Town of St. John

St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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January 18, 2017 Plan Commission Minutes

Michael Forbes, PresidentStephen Kil, Town Manager
Gregory Volk, Vice-PresidentKenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, SecretaryRick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John KennedyDavid Austgen, Town Attorney
Jon GillMichael Muenich, Board Attorney
Jason Williams 
Bob Birlson 

Mr. Michael Forbes called to order the St. John Plan Commission Study Session on January 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Roll call was taken by Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary, with the following Commissioners present: Jon Gill, Bob Birlson, Steven Kozel, Mike Forbes, Gregory Volk, Jason Williams, John Kennedy and staff present of Town Manager Steve Kil and Town Engineer Kenn Kraus. Absent: Attorney David Austgen and Michael Muenich.

A. THREE SPRINGS – PHASE THREE – Initial Review of Developmental Plan (Mr. Doug Rettig)

Mr. Doug Rettig of DVG / Land Technologies introduced himself to the board members. Mr. Rettig advised that this is the second study session that they have attended for this phase, and they will be looking to come before the board on February 1, 2017 for the public hearing; and just for information that advertising has been completed and it will appear in the newspaper in the next couple of days and the certified letters were mailed out today.

Mr. Rettig advised that they were asked to come back to another study session to discuss it further before that meeting and that is why we are here tonight.

Mr. Rettig advised that Three Spring – Phase Three is the latest phase of a project that was started about ten (10) years ago. Phase One was a mixed use where there were single-family homes, as well as duplexes. Phase Two was all single-family, which is just North and East of this phase. We are back here to do again a mixed use of single-family homes and duplexes.

Mr. Rettig advised that they have a difficult piece; which they have discussed earlier. There is a railroad, high-tension tower lines, as well as multiple pipelines running through it. They are trying to make the best from a tough piece with this layout that they are proposing. Mr. Rettig advised that it is a 34 acre site; 15 acres will be open area because of the Outlots and the existing lake. They will only be developing 18 acres of property, which will have a density of 1.9 units per acre, which is pretty consistent with a R-2 density even though the lots are a little smaller.

Mr. Rettig advised that at the public hearing they will be asking for a re-zone to R-3 PUD, and engineering will commence once the zoning issue is worked out.

Mr. Williams asked if the high-tension wires run along the South edge of the drawing, where Outlot “D” is written. Mr. Rettig advised that is correct, the dark line shown is the middle of the high-tension line, Mr. Barick owned the 4.43 acres lying South of that line and it was sold to the adjoiner, which is the Schilling Family. Mr. Rettig advised that they made the center line of the high-tension lines as the property line between the two projects, rather than having a sliver of property that no one could do anything with.

Mr. Williams asked about the difficulty in building R-1 homes versus R-2. Mr. Rettig advised that the largest problem is that R-1 lots are a minimum of 20,000 s.f., 100’ x 200’; R-2 if 15,000 s.f., 100’ x 150’. This property does not lay out really well, and those homes do not want high-tension lines or a railroad in their back yards. This was one of the reasons that they did duplexes in Unit One, and they have a whole long street of duplexes that backs up against the railroad and it works for the duplexes, but it does not work well for higher-end single-family homes.

Mr. Rettig advised that the cottage home lots will be 8,400 square feet, with 60’ width. The R-3 duplex lots will be 20,000 square feet, or 10,000 s.f. per unit, as per ordinance and is a very large duplex lot, as was done in Phase One. In Phase One they were too big; so we are asking for a minimum of 14,200 square feet.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Rettig if they had done an analysis to see what the yield would be at a standard R-2, and/or R-1 lot. Mr. Rettig stated that if that was done it was so long ago, and they do not recall.

Mr. Kennedy inquired about the pipelines through the areas. Mr. Rettig advised there are three (3) petroleum pipelines. They are Vector, Trans Canada and Enbridge; one is a 42” line that they are replacing and up-grading to heavier gauge pipes; they have already staked out the parcel now and starting soon.

Mr. Williams asked if that land ever gets disturbed. Mr. Rettig advised that it is being farmed right now, but because of the increase in population, the pipeline corporation has an obligation to upgrade their pipes. Mr. Kil commented that this pipeline project is also continuing through the Gates of St. John to Blaine Street.

Mr. Birlson stated he is afraid that if they allow these duplexes and cottage homes here, then East and South of this property, they will be wanting to continue. Mr. Barick advised they do not have the major hardships that this parcel is facing. Mr. Rettig advised that for clarification that they are stubbing the street to the East line and it is 1/4 mile to Parrish Avenue, and the pipelines do not parallel the property lines, so they will get trickier and will only be able to build on one side.

Mr. Rettig advised that they have discussed with Schilling Development of running that street South instead of East, and they advised they didn’t want it.

Mr. Williams asked if there was a way to create a barrier so it is not apparent that there is a R-3 PUD next door. Mr. Rettig advised, well there is a 140’ high-tension tower easement, which is a huge buffer with a large grass area, and to the East those are all single-family residences along that property line.

Mr. Forbes asked what the square footage that they are proposing to build on the lots. Mr. Barrick advised they are 1,800 to 2,000 s.f. typically in the duplexes. Mr. Kozel stated that is the cottage homes. Mr. Rettig advised that is basically half of the duplex, it’s the same thing, just a little fancied up. Mr. Barick stated it is just a duplex, split down the middle with green space between so they don’t have a common wall.

Mr. Kil asked about the pricing by the lake units. Mr. Barick advised they would be $300,000 to $350,000. Mr. Rettig advised that the ones along the lake will have walk-out basements for pretty much all those along the lake. Mr. Williams asked that in comparison what are the ones in Willow Ridge by the lake going for. Mr. Gil advised they are going for $500,000 and up, and those are R-2, because of the lake.

General discussion ensued as to cost, long term value of homes built and the stigma of power lines and the pipelines. The other topic included the natural growth of area by the water line, and the homeowners association will cut the grass, but there will be a buffer area left at the lake. Discussion also revolved around a home maintaining its value if it is built correctly. Mr. Barick stated that he builds masonry walls for the common walls of duplexes, because it is a better product and is a great soundproofing.

With no further questions from the board, Mr. Rettig advised they will be back in two weeks.

B. GO LO – Review of Site Improvement Plan

Mr. Eberly advised that was just a continuation of a previous study session agenda, so it was left on there. He believed that Mr. Mil made the comment at the November study session that he has not received any updates from them. Mr. Eberly asked if the board members wish to have this item removed from further agendas until they make contact to move forward.

The consensus of the board was to remove until they make contact with the offices.

C. CASTLE ROCK – Initial Review of Developmental Plan (Mr. Doug Rettig)

Mr. Doug Rettig of DVG / Land Technologies advised that he is here with Mr. Andy James, the developer, and advised that this was a portion of the Kilkenny Estates. Mr. Rettig advised that the plan was presented before and they are making a few changes to the plan.

Mr. Rettig advised that it was presented as shown on the second page, and we had talked about access between Kilkenny Estates and this new project, and in particular the park area to the South. The original thought was to install a sidewalk to the park.

Mr. James advised that he knows the neighborhood and that park is very underutilized, and placing a sidewalk between lots, would impact four lots and would probably cause discomfort to the homeowners near the sidewalk access.

Mr. James and Mr. Rettig advised they are now proposing to install a parking area in front of the Kilkenny Water Tower area, a drive for the Public Works Department to the tower, and then landscape the area Mr. James thought it would bring ambiance to the area. Mr. Kil strongly agreed that he would like Mr. James to landscape all around the water tower site.

Mr. James stated that there is park equipment there and may be the Park Department knows how often it is used, and whether they are going to update any of the amenities there.

Mr. Williams asked if there is a Park Department that they can reach out to and get feedback on what they would prefer. Mr. Kil advised that the Park Board is planning to have different area parks have upgrades or change-outs, but this is not one of them.

Mr. Kil stated that he believes there is some merit in what Mr. James is proposing because one of the most common shortfalls of the parks is that people have to park on the street to utilize them. He further advised that placing 6 to 8 parking spaces would make it better. Mr. Kil also advised that they have a point with people walking between their homes to access the park; nobody wants to build a $500,000 house and have strangers walking past it all the time.

Mr. Forbes advised that it is actually a two-fold thing that they are discussing here. First is the access from along Lot 63 and Lot 38, that is a 10’ walkway and it is next to an existing house, and I am the one that brought that up for the concern of the residents there now, may have this expectation of privacy.

Mr. Kennedy advised that he lives in that area, and agrees that the park is underutilized. He further stated his thought of the parking lot concept is a better idea for this open park area.

Mr. Kil advised that he feels they would get a lot more mileage out of the proposal of a parking lot, maybe a bike rack and landscaping. Mr. Rettig can do a landscaping design for Outlot “A”, showing the parking and bike rack.

Mr. Kozel said he thought the park is all in Edgewood. Mr. Rettig advised that Outlot “A” is just a remnant parcel because of the land plan that we have; and there are lots on both sides. Mr. Rettig advised that the driveway for the Town to the water tower will provide easier access for them to maintain it.

Mr. Kil also asked Mr. James to go ahead and keep landscaping beyond the property line and keep going and landscaping around the water tower [laughter].

Mr. Rettig advised that the other thing they wish to point out is Lot 41 and Lot 42, we now have Lot 67. There is a lot of elevation change, especially in front of this Lot 67. They have come up with a plan to make it an “estate lot” with a very winding-curvy drive with the placement of the house at the top of hill. Mr. James advises that they will have to have it all roughed in. Mr. Rettig advised they just started on the engineering.

Mr. Forbes asked if he thought there would be a buyer or Lot 41, which backs up to the water tower. Mr. James advised that it is a nice quiet neighbor, and nobody would notice it, though he did have the same thoughts at first. Mr. Kil commented that it may behoove Mr. James to landscape the West side of the water tower for him to sell that lot [laughter].

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Rettig to explain the double frontage lots with walk-out basements and a steep slope, so that everybody understands what is going on there and why.

Mr. Rettig advised there are five lots that are deeper than a typical lot, and we are going to leave a strip of trees, a conservation easement, so they can’t take the trees down. This will mean these people will have back yard with trees, again the road will be about 20’ lower than their road, hidden by the trees, and the others will be looking at slope and trees, rather than the back of these houses. Mr. Rettig advised this was done specifically to address the severe slopes that are there.

Mr. Kil advised that he was not too keen on the formation of the cul-de-sac. Mr. Rettig advised that believe it or not, all roads are 30’ wide in Town, from curb to curb; and this is 28’ wide. Mr. James is hoping that the island will stay wild, leaving it as woods.

General discussion ensued as to who would be responsible for the appearance and maintenance of the wooded island. After numerous suggestions, Mr. Kil asked for a deed restriction, and recorded, for all the Lots; 52 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 56, that would cause them to maintain 5’ behind the curb. Mr. Volk stated that he likes the look of the trees, and agreed that it would be best to assign the deed restriction to all of the lots in the cul-de-sac. With each homeowner bearing equal responsibility this would not cause problems with the property owners.

Mr. James also suggested an individual HOA for that area; but Mr. Kil advised whatever they decide that he would like this outlined and specific, and included in the plat.

Mr. Rettig and Mr. Kil discussed the slope and the possibility of retaining walls and side-loading garages. Mr. Rettig stated that they may dictate that if they have side-loaded garages that they have to be on the same side, so that would require a mirror image. Mr. Kil stated that would help, because then it would eliminate the need for the retaining wall. Mr. James advised that they will put them in the covenants where they are “lot specific”.

With no further questions from the board, Mr. Rettig advised that they will be back on February 1, 2017 for permission to advertise for public hearing and then back on March 1, 2017 for the public hearing.

D. PRESERVES OF WILLOW RIDGE – Initial Review of Developmental Plan (Mr. Doug Rettig)

Mr. Forbes advised the next item on the agenda is the Preserves of Willow Ridge, and called upon Mr. Doug Rettig again.

Mr. Rettig advised that he spoke to Mr. Eberly and Mr. Kil yesterday about this project, they have scheduled a Staff Meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday with them, himself and Mr. Granessy to discuss the legal description that was somehow mixed up on the re-zone ordinance and some other issues. Mr. Eberly advised that there is something that needs to be corrected.

Mr. Rettig advised that this is what they are calling the Preserves of Willow Ridge, it lies immediately South of Willow Ridge, there is the lake we talked about (shown on meeting room screen),

Mr. Rettig pointed to Parrish Avenue and to the Rose Garden subdivision; they will extend Parrish Avenue from where it ends to the south line of Willow Ridge to Willow Lane and will then complete the loop within the Willow Ridge subdivision. The street will then be extended down to 92nd Place.

Mr. Rettig advised they will install a new cul-de-sac that will line up with Clarmonte Drive, which will be a “T-intersection”, they are buying this in three (3) parcels.

(Mr. Rettig showed the parcels on the meeting room screen via laser pointer). Mr. Rettig showed the East portion, then a West portion in which one house on the parcel will be demolished, and the land will be incorporated into the “big picture”.

Mr. Rettig showed a large wetland in which portions have been delineated, and they will bring in a R-1 at the cul-de-sac area, with the remainder being R-2. Mr. Rettig advised they thought they re-zoned the easterly portion three (3) years ago and they found some e-mails and a Council ordinance. Mr. Eberly found that the re-zone ordinance that they possibly entered the wrong legal description, and it may not be done correctly. Mr. Rettig advised it is not a large problem as they will have to re-zone parcels anyway; but we do desire a R-2 zone. Due to some wetland constraints they may be looking for some 94’ lots, so they will probably have to do an R-2 PUD.

Mr. Rettig, if you remember when we were here before, we talked about extending the sidewalk out. Mr. Kil advised that it was definitely a “bike path”, that was to be extended.

Mr. Rettig advised that they will be back for another study session before we attempt to go for the re-zoning. Mr. Kil advised then you will be placed on the February study session, and by that time they should have it worked out.

Mr. Williams stated he would like to see a numbered list, like an Excel spreadsheet, of here are all the lot sizes we are asking for, and then I want to see R-2 @ 15,000 square feet and I want to see a percentage of all the lots and what percent of R-2 that you are hitting for each one of those lots.

Mr. Kennedy asked about the bike path they were discussing as there are no sidewalks on the North side of 93rd. Mr. Forbes advised that the discussion they had is that the bike path would come South from the development, turned East to Schafer Drive.

Mr. Forbes asked if any members had any more questions. Hearing none, Mr. Rettig advised that he will be in discussion with the staff and be back before the board soon.

E. SUNCREST CHRISTIAN CHURCH – Addition to Church and Creation of Fifty (50) Additional Parking Spaces (Mr. Ryan Marovich)

Mr. Forbes advised the next item is Suncrest Christian Church, they are looking to add 50-parking spaces to their parking lot.

Mr. Ryan Marovich of DVG Engineering introduced himself to the board members. Mr. Marovich advised he is here representing the Suncrest Building Addition and Parking Expansion. He advised that they are looking to expand the parking area South of the existing parking area, by approximately 50 spaces.

Mr. Marovich advised the building expansion includes approximately 8,000 square feet to the entrance, that includes some new sidewalk and a new entrance in the front. There are also plans to add a “baptistery” with a baptismal pool and a ramp to allow them to bring musical equipment and bigger equipment. Mr. Marovich pointed to the stage area. He also pointed to an area that will be the new location for the site dumpster enclosure, in the back.

There will also be some re-surfacing of the parking lot area in order to make ADA compliant grades. Mr. Marovich advised that with the expansion, the grades become a little steeper than ADA allows.

Mr. Marovich advised that this project would also include the re-location of the sanitary sewer line; which is actually part of the Lift Station One Project.

Mr. Williams asked about assisting the common parishioner attending, and entering the building.

Mr. Marovich showed the ADA lots and the designated entrance; and showed a back entrance but he did not know if that was used.

Mr. Marovich advised that there are plans to “heat” the sidewalk, for inclimate weather, to prevent ice from forming. He further stated that Pastor Dan said that during Sunday services; they are frequently at capacity in their parking area, and you get people parking along the drive, into the site from 101st and I believe off of Parrish Avenue as well.

Mr. Williams asked if he thought that was enough to solve the capacity problem. Mr. Marovich stated that it is their belief that this will solve the parking problem at this point in time.

Mr. Marovich advised that the building expansion; the entrance in the front would contain a café’ area here, but not really anything that would add anymore, it will not be expanding the congregation area. It is more to create a nicer entrance. One of the problems they have currently is there is no vestibule area, so a lot of times when you walk in during this time of year, you get that cold air.

Mr. Birlson asked how you are addressing storm water. Mr. Marovich advised there is an existing pond to the North, and he conducted an analysis of the capacity. The survey shows a 12” pipe outfall that serves the pond here. As-Built plans showed a 12” routed to a 8” restrictor. I ran both analysis on an 8” and a 12”, and both show that there is more than enough capacity for the pond. Mr. Kraus advised that he has that information and has looked at it already, and the requirements for detention volume are more than exceeded by the pond that is there, even with the additional building and parking spaces. Mr. Kraus advised that the outlet pipe should not change from what was originally designed for anyway, because that was designed for the whole site in its developed state, so that stays the same no matter what they do.

Mr. Kil stated that the board members should also know that the Town is eliminating their ejector system for their sanitary sewer; that is actually being done right now, and there will be a gravity line to the sewer, a huge maintenance nightmare for the Church is now eliminated as part of the Lift Station One Project.

Mr. Kozel asked if there will be additional handicapped parking spaces. Mr. Marovich advised there will be two added to make the ADA minimum; one stall with two spaces on each side. Mr. Marovich advised there will be a sidewalk added, there is a back entrance here, it is currently grass and so just for fire safety that is an added feature that they wanted.

Mr. Kil inquired if they were just requesting Site Plan / Development Plan Approval, correct? Mr. Marovich stated yes, however, they do have an existing parking area has 9’ x 20’ stalls, and the ordinance requests 10’ x 20’ stalls, so we are in the process of filing for a variance to match the existing. These would be 9’ x 20’ and this row would line up with the existing striping with a 90˚ angle.

Mr. Eberly advised that he sent an e-mail out today, that they do allow 9’ x 20’ spaces, if they are angled parking 30˚ – 50 ˚ angled parking, and I don’t know if that works for you on this site. Mr. Marovich stated that for the sake of uniformity, they want the 90˚, because I had looked at this, but just for the uniformity of the site.

Mr. Eberly and Mr. Marovich discussed that they will probably come before the Board of Zoning Appeals in February.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kraus if he was good with the calculations. Mr. Kraus advised he was good with the drainage, but he would like a chance to compose a letter saying so for accuracy and record keeping purposes.

Mr. Kraus advised he would also like to go through the Site Plan Checklist, and make sure everything on that as well is current. Mr. Forbes asked if he could get to that in two weeks. Mr. Kraus advised that would be plenty of time.

Mr. Forbes asked the board if they had any concerns about addressing this at our next regular meeting. Mr. Eberly advised that they would not be going before the BZA before February 27, 2017. Mr. Forbes advised they can make their approval contingent upon the Board of Zoning Appeals approval, or just have them come to the March meeting as it is only a matter of a couple of days.

Mr. Marovich thanked the board for their attention.

F. MEYERS ADDITION – UNIT THREE – Amended Plat (Mr. Doug Rettig)

Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is Meyers Addition – Unit 3, and again called upon Mr. Doug Rettig.

Mr. Rettig handed out amended documents to the board members for review. Mr. Rettig advised that this is an amended plat that is adding four (4) buildings toward the lake side of the property.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Meyers (in the audience) if we were going to call this an extension of “Dancing Waters”, cause this Meyers Addition – Phase 3, I am calling Dancing Waters – Phase 3. Mr. Rettig stated that it however has been platted as Meyers Addition – Phase 3 – Block One, Block Two and Block Three, so the plat says Meyers Addition, the “Project” name is actually Dancing Waters.

Mr. Rettig advised that he has given out the amended plat of Meyers Addition – Unit Three, and the second page of your handout is the original plat; and the only real difference is the property line stopped as denoted.

Mr. Rettig advised what Mr. Meyers (Dennis) would like to do; is add these four (4) buildings, basically on the lake, the road was always planned to go to this South property line, and put a little wiggle in it to accommodate the Town’s wishes to extend Shell Drive to our property line. This is the North line of the Levin property, which has also been before you.

Mr. Rettig advised that his understanding is they want the road extended, so Levin can continue it through their project as well.

Mr. Rettig showed on the meeting room screen a “funky line”, which he advised is another pipeline, that is Explorer Pipeline, and the easements associated with that. This is one of the hurdles with this project, they have to get across this pipeline, work with the good ground between the easement and the lake, but we feel we can accommodate these four buildings.

Mr. Rettig advised it is a little different from the building he is doing on the current project, although some of these will be similar. So, this is another product in Dancing Waters, these are nicer duplexes on the ponds back here. These are all two-stories with a view of the lake, and they will probably do the two-stories here (shown in screen) because they back up to the commercial area, and give a little bit of a buffer there.

Mr. Rettig advised that the gist of it is they want to add four (4) lots, and the easiest way to do that is to amend the original PUD, extend the road, put in the four buildings, deal with the pipeline, and it is just a continuation of Dancing Waters.

Mr. Kil asked, so then you will put in the frontage road that we talked about, extending it right to the property line? Mr. Rettig, Yes, as shown here. This is where Levin can pick it up and ultimately extend to 85th Avenue. Mr. Kil noted that Levin Tire is still at the BZA portion.

Mr. Birlson asked how close are the buildings to the wetlands, the four buildings there, what is the closest. Mr. Rettig advised the wetland is very near the edge of the water, but I would say 20’ minimum from the water. Mr. Birlson asked if Bingo Lake has an out-fall. Mr. Rettig advised that it goes underneath the tracks and goes North towards Schererville, through a pipe that goes up Alexander Street.

Mr. Williams asked if this was something that they looked at a year ago? Mr. Forbes advised: Pretty much, and I think the only difference is the road configuration. Mr. Kil advised Mr. Williams that it took twelve months to convince Mr. Meyers to put the road in, but in the interest of the frontage road and what the board members wanted this has finally come.

Mr. Gill asked about Tract 18 to 21, what’s the rear yard like on those. Mr. Rettig advised it is a PUD, and what is being proposed is duplexes, they are not condos or townhomes, so typically just like the rest of the units we sell half and half, and we sell a little bit of property around their building. That is what I am trying to do here, and I labeled them tracts so it is easier to write the legal descriptions when they go to convey the property.

Mr. Rettig pointed to an area where he said he wanted to do an Outlot and call it an access-ingress and utility easement, and that would be in the covenants. That would all be a common area access do these tracts that they would own. Mr. Kil noted that it will be one big greenbelt and they won’t know where their property starts or stops, because it all grass. Mr. Rettig advised it is just so that we can convey legal descriptions.

Mr. Kil commented that they will just want their spot to sit and look at the water, they are not going to be shoveling snow or mowing lawns.

Mr. Williams said he has this dream where Bingo Lake has this frontage to the East of Tract 18, could be somehow converted into a sidewalk or something that people could, those just of this subdivision. Mr. Rettig said that there is, it is going to be a Park. Mr. Kil advised that there was a hand drawing that was done.

With no further questions from the board members, Mr. Rettig advised he would be before them on February 1, 2017 to ask permission to advertise for public hearing; then back to the February 15, 2017 study session and be ready for public hearing at the April 16, 2017 meeting.

E. MASTER COMPREHENSIVE / THOROUGHFARE PLAN – Review and Recommendation (Plan Commission Inhouse Discussion)

Mr. Forbes advised this is a continued discussion as to the Master Comprehensive / Thoroughfare Plan. Mr. Forbes advised that from our last discussion the only outstanding concern or question was the drawing of the Town Center. Following our meeting at the public hearing, we had the consultant re-draft the drawing, it was sent to the Economic Development Commission. The EDC has looked at it again and they are okay with it.

Mr. Birlson asked what would be considered the Town Center, what would be the boundary. Mr. Forbes advised the area where you see the orange buildings (denoted on meeting room screen).

Mr. Kil advised that the orange buildings to the very South next to the yellow, those are actually part of Boyer’s Project. That is if they have any interest.

Mr. Birlson asked what is the reason to tie in Civic Drive to Joliet Street, because we have access around Thielen and 93rd Avenue to get back to the Municipal Center, because there is like five houses in there that would be taken out to put that road in there and the commercial building.

Mr. Kil advised that he does not have an answer, maybe connectivity. Mr. Kozel commented that it is not something that they have to follow.

Mr. Birlson stated that he is just concerned for those people who own those homes there, there is five of them. Looks like um.,.

Mr. Kil advised Mr. Birlson that honestly if those homes on the end of Civic Drive, if those ever become for sale, I know that at one point the Town was going to be first in line to get those, just because the ballfields are there. I would envision that would be something the Town Council would very interested in having. We frequently run out of parking at Civic Park. We do not have enough for the ball fields.

Mr. Forbes wanted to clarify that statement “If,.,. they ever became for sale”, we are not looking to take them. Mr. Kil corrected by saying that no this could be twenty years in the future, and it may never happen.

Mr. Birlson was concerned about commercial buildings coming to Civic Park. Mr. Forbes advised there are very strict deed restrictions that can only be used for the Park.

Mr. Birlson said what he reads about the round-about at the tracks is a “no-no”, you gotta really look at it to have a round-about so close to the railroad tracks. What I have read is you just don’t want to do that.

Mr. Kil and Mr. Forbes advised that is why the traffic engineer is looking into that.

Mr. Williams stated that he thought Mr. Birlson’s comments were valid.

Mr. Forbes asked for suggestions from the board. Mr. Williams stated he thought his replies were fair, but he also just has a concern about trying to put that round-about at that sport, with that railroad tracks. I guess I am not entirely sure of how much traffic that railroad crossing would get, from trains, not from cars. I mean how often would that be closed, and then that entire intersection would just back up. Mr. Forbes advised that it backs up now.

Mr. Kil advised there is nothing that we can do about the tracks there. Mr. Forbes and Mr. Volk talked about the two lanes in the circle. Mr. Kil advised that the meeting room screen picture is just that, it is not the significant engineering that would be done.

General discussion ensued as to traffic education and concerns over traffic circles. Mr. Forbes noted that he had huge concerns over the first one in Weston Ridge, but if that was not there, you could not move the amount of traffic that comes from that church that they do so fluidly. Mr. Forbes advised that it is amazing the volume of cars that get in and out of that facility with minimal issue.

Mr. Kil commented that the traffic circle at Cline Avenue and 77th in Schererville is a life-saver. Mr. Williams stated that the one in Schererville is well placed, no doubt. Mr. Forbes mentioned that they just put in one in Crown Point by the Government Center and it is really nice looking, and even though the traffic wasn’t that bad, it made a big difference.

Mr. Forbes reiterated that the purpose of this again is just a concept, and the picture does not approve anything, other than it is a concept inside a Comprehensive Master Plan.

Mr. Kil advised that they only thing that gives development a green light, is the Plan Commission platting the subdivision, and there is a whole bunch of things to be done at the Plan Commission level. When you grant Primary Approval to a subdivision, you are giving them the green light to install infrastructure. Put in roads. Final Plat is ministerial.

Mr. Birlson stated he is still concerned about Civic Drive being extended down to Joliet and having homes taken away.

Mr. Forbes – again would you be more comfortable if that orange building was removed and the extension of Civic Drive were taken out.

Mr. Kil: So, if what I am hearing from you guys is, remove the extension from Civic Drive, remove the North orange building, and put everything back the way it was, and just leave everything else to the South, because, is that where we’re at?

Mr. Birlson wants a definite; a boundary that says this is the Town Center, or, orange buildings is the Town Center. Mr. Kil asked if he would like a BIG BOLD LINE DRAWN AROUND IT?

Mr. Forbes said that if we are going to send this back to the consultant, have the two Boyer buildings that are in orange, changed to yellow, and that will delineate what is the Town Center, and what is the Boyer Development.

Mr. Birlson, yeah, a bold line, something to designate it.

Mr. Kil asked if the whole plan commission was okay with that,., he will have it re-drawn and re-distributed.

Mr. Eberly asked if they wanted this on next month’s study session. Mr. Forbes directed Mr. Eberly to the February 1, 2017 meeting.

Mr. Volk asked Mr. Kraus if he received any information on the lights at Park Place in the Gates. Mr. Kraus advised they were gifted before the Dark Skies Ordinance went into effect. Mr. Kraus advised they are 100 watt bulbs. The photo-metric plan does not show any additional lights.

(With no further business before the board Mr. Forbes adjourned the meeting at 9:13 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

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