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Gates East business temporarily deferred until lawsuit is resolved
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Gates East business temporarily deferred until lawsuit is resolved

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STOCK_St. John Town Hall

St. John Town Hall. 

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. 

Gates East parcel rezoning remains in the air

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. 

Developer files petition, says St. John is in violation of settlement after town council rezones Gates East

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 

Read more: The Times coverage about Gates East

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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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