Valpo Plan Commission hears revised Bridgewater plans

2013-03-13T18:10:00Z 2013-03-13T19:11:15Z Valpo Plan Commission hears revised Bridgewater plansPhil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | Plans to revive and revise plans for the Bridgewater Estates subdivision on Country Club Road drew about 16 residents Tuesday to a Plan Commission public hearing.

Originally platted and approved in 2004 as being almost all duplexes, the developer went bankrupt after only eight duplexes and three single-family homes were built. With 40 duplex lots remaining, developer Bob Coolman, of Coolman Communities, told the commission the bank approached him last last year about buying the lots and building on them.

Coolman asked the commission for permission to reduce the number of lots from 40 to 31 and build only single-family homes. They would be one-story homes of 1,500 to 2,000 square feet with brick and stone on at least the front, attached garages and daylighted basements. They would be marketed mostly to empty nesters for between $220,000 and $400,000.

Don Giedemann, of the neighboring Quail Ridge subdivision, said the original developer promised "a Garden of Eden next door with beautiful bridges and fountains. It was a gorgeous presentation and it would have convinced a lot of people (to approve it), but things changed as time went on."

One of the concerns of Giedemann and several other residents was water overflowing the Bridgewater detention ponds into their subdivision. Other concerns expressed by nearby residents were that even the reduced number of homes was too many and that Coolman needed to add more green space.

Coolman said many of the problems at Bridgewater were caused by not having a homeowners association, as required by the covenants. In addition to correcting the drainage problems, he said he was committed to creating a viable association to maintain the property.

City Engineering Director Tim Burkman said the Bridgewater detention ponds are designed to adequately handle the stormwater, but some of the outlets were plugged and they could not drain properly.

Coolman said he can't be held responsible for the failures of the original developer, and his reputation as a builder in the city for decades is a good one. The Plan Commission is expected to vote on the changes at its April meeting.



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