Planners for the future medical campus near the new Porter hospital drew
back the curtain revealing the details of the site in Liberty Twp. to about
20 neighboring residents and a few members of the Porter County Plan
Commission during an informal presentation on Thursday at the Evelyn Bay
Coffee Company in Valparaiso.
The new medical campus and park will be developed on a 106-acre parcel by
St. Andrew LLC and will be located immediately west of the 104-acre parcel
that is currently being developed by Porter Hospital on the northwest corner
of the Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 intersection. Hospital developers began clearing
the land for construction on Thursday.
Pat Kleihege of Great Lakes Development said the presentation was to educate
neighboring residents while receiving their input before the plans to rezone
the property go before the Porter County Plan Commission on July 14.
Kleihege, along with associate Chris Lannert of the Illinois-based Lannert
Group, said the group will petition to divide the 106-acres into four
As the plans go from North to South, the northernmost 27.2 acres are
petitioned to be rezoned to Multiple-family Residential (R4), 18.8 acres
expect to be zoned Two-family Residential (R3), 47 acres are planned to be
used for Office and Technology (OT), and the 13.5 acres touching the U.S. 6
boundary are petitioned to be rezoned as Commercial (CH). The parcel and the
surrounding properties are currently zoned as Rural Residential (RR).
On the 106 acres, ten acres include three existing homes not owned by the
developers. Kleihege said he has been in talks with those property owners
and said they will be joining the petition to rezone.
A medical office complex will sit near the center of the development that
will be of use to many physicians who work at the new hospital.
The acreage zoned R4 will feature some form of age-restrictive housing for
senior citizens ages 55 or older and will allow for the inclusion of
assisted living facilities or nursing home, Lannert said.
Lannert showed audience members various styles of housing that could be
built in the R3 and R4 areas to accommodate a variety of buyer preferences.
The houses could be single-family sized houses, duplexes, four-plexes and
carriage houses. These residences can be built into a cluster of six or
eight units on the same square block.
Maintenance will be provided to those living in the senior lifestyle
housing, such as mowing the lawn in the summer and shoveling snow in the
winter, Lannert said.
The homes will transition the property from the medical campuses to the
surrounding residential areas to the north such as the Timberland
subdivision on CR 900N. The roads will all be connected allowing the site to
be accessed from the surrounding subdivisions, except for the Tanner Trace
subdivision to the west.
The area zoned for mixed-use medical buildings will link its road with the
hospital, giving the hospital its needed second point of entry, Lannert
“It becomes a very valuable marketing tool and a way to complement the
hospital site,” he said.
Lannert said the main entranceway will be off U.S. 6 on the west border of
the development where the elevation is at its highest, providing the best
visibility. The area surrounding the entranceway will be service commercial
and convenience commercial and may possibly feature gift shops, restaurants
or coffee shops that will appeal to hospital visitors.
The entranceway will be crescent-shaped divided by a median and will
serpentine through the property.
Lannert said the shape of the roadways will help with capturing the
potential runoff. The site will use bio swales to collect stormwater rather
than put the water into inlets or drains, “mirroring” the guidelines ruled
by the county’s Unified Development Ordinance.
“It’s better to capture drainage where it is going than to reroute it,” said
Lannert said a master association will be responsible for “big picture”
drainage and will be diversified to smaller individual associations.
Kleighe said Indiana American Water will be the site’s water provider, same
as the hospital. He also said they are waiting to see who the hospital will
pick as their sewer utility provider, either Chesterton Utility or Damon
Run, before making any commitment.
The drainage will need to be guided as the difference in elevation from
north and south is approximately 100 feet, which Lannert admitted is no
small figure. “That’s almost a ten-story building.”
Plan Commission member Herb Read, one of the two members who voted against
hospital plan approval last month, said he warned hospital officials about
the “massive” difference in elevation and felt his questions were dodged as
to what the hospital’s plans are for maintaining the site.
Read told the planners it will probably end up that they would need to take
care of the hospital’s runoff as well as their own. Runoff is going to build
because of horizontal surfaces, he said.
Read warned the audience that if someone were to decide to build on the
stubs near the northern part of the hospital property, “everyone here better
start investing in rubber boats.”
Lannert said the developers are respecting the county’s drainage ordinances
and will be using best management practices.
While no member of the audience spoke against the development, two Tanner
Trace residents felt the west entranceway was a little too close to comfort.
“There are times now where traffic is backed up all the way to Highway 49,”
one resident said.
“We’re never going to get in and out of our subdivisions!” another one said.
Kleihege said the hospital is looking into methods of traffic control such
as acceleration/deceleration lanes. Already in the plans is a traffic light
at the hospital’s entrance on U.S. 6 and perhaps a second somewhere on the
Residents said they anticipate a challenging intersection and felt it would
be better if U.S. 6 could be widened, but the situation is complicated due
to the close proximity of toll road. The new purchasers of the toll road
could object to widening nearby highways.
Plan Commission member Tim Cole said it is up to the state legislators to
make the necessary changes and agreements to widen U.S. 6. The Indiana
Department of Transportation has seemingly dropped the intention to widen
the highway since the Major Moves initiative was instated by the governor,
he said, and told audience members they need to speak to their local
“It needs to be widened now,” said Cole.
Kleihege and Lannert said it is indeterminable when the development will
break ground or what portion of the property will be developed first.
Lannert said the development will be built in phases.
Kleihege plans to launch a website that will keep residents up-to-date with
the progress. The address for the web portal is
currently is under construction.