GOSHEN -- A project to put a new doctor's office in the Keystone Square near the roundabout on the city's southeast side is on hold after a dispute that involves the developer, a neighboring business owner and the city.
Adlai Schrock has been working with the Michiana Eye Center on plans for a new office in the area. But the landowner next to the project, optometrist Linda Clark, has raised some concerns that led to an appeal hearing before the Board of Public Works and Safety and Stormwater on Monday, Feb. 17.
Clark is concerned about potential drainage issues that would affect her property if the project were to go forward. The stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) filed, she and her representation said, are inconsistent and were not up to date when the city first granted preliminary approval of the project.
Specifically, Clark wants a dry well near her building removed and does not want stormwater drainage coming from nearby Dierdorff Road.
Clark is also concerned about standing water that collects in the parking lot. A Brads-Ko survey, however, found that the elevation and grade of the lot was consistent, with only minor collection occurring naturally due to weathering and wear on the lot.
Complicating matters further, Clark is waiting on the deed from developer Windshire Corp. for her parking lot located on half of one of the lots to be developed.
Since she expects to own the parking lot in the future, Clark said she was surprised to see construction equipment appearing on the adjacent property without her having signed off on any plans.
The Board of Public Works had previously approved both the platting of the new development as well as the drainage plan and was on the way to considering the post-construction plan until Clark raised her appeal.
Speaking for Clark, attorney Daniel Cory requested that the Board of Public Works withdraw their previously granted stormwater clearance and deny the post-construction plan.
Gordon Lord, representing developer Adlai Schrock of Windshire, and Brads-Ko Engineering contended that all the required paperwork was filed correctly.
Lord also said that since Clark does not actually hold the deed for the parking lot yet, she should not be considered a stakeholder that should sign off on any further development on the lot.
Schrock said he couldn't understand why the project has continued to be halted. He said he's already made several concessions to appease Clark's concerns and feels there's nothing more he can do.
"I feel like I've done everything I can to meet her demands and it just keeps coming and more and more gets asked," Schrock said. "Now we get into an appeal over little settlement stuff."
Clark previously stated a desire for the new office's entrance to be shifted so as not to create a cluttered parking issue. She also asked that the new office not be higher than hers to prevent water from draining onto her property.
Both those requests were met, Schrock said, and the connections to the dry well were removed while also rerouting drainage.
Scott Grimm, Administrator of Michiana Eye Center, also expressed surprise that issues continued to linger and questioned Clark's motivations in appealing the board's decision.
Dustin Sailor, Goshen's Utilities Engineer, testified that the information and recommendation he received from the Elkhart County Soil and Water Conservation District seemed correct.
Eric Kurtz, Stormwater Coordinator for the ECSWD, echoed Sailor's sentiments that Windshire went through the correct process in submitting their updated SWPPP for the project.
Asked near the conclusion of the hearing if he'd heard any testimony that would change his recommendation to proceed with the project, Sailor said he hadn't.
Confusion over Clark's ability to be a signatory to the development due to her pending ownership of the parking lot, however, led the Board of Public Works to put off a decision until Monday, Feb. 24 .
The city will examine the appeal further through the next week before making a decision on whether to affirm or rescind stormwater approval, which will in turn affect how they proceed with the post-construction plans.