The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, May 17, 2022 1:00 am

2 plans quietly passed by panel

Both drew opposition during public hearing

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

Two development plans that drew opposition at a public hearing were approved Monday by the Fort Wayne Plan Commission.

Commission members listened to presentations and public opinion for more than two hours May 9 but unanimously approved several requests without any discussion during Monday's 20-minute business meeting. Connie Haas Zuber and Rachel Tobin-Smith were absent.

James Khan, a Fort Wayne restaurateur doing business as B1 Enterprises LLC, submitted the plans for Arneo Commercial Center and Arneo Place on the east side of the 9000 to 9100 blocks of North Clinton Street and on the south side of Brooks Road.

Along with approval of the plans, Khan asked for 138 acres of land to be rezoned to planned residential and 64 acres to neighborhood center. He plans to develop seven commercial buildings, 15 apartment buildings with a clubhouse, and four groups of row houses.

The Arneo projects brought several people to the May 9 public hearing – a few supporters and a few people opposed.

Dr. John Crawford, a former City Council member, spoke out about safety concerns as the residential development will neighbor hunting grounds with some of the homes being 20 feet away from the more than 60 acres where guns are fired regularly.

Joshua Neal of Barrett McNagny, who represented Arneo, said that logic would mean nothing could be developed on the land because it is adjacent to hunting grounds. Neal also submitted Crawford's City Council voting record to the members that showed Crawford supported nearly all rezoning requests while he was elected.

Crawford, who said he was also representing several Brooks Road homeowners, said Clinton can't handle the amount of traffic it sees now, and the development will worsen traffic.

Arneo is different compared “to everything you've seen in Fort Wayne, and that's by design,” Kahn said May 6.

The members also approved the Violet's Garden plan, which includes 61 homes and 102 apartment units on the city side.

The development off of Fox Point Trail and South Anthony Boulevard will also include 62 homes outside of city limits that require approval by the Allen County Plan Commission. Violet's Garden will be next to Villa Capri Apartments and the South Dellwood Park addition.

Several neighbors shared opposition to Violet's Garden with concerns of increases in traffic, crime and emergency service calls.

Michelle Wood, senior planner, said the department found that some of the lots were sized smaller than the minimum requirement, but developers have fixed that problem.

The county plan commission will discuss and take action on the 62 homes outside of city limits at 1 p.m. Thursday. Rezonings require City Council approval before becoming final.

City plan commission members also approved the primary plan for The Pearl, a mixed-use development that will take up the city block within West Pearl Street, Maiden Lane, West Main Street and Webster Street.

The 88-foot-high building is planned to have seven stories and about 250,000 square feet of interior space. Plans call for 81 residential units, including several providing live-work space, a 92-car parking garage and rooftop terraces.

The Pearl didn't garner any public comment on May 6, and the plan was unanimously approved Monday.

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