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After heated discussion, Washington Twp. rezoning passes 6-1

Updated: December 17, 2012 10:35PM



VALPARAISO — The rezoning of 118 acres in Washington Township that led to heated discussions and sometimes more than 200 people in City Hall passed Monday, 6-1.

City Council member Joey Larr (R-District 3) was the sole vote against it, and referred to his day job with Porter County planning before saying it didn’t fit the area.

City Council Member Bob Taylor was the only council member not to comment after the almost three hours of comments by residents from all over the city, the developers’ attorney and city officials.

SJBZ Development first came to the city Nov. 13 with plans to develop the area that is next to Pine Creek Estates, just east of Indiana 49 and extending from Evans Avenue to almost Vale Park Road to the north.

Don Weiss, President of SJBZ Development, said he planned to build a luxury apartment complex on the southern 72 acres and a business park on the northern 46 acres. The proposed land would be almost t-shaped and surrounded by single-family homes and zonings.

It would be an investment of at least $50 million in the city, which some council members referenced before the vote. The average income for residents would be $77,000 per household, and there’d be 408 rental units.

Larr was concerned that although there are restrictions that this must not use federal or state funds or have more than 408 apartments, those rules could be changed by the plan commission.

Attorney Todd Leeth said the development would be built in phases over five years.

Residents said it’d be the largest apartment complex in the city also voiced concerns that SJBZ maintained that there’s a need for expensive rentals where median income is $45,799.



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