VALPARAISO | The city's "other" annexation request got a quick and unanimous recommendation Tuesday for approval from Valparaiso's Plan Commission and will be heard by the City Council in August.
Unlike the ALDI's annexation, initiated by the city this week as an involuntary addition to the city, the Von Tobel annexation of 54 acres south of U.S. 30 between county roads 325 and 400 East is voluntary. Both parcels are one-owner pieces of land, but the Von Tobel property has only one building used as a warehouse and small office space.
At the public hearing in June, city resident Richard Wheeler argued against annexing the property because it would take the land away from Washington Township and affect school funding. The Plan Commission voted 7-0 without discussion to recommend approval by the council. Members Vic Ritter and Mike Micka were absent.
The commission also recommended approving a request from Valparaiso Partners for a facade grant to renovate the former Ticor Title building at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Indiana Avenue. The total grant amount the company will receive is still to be determined.
The owners are asking for $25,000 for both the front and the back facades, as is allowed by the facade grant program. They also want another $25,000 for the Indiana Avenue side of the building, which is not allowed. That doesn't mean they can't get some help from the city.
City Planning Director Tyler Kent said he talked to City Administrator Bill Oeding about the project, and Oeding said the city would look at finding funding although it might not be at the level allowed in the grant program. Facade grants are for 50 percent of the cost up to a maximum of $25,000.
Kent said the final decision on how much will be provided will be up to the council. The city has only $40,000 left in the program for this year. Plans call for a total of $250,000 to be spent renovating the exterior with additional windows, brick facing and other improvements.