City planners back Hobart Marsh Plan
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent January 3, 2013 9:28PM
Updated: February 5, 2013 6:28AM
HOBART — The plan commission Thursday voted to give favorable recommendations to proposals that would create a Hobart Marsh Plan, allow for the construction of a McDonald’s restaurant at Ridge Road and Indiana 51 and return a former bridal shop on Indiana 51 back to a private residence.
All the proposals will go to the City Council for a vote.
Members of the Friends of Robinson Lake Park applauded when the commission unanimously voted in favor of the Hobart Marsh Plan, which depicts proposed improvements to a huge parcel on the west side of town including trail heads, hiking and biking trails, restrooms, parking and other amenities.
City planner A.J. Bytnar said the plan was ready for approval, with only minor changes to be made in the document. He said the biggest change in the plan is a potential roundabout at Liverpool Road.
Bytnar said the marsh plan would be incorporated into the city’s master plan.
“The next step would be to work with the Hobart Parks Department regarding Robinson Lake and Robinson Lake Park,” Bytnar said.
Sandy O’Brien, a member of the Friends of Robinson Lake, thanked Bytnar for “thinking of the plan, following through on it and getting the money for it.”
Bytnar said the draft of the plan will be available on the city’s website on Friday.
The commission also gave a favorable recommendation to a four-lot subdivision at the southwest corner of Indiana 51 and Ridge Road, which was needed before owners could move ahead with plans to replace the building with a McDonald’s restaurant.
Attorney David Austgen said the process took more than a year. He said the owners aren’t ready yet to build the new restaurant.
David Payne received a favorable recommendation from the commission in his effort to rezone the former bridal shop building at Indiana 51 and Lillian Street so he could make it a personal residence for his family. However, commission members said they would not be agreeable to keeping the large front parking area that was needed for the business.
The building had been vacant about two years.
Commission member Thomas Ehrhardt said he is pleased to see the two-story building return to a private residence and praised Payne for work he’s done on the building.
“My only concern is the use of the huge parking lot,” Ehrhardt said.
Bytnar said he had told Payne he would need to meet the city’s residential standards in every aspect, including the parking lot. Bytnar said given that the house is set so far back there is virtually no backyard, the city could allow some front pavement.
“But I wouldn’t allow the entire parking lot,” he said.