The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 9:52 am

Housing plans popping up all along Coldwater

Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

An area along and near Coldwater Road just south of Pion Road may get even more new housing, the Allen County Plan Commission learned Thursday.

The revelation came during a public hearing on two back-to-back housing developments in that area of Perry Township.

Not only are the 244-lot single-family-home Fox Hollow and the 61-lot Aslan Passage west of Coldwater on the drawing board, but there’s also an approximately 240-unit apartment complex called Bonterra planned for the east side of Coldwater, south of the Falcon Creek subdivision. Falcon Creek is across from the proposed Fox Hollow.

The apartment proposal, which will have a public hearing in August, came up in a discussion of changes on Coldwater Road. Plan commission members also heard from proponents, and an opponent, of a commercial complex anchored by a hotel to the south and east of the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus, north of Dupont Road.

Called Parkside, the complex would feature a dual-branded Hilton hotel – but scaled back from a previously proposed seven stories to five stories on a slightly larger footprint.

A representative of a neighboring property owner argued that the project requires waivers of zoning regulations that are too substantial.

Ric Zehr, representing NWM Development Corp., Fort Wayne, which is proposing both housing developments, said those looking for a home costing $500,000 to $1 million would be candidates for Aslan Passage. Aslan Passage homes would be 2,200 to 2,400 square feet. Some lots would be about an acre in size.

He said the development, with entrances marked by bronze lion sculptures from Hathaway Road, would have a secondary entrance from Fox Hollow.

Fox Hollow homes would sell for $185,000 to $300,000, and 24 of the homes would be villas, Zehr said. Homes would have a minimum size of 1,200 square feet for one-story and 1,400 square feet for two-story structures – slightly more than half the size of Aslan Passage homes.

Construction could begin as early as late fall, said Zehr, who is seeking rezoning and approval of primary development plans.

Zehr said developers were working with the Allen County Highway Department on major changes to Coldwater Road, including separate acceleration and deceleration lanes and an additional pavement lane to accommodate all entrances of proposed and existing projects, including Bonterra and Falcon Creek.

Zehr also submitted letters from the owner of nearby parcels, Lutheran Life Villages and Bonterra, objecting to street connections to their properties. He said one of the connections would likely disturb wetlands. Some interconnections are required by county zoning laws in residential areas, and Zehr said waivers are being requested.

Bonterra is being proposed by Domo Development Company LLC of Carmel.

Glenn Conkling, vice president of Dominion Group Partners, Fort Wayne, told plan commission members about the Parkside proposal, which would place two hotels – a luxury Hilton Garden Inn and a Home2 Suites by Hilton extended-stay option – in the same building.

He described the structure as the hostelry equivalent of an old-school mullet haircut – business in the front and party in the back. The hotel’s rear would overlook a lighted pond with a fountain, with a wall of windows in a full-service restaurant on the first floor and a terrace and penthouse balconies on upper floors, he said.

The hotel is being designed to serve visitors to Parkview Health, the Mirro Center for Research and Innovation, and Manchester University’s School of Pharmacy directly to its west, Conkling said. He said Parkview has sent a letter in favor of the project, which will have as many as nine out-lots for development as upscale restaurants and other compatible uses, such as a health club.

The developers are requesting a rezoning of their 16.75 acres from A1 (Agricultural) and C3 (General Commercial) to C2 (Limited Commercial). But they are also requesting waivers from that classification’s height requirement of 40 feet and a square footage requirement of 22,000 square feet for a single tenant.

The redesigned hotel now would be 72 feet or under, Conkling said. It would have an approximate ground footprint 25,258 square feet – but the building would have that much space on each of its floors.

Conkling said a waiver of the requirement to connect the property to surrounding ones is also being requested. Those sites are not developed, he said, and Parkside’s developers do not want Parkside linked to properties that could end up used in ways they would consider undesirable for an upscale hotel. He did not rule out later connections.

Patrick Hess, an attorney with Fort Wayne’s Beckman Lawson representing a neighboring property owner, said the waivers would be improper. He said they were not warranted by a special characteristic of the property and go well beyond the limits in the county’s new zoning ordinance, passed in 2014.

"It’s just what they want," he said of Parkside’s developers. He said his client expects only that county zoning laws be followed.

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