By Tim Ashley
WARSAW — Two road vacation requests took up the overwhelming majority of the regular monthly meeting of the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 1, in Warsaw.
Whitney Clark petitioned to vacate a 120-foot section of road originally platted as an open drive off the north side of Chapman Lake, which was recommended for denial. Later the subdivision was replatted and part of it became the Maple Grove addition with the drive being labeled a walkway.
Attorney Richard Helm represented the petitioner and said his client and a neighbor have each mowed it as their backyard. He said the county does not use the walkway and has no plans to pave it and the area is not marked for any future development.
There was considerable discussion among some members of the APC who wondered if vacating the road would cut off access to boat lots for neighbors. Helm insisted it wouldn’t, but later attorney Steve Snyder spoke on behalf of several nearby property owners who said they use the walkway to get to their boat lots and also for rear access to their properties.
Other remonstrators spoke and said vacating the road could hinder emergency vehicle access particularly during holidays when several cars are parked alongside the roads.
A video was shown of the walkway and it is partly grass and partly gravel, but does appear to have been used.
Mike Kissinger of the APC pointed out one nearby property owner to the northeast would be cut off from accessing their boat lot because they could no longer use the walkway.
In rebuttal Helm said many of the remonstrators complaining about the possible vacation of the road would actually not be affected if it is vacated. “Why would you want to use a gravel and grass walkway to take your boat to your lot when you have a paved road?” he asked.
The county commissioners will consider the petition at their Tuesday, Sept. 28, meeting.
Earlier the APC did recommend approval for Michael Arnolt to vacate what is platted as West Boundary Drive near Tippecanoe Lake in the Old Mill Place subdivision originally platted in 1945. Snyder represented the petitioner and said the road is still technically public and is now called EMS T34 Lane.
Snyder noted several years ago the property developer wanted to “get out from under” the subdivision and had a blanket deed done which he thought would vacate the road, but actually didn’t. He said the county auditor’s office is in agreement and the recommended approval from the APC is contingent upon what the auditor’s office says. Snyder also noted he received an email from the president of the property owners association who said he has no problem with the road vacation.
The county commissioners will consider the petition at their Sept. 28 meeting.
In other business, the APC recommended approval for Ryan Lewis to rezone ground from agricultural to residential on Warner Road, north of CR 1300N in Turkey Creek Township. It is just south of Boner Lake.
Megan Lewis, Ryan’s wife, was present at the meeting and said she and her husband want to purchase 2 acres from Ryan’s parents and have a house built. It will be considered a one-lot subdivision since all the allowed sell-offs have been used.
There were no remonstrators to the petition and it will be considered by the county commissioners Sept. 28.