Fairfield plan questioned by residents

March 12, 2019

A few concerns were raised Monday during a Fort Wayne Plan Commission public hearing to discuss possible zoning changes along Fairfield Avenue south of downtown, while no issues were raised regarding plans to demolish the former Sears store at Glenbrook Square. 

The rezoning petition, which would change 4.1 acres of land along Fairfield Avenue from Packard to Nuttman avenues from existing residential and commercial designations to an urban corridor district, was proposed by the Packard Area Planning Alliance in conjunction with Fort Wayne Community Development. 

“The (Urban Corridor) District allows for and encourages mixed-uses with a focus on neighborhood-oriented commercial and personal services at the street level,” Department of Planning Services documents state. “The existing zoning classifications along Fairfield Avenue do not allow for mixed-uses, nor do they support development patterns and building forms that preserve and enhance an urban neighborhood commercial corridor.”

Neighborhood issues raised Monday included concerns about the potential for more traffic along Fairfield and what effect the new classification would have on property taxes.

A staff report filed with the plan commission recommends the proposal receive a positive recommendation from the commission to the Fort Wayne City Council.

“It is staff’s belief that this proposed rezoning to (urban corridor) will help Fairfield Avenue revitalize itself by providing zoning support that supports residential uses along with entrepreneurial mixed-use business and personal services and the means whereby the neighborhood may self-direct its future growth,” the report states.

If approved by the plan commission at its business meeting next week, the proposal will go to the City Council for final approval. 

In other business, the commission heard a plan to demolish and rebuild the building that formerly housed the Glenbrook Sears store. Plans for the site include construction of a Portillo’s restaurant as well as a new 90,000-square-foot, multiple-tenant retail building attached to the mall. 

Portillo’s website says the restaurant is known for its Chicago-style hot dogs, burgers, milkshakes and desserts.

According to documents filed with the Department of Planning Services, the project also calls for parking lot improvements in the form of new parking islands, landscaping and street signs.