Advisory Plan Commission has endorsed a proposed increase in the park impact
fee paid by builders and developers of new residential units.
The current park
impact fee: $889. The proposed new fee: $994, a 12-percent bump.
At their meeting
Thursday night, planners voted unanimously to forward the proposed new fee,
along with a Recreation Zone Improvement Plan 2019-28, to the Town Council
with their favorable recommendation.
Revenues from the
fee--paid per new residential unit--are used exclusively for the development
of new recreational infrastructure serving new residential growth.
Chuck Lehman of
Lehman & Lehman Inc., a landscape architecture firm based in Mishawaka, told
planners that a complete inventory was taken of the town’s recreational
assets--park acreage, number of ballfields and playgrounds, miles of
trail--and then that inventory compared to population growth over the last
Under state law,
park impact fee ordinances automatically expire in five years--the town’s
will in February--and must be renewed by ordinance.
$1.3 million in future recreational needs have been identified: multi-use
fields, basketball courts, shelters, restrooms, playgrounds, a splash pad,
trails, and open space. And the proposed increase in the park impact fee
would be needed to fund those needs, Lehman said.
He noted that the
average park impact fee for comparable municipalities in Northwest Indiana
is $1,315, so even with the increase the $994 proposed fee would come in at
the low end.
At a public hearing
before the vote, no one spoke in favor of the proposed fee hike and no one
in opposition to it.
The Town Council is
scheduled to consider the proposed fee hike at its meeting tonight.
In other business,
planners voted unanimously to hold a public hearing at their next meeting,
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, on a petition from the Villages of Sand Creek
Home Owners Association.
HOA wants to amend the planned unit development ordinance to use $40,000
held for year in escrow to build sidewalks to expand instead a children’s
play area located just north of Sawgrass Drive and east of Ballenisle Court.
In June, the HOA’s
attorney, Clay Patton, told planners that for various reasons the sidewalks
were never built and at this point--given the fact that they were meant to
be routed behind residents’ homes--the sidewalks would probably irk a
lot of folks interested in their privacy.
Trees at Eagle
referred to staff a proposed commitment by the developers of the Eagle
Crossing apartment complex to maintain, and to repair any damage caused by,
honey locust trees which they want to plant in the parkway along Kelle Drive
and Sidewalk Road.
planted in the parkway--the grassy right-of-way located between the street
and the sidewalk--are considered “public street trees” and are maintained by
Under the proposed
commitment, however, the developers would absolve the town of any
responsibility for the honey locusts and both maintain them and repair any
damage which they might cause, for instance, by their roots.
Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell did express a note of caution. Although honey locusts are a species
permitted by the town’s tree ordinance, they are “large” trees which may not
be suitable for a parkway.