The Journal Gazette
Friday, July 12, 2019 1:00 am

Drainage a concern for proposed 'ranchettes'


A minor plat generated a major amount of discussion during Thursday's public hearing of the Allen County Plan Commission.

The plat for Jesse's Place in a rural section of Cedar Creek Township, with six residential lots on more than 18 acres, is one of only a few minor plats that have been proposed to the plan commission in recent years.

But neighbors raised concerns about drainage and restrictive covenants.

Meanwhile, two larger proposed developments – both in Aboite Township – did not receive any opposition from neighbors.

Proposals for Grey Hawk Extended, with 106 lots on 40 acres on the south side of the 13200 and 13300 blocks of Bass Road, and The Overlook, a 42-unit multiple-family development off the north side of 13700 and 13800 blocks of Indiana 14, also were heard.

To a question by plan commission member David Bailey, the body's attorney, Robert Eherenman of Fort Wayne, explained that provisions for minor plats of up to six lots were adopted several years ago to provide drainage and highway department oversight of small land subdivisions.

Such subdivisions were formerly handled as metes-and-bounds development, which had no such oversight, he said. No waivers of development standards are allowed for minor plats, Eherenman said, adding that he could not explain why more have not been submitted.

Jacob Gingerich of Durango, Colorado, said the property on the north side of the 17500 block of Indiana 1 north of Leo-Cedarville that he was proposing for a minor plat was an inheritance from his father-in-law, whom he did not name.

He said the intention for the land, zoned agricultural, was to create “ranchettes” on large lots with wells and septic systems.

“Ranchettes – I guess that's a Colorado term,” he said to amused laughter from the audience and commission members.

But drainage was the issue raised by one neighbor, Annette Graham.

She said lack of drainage during years with heavy rain had already made the back of her and her husband's yard inaccessible. The metes-and-bounds property is on Bishop Road to the east of the proposed development.

“We had a swamp,” she said. “We have the lowest property, so we get everybody's runoff.”

The drainage problem occurred in 2012, 2015, 2017 and this year, she said.

Graham Lewis, representing Gingerich's engineer, MLS Engineering of Fort Wayne, said he had been assured septic systems would work on the soil, which he called dry and sandy. He added that grass from residential lawns tends to hold water better than agriculture.

County Surveyor Jeff Sorg said he would have the problem checked and told Lewis that upcoming plans would need to show septic suitability areas.

Other neighbors asked that they be given more information about the nature and size of the homes, and commission staffers asked to be reassured that neighborhood covenants would detail how maintenance of the private street and entrance would be handled once lots are sold.

Votes on the proposal, and others presented Thursday, will take place at the plan commission's July 18 business meeting at 1 p.m. in Room 30 of Citizens Square.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily

Share this article