Town of St. John

St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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February 15, 2017 Plan Commission Minutes

Michael Forbes, PresidentRick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Gregory Volk, Vice-PresidentKenn Kraus, Town Engineer
Steve Kozel, SecretaryStephen Kil, Town Manager
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 February 15, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Roll call was taken by President Michael Forbes, with the following Commissioners present: Jon Gill, Bob Birlson, Steven Kozel, Mike Forbes, Gregory Volk, Jason Williams, John Kennedy and staff present of Town Engineer Kenn Kraus and Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director. Absent: Town Manager Steve Kil, Attorney David Austgen and Michael Muenich.



Mr. Doug Rettig of DVG, representing Sublime Development introduced himself to the board members. Mr. Rettig advised that he is using One (1) Exhibit on the meeting room screen for items “A” and “B” on the agenda. Mr. Rettig explained that Rose Garden – Unit Three and Sublime Estates are basically right next to one another.

Mr. Kozel asked that it be kept separate in order to understand it more clearly.

Mr. Rettig advised that Rose Garden – Phase Three and is the northerly portion of what is being presented. This is immediately South of Willow Ridge – Phase Two. Mr. Rettig noted the lake, the dead-end of Parrish Avenue, which is going to be extended. This road will be under construction this Spring, and extend it to the other street stub of Willow Lane, and then also connect to 92nd Place. This will complete the loop through Willow Ridge and we are going to call this portion of the development Rose Garden – Phase Three.

Our intention is to come back in two weeks and request permission to advertise for a re-zone from R-1 to R-2 PUD. Mr. Rettig advised that they are going for the PUD designation simply because we are going to need a couple of variances that would just be easier just to use the PUD, rather than ask for variances. Some are simply that these bank of lots (shown on screen) will need to be shrunk down of 94’ wide, they are extra deep at 200’, so they still meet the size requirements. Mr. Rettig pointed out some constraints with the streets and the wetlands in the middle.

Mr. Rettig advised they have not started engineering, but will start that once they have received the rezoning of the property.

Mr. Williams asked if Mr. Rettig had the lot sizes and dimensions that he was looking for. Mr. Rettig advised they are still working on that as they are still doing survey work now.

Mr. Eberly noted that he believes that only eight (8) lots will be just under the 15,000 square feet, while the remainder will all be in excess of that. Mr. Rettig advised that is correct, but he will tabulate that information.

Mr. Rettig pointed out that they have a wetland limit and a flood zone limit, so there are storm water detention issues, and thus there is a lot of engineering to do. Mr. Rettig pointed to an eighteen inch (18”) pipe that drains through the delineated wetland area into the very large wetland and that will remain. Mr. Rettig advised that they will be doing some wetland mitigation and they will have that detailed information in the future.

Mr. Eberly mentioned to Mr. Rettig that there is an existing drainage problem in Lancer Estates – Second Addition at the northeast corner of this proposed developed, that they would like to look at during engineering.

Mr. Kozel inquired if they looked into the bike path. Mr. Rettig advised that they have not yet, but Mr. Mike Graniczny (Developer) has discussed it in detail.


With no further questions or comments from the board, Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is Sublime Estates.

Mr. Rettig noted that it is the same drawing on the screen. Mr. Rettig advised that this portion of the project, this cul-de-sac, he wants to call and develop separately as Sublime Estates. This will be an R-1 project and is already zoned R-1, so we can start now with engineering. Mr. Rettig advised that this would be a four-way intersection at Clarmonte and 93rd Avenue, a nice divided entrance. Mr. Rettig advised this would be estate-type developed. These are all R-1 size; 100’ wide and the square footage is all over 20,000 square feet per residence. There will be no need for any variances or waivers.

Mr. Rettig advised that they intend to develop this as a separate project under the R-1 zoning ordinance. When we come in for the re-zone for the North part, we are simply going to take a zone line. We have talked at a staff level about some excel-decel lanes on 93rd Avenue, and we will address all that when we get to the engineering.

Mr. Williams asked Mr. Forbes that if 93rd is widened, how would that impact this drawing. Mr. Forbes stated that “if any widening were to occur” it would have to be to the North.

Mr. Kozel noted that the South is all wetlands. Mr. Rettig noted that Clarmonte and Renaissance subdivisions have already dedicated 50’ of right-of-way for their half, and we will dedicate additional right-of-way through here where our property is located. Mr. Rettig advised that he is hoping to make it a little wider so it is safer as a four-way intersection.

Mr. Williams asked if any of the lots were going to be practically constrained due to the wetlands that they border. Mr. Rettig noted that the line Mr. Williams was looking at is the flood zone line, and that line is not as much of an issue as the wetland. Mr. Rettig advised that the wetlands would be protected in a conservation easement in the rear of those lots. The flood zone line is not going to impact things because of the elevation change here, where we will be easily be able to build all the basements two-foot (2’) above the base flood elevation. Mr. Rettig explained the designated “Zone X” and the “Zone AE” as to the floodplain notations. Mr. Rettig stated that he will make a note to bring those tabulations with them when they come again before the board.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Rettig if they will be seeking LOMA(s) on any of the lots shown, or are you going to try and keep the building footprint out of the AE Zone. Mr. Rettig advised that they will try to keep out; however, it is possible that they will need some LOMA(s), which is not a problem.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions from the board.

C. CASTLE ROCK – Discuss Primary Plat issues (Mr. Doug Rettig)

Mr. Forbes advised that the next agenda item is Castle Rock.

Mr. Rettig handed out hard copies to the board members for review, and stated it is also on the meeting room screen. Mr. Rettig reminded that this has been reviewed over the past couple of months. Mr. Rettig advised that the developer of Castle Rock, Mr. Andy James, is present this evening if you have any questions for the developer.

Mr. Rettig stated that Castle Rock is a R-2 zoned property, and it will be developed as such. Mr. Rettig advised that they have a Public Hearing scheduled for this development two weeks from tonight. They have sent out all the notices and legal requirements for the hearing.

Mr. Rettig reminded them that it is a very unique piece of property with lots of woods and rolling topography. Castle Rock will tie into existing streets to the North end, and an existing street stub in the middle of the property, and also to the end of Calumet Avenue that is in Edgewood Estates. Mr. Rettig noted that they came up with a nice curvy street. The area will be walk-out lots. He further noted that they purposely put in a cul-de-sac so that the lots he was showing on the screen could also be walk-out lots.

Mr. Rettig reminded the board of the conservation easement placed to save trees in a specific area, which will make a better view for the homeowners.

Mr. Rettig brought to their attention to another page that showed the parking lot being provided for access to the park near the water tower area. Mr. Rettig advised this will allow for pedestrian access and even vehicle parking in order to enjoy the existing park.

Mr. Rettig advised that they have turned in their engineering, and all other requirements for the public hearing are in place.

Mr. Forbes stated that Mr. Williams has asked him to bring up this development to the Park Board. The Park Board stated that they have no plans to build anything in that park for the next three (3) years, but they really like the idea of the parking area in the development and the walkway access to the park.

Mr. Birlson inquired as to future development and traffic flow that was brought up by several residents at a previous meeting. Mr. Rettig noted that Mr. James owns the property that abuts to the North, however, there is no intention of taking it any further than to the extent of his property. Due to a rather large ditch, they have no intention of having Calumet Avenue go through.

Mr. Forbes stated that he feels there should be some sort of connection, even when Kilkenny was being developed. Mr. Rettig reviewed some plans and stated that he not is saying that it can “not” be done, but it is difficult, there are lots wetlands and the beginning of Dyer Ditch is right there (pointing to the end of Calumet Avenue). Mr. Rettig stated that Mr. James has looked at other ways to get to 81th Avenue and is talking to other homeowners to the East.

Mr. Rettig pointed to a cul-de-sac to the North, which is known as Kilkenny Highlands that was completed last year.

Mr. James explained that at some point in the future, that maybe Lake County will require that Calumet Avenue goes through, and noted that there is some interest in the property that is due West of his, and it will actually be developed through the Town of Dyer. Mr. James stated that would make a more practical access out of the area, and if that surfaces that he would work with that person or group to make that happen before the final phase of the subdivision.

Discussion ensued on the connectivity of an area, shown on the screen, whereas there is only 100’ of unincorporated land in the way of connecting to the North.

Mr. Kennedy stated that for the future he would like to see the connectivity and will keep that in mind at a later date. Mr. Williams stated that he would like the dimensions noted on Lot 1 through 14 when available. Mr. Rettig advised he would make a note of it and have that available.

Mr. Rettig advised they will be back in two weeks for the public hearing on Primary Plat.

With no further comments from the board, the next agenda item is Meyers Addition – Unit Three.

D. MEYERS ADDITION – UNIT THREE – Discuss potential Rezoning from C-2 to R-3 PUD (Mr. Doug Rettig)

Mr. Doug Rettig handed out materials to the board members and placed the information on the meeting room screen.

Mr. Rettig started by saying that he is showing on the screen the same display for the next two (2) agenda items; Meyers Addition – Unit Three and Meyers Addition – Unit Three / Block 3.

Mr. Rettig advised the first item of Meyers Addition – Unit Three is the northerly “highlighted” area, is the most recent project that Mr. Meyers has put together consisting of the commercial building that is under construction right now. Mr. Meyers has five or six duplexes under construction and finished in the notated area. Mr. Rettig drew their attention to Unit Three / Block 1, which is the commercial portion whereas they extended Lake Central Drive and upgraded the stoplight. Mr. Rettig then advised that Unit Three / Block 2, was platted last year, which brings us to Unit Three / Block 3. Mr. Rettig advised that this phase will pick up six (6) more duplex lots that were preliminarily approved over a year ago. Mr. Rettig pointed to an Outlot area, which will be a park, and a second Outlot, which will be a detention basin.

Mr. Rettig advised the improvements have been installed to complete the “loop”. They are lacking asphalt until the weather breaks. Mr. Meyers is also aware that he needs to finish the pond, and he will be bonding for any improvements not completed. In the meantime he wants to have the plat recorded so that building permits can be issued, as many of the units are sold.

Mr. Rettig advised that they intend on coming back in two weeks for the Final Plat approval, and that is with the knowledge that the plats will not be signed until a bond is in place.

Mr. Williams asked that since this is a PUD, how are we diverging from the normal R-3. Mr. Rettig advised that is due to lot size and right-of-way width. They went with a 50’ right-of-way, with a 30’ street, curb to curb.

Mr. Rettig advised that the lots that they are platting this time are in the 14,000 – 20,000 range, still pretty good size lots. The smallest is 12,000. Mr. Rettig advised that the average of these is well over 15,000 square feet.

Mr. Williams asked what is happening with Outlot “B” again. Mr. Rettig advised that is going to be a park, with a gazebo.

Mr. Birlson asked about the three (3) lots that are sitting there by themselves.

Mr. Rettig advised that the original PUD line was located here (shown on screen). They always intended to place the pond at the noted location. Always had to deal with the denoted pipeline and a triangle parcel, and then there is a line for Bingo Lake.

Mr. Rettig continued by saying that as the board has been presented before; Mr. Meyers always intended to do something with this parcel; which is the next item on the agenda tonight. Mr. Rettig advised that Mr. Meyers bought this piece, after we did the engineering for the former parcel.

General discussion ensued as to timeline of purchasing additional parcels from Mr. Plaskota. Mr. Rettig advised that if he had known about the additional land it could have been engineered earlier, and they could have asked for a zone change sooner. Mr. Rettig advised that brings us to the next agenda item in which we will be asking to re-zone this parcel to match the zoning of the other parcel, that way it can all be completed.

Mr. Rettig advised that is why he has two (2) things on the one exhibit being displayed for the board members. Mr. Rettig advised that after they get the rezoning, they will amend this PUD to “include” this piece, it is the only way it can be done. Mr. Rettig advised that is why they are doing it in steps.

Discussion ensued about the pipeline constraints, curbing and combining of the PUD. They having been talking with the pipeline people for clarification as to a more definitive location of the pipeline. Mr. Rettig advised his last conversation with persons from Tulsa, they want to shift the easement so that it is “centered”, so it will be 25’ and 25’, that is why the pond is where it is located. Mr. Rettig advised they presumed the worst case scenario here, so if the easement is 25’ over that line; but what it does is open up a little bit more land.

Mr. Forbes asked if the new area, is that three (3) or four (4) new duplexes. Mr. Rettig advised that he presented four (4), and Mr. Meyers advised me the other day that he is trying for five (5). Several board members stated that Mr. Meyers should stop trying for the one [laughing].

Mr. Rettig reiterated that they have received permission for the rezoning and have done the legal process for the public hearing, which will take place two weeks from tonight. Mr. Rettig further stated that after checking on the property it is strictly from a C-2 to an R-3 PUD, there is no light industrial part of this project, and was presented as such in the legal notice.

Mr. Forbes asked for any further questions from the Board on either of these two sections.

E. MEYERS ADDITION – UNIT THREE / BLOCK 3 – Secondary Plat review

(Addressed above).


Mr. Forbes advised the next agenda item is Three Springs – Phase Three.

Mr. Doug Rettig advised that Three Springs – Phase Three, we have been before the board numerous times already due to different delays. Mr. Rettig noted that they have not changed the drawings since they were originally submitted.

Mr. Rettig advised they are ready to come back two weeks from tonight for a rezone to R-2 PUD and R-3 PUD. Mr. Rettig brought their attention to the “dotted” zone line as presented on the screen and handout materials. Mr. Rettig showed the area to be known as R-2 PUD, and then the other portion that they are asking for R-3 PUD, because he intends to build duplexes on the southerly portion of the property.

Mr. Rettig advised that the number of units is tabulated on the second sheet of the handout material. Basically, sixty-five (65) total dwelling units on 34 acres; a density of about 1.9 units per acre. The smallest lot for the cottage homes is 60’ wide, the duplexes for the narrowest is 83’, and the square footage minimum for a cottage home is 8,400 square feet, and duplexes are 14,200 square feet. Mr. Rettig noted that there is one conventional single-family lot because it matches with the other ones on Spring Lake Road. A buffer was left for access to the lake.

Mr. Rettig summarized that there is one conventional lot, 20 cottage home lots and 22 paired villas (or duplexes), and that is how we get the total density for 43 lots and 65 dwelling units.

Mr. Rettig advised that this has been properly advertised.

Mr. Rettig reiterated that some of the hardships that Mr. Dave Barrick has made clear is the railroad track location, high-tension lines, and there are three (3) pipelines that cut through this area that we could not do anything with. Mr. Rettig pointed out that there is a lot of green space around the area. Mr. Rettig advised that with that factor it gets our density to a very comparable to a conventional R-2.

Mr. Forbes asked board members for thoughts or concerns.

Mr. Williams commented that he would still like to see the conventional R-2 lots, and he does not see the need for the R-3 PUD, even with the high-tension wires. Mr. Rettig advised he can understand his concern, and he will make sure that the developer is made aware of that.

Mr. Rettig wanted to remind the board that at the South end of the property, we are putting in a street with only buildings on one (1) side, which will most likely extend out to Parrish Avenue. Due to the constraints they can only place houses on one side and noted that the installation of streets is extremely expensive. General discussion ensued as to the difficulties on the property and the expense of the improvements that it will require.

Mr. Rettig thanked the board for their time.

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

Respectfully Submitted:

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