Chesterton Tribune

Village Green Townhomes win planners okay; 17 acre park eyed

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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 emergency responders.

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 Clyde Compton.

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.


Posted 1/19/2007