By Louis Wyatt
FORT WAYNE — Environmental concerns led two Huntertown residents to oppose a 77-lot residential development planned for the northwest corner of Kell and Cedar Canyons Road, just outside of Huntertown, during a public hearing of the Allen County Plan Commission Thursday.
The developer of the proposed Kell Reserve petitioned the county to rezone the more than 70-acre parcel of land from agricultural to single-family residential. Huntertown would provide water and sewer.
Kell Reserve would be west of the Quarry development and south of the Willow Ridge development, with a single access off Kell and a stub street that would eventually connect it to Rolling Oaks.
Kyle Quandt, a Huntertown resident and environmental scientist, was one of two individuals to speak in opposition of the project, stating that during previous public meetings Kell Reserve was frequently compared to the Communities of Willow Ridge development, which will eventually occupy the land at the former Willow Ridge Golf Course just outside of Huntertown. Quandt urged commissioners to protect the much more natural, forested land that would be developed under the Kell Reserve plans.
She especially took issue with detention ponds that would runoff into the Willow Creek, which has been identified as a critical area for maintaining a riparian buffer due to increased stormflow and sedimentation. The detention ponds would likely attract geese, Quandt said, introducing further waste runoff in the creek — which is included on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s list of impaired waters. IDEM cites e. coli and impaired biotic communities as the reason for the creek’s impairment.
David Van Gilder, another Huntertown resident and the president of Friends of Cedar Creek, also said he was concerned about runoff from the detention ponds. He also suggested the commission ask for a written commitment from the developer to maintain a wider stream buffer than presented in the primary development plan.
“The whole water quality issue is paramount, and I think it’s incumbent and actually required in the comprehensive plan of this body to pay attention to water quality issues,” Van Gilder told members of the plan commission. “I agree on behalf of the Friends of Cedar Creek that the maximum amount of riparian corridor along Willow Creek should be preserved.”
Van Gilder also suggested the commission require the developer to construct a bridge over the Kell Ditch — rather than a proposed culvert — so as to reduce the impact on the waterway.
Six of the 77 lots within the proposed development would have direct access to Kell Road, which Van Gilder was concerned could impede any future plans to construct a stretch of trail along the roadway. Greg Roberts, of Donovan Engineering, said there are already plans in place to dedicate right of way for any future trails.
During the meeting, the plan commission also heard plans for Greyson Heights, a project that would include rezoning a parcel of land on the west side of the 18700 to 19000 blocks of Tonkel Road from agricultural to single-family residential.
The development would include 46 lots just to the west of the Deer Hollow subdivision in Perry Township. Homes will range in price from $300,000-$400,000, and would be adjacent to the two subdivisions that will eventually occupy the now-defunct Deer Track Golf Course.
Two nearby residents brought concerns about water drainage, and also questioned why Greyson Heights LLC — which is owned by Granite Ridge — is pursuing another nearby development before selling all of the lots in Deer Hollow and Silver Leaf Estates.
Eric Aichie, a Tonkel homeowner, was also concerned about increased traffic.