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Amended zoning plan draws protesters

January 10, 2019 GMT

Last year’s controversy about a proposed housing development just west of Schwartz Road in St. Joseph Township resurfaced at today’s Allen County Plan Commission public hearing.

More than a dozen people, many wearing ”#Protect Schwartz Road” T-shirts, said they remained opposed to the developer’s amended proposal, saying the plans for 155 single-family homes still did not represent compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood.

The controversy began when developer NWM Group, represented by Ric Zehr, proposed The Lakes at Woodfield, a single-family home project, and The Village of Woodfield, a rental duplex complex with a single owner, for 46 acres zoned agricultural. Together the projects would have meant 219 homes.


Both plans were approved by the plan commission, but the Allen County commissioners turned down a rezoning that would have allowed the duplexes.

The new proposal, from North Eastern Development Corp. also affiliated with Zehr, combines the two developments. The proposal scales back the number of single-family homes from 89 to 74. The duplex area now has 81 single-family units.

Lots in The Lakes area are somewhat larger than before. But residents said the rest of the homes and lots are smaller and likely of lower value than the average for surrounding homes.

One resident, Jon Havert, said the new proposal also has less green space.

“Originally, there were pockets of green space available for residents. These are just packed homes,” he said.