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Shipshewana discusses future Morton Street expansion


A new subdivision is being planned for Shipshewana, with plans to extend Morton Street north beyond the town hall and connect it with North Village Drive.

Levi King and Alvin Miller brought their future plans to the Shipshewana Town Council Thursday evening to give a glimpse of their vision for what is known as the Christner Farm, as well as to answer any questions the council members had over the future development.

The development calls for 12 lots, ranging from 1.2 acres to 7.6 acres, that would be developed for business use only. King and Miller will be at the LaGrange County Plan Commission meeting May 15 to request a rezone of the land from PUD to B-2. The east third of the property will be zoned A-1. Only the western portion of the land is currently being planned for development, totaling just over 38 acres.

King told the council that they have verbal commitments from Forks Grocery and Wana Feed on North Village Drive to extend Morton Street adjacent to those properties. There would be no direct access from the development onto SR 5, the council was told.

King and Miller asked about future annexation and town utilities. The development may also be included as a TIF district, but as Town Attorney Kurt Bachman noted, the area would need to be annexed first. However, TIF money could be used to reimburse the developers for infrastructure improvements, such as the cost of extending the road. Bachman added that private developers can complete a project such as the street extension significantly cheaper than a public entity, which could result in a savings for the town if money is used for reimbursement. “If you do the infrastructure and agree with the town on reimbursement, it’s far less expensive,” Bachman said.

In other business:

The council okayed a five-year agreement with West End Soccer League. The council discussed language in the agreement concerning “sanctioned activities” and how that relates to the group’s insurance for activities at the soccer fields. Bachman told the council that the town would need to watch what activities took place at the fields. Games and “sanctioned” activities would be covered, Bachman said, but other events might not be.

The council approved advertising for paving work on the alley between the feed mill and The Hitching Post store.

Jan Taber from Splash Universe spoke to the council concerning the Shipshewana Town Center and the need to have the facility open and operating as soon as possible. “Some groups are saying they may go elsewhere if they can’t get contacts there,” she told the council. She said that she was willing to help as neighbors to the town center.