By Tim Ashley
WARSAW — Potential commercial growth became the theme for the regular monthly meeting of the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 6, in the county courthouse in Warsaw. The APC considered four rezoning petitions all involving possible commercial growth.
Jeff Strombeck’s petition to rezone 20 acres from agricultural to commercial along the north side of CR 500N (also known as Armstrong Road) near the intersection with SR 13 on the northwest corner in Tippecanoe Township was recommended for approval. Attorney Steve Snyder represented Strombeck and said a potential purchaser of the property wants to put some type of retail business along Armstrong Road.
“We are looking to rezone the northern portion of the 20 acres and it really needs to be zoned commercial to be usable,” Snyder said.
Scott Anderson owns the property on the north side of the wooded area next to the land owned by Strombeck and said his property is mainly used for hunting and he is concerned what effect a commercial business would have on his property.
Snyder said it is likely the business won’t be active retail but a storage business of some type and there is no nearby residence. Mike Kissinger of the APC noted rezoning the property to commercial opens it up to several types of potential uses. He asked Snyder if a commitment could be made to keeping the use to something not of active retail, but Snyder said “I can’t make that commitment now.”
There was also some discussion about the location of curb cuts and whether they will be off SR 13 or Armstrong Road. Snyder said “It is too early in the development process to know that for sure” and when the preliminary plat is presented the APC will either approve it or not approve it at that time.
Power lines also cut through the property and it was noted nothing can be built in that easement.
Since the property is outside of the North Webster town limits the county commissioners will consider the petition at their Tuesday, Oct. 26, meeting.
In other business, the planning commission unanimously voted to table a petition until the Nov. 3 meeting by the Indiana North District Wesleyan Church to rezone 17 acres from residential to commercial on the west side of SR 15 at the intersection with Dixie Drive in Lake Township. The property abuts the town limits of Silver Lake to the north.
Spencer O’Dell is with the engineering firm working on the development of the property and said the intent is to parcel off the land and sell it to a developer for general retail use, which he said he could not be more specific about. With the exception of a house, the lot is mostly vacant now.
Two nearby property owners who live next door to each other said they object to the petition because of the potential for increased noise and trash in the neighborhood. They said there are other commercial properties in the area that are vacant which can be used.
There was some discussion among the APC about how this development would affect the county’s comprehensive plan. It was decided even though the property is outside of the town limits of Silver Lake to seek input of the town council because it “directly affects their growth and development,” said Dan Richard, area planning director.
Also during the meeting, the APC recommended approval for Jeff Clifton to rezone property from residential to commercial on the east side of Jefferson Street, south of Sycamore Street in Silver Lake. It involves three platted residential lots on the south side of town.
Clifton said he wants to have some type of a rental business built where small tools, lawn mowers, grills and perhaps outdoor furniture could be rented. An alley which is now nothing more than grass is still platted and bisects the property. Clifton said he would utilize it as an entrance off SR 15.
Approval was recommended with the condition some type of buffering such as trees or shrubs will be used between the property and the house to the south. Silver Lake Town Council will consider the petition at their Wednesday, Oct. 13, meeting.
Larry Hilty’s petition to rezone 2.35 acres from public use to commercial on the east side of Harrison Street, north of Main Street in Silver Lake was recommended for approval. Hilty said he plans to have a wedding venue built on the property. An agreement was reached with the Silver Lake Lions Club to use its driveway to access the wedding venue.
Silver Lake Town Council will consider the petition at its Oct. 13 meeting.
The final agenda item was recommended for approval by the APC. The Ridenour family is petitioning to have a utility easement, in this case a NIPSCO gas line, vacated on lot No. 7 in the Cripplegate Crossing subdivision in Plain Township near Oswego Lake.
Snyder said the property was recently purchased and the owner wants to be able to use all available space to build on a hillside. He said the owners of lots 5 and 6 are in favor of the petition.
“We have contracted with NIPSCO to relocate the gas line with the approval of the lot 5 owner,” he said.
The county commissioners will consider the petition at their Oct. 26 meeting.