City Council Approves Greenbriar PUD, Talks Fireworks

Warsaw Common Council on Monday approved a planned unit development (PUD) rezoning for part of the Greenbriar subdivision, nonprofit 2022 budgets and three transfer resolutions.

Fireworks also were briefly discussed.

The PUD came before the Council from a unanimous recommendation Oct. 11 from the Warsaw Plan Commission. It is at CR 350N and Airport Road and would have 42 lots of attached single-family residential units (villaminiums) on 9 acres. The PUD is part of a larger subdivision that includes an additional 86 lots on 33.256 acres.

City Planner Justin Taylor said the Council could approve the PUD ordinance in generality and hear it a second time and approve it as a Council, or in generality and kick it back to the Plan Commission for second approval or table or deny the request. The Council unanimously approved the ordinance in generality with the Plan Commission getting the second review.

A public hearing was held on the PUD rezoning as part of the Council’s meeting Monday, but no one spoke against it, unlike the two Plan Commission meetings held on it where residents of The Dells and other neighbors remonstrated against the plans.

The property is owned by Chandler and Erin Williams and is being developed by Oakmont Development, Fort Wayne, but Greenbriar will be sold in its entirety to a company called D.R. Horton, America’s largest residential home construction company.

Thomas M. Niezer, Fort Wayne attorney for the developers, Oakmont Development, spoke to the Council Monday night and explained the PUD and subdivision plans as he had at the prior two Plan Commission meetings.

As a piece of last business, Councilman Jerry Frush said the Council previously talked about having a fireworks ordinance and asked if anything was being done about that. He still gets complaints about fireworks. Mayor Joe Thallemer said he asked Council President Jack Wilhite to develop that ordinance.

Wilhite said he, Councilman Mike Klondaris and Councilman Josh Finch met with city attorney Scott Reust and they couldn’t come to a consensus. He said he couldn’t get two Council members to agree on what they should consider. He said the ordinance was “dying.”

After Klondaris suggested the full Council deliberate on three options at a public meeting to hammer it out, Thallemer advised against that and suggested Wilhite should bring forth some type of action and let the Council deliberate it that way.

Frush said the Council should do something.

Wilhite said the issue has been discussed for the last four to five months, but the committee will continue to review it. There are Indiana codes in place regarding fireworks.

Earlier in the meeting, Councilwoman Cindy Dobbins presented the 2022 nonprofit funding requests and recommendations. The total amount available for 2022 for nonprofits is $192,429, or 1.5% of the 2021 general fund. The budget is already approved for 2022, but the Council’s approval on the requests Monday was their “rubber stamp” on the amounts.

The amounts for 2022 are $20,000 for Cardinal Services; $12,150 for a Kosciusko Area Bus Service (KABS) match need to purchase a vehicle; $21,000 to CCAC; $25,000 to Housing for Hope; $10,000 to Home of Your Own; $21,000 to Council on Aging; $3,000 to the Kosciusko Historical Society; $4,680 to Joe’s Kids; $5,250 to Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice; $9,345 to Kosciusko Shelter for Abuse; $20,000 to the Lilly Center; $5,000 to Live Well Kosciusko; $23,875 to Warsaw Community Development Corporation; and $5,000 to Warsaw Little League.

The Council also approved contracts, one with the Animal Welfare League for $35,000 for 2022, an increase of $5,000. Dobbins said in 2020, the AWL took in 582 animals from within the city of Warsaw.

“When you look at that total compared to what they’re charging us, there’s really no way we can provide that type of service for that many animals. I was kind of stunned when I looked at the totals, so it actually worked out at about $60 per animal, which, I believe, is far less for their cost for that,” Dobbins said.

The other contract the Council approved included $25,000 to the WCDC facade grant.

The first transfer resolution was requested by Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer to move $30,000 from park insurance to park equipment to cover the upfront costs from the Kosciusko County Convention and Recreation Visitors Commission grant the Parks Department received for the kayak kiosks. The kiosks are in place, he said, but the kayaks and mechanisms won’t be in place until the kickoff in April. The funds will be 100% reimbursed by the grant. Plummer said there will be eight kayaks at each beach.

The resolution was approved 6-0.

The second transfer resolution request was made by Taylor. It was for $54,200 from his department’s cumulative capital improvement budget for improvements other than building to CCI professional services. The transfer will fund a downtown streetscape enhancement study from USI.

Thallemer said the city’s current downtown streetscapes are about 20 years old and the city is looking at replacing some elements of those, including the blocks and trees.

Taylor said they did a version of the streetscape in house but they really wanted to get a professional to look at the streetscapes as they’re aging.

Asked by Frush how long will the study take, Taylor said they asked them to be done by spring. Frush said it seemed “pricey” to him.

Thallemer responded, “I fully believe that this is important. Looking at 20 years and what I consider was a very beautiful streetscape that was presented back in the early 2000s. Obviously, materials have changed. We learned from what we did and we need to update it if we want to be consistent and want it to look good throughout the downtown.”

He said the downtown merchants deserved better than the city doing it in-house and patching it together. Thallemer said he fully supports the study and it needs to be professionally done.

Taylor said the Council wasn’t approving a contract Monday night, and that would go before the Board of Public Works and Safety. The resolution before the Council Monday night was just a transfer of funds.

Dobbins said the city got quite a bit of mileage out of the Hyatt Palmer study that was done 20 years ago.

“I think it would behoove us to spend the money to have that guidance,” she said before making the motion to approve the resolution.

Klondaris said it was important that the downtown merchants see and have a say in the plans.

Dobbins’ motion was approved 5-0, with Frush abstaining.

The third transfer resolution came from Warsaw Police Department and Chief Scott Whitaker. The transfer, approved by the Council 6-0, was for $77,000 from police salaries to police machinery and equipment.

Whitaker said a large portion of those funds will be to replace a K9 vehicle and equipment the WPD wasn’t expecting to lose this year. The WPD is looking to purchase a 2022 Dodge Durango. The money also will go toward other equipment like bulletproof vests.