Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Brickyard plan goes before Town of Porter department heads

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Little apparently has changed as far as concept plans for the proposed Brickyard development on Beam Street in Porter just west of the downtown.

Consultants presented an overview to Porter department heads for comment Monday, and the town’s Plan Commission could get an initial look next week.

A formal petition seeking zoning approval as a 31-acre planned unit development or PUD likely won’t be submitted to the commission until October with a public hearing possible in November. Once the commission makes a recommendation, the Town Council will have the final say.

After a PUD ordinance is approved, the project returns to the Plan Commission for platting consistent with the terms set out in the ordinance.

At some point the town Redevelopment Commission, which bought the 31-acre parcel for $350,000 last fall, is hoping to interest a partner in becoming the sole developer or a co-developer.

A.J. Monroe of SEH Inc. said about 180 housing units are eyed on the 25 acres at the southwest corner of Beam and Sexton Avenue. Limited neighborhood commercial uses would be included as would two large areas on the parcel’s west side for future municipal use; a new fire station has been discussed.

Six additional acres near Interstate 94 form a separate parcel on the far west side and contain a pond that will provide detention for the Brickyard’s stormwater system.

Anchoring the housing would be a centrally located senior-living village with a large common green space that may or may not become a town park. Porter building commissioner Art Elwood asked if the senior assisted living units would be a privately owned, for-profit enterprise; Monroe said that is the intent.

Built to the north, south and east of the senior living would be a mix of traditional single-family, stacked condominiums and rowhouses extending from Beam south to a three-block extension of Lincoln Street. All homes would be owner-occupied with no apartments.

Average individual lots are eyed at 40 or 50 feet wide and 110 to 120 feet long in keeping with the character of the adjacent historic Porter downtown. Town planner Jim Mandon said under a PUD, lot sizes are negotiable.

Monroe said, “We made a decision very early on (the Brickyard) should not be an island.” It’s hoped, he added, that new development will spill over into the downtown as reinvestment.

With so many housing types being offered, “That’s an awful lot of different uses; do you think it will sell?” asked Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer.

Monroe said the senior housing, now conceived as two large two- or three-story buildings, would be one of the first types built in the development so future buyers would know it’s there. Also, preliminary feedback showed no negative impact was perceived with a retirement village.

Monroe said with the downtown’s proximity, several churches in town and Yost Elementary School located across the street, the Brickyard is an attractive option for many types and ages of homebuyers.

Since the south side of the Brickyard will parallel the railroad tracks across Lincoln Street, Elwood asked if that area would be fenced or otherwise sound-buffered. Rich Hudson of project engineers The Bonar Group said extensive landscaping is an integral part of the project. Brueckheimer said any Brickyard screening should be continued east all the way to Wagner Road.

Elwood asked about the maximum height of the buildings. Fire chief Lewis Craig Sr. said he does not have a truck able to reach a three-story fire but he would not oppose such construction as long as the Fire Department can purchase the necessary equipment.

Hudson said because of past mining on the site when it was a brickyard, there are contour changes on the property, some abrupt; certain areas drop17 feet but that allows for walk-out basements and underground parking for rowhouses.

Utilities are at the site although a new sewage lift station may have to be built, continued Hudson. Mandon said the detention pond may have to be modified to contour it with a less-deep shelf for public safety.

It was noted an impact analysis will need to be done as part of the Brickyard PUD review to determine its effect on schools, police, fire, trash collection, stormwater, parks and other considerations.

A separate Porter Brickyard hike/bike trail, in the planning stages for a decade, is designed to pass on the north side of Beam Street in front of the Brickyard housing project. A spur trail on the west and south sides of the PUD are included in current plans.

 

 

Posted 8/10/2010

 

 

 

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