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Subdivision held to sidewalk rule

May 16, 2019

The developer of Majestic Pointe, a single-family-home neighborhood in Eel River Township, will have to install sidewalks along its Hand Road frontage after all.

The Allen County Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday denied a request by Soaring Eagle Development LLC, Fort Wayne : represented by Jeff Thomas : to waive development standards so the sidewalks wouldn’t be required.

The 91-lot development will have sidewalks on interior streets and along its Carroll Road frontage, according to plans.

Thomas told board members the developer wants to encourage foot traffic only along the Carroll Road side. He said Hand Road is narrow and dangerous, and there are no plans from the county highway department for widening or trail placement.

That makes the logistics of placing sidewalks problematic, he said.

A previous development by Soaring Eagle, the Preserves at Carroll Creek West, received a sidewalks waiver for its Hand Road frontage within the last few years, Thomas added. No objection was raised to a similar design for Majestic Pointe at its previous approval meetings, he said.

However, Bryan McMillan, senior planning staff member, said correspondence from the highway department received Tuesday revealed that the transportation plan adopted in May 2018 calls for sidewalks along Hand; an earlier one did not. He said a surge in development in the area, which is near Carroll High School, also speaks to the need for sidewalks.

The vote for denying the developer’s request was 3-1, with David Bailey, Heather Drebenstadt and Susie Hoot voting to deny and Ron Kohart voting in favor.

After the meeting, Thomas said he was surprised by the new information and the vote.

“Completely blind-sided,” he said.

Thomas said sidewalks for the development’s two stretches of frontage along Hand would mean paving about one-eighth of a mile and likely would cost around $20,000.

“I don’t know where to go from here,” he said. “It’s a little confusing. I guess I could appeal to the (Allen County) commissioners, but I don’t think I’ll do that.”

In other business, the board approved:

• An extension of the previously approved use of a barn at Kuehnert Dairy Tours at 6532 W. Cook Road in Lake Township as a reception hall. The business will now be able to erect a temporary tent and use a second-story deck off the barn when bookings request outdoor space.

• The use of asphalt millings as a paving alternative at Soarin’ Hawk’s soon-to-be-constructed raptor rehabilitation facility at 17688 Lima Road in Perry Township.

• The creation of living quarters inside a newly constructed building originally intended as a barn on 71 acres at 9503 E. Paulding Road.

• An extension of the approval for a food truck to station itself from four to eight months in a gas station parking lot at 12206 Old Leo Road in St. Joseph Township. The truck, serving tacos and operated by Juan Carlos Carranza, was opposed in writing by people from two nearby commercial properties with food establishments who said it was unfair competition and went against the idea of food trucks as mobile and short-term.


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