Weiss-led development proposed for Valpo takes step forward
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent August 13, 2013 4:00PM
An apartment and business park development proposed by Don Weiss for Valparaiso. Vale Park Road is on the north; Evans Avenue on the south; Indiana 49 to the west; and County Road 275E to the east. | Image provided
Updated: September 15, 2013 6:24AM
VALPARAISO — The planned upscale apartment and business park development that saw a record number of protestors attending Plan Commission and City Council meetings in November plans to begin construction in 2014.
Don Weiss, president of SJBZ Development, once a subsidiary of Wise Way and Pay Low grocery stores, appeared with his team Tuesday morning before the Valparaiso Site Review Committee, presenting plans for the Planned Unit Development north of Evans Avenue between Indiana 49 and Bartz Road.
With a presentation at Tuesday’s Plan Commission meeting at 7 p.m., the development would make the first two of four steps to have the plans adjusted and then approved by the city, attorney Todd Leeth said.
The PUD will have its own development rules that businesses and light industry that could buy the proposed 37 lots on the north end of the development would have to follow, creating a uniform look.
SJBZ will also abide by rules the City Council set when it approved the rezoning of the 118 acres on Dec. 17.
The number of apartments in the complex won’t exceed 408 rental units, although Weiss noted that the city’s Unified Development Ordinance would allow for 533 units in the southern 56 acres.
Tuesday’s meeting also showed changes on both SJBZ’s and the city’s plans.
The development will now be 146.4 acres as SJBZ bought more than 32 more acres to the north, connecting the development to Vale Park Road, and increasing the size of the business park.
Valparaiso would like the main road traveling from north to south to be able to grow to four lanes wide. City Engineer Tim Burkman said that eventually, Memorial Boulevard by the new St. Mary’s Medical Center south of Burlington Beach Road will extend to that street and then to the same street in Porter’s Vale Shopping Center and Eastport Centre Drive, making a boulevard that extends from U.S. 30 to Burlington Beach.
The boulevard would have a median strip, as it does in Porter’s Vale.
Fire Chief David Nondorf said he had concerns about Nick Road not connecting to the section of Nick in Pine Creek so that emergency vehicles can have more than one access.
Nondorf suggested a possible gated route to stop traffic from entering Pine Creek and said, “This is more of a safety issue and benefit for the people of Pine Creek.”
Weiss said that SJBZ wants to retain the tree line that already exists between Pine Creek Estates and his yet-unnamed subdivision and hopes the city can let them work so berms won’t be required at the cost of the trees.
The development now has no buildings along Bartz, to give existing homes space.
Leeth said there’s no specific timeline for the project, but SJBZ hopes to get Plan Commission recommendation Sept. 10, then go to the City Council and back to the Commission for the final approval.
The apartments will be marketed to families making $77,000 or more a year.