Plan Commission OKs Street Vacation

During its short meeting Monday night, the Warsaw Plan Commission approved recommending to the city council that an undeveloped street be vacated.
Harvey and Lilly Hayes, through their attorney Richard Helm, requested the approximate 1.65 acres be vacated. The tract of land stretches from Warren Street to Lake Street by Hayes’ car dealership.
City Planner Jeremy Skinner said the city for the most part didn’t see an issue with vacating it. There is a need for a 20-foot sanitary sewer easement as the city wants to maintain an easement through that area, he said. Skinner said the city council ultimately will be asked to approve it and they would just be looking for the Plan Commission’s recommendation.
City Engineer James Emans said the sanitary sewer easement needs to go along the westerly side of the strip of land.
Dave Baumgartner, Plan Commission member, asked what happens to the property once it’s vacated. Skinner explained the parcel will go back to the original property from where it came.
On behalf of the Hayes, Helm said, “As to sanitary sewer easements, if there is an existing easement – part of this requires a little feedback from the city, I have not been provided any sanitary sewer locations – if there are existing sewers, state statutes absolutely protect them and says they are permanent regardless of the vacation. If there is a need for one for the future, I’m going to have to have some discussion with the appropriate department as to where that might be so we can talk about describing it.”
He said he didn’t know that there was any easement along the street in question as it has never been used, developed or improved in any way.
Helm also presented the board with consents from neighboring property owners Zimmer Holdings and Mr. and Mrs. Groninger saying they have no problem with the vacation.
He then went through the four pieces of criteria that the city council will consider in deciding whether or not to approve the vacation: whether the area sought to be vacated is necessary to the growth of any municipality; whether it’s a necessity for any persons to access their own lands; whether the vacation would eliminate the access to a church, school or other public building; and whether the vacation would hinder the use of a public way by the neighborhood in which it is vacated. Helm said none of those apply to the property in question.
After Skinner and Emans pointed out to Helms where the sanitary sewer was along the location, Helm said he would amend the ordinance that he presented for the vacation to recognize the existing usage.
Since there was no opposition to speak against the request, the Plan Commission unanimously approved a favorable recommendation for the vacation to the city council.
The board’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. June 13 in the city council chambers.