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East side land in Merrillville to become agricultural again

Updated: April 26, 2013 6:07AM



MERRILLVILLE — The Plan Commission Tuesday agreed to recommend to the Town Council that a 62-acre parcel north of 101st Avenue and west of Colorado Street be reverted back to agricultural zoning, pointing out that an ambitious proposed planned unit development slated for that site never came to fruition and a potential buyer is not interested in fulfilling those plans.

Deep River Development LLC, also known as Crossings at River Bend, had received five extensions to begin construction on the mixed residential development that was to consist of single family homes, paired villas and other housing units, with the last extension expiring on Feb. 21.

“This was an extremely elaborate plan that was to be both on the north and south side of 101st Avenue,” Plan Commission President and Councilman Shawn Pettit, D-6th, said.

He said the developers had extended sewers into Crown Point, but had not honored some commitments Merrillville had requested, including improving Colorado Street and extending a water line. The town eventually repaired Colorado Street itself.

“The last time the developer tried to shoehorn a lot of units on this acreage. I don’t know if I will support that density again. We need to be concerned about traffic in that area. Also there are large lots in the panhandle area; people there like that,” Pettit said.

Commission attorney William Touchette said he talked with the risk portfolio manager at BMO Enterprise Risk & Portfolio Management Group, which now owns the property, and neither the company nor a potential new owner has any interest in keeping the plat that had been approved by the town.

Touchette added that the possible buyer anticipates having to hold on to the property for a little while until the economy picks up.

In other matters, the commission approved an amended plan for the Twin Acres North LLC apartment complex at 93rd and Taft.

Attorney Richard Anderson said the number of lots would be reduced from nine to eight and the number of apartment units from 126 to 112. He said the change was necessitated when it was discovered a portion of one of the lots is wetlands and couldn’t be built on

Commissioner Brian Dering asked if there were any plans to make the wetlands area a nice feature. Anderson said the developers are working on a plan.



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