ST. JOHN — Work in Gates East has been put on hold while a judge determines if the town breached a settlement agreement with the developer of the subdivision.
Despite ongoing litigation, the Plan Commission was set to have six public hearings related to the development during a recent meeting.
Those hearings, which included the rezoning of parcels at the center of the lawsuit and primary plat approval for various units in the subdivision, were deferred until April 1.
The deferral came at the recommendation of the commission's attorney, Adam Decker.
Decker explained to commissioners the recommendation is based on the March 2 hearing in the case, where Lake Superior Court Judge Gina Jones asked both parties to submit findings of fact by March 23.
While the findings are due by late March, it's unclear when a ruling will be made in the case, Decker said. He added the town and developer had agreed to defer rezoning and primary plats sought for the 111-acre parcel at the center of the lawsuit.
Though not mentioned in the lawsuit, the primary plat for unit 22 also should be deferred, because it could rely upon the lawsuit's ruling, Decker added.
However, Tim Kuiper, attorney for the developer of the project, John Lotton, said unit 22 shouldn't be lumped in with the rest of the parcels that came before the board.
"That is a replat of part of that unit that was in town that was rezoned last year that is not subject to the lawsuit. It's not subject to the annexations or anything else," he said.
Kuiper added the developer has made a commitment across the 220-acre project to have an average lot size of 11,200 square feet.
However, Decker said it's his understanding the amended plat for unit 22 would reduce some lot sizes.
"Without knowing what the developer intends to do with the other property in the 220 acres, it's difficult, if not impossible, for the plan commission to fully understand whether the developer would meet the zoning commitment that requires the 11,200-square-foot average lot size throughout the entire development," Decker said.
Despite further rebuttal from Kuiper, the plan commission unanimously agreed to defer all items related to the Gates East until April 1.
Read more: The Times coverage about Gates East
St. John officials have until Feb. 11 to respond to a petition that alleges the new Town Council violated a settlement agreement between the town and developer BLB St. John, LLC.
Attorneys are asking the court to hold the council to an agreement made in 2019 with the developer about rezoning land for The Gates East subdivision.
The council agreed unanimously to rezone more than 150 acres as R-1 residential. The new zone allows for single-family homes at a lower density.
After months of going in front of the town's plan commission, the expansion was approved during the final town council meeting of the year.
The 108-acre expansion includes includes 306 single-family homes.
The 108-acre Gates of St. John East development is on hold after plan commission member Paul Panczuk voted against the plan on Wednesday night.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!