The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 1:00 am

3 city nonprofits offer expansion plans

Planners to hear of Miss Virginia's, CASS, Paul's Place


Three nonprofit organizations plan to develop or expand facilities in Fort Wayne, according to applications the city's planning boards will consider next month. 

Miss Virginia's Food Pantry plans to expand at its current address, 1312 S. Hanna St., with additional cooler and storage space. CASS Housing of Fort Wayne, which developed and runs a suite-style home for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities at 515 Constance Ave., is requesting a zoning change to allow it to build similar facilities nearby.

Paul's Place Support for Families, Fort Wayne, has asked to build a short-term residence to give family members somewhere to stay while an adult relative receives medical treatment at one of the local hospitals.

Miss Virginia's, applying as Inner City Hope Corp., Fort Wayne, is seeking a rezoning from multiple-family residential to limited commercial for a 1-acre portion of its property.

The agency “needs to expand the building ... to better serve its food pantry mission,” the application states. The agency now operates under a special exception.

The rezoning and a commercial development plan will be heard at the Fort Wayne Plan Commission public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

CASS Housing is asking to downzone a parcel west of its current residence from general commercial to planned residential. The change would allow the agency to shift its expansion plan from apartment-style housing for clients to its suite-style model.

The model – in which a single-family home with a common living room and kitchen area is paired with individual units – has proved successful with clients and has additional demand, said David Buuck, CASS executive director.

Each unit has its own living space, kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom and helps solve a problem for families when a child with a disability becomes a young adult, he said.

The program is designed to house people with conditions including autism/Asperger's syndrome, cerebral palsy, spinal bifida, Down syndrome and traumatic brain injury, Buuck said.

No primary development plan for the land at Constance and Eleanor avenues near the Turnstone adaptive sports complex has been submitted.

The request from CASS – Customized-Accessible-Sustainable-Safe – also will be heard at the Feb. 13 plan commission meeting.

Paul's Place: Support for Families is building on the CASS model for its housing plan for patients' families, said Amy Torrez, founder of the 5-year-old Fort Wayne-based nonprofit.

The group also acquired the land for its project at 2121 Laverne Ave. from CASS, which had sought the property for an earlier vision for its existing home, she said.   

Paul's Place has been operating with two apartments, but officials would like to add three more units in a single building, she said.

The units will be arranged around a common living area and kitchen. Each individual unit would include a living area, kitchenette, bedroom and en-suite bathroom, Trexa said.

The residence is within walking distance of Parkview Hospital Randallia and the Veterans Administration Hospital, she said.

The 2,663-square-foot home will appear as an ordinary single-family home in an area zoned single-family residential, the application states.

A special-use designation is being sought from the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals to allow the use.

The board will have a public hearing on the request at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20. Both plan commission and the zoning appeals board public hearings will take place in Room 30 of Citizens Square.

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