WINONA LAKE — The Winona Lake Plan Commission kept fresh several topics it’s been discussing over the past several months, including a proposed ordinance against funneling, or selling off narrow strips of land, as well as rules for home owners renting out their houses and the pending approval of a proposed subdivision within the town’s corporate limits. The commission plans to revisit the issue of water on the 33-lot development proposed by Oakmont Development, called Tuscany.
“I had a real hard time with the number that they gave, but I don’t know if we want to ask them to investigate that further,” said Town Engineer Aaron Carl in reference to a presentation made by Oakmont’s Jeff Thomas last month, where the developer told the panel that installing wells on all the properties would be roughly half the cost of tapping into the public water system.
“I think it would be worth the question on the water,” said Town Coordinator Craig Allebach. Allebach told the commission that he was approached by someone who was concerned about fire protection in that area on South CR 250E and produced invoices that seemed to prove that public water was feasible. “Two different contractors had provided water to subdivisions of equal acreage and basically it was half of that,” said Allebach.
In May, Thomas told the commission that each well would cost from $4,000 to $5,000 and that he was quoted about $8,200 per home for city water.
Carl has been overseeing the project and required the developers to make several adjustments to the property, including a grade adjustment in the slope of the proposed retention pond.
“They went through and adjusted all their plans as we’d asked for,” said Carl. “They’ve adjusted the pond slope, especially with it being as deep as it is. The safety factor with it being a subdivision for younger families that are going to have kids.”
Those on the commission who commented on Carl’s concerns regarding the water system all seemed to agree.
“It makes an awful lot of sense to me, if the cost is similar, they really ought to put public water in there for everything from water quality to fire protection,” said Commission President Dave Turner.
“Where are we going as a town, longterm with water?” Asked Rick Swaim. “Are we going to set a policy that all new construction (have public water)? It would seem to me to have foresight on what we need to be doing. Part of our job is oversight to make sure we take care of the public in that way.”
The plan commission re-visited the issue of funneling, or citizens selling off narrow strips of land. The town is crafting an ordinance to regulate the practice, but plan commissioners made a few changes for Town Attorney Jim Walmer and will re-visit the ordinance at the next meeting.
The commissioners also discussed the ongoing issue of citizens renting out their homes for short-term stays. The board is still in the process of discussing options prior to possibly drafting an ordinance on that issue.