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N. Manchester Council approves preliminary development plat

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

The North Manchester Town Council on Wednesday passed a resolution in approval of a preliminary plat for housing development on 9th Street.

North Manchester Building Commissioner Steve Schumaker presented the preliminary plat to the Council, stating the plan is to have a total of 27 lots built on the property, with 20 being planned as single family residences and seven being villiminiums on the 20-acre parcel.

“The thought has always been we would do it as a planned unit development as opposed to using the subdivision and co-ordinance,” Schumaker said. “The reason being that a planned unit development gives you more flexibility within one zoning classification for different types of housing. The plan all along has been for that property to be different uses.”

The approval of the preliminary plat is the second step in coming to an agreement for the property, which was part of a 92-acre purchase in 2015. Following the Council’s approval, the North Manchester Plan Commission will come up with a final plat.

“Sometimes it seems like it moves at the speed of a glacier. There are steps that have to be followed, and this was one of the big ones tonight. It will move along, and if we get an agreement in place then we know there will eventually be houses there,” Council member James Smith said.

Approval of the preliminary plat is a milestone in the Town’s agreement with Biggs Indiana Properties, which will be developing the property, Town Manager Adam Penrod said.

Penrod explained that surveys are currently being conducted on the property before a final plat agreement will be filed.

“We’re looking at the earliest possible dirt move to be in July or August,” he said.

Penrod stated the remaining 72 acres are currently being looked at for agricultural purposes by renting the land to farmers. If the land can’t be used, as it is in a floodplain, he said the Town might look at selling it. But it’s too early to determine at this time, Penrod concluded.

In other business, the council unanimously approved an agreement with the Kosciusko County Animal Welfare League. Council President Chalmer Tobias said talks had previously been in the works with the Wabash County Animal Shelter, but an agreement was not able to be reached.

The one-year agreement will allow residents within North Manchester town limits to surrender an animal to the shelter without the $50 out-of-county fee as long as the proper paperwork, available at North Manchester Town Hall, is filled out. The Town will take on the costs of animals taken to the Animal Welfare League: $50 for cats and $75 for dogs. Residents will not pay these fees.

Animal Control of Kosciusko County is now in charge of taking in strays reported by residents of North Manchester.

Penrod said the Animal Welfare League is a no-kill shelter with a 75 percent adoption rate. If the shelter was full, he said residents will be put on a waiting list.

Council member Thomas Dale expressed frustration in not being able to keep the agreement in Wabash County.

“North Manchester is a part of Wabash County, and Wabash County pays the fee for county services from the Wabash Animal Shelter,” he said. “If it was tax money, I was going to suggest we talk to the Council and ask them to pull our population’s share of money out of the town shelter because they’re not providing a service that we are paying for. It’s not fair to our residents, and it’s very frustrating. We have a far better agreement here than we ever did with them.”