By PAULENE POPARAD
The 94-unit Village Green Townhomes were approved by the Chesterton Advisory
Plan Commission on Thursday and because most residents are expected to be
young-marrieds and empty-nesters, owner Coffee Creek Development I, LLC
won’t have to include public park land in its plans.
But the Plan Commission, adopting a recommendation from the Chesterton Park
Board, put future Coffee Creek Center developers on notice that there will
be no further subdivision or planned-unit development (PUD) approval there
until a plan is in place to provide approximately 17 acres on the east side
of State Road 49 for usable public open space.
Village Green, slated for 35 buildings on 15 acres at the southeast corner
of County Road 1050N and Kelle Drive, has seven scattered common areas and
three open-space outlots in its plan. The project also abuts land owned by
the Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy.
The Park Board, which met Monday with Village Green officials, said in a
letter to the commission that under Coffee Creek’s Center’s 2002 PUD
approval, 17 total acres for “active” recreational use such as softball and
soccer fields would be provided somewhere in the development.
The Park Board now wants that acreage to be contiguous land readily
adaptable and usable by the entire community; also, it should be dedicated
either to the town or maintained by a future petitioner with appropriate
easement for public access and public use.
Additionally, the plan for the 17-acre park’s development must be approved
by not only itself but also by the Plan Commission and the Chesterton Town
Council, according to the Park Board.
Vote on motions related to Village Green and imposing the 17-acre
requirement were 5-0 with members Steve Yagelski and Mike Bannon absent.
The townhomes were given primary plat approval allowing infrastructure to be
installed; final or secondary plat approval allowing lots to be sold will be
sought next month. Thursday’s only contingency was that the east portion of
the street Legend Circle be renamed Legend Circle East at the request of
Commission member George Stone said ownership of the approximately 600-acre
Coffee Creek Center is divided among several owners. “Who are we looking to
get this commitment for 17 acres from?” he asked Village Green attorney
Compton said his client acknowledges the new obligation and whoever develops
the next Coffee Creek Center project has no choice but to comply. “It seems
to me this Plan Commission has the leverage. Anybody who develops that
property understands that.”
Compton later told the Chesterton Tribune providing the 17 acres might fall
to his client anyway. The 94 townhomes are Phase 1; if the sales are brisk,
the developers have indicated they would move for approval of Phase 2, about
90 more townhomes, on the north side of 1050N.
Compton said the decision whether to require the 17 acres for Phase 2 would
be up to the commission.
Before the commission could plat Village Green members had to void or vacate
seven, small overlapping portions of a 1998 Coffee Creek Center PUD for that
area. Vote to approve that vacation was 5-0.
Separate public hearings were convened for both the vacation and the
townhomes. Herb Read representing the Conservancy was the lone speaker at
each. He said even though some details remain to be worked out between them,
based on previous understandings CCWC had with the developer, “I see no
reason this shouldn’t go ahead at this point in time.”
Read also said the points made by the Park Board are valid.
The meeting began with 2007 reorganization. Fred Owens was elected
president, Sig Niepokoj vice-president, and Gail Murawski secretary. Owens
will take over the gavel in February. Stone was thanked for serving as
president for approximately the past five years.
Also named to the Plat Committee, which did not meet in 2006, were Niepokoj,
commission member Frank Sessa and town engineer Mark O’Dell.