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Crown Point City Hall — Stock

CROWN POINT — A new subdivision is gearing up to move into Crown Point. 

Heather Ridge, formerly known as Brookside, is a 251-unit subdivision with a park that will be developed by Lennar Homes Indiana. 

The plan first came before the Plan Commission in July 2018. However, concerns with safety and traffic flow on 109th Avenue brought commissioners to ultimately vote no on the plan, sending developers back to the drawing board. 

Plan Commission members saw a vastly different plan from the one presented in 2018 on Monday. 

Since being presented, the number of duplexes has been reduced from 108 to 76 and 175 single-family homes have been added to the mix. 

In addition to reducing the amount of duplexes, the developer has relocated the subdivision entrance, which was on 109th Avenue. Residents of Heather Ridge will have access to the subdivision via Mississippi and Iowa streets. 

Attorney for Lennar Jim Wieser told commission members Lennar will improve Mississippi Street south from 109th Avenue to the main entrance of Heather Ridge, connecting to 113th Avenue. 

Wieser added building permits will not be issued for the subdivision until Lennar receives full engineering approval from the city and home construction will not begin until the city has progressed with improvements along 109th. There will be site construction before then, he said, to prepare the land for homes. 

There will be a dedicated right turn lane on 109th, encouraging an alternative route for 109th eastbound traffic, said Crown Point Planning Administrator Anthony Schlueter. 

Joe Irak, attorney for the Plan Commission, told commission members in addition to improvements to Mississippi, Lennar also is pledging $200,000 toward the 109th Avenue Transportation & Safety Improvement project. 

Irak added Lennar also is deeding a permanent right of way to the city along 109th Avenue. 

The duplexes will range from $242,000 to $270,000 and have six different options with two ranch plans. Each home has three different elevation options. The single-family homes will range from $285,099 to $350,000. 

"We have what's called an EI, or everything's included platform. So our goal with that is to really take 80-90% of what people think (of) as options and add that to the base of the house," said Scott Guerard, vice president of land acquisitions at Lennar. "So what you generally see from Lennar is us maybe $10,000 or $15,000 priced above our competition." 

Guerard said he expects the project to be complete in two to three big phases. He wasn't sure how long the build out would take.

Safety on 109th  

Before the Plan Commission voted on the subdivision, Tony Markoski, who lives on Iowa Street, spoke out against the project. 

"Lennar Homes wants to build 250 units, each household two to three cars. We're looking at an additional 500 to 750 cars," he said. "What's the proposed solution for the public safety or improving the public safety for drivers on 109th? Building two roundabouts and connecting one roundabout Mississippi Street." 

Markoski said something needs to be done, reminding the board it was a year ago that Julian Tinoco, of Winfield, was killed in a car accident on 109th Avenue. 

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"Somebody should have been making this call to the state of Indiana about 20 or 30 years ago, as far as 109th is concerned," Markoski said. 

Lennar donating $200,000 to help make improvements to 109th is ridiculous, he added, later saying the plan is a "disaster in the making" that will come back to bite the Plan Commission in the long run. 

Chairman of the commission, John Marshall, said Lennar has pledged more than $200,000. 

"They're taking Mississippi on completely on their own. So it's more than $200,000. It's probably approaching somewhere (near) $1 million, to be perfectly honest," Marshall said. "So I think they are making every effort to put a nice product in. Our concerns were traffic, density, and I think they've addressed those concerns."

Scott Evorik, who sits on the board and is an at-large councilman, told Markoski he has had the same amount of passion when it comes to 109th. 

"When they first came to us in July of 2018, we could have all just said yes and we would have got no deal at all," Evorik said. "They came back a year and a half later, with $200,000, Mississippi (improvements), the right of way. Roundabouts do work, too. I'm a big advocate of them. I've seen them down in Indy, Carmel. It's gonna work."

Ultimately, the commission unanimously approved the subdivision after receiving approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals and City Council.

Also Monday, the commission unanimously agreed to rezone a parcel within the land acquired by Franciscan for its new Franciscan Health Hospital.

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