A lower density for
Easton Park -- formerly known as Sand Creek Farms -- on CR 250E and the
eastern terminus of East Porter Ave., garnered a favorable vote from the
Chesterton Plan Commission on Thursday by 4-1.
The public hearing
on an amendment to the governing planned unit development ordinance for
Easton Park was continued from last month in order for attorney Todd Leeth
and one of the property owners, Eric Gastevich of Olson Farms LLC, to submit
the rest of the necessary documentation.
Easton Parks sits
on a 132-acre site and the amendment sought is to lower the density from 362
residential lots to 346 with 22 acres total of open space throughout the
The open space was
the biggest point of contention for the planners as commission member Thomas
Kopko said he would prefer there be more space for residents and their
children to recreate.
little space to do anything there,” said Kopko. “That is bothersome.”
“Unless they wanted
to play in the drainage ditch,” joked planner Fred Owens.
But Leeth and
Gastevich pointed out that in the PUD they have agreed to donate 20 acres of
property that Gastevich owns directly south on CR 1050N for the Town of
Chesterton to use as a park. An adjacent parcel is owned by the Duneland
School Corporation which had indicated a willingness to help develop the
Whether the Town
decides to annex the property is “in the hands of the Town,” not Olson
Farms, they said.
But Town Engineer
Mark O’Dell argued “the ball can’t be in the (Town’s) court” because there
is no contiguity between the 1050E property and the Town’s incorporated
limits, making it not possible to annex. He didn’t think it was right of the
Town to forcefully acquire property in order to make the annexation.
Leeth said that
Easton Park will agree to pay the Town’s park impact fees to support
existing parks in Chesterton. The open space in Easton Park is intended to
be for passive use and yards would be of good side, he said.
Planner Jeff Trout
said he likes the way the plan has gone forward and commended the
petitioners on what they presented. “I think it’s a good plan long term,” he
The vote went 4-1
with Kopko opposing and President George Stone expressing some hesitation
before saying yes.
The original PUD
for Sand Creek Farms had been approved in 2008 but currently remains vacant.
Voting the same way
as they did on an amendment to the PUD, a 4-1 majority approved a
recommendation for primary plat approval of the project dubbed Conservancy
Point at Coffee Creek Center featuring upscale apartment units.
A few audience
members who had addressed the Council when the PUD amendment was presented
for public hearing in August were in attendance. Stone said the plat review
is “only looking at the technical aspects” as the character of the property
is decided in the PUD.
The property is
located on 15.84 acres with Rail Road to the north, Kelle Drive to the west,
Sidewalk Road to the east and Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy to the
south. There are 170 residential units in 23 different buildings planned,
with a density of 9.39 units per acre.
Babcock said there will be no public improvements inside the development and
maintenance will be taken care of by private residents.
Lake Erie Land
attorney Kevin Warren said LEL “highly supports” the project and the
presence of green space resulting from it.
Resident Jim Nelson
asked if there was going to be an onsite manager in cases of emergencies.
Babcock replied there would in fact be a “full-time” onsite manager.
Developer Jeff Ban
of In Good Company (ICG) addressed Nelson’s concerns regarding drainage
saying they’ll make sure there is adequate drainage away from the
residences. The development has a grading plan.
O’Dell said storm
water will flow onto internal roadways and be routed to stormwater basins.
The lone “no” vote
was from Kopko who again gave as a reason, “Too much gray, not enough
11th Street Rezone
It’s never been
used as a residential property but it’s been zoned as such for a long time.
The Plan Commission
however voted unanimously to make the recommendation to the Town Council to
rezone two lots currently R-3 residential to B-2 business.
Vic Gerhardt, whose
wife Laura Gerhardt is the petitioner in the case, has remodeled the
building on the lots located adjacent to Val’s Pizza.
started off as a dentist’s office in the late 1950’s, Babcock said, and has
also housed a physician’s and a veterinarian’s office and “there is no proof
that’s ever been a residence.” The Gerhardts look to lease the property.
because of having just five parking spaces, the B-2 designation would be
most compatible with the property.
During the public
hearing, Stone read a letter penned by a collective group of five homeowners
on 11th and 12th street, mainly wanting to know what is allowed in a B-2
Physician and vet
offices are permitted as well as a bakery, dry cleaner, a dress-making shop,
gift shop, drug store, shoe repair, antique store or liquor stores, among
“It’s not a high
intensity use,” Babcock said.
Seven uses are to
be excluded as described at the August preliminary hearing such as auto part
sales; auto repair/minor; auto service station; bar/night club; billiard
room/arcade; bowling alley; and video store.