Road Vacations In Winona Lake Considered

Feeling the vacation of two public ways would only benefit a small group of lakefront property owners, Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission recommended denial of a road vacation petition during its regular monthly meeting Oct. 2 in Warsaw.

The petition for Chapman, Finley and Wilson is asking to vacate two public ways at Winona Beach. Dan Richard, area planning director, noted the original plat for Winona Beach was recorded in 1926.

Steve Snyder, attorney representing the petitioners, said vacating the public ways would allow the lakefront property owners “to do what they have been taxed for all these years.” He said they would be able to make improvements to their property without wondering if they would interfere in a public right of way. He noted, for example, shoreline erosion has taken away some of the yards and it would likely be only a matter of time until someone wants to put in a seawall to stop the erosion.

Snyder added he has no evidence to suggest anyone from the public has actually used the roadways. But Richard, and members of the APC, questioned the accuracy of that statement.

Rex Reed owns property to the north and said he wants to see at least one of the roads kept open for drainage purposes. “It is important to the development of the community for this way to remain open for drainage purposes, if nothing else,” he said. He added he has used one of the public ways for several years.

Snyder said his clients would probably not object to keeping a portion of one of the roads open for drainage. APC member Dick Kemper said it is important to keep in mind the original intent of the plat, which was to provide public access to a nearby promenade. He noted only a small group of property owners want the roads vacated, rather than a large majority.

County commissioners will consider the petition at their Oct. 22 meeting.

In other business, the APC voted to recommend a rezoning of approximately 7.7 acres of land from agricultural to agricultural II on the east side of CR 750 West, just south of CR 1350 North in Jefferson Township and just south of the city limits of Nappanee. Lonnie and Verba Hochstetler are the petitioners.

Blake Doriot, a surveyor with B. Doriot and Associates, said it would mean another plat nearby owned by Ken Mullet would need to be re-platted. Hochstetler is essentially allowing Mullet to build a house on his property instead of another tract.

County commissioners will consider the petition at their Oct. 22 meeting.

Also on the agenda, the APC voted to approve a preliminary plat for Barb Mayall for a one lot subdivision on property zoned agricultural II on CR 1100N, west of CR 250E in Van Buren Township. The triangular piece of land was once zoned environmental and was illegally split off from nearby property, Richard said. It covers 4.46 acres.

In other business, Richard gave a brief report about a possible amendment to the county ordinance governing how setbacks for structures near a water’s edge are measured. Structures are required to be 35 feet away from the water’s edge.

Richard noted, though, there is some confusion as to whether property lines can be crossed when measuring setbacks. Presently property lines are crossed to get the best measurement and that involves finding the closest point of the structure to the water’s edge.

Problems can occur if there are curves in the land. The main reason for having setback requirements is to keep the line of visibility open for nearby lake property owners, Richard said.

No vote was taken on any amendment and it will be discussed at a future meeting.

APC meetings are held at 1 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month in the old courtroom of the county courthouse in Warsaw.

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About Tim Ashley

Tim Ashley, associate editor for The Mail-Journal, has been with The Papers since March 2004. He edits articles for The Mail-Journal, as well as several other publications of The Papers. Ashley also covers Wawasee school board meetings, activities at Wawasee High School and Wawasee Middle School and monthly Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission meetings. A 1996 graduate of Oral Roberts University with a degree in journalism, he lives in Goshen. Staff Writer tashley@the-papers.com

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