Warsaw Plan Commission gave final approval for phase 1 of the Buffalo Street townhomes subdivision on Monday, though the developer said things weren’t moving on time.
The property owner and developer, David Matthews, of Matthews Warsaw LLC, petitioned for a final replat to create a 26-lot subdivision located southwest of the Buffalo Street and Canal Street intersection in a Residential-3 zoning district.
City Planner Justin Taylor said the preliminary plat for the subdivision was approved in March 2020 by the Plan Commission. Since then, public utilities have been put in place and seven units have been constructed with a north-south limited access road.
“The petitioner intends to sell the units as they are completed while continuing the construction of the remainder of phase 1,” Taylor said. “This development is in agreement with the comprehensive plan and the Hyatt Palma Study, addressing the need and extending downtown to the lakefront.”
He recommended that the board grant final approval for the subdivision with one condition. That condition is that the east/west limited-access alley to the north of phase 1 will remain a private limited-access easement and that description be a part of the plat to limit potential confusion in the future.
Plan Commission Vice President Rick Keeven asked what made it a limited access. Taylor said it would be primarily for the residents to access their homes and it would be private property and not a public street. Though it’s marked on the plat, it has yet to be constructed.
Matthews said there’s a private drive between the townhomes and mews, and on the north, toward Refior law firm, a new cross paved area will be put in.
“If it were an alley, the city would be responsible for it and the public can go any time. The current intention is that it will be private, meaning the homeowners association would have to repave it, plow it, maintain it. If, down the road the neighbors are like, ‘there’s too many people crossing through,’ because it’s private, they could put up a gate. Highly unlikely, but it’ll become the HOA’s land. They can do with it what they want,” Matthews said.
City attorney Scott Reust said keeping it private property rather than dedicated to the public for a public way “will help change setbacks in those kind of things as well because there’s different setbacks from a public way than if it’s private property. It helps with their intention for what they want their setbacks to be. They just wanted to be clear that there was no intention to make that a public way, other than to grant easements for public utilities to come through there. That would be privately maintained and a limited access easement for residents that need to use that” and their guests.
Keeven asked if things were moving on time.
“No. Nothing is moving on time,” Matthews replied, laughing. Asked if he was ahead of schedule, Matthews answered, “Depends who makes the schedule.”
He said two townhomes are under contract so one of the townhomes on Buffalo Street should close in the next couple months when it’s finished. One of the four mews on Bison Lane will close “probably in the next three to six weeks.”
Keeven asked him if he was satisfied with the interest he was seeing from the public so far.
“Yeah, absolutely. It’s always slow at the beginning and then once the first homeowners move in and the lights are on, people walk by and then the place builds momentum,” Matthews said. “There wasn’t exactly a market of townhomes … before we had these first couple of units.”
Matthews also is responsible for the four-story mixed-used building going up where the former Indiana American Water Co. building used to be on Canal Street.
“Is that kind of on track?” Keeven asked.
“Everything is slower, but we do have a lease signed for the first floor, which is exciting and now we’re waiting for engineers to engineer the structure for the building, but it’s been designed. We have a foundation release with the state, it’s been approved, and locally. So, we just need the engineers to finalize like post and beam sizes so that we can get a construction permit and start moving forward again,” Matthews stated.
There were no remonstrators to the petition.
Plan Commission member Dan Stevens made the motion to approve the petition, with member Michelle Boxell providing the second. It was approved 7-0.
In other business:
• Stevens was given the oath of office.
• The Plan Commission re-elected Tom Allen as president and Keeven as vice president.
• The 2022 schedule was approved. Meeting dates will be Feb. 14, March 14, April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12.