The Porter County Plan Commission voted on Wednesday against establishing a
primary plat for the proposed Woodland View Subdivision on LaPorte County
Line Rd. in Jackson Township. Commission members said they were unwilling to
give approval because it was unclear whether the plan was in line with the
county’s drainage rules.
Developer Mike Duffy of the Duneland Group presented a petition of Ronald
and Susan Stangebye of Niles, Michigan, to the commission that would take
the first steps toward developing the 17.9-acre subdivision along CR 950W
and County Line Rd., but several neighboring residents heeded warning that
building in that area could create major problems regarding stormwater
“It’s terrible over there,” said Phillip Blackwell whose property adjoins
the property in question. Blackwell provided the commission with a video
slideshow showing the effects of excessive flooding during last year’s heavy
Blackwell told the commission the culvert on County Line Road near the
property is caving in and that patches of the road are collapsing. He said
the road has sunk three inches in the eleven years he has resided there.
Neighboring resident Charlie Allison said the neighbors have experienced
water running through their yards and feels the area residents need to be
better informed before building of new homes and septic take place.
“The information is not forthcoming,” said Allison.
Others told similar stories saying the water level has been “up to their
knees” and concurred with Allison that more information needs to be given on
what exactly the plans are.
The plans had already been granted a stormwater variance from the Porter
County Board of Zoning Appeals in 2008, Duffy said, along with two other
ordinances to waive a sidewalk that would be built along the road and to
exempt site distance requirements for landscape.
Duffy also presented the case to the county plan commission in 2008
originally with an eight-lot subdivision plan which was also denied. The new
plan calls for the property to be divided into four lots.
Duffy said a previous landowner had the ditch along the road filled which is
why the area has had its flooding problems. Blackwell said before the ditch
was filled, it only took six to eight hours after rainfall for the water to
finish draining. Neighbor John Kadish said the owner sold the property and
left, “leaving everybody else holding the bag.”
“The water has nowhere to go,” said Kadish.
Duffy said LaPorte County Highway Department is agreeing to clear the ditch
and restore the tile underneath. He said the developers will not seek final
plat approval until the ditch has been corrected.
Commission member Elizabeth Marshall said that she believes the problem is
much bigger than what Duffy had reported and that she would be reluctant to
support the project until LaPorte gives a timeline for it.
A concern was brought up by commission member Herb Read who suspected the
drainage plans do not follow county code and said it was apparent to him
that stormwater would run across the neighbors’ property.
Commission President Robert Harper concurred with Read saying the code says
water passed through a property has to go through either a regulated drain,
a defined waterway, or an easement from the neighboring property.
Harper suggested to commission attorney Scott McClure to look into the
matter and see if that is how the code stands or if there is possibly some
“wiggle room” considering the BZA had approved of a stormwater variance.
“We need to have it developed right or the county taxpayers will have to pay
for it,” said Harper.
Before making a motion, commission member Robert Detert said the plan seems
to be “sitting on a promise” from LaPorte County and deemed it to be
“premature.” The council voted 7-1 on Detert’s motion to disallow the
request with county surveyor Kevin Breitzke having the lone no vote.
In his defense, Duffy reiterated the plan did meet a variance with the BZA.
Duffy said the variance was met because DLZ Indiana calculated that the
developed rate of runoff on the property was less than the pre-developed
Tables Liberty Township Rezone Petition
A request to rezone a 30.8-acre parcel located at the northwest corner of CR
1050N and CR 125W from Industrial-1 to Agriculture-1 has been voted 8-0 to
continue the request at a later date.
John Hannon of Great Lakes Engineering representing property owner Charles
Coker of Menomonie, Wisconsin, said he intends to develop the property into
three lots slightly more than ten acres each to be developed as hobby farms.
Commission members were concerned once more about the drainage issues near
the property which lies directly south of the Wabash Railroad line which
separates the property from the adjoining Brassie Golf Course.
Hannon said he agrees that the drainage should be rectified before any
building may begin and only wanted to get a recommendation from the
commission. He discussed the issue with the Porter County Drainage Board
earlier this week and said the existing culvert under the non-operating
railroad had collapsed is looking to have it replaced. The new culvert will
allow water to flow in the roadside ditch along CR 125W, which will then
flow into a public easement on the golf course’s property.
Hannon said the property is zoned industrial because of its location to the
railroad and would need to be zoned to agriculture to use the land for
desired purposes. The land may be used as working farms or possibly a truck
farm for supplying fresh produce to farmer’s markets.
Marshall said there is still the possibility the parcel may be used for
industrial purposes and said more information is needed on the plans to
After the commission voted to table the case, Hannon was told to submit the
plan again when the drainage board is able to make a report.