Town of St. John

St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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October 19, 2016 Plan Commission Minutes

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

Mr. Michael Forbes called to order the St. John Plan Commission Study Session on October 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

Roll call was taken by Michelle Haluska, Recording Secretary, with the following Commissioners present: Gregory Volk, Steve Kozel, John Kennedy, Jon Gill, Bob Birlson and Jason Williams. Staff present: Kenn Kraus, Stephen Kil. David Austgen and Michael Muenich were absent.

A. GATES OF ST. JOHN – POD 13 A – Final Plat Review

Mr. John Lotton introduced himself to the commission. Mr. Lotton advised that he is presenting Pod 13 A for Final Plat (Secondary). Mr. Lotton advised there were no changes.

Mr. Williams questioned when this was last presented because he could not recall seeing this unit before. Mr. Lotton advised that this was first brought in 2006 during the primary plat approval. Mr. Williams inquired about any traffic situations that they need to be aware of.

Mr. Lotton showed there is an entrance going South to 101st, where an excel-decel lane is located. Mr. Lotton also pointed out a stub street; however, there is a pipeline there so he does not foresee it going anywhere. Mr. Lotton advised that Mr. Dale Huseman’s property is to the South. He noted that maybe one lot could be squeezed in, but then there is 165’ of pipeline to cross, which would make it very costly to improve.

Mr. Huseman has approximately 80 acres, but that would be a whole different development, and not his.

Mr. Birlson inquired as to a turn lane to go South into the subdivision. Mr. Lotton advised all that is already in place.

Mr. Kraus asked about the infrastructure status. Mr. Lotton advised that the lime stabilization is done, all the underground is in, they will start stoning tomorrow and on Monday they will start installing curbs.

Mr. Kennedy asked about the direction of entering and exiting. Mr. Lotton advised there is one lane in and two (2). Mr. Lotton advised it would be a “right” and a “through”, and then a “left”.

Mr. Williams inquired as to an area shaded in gray. Mr. Lotton advised that was Phase 2 and would likely be developed next year.

Mr. Volk asked if Mr. Kil had anything to add to the discussion. Mr. Kil advised that he did not, this was all laid out and approved back in 2006.

General discussion ensued on the dead-end, stub street to the South.

With no further questions from the board, Mr. Volk advised Mr. Lotton that he will be seen at the Regular meeting on November 2, 2016.

B. GATES OF ST. JOHN – POD 4 A – Final Plat review

Mr. Lotton advised that this phase was also in for Final Plat. Mr. Lotton advised that they are single family cottage homes. These are similar to Pod 2, 5 and 6.

Mr. Volk asked if anything was changed from the original platting. Mr. Lotton advised no, this was the original platting, although some easement on some drainage ways were adjusted. The actual lots have not changed.

Mr. Williams asked for a specific location on the overall subdivision plat that was on the screen. Mr. Lotton pointed out Cline Avenue, the entrance is 1/2 mile north of Route 231.

Mr. Kraus inquired as to the improvements status. Mr. Lotton advised that the roads are stoned and the curbing will start on Monday. The berms, the grass and trees are in, it is pretty far along.

Mr. Birlson asked what is the difference between a single family cottage home and a duplex. The house is detached.

Mr. Williams asked what the typical square footage is on the homes. Mr. Lotton advised that the units are from 1,600 s.f. to 2,400 s.f. Mr. Lotton advised there are four (4) different sizes. Mr. Lotton advised that it is for 21 homes in this phase, but an overall total of all will be 127.

Mr. Kennedy asked about the intersection of 105th and Cline Avenue. Mr. Lotton advised there is an acceleration lane going to the South, and from the North there is a property right up to the edge, and we will widen it to that point, as there is an old farmhouse there and they may own to the middle of the roadway. Mr. Lotton advised that he believes we have two (2) out and one (1) in there.

Mr. Kennedy asked about a decel. Mr. Lotton advised they do not have the real estate for a decel there, we only have an excel going South.

Mr. Williams asked if Mr. Lotton would mock it for the commissioners so they can see how that intersection is going to work with Cline Avenue. Mr. Lotton pointed out there is an exit also on 101st.

Mr. Williams asked for the plat on screen be zoomed out to see where the other cottage homes would be. Mr. Lotton pointed to Pod 4 on the screen, drew attention as requested to the areas that are already built and the area that is to be built in the future. For a sense of direction, Mr. Lotton pointed out Park Place and the power lines.

Mr. Birlson asked if Northbound on Cline would there be a turn lane into the subdivision. Mr. Lotton stated there is not one proposed for there. Mr. Kil advised that was discussed at some point as a primary intersection, but only if the property to the East would be developed, then we could get the necessary right-of-way property in order to put in that improvement. Right now it is all unincorporated and we don’t have a right-of-way to do everything we want. There is a similar situation with property just west of Parrish, that is going to be a subject of a fairly decent intersection improvement at some point when the property come in.

General discussion ensued on right-of-ways. Mr. Lotton advised that he is giving 50’ from the center of the road.

Mr. Williams asked if there was an overview of all of Cline from 101st to 231. Mr. Kil advised that on the east side there are a bunch of small homes, all are unincorporated and have a private drive. Mr. Kil pointed out a large section of farmland that is owned by Mr. Barman, and that presently there are two (2) cuts onto Cline Avenue.

Mr. Kil advised that if the corner develops as commercial, they will definitely want access to Cline Avenue. I and Mr. Lotton have discussed stubbing out of The Gates, but right now Mr. Barman does not want to develop, he enjoys farming.

Mr. Williams wanted clarification that Cline Avenue is two (2) lanes, one-way and no shoulder; so are we saying that the street is going to support all the residential traffic that is be put in here? Mr. Kil advised that it is not just the Gates subdivision; Cline Avenue is the North-South route for all of the area. Mr. Kil pointed out it is a main route for the steel mills. We want to improve the intersections; however, we have no right-of-ways, it is all unincorporated. So, if it develops in the future we will be able to. Mr. Williams stated that he is concerned that we are allowing development in which there is not enough infrastructure to support it, at least as far as traffic is concerned on Cline. Mr. Kil advises that it will be part of the traffic study and our consultants have not completed it yet. Mr. Kil stated he is familiar with the issues with Cline and there is no easy answer, but more importantly we just don’t have access to the unincorporated, nor funds to support the wish list.

Mr. Williams directed his attention to the screen and inquired about the status of what is planned; what is already built and what is the future plan. Mr. Lotton advised that the whole Gates development is planned, it was done is 2006. Mr. Lotton pointed to the areas that are remaining for Final Plat approval, but reiterated that the entire development has preliminary approval already.

More general discussion ensued as to right-of-ways needed on the East side of Cline, if and when it is developed. Mr. Birlson asked about future annexation to the East. Mr. Kil pointed out that our development growth plan ends at Cline Avenue, it is in Center Township and has a Crown Point mailing address.

With no further questions or comments, this topic is noted to be placed on the November 2, 2016 agenda.

C. GO LO – Review of Site Improvement Plan

Mr. Dan Tursmann of Bukus Development introduced himself to the board. Mr. Tursmann said that he has an informal presentation of the plan. The existing GoLo Gas Station at 9285 Wicker Avenue, at the corner of 93rd and Wicker Avenue. The current dealer of this business would like to replace the existing canopy and the existing pumps. They will leave the existing tanks, but essentially improve the overall layout, and hopefully improve the traffic flow and make the site look a lot nicer.

Mr. Tursmann wanted to discuss the difficult ingress / egress to the East, and what the Town would like to see with the site.

Mr. Volk asked if the existing building would be the same size or are they expanding. Mr. Tursmann advised the building is the same and the owner would like to do some interior remodeling in the future. Mr. Volk noted that it appears that they are looking to turn the pumps at a 90-degree angle.

Mr. Tursmann advised that they would remove the existing concrete pads and re-pour them, resurface the asphalt.

Mr. Kil advised the board members that he met with Board Attorney Mike Muenich to go over a list of approvals that GoLo will be required to obtain. There will be B.Z.A. action needed along with action needed by the Plan Commission and this will be a long process. I believe he wanted to come to this meeting, because as you know, this site is tight. There is a very defined property line with this property and the next (Hometown Appliance).

Mr. Birlson asked if he could explain what was Hometown’s property versus what is the GoLo property. Mr. Tursmann outlined points of the plat that were displayed on the screen.

Mr. Tursmann advised that they do not want to create a hardship or conflict to the adjacent properties. He stated that they are trying to figure out site improvements to create a better green space and to improve the esthetics, but again, not to create any hardship.

Mr. Kil advised that you basically have 20 feet from the building to their property line, roughly, which is not enough to park any cars and have a drive lane.

Discussion ensued concerning getting Mr. Tursmann into conversations with the property owner of Hometown Appliance. It was noted that the person who runs that business is not the owner of the property, that he just leases the property.

Mr. Williams inquired as to the actual property lines to the North. Mr. Tursmann showed on the plat that there is an existing utility easement located on the north line. Mr. Williams asked why the north side of the property wasn’t being used. Mr. Tursmann advised that there is a grade change of some significance.

Discussion ensued as to the angling of the gas pumps in order to have a better flow of traffic through the site and there is a lot of work yet to do and several options to go through.

Mr. Tursmann stated that it was meant to just bring the project informally to the board and introduce the project and get everyone’s feedback. We are looking to improve traffic flow; through this layout we would have an additional pump. There are currently three (3) pumps on the site. The volume on the site could support another pump.

Mr. Kil reiterated that there is a lot of planning and discussion that needs to take place with the property owner to the East. He is hoping to have a list of items that he will get to Mr. Tursmann in the next few days. Mr. Kil advised there will probably be some variances required, and he would provide that information to the Plan Commission also. Mr. Kil stated that he feels that there needs to be a discussion with the property owner to the East, a revised site plan and then come back to another study session.

Mr. Williams expressed that he would like some indication from the owner to the East. Discussion ensued about numerous cost overruns that in effect would kill the project. Mr. Kil advised it is a tough situation with the way the two parcels are configured.

Mr. Volk stated he felt that Mr. Tursmann is getting at is that he cannot have a cost overrun. So if he just does the canopy and the pumps and re-paves the lot, and the gas station owner doesn’t care how much the neighbor cares, they just want the improvement.

Mr. Kil pointed out that he will still have to go through the Board of Zoning Appeals process before he gets back to you for subdivision. Mr. Tursmann was advised that with any improvement that the property would have to be properly platted.

D. ROSE GARDEN – PHASE 2 – Request for One-Lot Subdivision

Mr. Doug Rettig of Land Technologies. Mr. Rettig advised the we recently developed with Sublime Development what we call Rose Garden, which was the extension of Parrish Avenue, just North of this site (on screen). He advised that all they are doing is putting in an eleventh lot, we are calling it Phase Two of Rose Garden.

Parrish Avenue ends at the north edge of what we are calling Lot 11; there is a pond to the West, there is a waterway that drains that pond and the street stub stops at the north line of this lot.

Mr. Rettig advised that they will extend the street to the South property line, which is the south line of Willow Ridge; they probably should have put that in when Willow Ridge was developed, but that didn’t happen. It may have been due to that waterway / sewer issue there.

Mr. Rettig advised they are extending the street to develop this one lot. It is zoned R-2 residential, but it is over an acre and Sublime Development already has someone interested in building on it. It will be a very large estate home on one large lot. Eventually, I have been doing some sketch plans, where this street will get extended further South and then East. Sublime Homes has an option to buy the property shown there as the “Elder property”. You will be seeing that pretty soon too.

Right now, they just want to plat the one lot for an estate home.

Mr. Volk asked if this was just one gigantic lot and extending Parrish down to the South line of Willow Ridge. Mr. Rettig advised that they will also be dedicating additional right-of-way, because when they did Willow Ridge they only dedicated 25, we will be dedicating 25 plus an additional 10’ to make it a 60’ right-of-way. Parrish Avenue is built off-center in the 50’ right-of-way knowing that eventually this would happen, and we have already done it with Rose Garden – Phase One; and we will do the same for Rose Garden Phase Two. Mr. Rettig advised then it would be a typical street, centered in a typical 60’ right-of-way.

Mr. Williams asked if this is just south of the two for one that we did recently, where we combined the two lots, is that correct? That is correct, and a little news flash for everybody; that 2 for 1, may not happen now, the people backed out at the last minute. It’s probably going to stay as two lots.

Mr. Kozel asked approximately how much of the property is wetlands. Mr. Rettig advised there is a dotted line there at the North edge, and we platted a conservation easement, it probably amounts to one-third of an acre. Mr. Rettig advised they are not touching the wetlands; it will be left alone. Mr. Kil does not understand why they purposely left Lot 11 out of the platting process. They now have to go through the entire subdivision platting process, show the extension of the water and sewer. Mr. Rettig stated that they did not give me an explanation on that.

Mr. Williams asked for clarification as to why Parrish was not run all the way through to the South. Mr. Rettig noted that will be taken care of with this platting.

Mr. Birlson asked about the drainage that is up on the north, and where does that go to now. Mr. Rettig advised that there is an open ditch along here that run into a funky manhole here, and that controls the elevation of this pond over here, so we will have to rework that to put the road, it will go into a storm sewer.

Mr. Rettig stated that the storm water calculations were included in Willow Ridge for this piece we are calling Rose Garden. Further, the pond to the West is just a pond, private property, is not serving part of any detention.

Mr. Rettig will return on November 2, 2016 to ask for permission to advertise for Public Hearing. Mr. Williams asked if he would be asking for any considerations to accelerate the proceedings of the development. Mr. Rettig said he will consider at the December meeting to try and go for Primary and Secondary plat approval if the board will allow.

(With no further business before the board Mr. Volk adjourned the meeting at 8:11 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary
St. John Plan Commission