. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
OLD / NEW BUSINESS:
A. BOYER COMMERCIAL CENTER – Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing (Mr. Bruce Boyer)
Mr. Forbes advised the next item on the agenda is Boyer Commercial Development located at the site of former Standard Lumber, request permission to advertise for public hearing for a zone change from C-2 and Industrial to C-2 PUD.
Mr. Bruce Boyer of Boyer Properties introduced himself to the board. He advised that they are here tonight regarding their proposed commercial development located on the East side of U.S. 41 and 96th. The property is currently zoned C-2, C-2 PUD and Industrial, that there are a number of separate parcels there. Mr. Boyer advised they will be seeking a new C-2 Planned Unit Development zoning, and we are here tonight simply to request permission to advertise for that zone change.
Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or concerns. Hearing none, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to authorize Public Hearing for the Boyer Commercial Center. Mr. Volk made motion to grant approval. Motion seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 7 ayes 0 nays.
B. GATES OF ST. JOHN – Pod 10J – Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing (Mr. John Lotton)
Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is the Gates of St. John – Unit 10 J, request permission to advertise for public hearing for a zone change from R-2 PUD to R-3 PUD.
Mr. Lotton stepped to the podium advising he is requesting the zone change. Mr. Forbes reminded the board that they have had extensive discussion on this item at their study session.
Mr. Forbes asked for any questions or concerns. Mr. Williams asked Mr. Lotton to refresh his memory on how many units they are talking about with this.
Mr. Lotton advised nineteen (19) lots, maximum two (2) units per lot for a total of thirty-eight (38) duplexes.
Mr. Forbes entertained a motion from the board. Motion made by Mr. Kozel to grant request to advertise public hearing. Motion seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
C. 9001 WEST 96th PLACE - Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing (Steve and Julie Salmen)
Mr. Forbes advised the next item is permission to advertise for a one lot subdivision at 9001 West 96th Place from a Steve and Julie Salmen. Mr. Forbes reminded the board that there was discussion of this at the study session; they are looking to combine two (2) lots. Mr. Forbes asked for any questions or thoughts from the board.
Mr. Forbes entertained a motion from the board. Mr. Williams made a motion to grant permission to advertise for public hearing. Motion seconded Mr. Maciejewski. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
D. McNAMARA ESTATES (10806 Ontario Street) – Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing (Ms. Pamela McNamara)
Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is McNamara Estates at 10806 Ontario, requesting authorization to advertise for public hearing for a two (2) lot residential subdivision.
Mr. Kevin McNamara introduced himself to the board, and advised his property is on the corner of 108th and Ontario, and they are requesting permission to advertise. Is was noted that they are evenly dividing the one lot into two (2) fairly substantial lots. Each lot will be approximately .6 acres.
Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions or comments. Mr. Williams wanted to know which building was facing where, because he thought there was some questions at the study session in that regard. Mr. Kil advised that the new lot would face 108th, since it is not even close to Ontario, so the new lot would have an address on 108th.
Mr. McNamara advised the plat will clearly show that distinction. Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to authorize public hearing. Motion made by Mr. Kozel. Motion seconded by Mr. Gill. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
E. ROSE GARDEN – Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing (Mr. Doug Rettig)
Mr. Forbes advised the next item is Rose Garden, request permission to advertise for public hearing for re-subdivision of two (2) lots into a single lot.
Mr. Doug Rettig of Land Technologies introduced himself to the board. Mr. Rettig advised that he got ahead of himself and advertised for public hearing tonight. Mr. Rettig advised that they placed the notice in the newspaper and send out the green cards. Mr. Rettig advised that it is a simple two (2) lot re-subdivision, combining two lots into one lot, and he has drawings available. Those drawings were presented a few weeks ago. Mr. Rettig knows he needs permission to advertise; however there are some residents here and asked if they could do the public hearing as well.
Mr. Williams asked if today’s date was on the advertising. Mr. Muenich advised that it is, and that the proofs of publication and the green cards are in order. Mr. Rettig apologized for getting ahead of himself on the procedure.
Mr. Muenich advised Mr. Forbes that his options are, (1) you can waive your rules, requiring permission from the board to advertise in the first instance, to allow him to go ahead and hold a public hearing tonight, it has been advertised, it has been published so you would not be breaking anything within the framework of the statutory ordinance, you would only be waiving your own rule that normally people appear before you to request permission to get to that stage in the first place.
Mr. Muenich further stated that he does not know if this was reviewed at a Study Session. Several board members advised that it was. Mr. Muenich advised the second option is that you can go ahead and hold the public hearing, and defer ruling on it, until the next meeting that stays within the guise of the advertising as an expos-facto. Mr. Muenich advised the third option would be to defer the whole matter, including remonstrance(s) and the public hearing to the next regular meeting.
Mr. Kozel asked if there was anyone here (to the audience) to speak on this matter? Hearing none, Mr. Williams made a recommendation to defer this matter to the next regular meeting. Mr. Muenich advised that the question becomes, does he have to re-advertise or are you going to accept this advertising, that conforms with the statute in your rules.
Mr. Williams clarified that his recommendation is for the petitioner to re-advertise for the public plan commission meeting, which would be early August. General discussion ensued with the board members on the recommendation. Mr. Williams asked Mr. Rettig what is the cost factor. Mr. Rettig advised it is approximately $400.00 - $500.00. Mr. Muenich counted that there were seventeen (17) green cards sent.
Mr. Kil stated to address Mr. William’s concern, he recommended that they open the floor, have the public hearing, and defer everything to the date of when the public hearing would be anyway. That would allow him to not re-advertise, but also kind of follow procedure, if you will.
Mr. Rettig stated that is what he was hoping for, although he said it was his mistake. Discussion ensued with the board members who agreed to continue as suggested.
Mr. Forbes commented that for edification, you are combining two (2) R-2 lots, into one (1) R-2 lot. Mr. Rettig advised it is just to allow to build a larger home on two (2) lots.
Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to waive the rules requiring the approval to advertise the public hearing. Motion made by Mr. Williams. Motion seconded by Mr. Maciejewski. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
Mr. Forbes asked for any questions before opening the floor to public comment. Hearing none, Mr. Forbes open the floor. With no one stepping forward to speak on Rose Garden, Mr. Forbes closed the floor to public comment and brought it back to the board. Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to defer. Motion made by Mr. Williams, Motion carried by Mr. Maciejewski. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays. Mr. Rettig was advised that this will appear on the August regular meeting for continued public hearing.
F. LAKE CENTRAL SCHOOL CORPORATION – Site Plan Approval for Concession Stand (Mr. Bill Ledyard)
Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item was the Lake Central School Corporation, site plan approval for construction of concession stand.
Mr. Bill Ledyard and Dr. Larry Veracco approached the podium and introduced themselves to the board. They advised they are here to present the site plan that was brought to the last study session, and since that study session, Mr. Kraus has gotten back to myself and Schmitt & Associates with some questions and comments. They concerned site grading and details would adhere to the 2012 High School plan. We have confirmed the water size and we added a handicapped ramp per Mr. Kraus.
Mr. Kraus advised that he spoke to Mr. Derwin Neitzel of the Public Works Department, concerning the sewer and water service line to be extended to this facility.
With no questions from the board, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding site plan approval for Lake Central School Corporation. Mr. Gill made motion to grant site plan approval. Motion seconded by Mr. Kozel. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
G. HEARTLAND PARK – Final Plat Approval (Mr. Doug Rettig)
Mr. Forbes announced the next agenda item is Heartland Park for Final Plat approval.
Mr. Rettig of Land Technologies introduced himself, advised he is here to request Final Plat approval for the First Re-Subdivision of Heartland Park. He advised he has hard copies of the plan available for the board members. Mr., Rettig advised they have been working on this for several months. This involves the St. John Ice Arena, and they will be subdividing what is now known as Heartland Park, which is a two-lot subdivision, and re-subdividing it into a two-lot subdivision with a different configuration.
Mr. Williams asked Mr. Kil if a decision was made on the dog kennels on the side of the shelter building. Mr. Kil advised that he is still working on that matter with Animal Control. Mr. Kil advised that there is only a couple of them and they will work.
Mr. Forbes called upon Mr. Kraus for comment. Mr. Kraus advised he sent a letter this afternoon. He reviewed the plat and everything on the plat is fine; they had to put the FEMA information on there that was lacking, and I had some confusion over the notaries’ certificate since there are two different owners; however, that was cleared up. Mr. Kraus further advised that the Developmental Fee has not been calculated as they have not received the cost of the public infrastructure, but once that has been submitted they will calculate the 2%. That will have to be paid before the mylars are signed. This will also be done once we know if a letter of credit is going to be submitted.
Mr. Forbed asked for any questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion; advising that any motion should include the withholding of signatures until the Developmental Fee and Letter of Credit are established, and posted, and please reference the Findings of Fact into your motion.
Mr. Maciejewski made a motion to approve Final Plat approval for Heartland Park with the contingency that final signatures be withheld until determination and payment of developmental fee and letter of credit and referencing the findings of fact. Seconded by Mr. Birlson. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
H. KILKENNY HIGHLANDS – Final Plat Approval (Mr. Doug Rettig)
Mr. Doug Rettig of Land Technologies, re-introduced himself to the board for the record, representing Andy James of Homes Lake Development, who is the developer of Kilkenny Highlands.
Mr. Rettig stated that once again this is a project that has been before you for several months; it is a twelve-lot subdivision. This is right next to Kilkenny Estates – Unit 4 Block 1, that Mr. James developed about a year ago, and it is an extension of that.
Mr. Rettig advised they are here to request Final Plat approval; 97% of the infrastructure is in place. Mr. James brought a check for the outstanding items for the Letter of Credit that we worked out with Mr. Kraus. Two of those items were the asphalt surface; the binder course and the surface. The binder went down yesterday, however due to rain today they could not put the surface down.
Mr. Rettig advised that they do have the mylars here tonight and we have an interested party who wants to build a house, so we are trying to get this final approval done and over with so we can record our plat and get on with the construction of homes. Again, all the sewers in the ground, curbs are in, binder’s down, and hopefully finish asphalt tomorrow.
Mr. Rettig advised that the other thing that they spoke about before; is changing the street name in the previous unit. It was platted in Unit 4 – Block 1, the little curved street was platted as Columbia Street, when in fact the street to the North is called Columbia Avenue. The new portion, the name desired is Declan Court. Therefore, we have prepared a certificate of amendment that addresses whose street name changes. We will not record this until everyone is okay with it. This changes the addresses of three lots in the existing Unit 4.
Mr. Kil asked Mr. Rettig for the hard copy to scan and get sent out. Mr. Birlson asked what lots are changed. Mr. Rettig advised Lots 12, 14 and 15, call in Unit 4 – Block 1. There are no completed homes on the lots. Mr. Kil advised this is what we have been working on; our I.T. Director Jason Dravet, and Mr. Rettig. It is only a change in the addresses. Mr. Kil advised that if the board is inclined, you can vote on it tonight, because it does not change a plat, it just changes numbers.
Mr. Muenich commented that he reviewed this on another matter the other day, and there is a statute I.C. 36-74-405 that governs the numbering of lots and the naming of the streets. The Plan Commission has the authority to add street numbers to lots and to structures; however, the Executives names or renames streets, if there is an ordinance, and to my knowledge, there is not one. The Plan Commission recommends the naming or renaming of streets to the Town Council. Absent that ordinance, the Executive, who would be the Town Council President, as I read the statute, has the authority to name and rename the streets under Sub-Section C. Mr. Forbes clarified that the Columbia Street portion of this issue would have to be re-platted in order to rename a 50’-60’ stretch of road. Mr. Forbes suggested that the plan commission make a recommendation to the Town Council to rename street to simplify the matter.
Mr. Forbes stated Mr. Kraus recommended the Letter of Credit in the amount of $51,330.00, but that was before you knew the asphalt was down on the road. So, the check submitted is for $29,825.00; Mr. Kraus concurred with the amount. So, Mr. Forbes commented that he has in his hands both the Developmental Fee and the Letter of Credit in that aforementioned amount.
Mr. Forbes asked if there is a motion regarding Final Plat approval for Kilkenny Highlands. Mr. Kozel made a motion to grant approval. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
Mr. Forbes advised he would entertain a motion regarding the sending of a recommendation to the Town Council to accept the Letter of Credit in the amount of $29,825.00 for the Kilkenny Highlands. Mr. Kozel made motion to send favorable recommendation to the Town Council. Motion seconded by Mr. Maciejewski. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
Mr. Forbes lastly entertained a motion regarding sending a recommendation to the Town Council, regarding the renaming of Columbia Street to Columbia Avenue, and a portion to be named Declan Court, for that portion lying South of James Lane.
After clarification on the changes to be made, Mr. Forbes asked if there is a motion on that recommendation. Mr. Maciejewski made the motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for the aforementioned changes of addresses. Motion seconded Mr. Kozel. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays
Mr. Muenich advised Mr. Rettig that he would send him a note on how to change the certificate of amendment to tie it into the statute for the action at the Town Council.
I. PROVIDENCE BANK – Final Plat Approval (Mr. Phil Mulder)
Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is Providence Bank for Final Plat approval.
Mr. Phil Mulder with Lagestee-Mulder introduced himself to the board, advising they are seeking Final Plat approval for Providence Bank at the southwest corner of Calumet Avenue and 101st. Mr. Mulder advised that he has brought four (4) copies of the mylar, and he has the checks that were requested.
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus if he sent a letter on this project. Mr. Kraus advised they have reviewed the Secondary Plat for the Providence Project and had the following comments. The subdivision project includes one (1) R-1 Residential lot of 20.94 acres and one (1) C-2 Commercial lot of 1.38 acres. We have reviewed the plat and find it to be satisfactory. The Developmental Fee for this project is $3,114.59. Not all public improvements have been installed, therefore a Letter of Credit in the amount $171,302.45 or a Surety Bond in the amount of $202,448.35 to cover the cost of construction of these public improvements.
Mr. Mulder advised that he has a Cashier’s check. Mr. Kraus advised that the Surety Bond is 20% higher is due to the difficulties in cashing them. Mr. Forbes placed the checks into the file.
Mr. Forbes asked the board for any questions on Final Plat. Hearing none, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion for Final Plat Approval on Providence Bank. Mr. Kozel made a motion to grant Final Plat approval, and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
Mr. Forbes then entertained a motion to send a recommendation to the Town Council regarding the Letter of Credit in the amount of $171,302.75. Mr. Kozel made a motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for the Letter of Credit submitted. Motion seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
J. GATES OF ST. JOHN – Pod 6C - Final Plat Approval (Mr. Bill Robinson)
Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is the Gates of St. John – Unit 6 C, Final Plat approval.
Mr. Bill Robinson advised that they are requesting Final Plat approval for the Gates of St. John – Unit 6 C. Mr. Robinson submitted the Developmental Fee and advised that they are in the process of getting the Surety Bond. Mr. Robinson advised that he has spoken with Mr. Kraus about the amounts needed, and he should be getting that by next week.
Mr. Kil advised Mr. Robinson to provide a Letter of Credit, instead of the Surety Bond.
Mr. Forbes noted that this is Unit 6C, these are single-family homes, but they are on larger lots. Mr. Robinson advised that there is nine (9) lots, and then you divide up the lot depending upon the size of the homes. Mr. Robinson reminded that was what was approved originally with discussion with Mr. Lotton.
Mr. Forbes asked the board members for any questions or comments. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus if there was anything other than the need for the Letter of Credit. Mr. Kraus said his letter only stated that it covers nine (9) multi-family lots and associated facilities and that the plat was satisfactory.
Mr. Kil asked if we have the mylar(s), we will hold these, and sign them once the Letter of Credit is submitted. Mr. Forbes noted that he has the Developmental Fee check in the amount of $7,529.00.
Mr. Forbes asked for any thoughts or questions from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Forbes entertained a motion regarding the Gates of St. John – Unit 6C, if there is a motion to approve please reference the Findings of Fact and withhold signatures until the Letter of Credit is received into the motion.
Mr. Kozel made motion to grant Final Plat approval for the Gates of St. John – Unit 6C, referencing the Findings of Fact and withholding signatures until we received the Letter of Credit. Motion seconded by Mr. Gill. Motion carried 7 ayes 0 nays.
K. ZAGORIC ADDITION (10955 Thielen Street) – Permission to Advertise for Public Hearing (Mr. Mirko Zagorac)
Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is Zagoric Addition, 10955 Thielen Street, request for public hearing for changing a three-lot subdivision into a two-lot subdivision.
Mr. Mirko Zagoric advised that he has a young couple that is very highly interested, and they want to put a little house there. Mr. Zagoric stated that when he was discussing with Mr. Kil, he was asking for only a 45’ front, and he came down to what the city requires 78’, and I just now need permission to advertise.
Mr. Forbes asked for questions or comments from the board. Mr. Kozel asked if that area was zoned R-1. Mr. Kil advised that area is all legal-nonconforming, this is Keilman’s First Addition from way back. Mr. Muenich stated that he thought it was in 1910. Mr. Kil noted that it’s at least older than Mr. Muenich [laughter]. Mr. Kil advised that entire area does not conform to any ordinances that we have.
Mr. Forbes asked if the board had any other questions, otherwise he entertained a motion to authorize permission to advertise for public hearing. Motion made by Mr. Kozel. Motion seconded by Mr. Birtlson. Motion carried 7 ayes – 0 nays.
Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I would like to add to my remonstrance on the Comprehensive Plan, by saying this; I believe that hearing was illegal and my public comment is simply this.
Mr. Forbes asked for a moment as Mr. Muenich wished to address the Chairman. Mr. Muenich advised, just so we’re clear, he can make any comment he wants, under Section 6 of your agenda, he may not amend or modify the remonstrance which was previously filed when the Public hearing closed. He can say anything he wants to say, but he’s not amending his remonstrance and the record should be clear on that.
Joe Hero (continued): We thank Mr. Muenich for your opinion. I would still like to say this; that what was not available to us, was your approval of Item 5A, when you had the public hearing. You allowed Mr. Boyer to advertise for a zoning change for an area that is in the Comprehensive Plan. So I would like the minutes of this thing to reflect my opinion still that the meeting was fraudulent and that this has already been predisposed, and that the public hearing is meaningless. So, I would like the minutes to reflect that, because I was not, did not have that knowledge during that comment period. But now I have that knowledge, after you’ve approved him advertising for a zoning change. And I believe somebody wouldn’t advertise for a zoning change, spend the money, unless this commission has been predisposed to go through with the Master Plan, which fits his development. That’s just my public comment and I would like that incorporated into the minutes as my objection to Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): Because of the hour I am going to try and make this as brief as possible. But I just want to follow-up to see if there has been any further discussion on the percent guideline concerning multi-family housing units. I think each unit should be counted as an individual dwelling. If there are two utilities and two families living there with two sets of cars, and fire and police protection, two garbage bills, utility bills, I think it should be counted for two residences as it relates to the eight percent rule. Like a single-family dwelling should count for one. A duplex should count for two. And if you have a quad or three, they should count for three. And I was just wondering if you have had any further discussion on that. And then lastly, um, the point that I was trying to make earlier is the State Statute that Mr. Birlson was quoted earlier, about excusing himself from the.,. the law does not apply in that case to a Comprehensive Plan, and I don’t think he got quite that far on the list of the statute, but the statute is very clear that he does not have to recuse himself for the reason of a Comprehensive Plan. Thank you.
Mr. Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia): Regarding the Kilkenny, and specifically the part that kinda wasn’t on the agenda, um, I have no issue with Kilkenny Highlands as it sits. The street name, and actually, um, I caught Mr. James in the hallway, and I pointed out something that they didn’t realize. I’m think it’s going to cause some GPS confusion possibly? I’d like it if you could possibly check into that, cause what I’m afraid of is once that street name’s aligned with the street it’s not connected to, the computer world might think it’s connected, and it will start bringing people through the subdivision thinking it goes up to 81st where it does not. I prefer that street name to be something other than Columbia Avenue, preferably one of the other two street names that exists there, just to prevent that kind of driver confusion, or worse yet, like I said Google will bring everybody through the same, cause it says Columbia,., wow, Columbia, yup it goes through, and people will come there, turn around and come back out, so that was my public comment on that so.
Mr. Forbes stated that he appreciates your thought on that, but I think that it is such a short gap that the computers’ probably going to override it anyways, and it doesn’t matter what the name is, it’s gonna show those streets connected.
Mr. Paul Panczuk (continued): I’m wondering if, I guess the GIS guy is the one that made the recommended change, so if he’s the expert, can he review it. [Mr. Forbes: He was just reviewing the name of the street. Not from a connection standpoint, not from a technology standpoint].
Mr. Kil advised that he would have to ask Mr. Dravet about that.
Mr. Paul Panczuk (continued): On a totally different subject. I would like to just second what Gerry just said. I am the one who brought out that issue with the multi-family counting. And that needs to be changed, cause right now, the.,. it is definitely unfair way of counting housing, and if you’re gonna put a percentage on it, um, I will reiterate what the majority of residents stated at the Comprehensive Plan meeting is, they,., there was nobody up there saying they want more multi-family, so um,., if we’re gonna put a percentage on it, let’s count it properly. I think we need to count each family household residence, every electric meter, water meter; look at it like that cause that is a fair and just way to do so. Otherwise we’re gonna artificially count that, we’re gonna have more multi-family than eight percent. You know, its gotta be looked at as households. Thank you very much.
With no further public comment, Mr. Forbes advised this meeting is adjourned.
(The meeting was adjourned at 9:52 p.m.)
Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary pro-tem
St. John Plan Commission