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
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
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
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
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
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
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.