The Porter Plan
Commission voted Wednesday to hold a public hearing on a proposed rezone of
the old Waterpark property at the northeast corner of Waverly Road and U.S.
Board heard plans for a luxury apartment complex, designed by the same
company that built Lakes of Valparaiso, Weiss Entities. The first step in
finalizing a planned unit development (PUD) for the complex and having the
PUD approved is rezoning the property from B-3, general business, to R-4,
attorney for Weiss, said the $35 million development will have 318 high-end
apartments built in two phases. The development will have amenities
including a clubhouse, an on-site dog run, a pool, and 249 covered parking
spaces made possible by the first floor of the largest building serving as a
The first phase
would consist of a large L-shaped building with the Clubhouse and attached
apartments, three smaller apartment buildings, a sports court and dog run,
parking, and three detention areas--one dry bed and two ponds. Phase two
would add two more buildings with parking and a dry bed detention area.
Board member Tara
Duffie said she appreciates the focus on planting 100 percent native
species. Town Planner Jim Mandon said the development has a “tremendous
amount” of planned open space, and the plans minimize the footprint of the
rooflines and asphalt parking areas. The Board had questions about parking,
traffic, and drainage, however.
Duffie noted that
Town Code calls for a parking ratio of 2-to-1 for apartment complexes in
R-4, which would mean the proposed development should have 636 parking
spaces. Weiss has only planned 570. Weiss Entities Vice-president of Design
and Development Bob Billick said the company does parking at a 1.79-to-1
ratio based on its own data after building Lakes of Valparaiso. The Lakes,
he said, ended up with too much parking in spite of the fact that residents
there “can’t go anywhere without a car.”
Billick said they
don’t experience overcrowding with this ratio, and added that nobody wants
extra impervious surfaces, especially in a development like the one
proposed. “We’re trying to make this a nature-friendly development, so we’re
trying to get the exact number of asphalt spaces. We think it’s the safe
conservative number,” Billick said.
Board member, and
Porter Police Chief, Jamie Spanier noted he was still concerned about the
issue he brought up at a recent Technical Advisory Committee meeting: he
hopes the proposed road cut onto U.S. 20 is far enough from the light to
prevent backed-up traffic. Backed-up traffic at that intersection caused
many accidents in the past, before INDOT approved the light to be on an
extended timer. When the timer was changed, Police saw a reduction in
accidents there from one every eight days to an average of only a couple
each year, according to Spanier.
Billick said INDOT
has been involved in the planning of the development at every stage and has
thus far not raised any concerns about the U.S. 20 road cut. Mandon also
noted a traffic study will be done before any road cuts are made.
Phillips asked what will stop water from a planned detention pond in the
northwest corner of the property from overflowing into the properties to the
north since drainage there has been an issue for years. Billick said Weiss
is hoping they’re development will actually help or solve the problems.
there’s a small existing pond in that corners of the property that will be
dug out and made 400 or 500 percent larger. The plan, Billick said, is for
that pond to keep all the water along the north end of the property on the
property and additionally allow water from the properties to the north to
drain south into the pond.
Commissioner Michael Barry said the drainage issues at the north end of the
Waterpark stem from old underground drainage tiles. He said the old tiles
won’t be removed under Weiss’ plan, but digging out the pond should mitigate
If the rezone is
approved, Anderson said Weiss will seek three variances for the property.
One will be for the reduction in parking ratio, and another to allow the
tallest building to be 56 feet where maximum height in Town Code is 50 feet.
The final variance would be reducing rear setback.
The Plan Commission
voted unanimously to consider the rezone at its November meeting. They will
then make a recommendation to the Town Council, which has the final say on
In other business,
the Plan Commission approved a site plan for a new maintenance building at
Pinkerton Oil on U.S. 20 behind the existing station. The new building will
be a pole barn-type structure used for changing truck tires and oil. There
will be parking for as many as 20 semis at once, as well as straight trucks
and cars. The building will be accessed with the existing driveway off U.S.
Mandon noted the
site is naturally screened by trees, so there’s no visual impact to nearby
property owners. The building also won’t be visible from U.S. 20.