KENDALLVILLE — No ground has been turned yet and no houses have been built, but a new 72-lot subdivision within the city of Kendallville took another step to becoming reality Tuesday night.
After a 15-minute public hearing, which featured nothing but positive remarks about the subdivision, the Kendallville Common Council unanimously passed an annexation resolution which outlined the policy and fiscal plan for the annexation of the 35.6-acre property on South Sherman Street.
Kristen Johnson, executive director of the Kendallville Area Chamber of Commerce, said her office receives several calls a month from people looking for housing within the city.
“This is really important to the city,” she said about the new subdivision.
Gary Gatman, executive director of the Noble County Economic Development Corp. also threw his support behind the project.
Gatman said some 6,000 workers commute from outside of Noble County to work within the county. He said Noble County has the smallest percentage of new homes stock of any county in the region.
“I hope this is the first of many,” Gateman said about the new subdivision within the county.
The last new residential development in Kendallville was in the late 1990s. Kendallville had only 15 new housing starts in 2019 — many located outside the city limits within the city’s 2-mile zoning jurisdiction — so the new subdivision will be the first major development within the city in at least 20 years.
The new development is located adjacent to South Side Elementary.
Jamie Lancia, president of Lancia Homes, in Fort Wayne said his company is excited about bringing new housing to Noble County.
“We think that the property is a good fit for our organization,” he said. “We can meet all of the needs for new construction for Kendallville and Noble County with 100-plus floor plans.”
Lancia said the subdivision will be constructed in phases as lots are sold.
He said if the economy continues to be as “robust” as it is now and has been, he anticipates the subdivision to be completely filled within three years.
Brad Griffith of BST Capital LLC, the developer, said in January the plan was to build 56 single-family homes as well as 14 villa-style retirement homes.
Based on the style and model of the home, Griffith said he estimated new homes would range from $150,000-$250,000.
Plans for the new subdivision were first presented during an East Noble School Corp. board meeting in January when the board announced the sale of the property. The school corporation purchased the land in January 2003.
The land was once considered as a possible off-site soccer complex for the high school and was briefly considered as a location for the new East Noble Middle School. But plans never worked out and a new use was never identified, so the land was put up for sale in 2016.
Chief Operations and Financial Officer for East Noble School Corp. Brian Leitch said, the sale price of the property was $250,000 during a school board meeting earlier this year. This allowed East Noble to recover its initial investment.
Tuesday night’s resolution outlined the estimated costs of services the city will incur with the new subdivision. With the additional coverage area the Kendallville fire and police departments are looking at hiring additional personnel.
One new firefighter comes with a cost of $87,299.06 and a new police officer comes at a cost of $93,189. A portion of those figures include salaries.
The sewer and water departments will see no additional costs as the sewage plant was recently expanded and currently has sufficient capacity to handle the additional residential lots. The developer will pay for the installation of water and sewer lines within the subdivision.
Streets will also be installed by the developer, with the city incurring the cost for 21 ornamental street lights within the development at a cost of $55,750. An additional cost of $12,108 will be added to the street department for snow plowing, street cleaning and routine repair and maintenance of the streets within the development.
The resolution says, “the increased tax base from the development of this annexed parcel is expected to provide sufficient funds to provide the services.”
Other costs incurred with the project will include a cross walk to aid children in crossing Sherman Street as they walk to school in the future. The city and East Noble have agreed to work together on the project and share the cost.
The next step in the process was the first reading of Ordinance #1225, which will allow the city to annex the property. A legal description of the property to be annexed now has to be published once again, which includes up to 90 days for the annexation to be challenged.
The developers and the city don’t see any need for concern about challenges to the annexation as there has been no negativity toward the project at this point.
In other business:
• The common council set trick-or-treat hours for 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. Residents who wish to handout candy are asked to sit outside of their home or to turn on their porch light so children know which houses to visit.
• A public hearing on the 2021 budget saw no residents’ questions. The budget was read a second time and will be up for third reading and approval at the Oct. 6 meeting.
• Also on second reading was an ordinance to make Town Street from Lisle to Henry streets a one-way street going south. It also prohibits parking along Town Street from Lisle to Henry.
• City-wide curbside cleanup will begin Saturday for both sides of Mitchell Street and areas north, including the Orchard Place, Hollybrook Heights and Arvada Hills neighborhood. The second pick up day will be Saturday, Sept. 26 for the area south of Mitchell Street, including Country Club Hills and High Pointe Glen neighborhoods.
• A prayer event will be held at the Community Learning Center from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Pam Lash organizer of the event said it is informal and there will be plenty of room for those wishing to attend to social distance. Those attending can take the time for silent prayer or a microphone will be available for those who would like to ask for prayer. Regan Ford will provide special music and a closing prayer circle will be held at 3 p.m.