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Briar Ridge residents speak out against 'piecemeal' development
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Briar Ridge residents speak out against 'piecemeal' development

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STOCK - Briar Ridge Country Club

Briar Ridge Country Club

DYER — Residents in Briar Ridge are calling on the town to preserve their investment. 

During a Dyer Town Council meeting on Thursday, more than a dozen residents from the gated residential community opposed nullifying a town ordinance from 2016 and its late addition to the meeting agenda.

As written, Ordinance No. 2016-21 states any proposed future changes within Briar Ridge would be considered a major change, resulting in developers needing to submit a new preliminary planned unit development (PUD) plan and supporting data for the Dyer Plan Commission's reconsideration.

As presented, Ordinance No. 2021-06 would amend the 2016 ordinance by taking out a provision that defines major changes separate from Dyer Town Code, and instead use the definitions for minor and major changes as set forth in town code, section 10-131m. 

The 2021 ordinance states the 2016 provision is "superfluous and draconian, and has resulted in unnecessarily burdensome proceedings before the Plan Commission."

"It is in the town's best interests to bring Briar Ridge's development requirements into uniformity with the rest of the town and to unburden staff and the Plan Commission from burdens created by requirements the town deems unnecessary," the ordinance read.

The Council moved to table Ordinance No. 2021-06, which would repeal Ordinance No. 2016-21. Town attorney Adam Sedia said the 2016 ordinance is invalid since it didn't go through the proper approval process, as it didn't go before the Dyer Plan Commission. 

Residents argued Ordinance No. 2016-21 preserves the PUD they were sold on.

"Again, Briar Ridge is trying to piecemeal develop the golf course. It's not just open green space," said resident Katherine Garza, who also is a Lake County judge. 

"When Briar Ridge was started, everyone was promised a golf course lot, or green easement; that's in all of the brochures. We spent lots of money on our lots because we knew that's what we were buying into, this PUD, and this PUD could not be changed without zoning changes."

Garza added residents aren't against all development.

"We're asking you to please protect our investment. We're not saying that it can never be developed, but we want to have a plan, and we want to have it done the right way, and not take golf course space and turn it into lots piecemeal," she said. 

Mark Heaney, Briar Ridge Country Club vice president, said in six years Briar Ridge has developed five lots, and is seeking to develop additional lots on land owned by the country club. 

"Nobody's view is blocked, actually. Not a single person's view is blocked, period," Heaney said of the proposed lots.  

The matter was further discussed in a study session, which was abruptly ended seconds after attorney Sedia used his nameplate as a gavel and asked those present to speak "one at a time, please," as two residents spoke at once. 

Moments later, Town Council President Alan Brooks adjourned the meeting, which he called "out of control."

Gallery: The Times Photos of the Week

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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Within a few weeks, the town will have a new and larger fire station. Dyer Town Council members toured Central Park Fire Station Saturday, which was given its new name during a recent town council meeting due to its location. 

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