City Council approves fiscal plan for potential Valpo annex
Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas urged residents to not read too much into the 4-3 passage of a fiscal plan for the proposed annexation of a 17.14-acre parcel near Spectacle Drive in Valparaiso.
“A fiscal plan is so, if it were to be adopted, we’d have the project funds set up,” Costas said.
City Council members Robert Cotton, Diana Reed and Deb Porter voted “no” after a public hearing where more than two dozen residents voiced their concerns about the proposal — the primar y ones being drainage issues and the width of Spectacle Drive. Environmental concerns and the possible changing of the neighborhood’s identity were also expressed.
“I’m opposed because there will be 41 homes. All the homes use Spectacle Drive. That’s 82 cars using that road and we fear for our children’s and neighbors’ lives,” Joann Gilmartin, of Spectacle Drive, said. “I’m not afraid of change; I’m afraid of my children getting hit by a car.”
Speaking on behalf of his client, the Kilmer family, which owns the property, Todd A. Leeth of Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans LLP said, “according to the annexation agreement, all homes are subject to restrictive covenant promoting architectural diversity, so they won’t have that cookie cutter look.”
“With one exception, there will be no driveways onto Spectacle Drive,” Leeth said. “Regardless of annexation, drainage must be managed.”
Leeth said there will be 27 lots of 11,000 square feet with a width of 100 feet, “exactly as on Andover Drive”, and 12 lots 10,000 square feet with a width of 80 feet.
“We’ve done a good job of making these 1 1 ,00 0square-feet lots fit in with the community,” Leeth said. “We do not have a builder and developer in mind. It may be self-developed, or it may be given to a turnkey operation.”
Valparaiso resident Larry McAfee suggested the community pitch in to purchase the property, a notion that Carol Himes, a member of the Kilmer family, mentioned in a letter that was read at the Oct. 9 plan commission meeting.
“Let’s not prohibit the possibility of alternative options. Let’s get a group of people together to buy the property and have it remain the Kilmer Nature Preserve for perpetuity,” McAfee said. “Let’s buy the property and let’s develop it by leaving it in its natural state.”
Tyler Kent, planning director, said 10 homes are expected to be constructed the first year, with 10 more homes each additional year, and that the approximate value of each is home is $325,000. The annexation proposal will continue to be discussed at the next city council meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 12.
Cain Buchmeier is a freelance reporter at the PostTribune.