VALPARAISO | After months of negotiations over the final form of the business park and luxury apartment development proposed by Don Weiss, the project received the endorsement Tuesday of the city's Plan Commission.
The commission recommended approval of the annexation of 32 acres at the north end of the business park portion of the development, which will make it a total of 90 acres with 29 lots. The southern 55 acres of the development will have 408 luxury apartments.
The second recommendation of the commission was to rezone the property as a planned unit development. Both the annexation and the rezoning still must get City Council approval.
City Administrator Bill Oeding told the commission it has been an intense five months since the council first approved the project with separate zoning for the two segments and without the additional land. The development, called Lakes of Valparaiso, is on the east side of Ind. 49 between Evans Avenue and Vale Park Road.
"There was a lot of debate and a lot of struggle," Oeding said. "There were times it got tense and times we wondered if it would ever happen. In the end we got a project we can be proud of."
The road layout of the business park portion has changed from the initial approval to preserve more trees and move them farther from homes on Bartz Road, and the original plan for a 5-foot-high berm between the development and the neighboring Pine Creek subdivision was eliminated.
Instead, the existing tree line will be preserved between the developments, and it will be enhanced with additional trees. Also a natural tree line and old growth wooded area within the business park portion will be preserved.
Developer Don Weiss and city officials said they took comments and concerns by residents very much to heart in coming up with the final plan. Some details of the business park's architectural standards still must be worked out.