LOWELL | The town's first draft of its annexation plan made its debut Thursday before the Lowell Plan Commission with little fanfare.
At member Don Parker's urging, the commissioners agreed to schedule a public hearing, however, to gain much-desired input when it meets next at 7 p.m. July 13.
"If we don't do something, Cedar Lake is coming south," Parker said. He suggested it may not be possible for the town to annex to the planned Illiana Corridor, approximately 153rd Ave., since Cedar Lake already has plans in the works to incorporate land south of that point.
The plan's first draft, by consultant James Mandon, calls for the Illiana Corridor — land planned for use by the proposed Illiana Expressway — as Lowell's northern annexation point. The plan stretches west to U.S. 41, east to Ind. 55 and south to Belshaw Road.
The plan ranks unincorporated parcels to develop a sequence in which the staff would recommend annexation.
While the ranking is not shown on the annexation plan's map, the map can be viewed at Lowell Town Hall, 501 E. Main St., along with the zoning and land use maps approved by the commissioners for submission to the Lowell Town Council.
The zoning and land use maps also can be viewed at www.lowell.net. The annexation plan map also may become available online.
Mandon said a number of factors determined the ranking of parcels, but the most important is access to water and sewer. Ready accessibility to rail and highway transportation also made some parcels more valuable, he said.
The amount of revenue to be generated from a parcel to be annexed versus the cost to bring it in is another consideration, Mandon said. For example, low density, single-family areas do not produce revenue.
Despite previous discussions by the Town Council regarding annexation as far east as Interstate 65, Mandon said his planning stopped at Ind. 55 because the space from that point to I-65 ranks too low.
The land use map approved Thursday was modified by the commissioners to reduce the amount of multifamily-zoned property as suggested in an annexation committee review.