The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 10, 2020 1:00 am

Neighbors fret over proposed housing project


Two housing developments in Perry Township will likely see big changes before they are built.

That's according to statements made by their developers at Thursday's meeting of the Allen County Plan Commission.

The 90-lot Preserves at The Quarry may have fewer lots and larger homes, according to developer Roger Delagrange of Chestnut Group, Fort Wayne.

The development is planned for the west side of Coldwater Road north of Cedar Canyons Road.

The 37-lot Cascata Estates will likely move its single access point from West Shoaff to West Road, said Jeff Thomas, representing Oakmont Development Co., Fort Wayne.

That would likely mean a rearrangement of lots in the development, whose site plan as submitted shows a half-dozen lots with some part of their land along West Road.

That development did not see opposition from nearby residents. But The Preserves at The Quarry was questioned by a handful of neighbors.

One was a representative of ACRES Land Trust, a Huntertown conservation group responsible for the Bicentennial Woods property next to the tract proposed for development.

Casey Jones, ACRES director of land management, said emergent wetlands lie on the tract. He said he wanted to make sure they were taken into consideration. The Bicentennial Woods property also contains wetlands, which might suffer from development, he said.

“We want to make sure our wetland is maintained,” he said, adding that wetlands in the area have not been delineated in recent years.

Allen County Surveyor Jeff Sorg, a plan commission member, said federal officials would be the final authority on the wetlands and the developer would likely need a new delineation. He added the developer should work with his office about the status of a regulated drain.

Other nearby residents said wildlife that has rebounded because of nearby conservation areas would be negatively affected, as would their property values.

One called the development, along with the previously approved The Quarry, like “having a small city” built in a rural area where conservation previously had been stressed.

Neighbors would have to endure five years of dust and construction traffic and noise, they said. And, schools in the Northwest Allen County Schools district are already overcrowded to the point of needing temporary classrooms, resident Stacey Gumbert told plan commission members.

Delagrange said he planned to comply with all relevant rules and is “not going to touch any” wetlands in the development. He said completed properties would be priced between $400,000 and $450,000 “on the low end” and might range up to $1 million or more.

“There will probably be less houses” than the 90 lots indicated in The Preserve, he said.

After the meeting, he told The Journal Gazette that some would likely be on larger lots than indicated. The larger number of lots was submitted, Delagrange said, because amending a development plan for more lots is not allowed, but reducing the number of lots is.

Votes on the two proposals, and others, are scheduled for the plan commission's business meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday in Room 30 of Citizens Square.

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