News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 5, 2013

Plan Commission denies Cobblestone replatting request

Phase IV sent back to county for official rezoning

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A surprise argument has put yet another hiccup into the construction of Cobblestone Crossings, a southside residential and commercial development.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Vigo County Area Plan Commission, residents of Viscaya Point, a neighborhood south of Cobblestone, asked commission members to require that a wall be constructed between their properties and future Cobblestone apartment buildings.

Several Viscaya Point residents asked for a wall, similar to one that already stands as a buffer between Woodgate, another southside neighborhood, and the north and  east boundaries of Cobblestone.

“Give us the wall and make it look uniform [with Woodgate],” said Stacy Gough, one of the Viscaya residents to address the commission. She, like her neighbors, said a wall would help provide personal safety and protect Viscaya property values.

After about an hour of public comment, John Hanley, vice president of the Area Plan Commission, raised two points that led his fellow commission members to vote to deny Cobblestone permission to proceed.

Those were two arguments few people, if any, at the meeting saw coming and that were independent of  arguments put forward by residents of Viscaya Point.

According to Hanley, there are two reasons to deny Cobblestone permission to move forward: First, the commission already approved language in a November 2012 “statement of commitments” that guaranteed the wall for Viscaya. Second, the property upon which this final Cobblestone phase is to be built is not properly zoned.

The first argument stems from an agreement hashed out last year between Cobblestone, Woodgate and the Vigo County Commissioners. That agreement came in the wake of concern that the entire zoning for Cobblestone was in doubt because of an potential conflict of interest involving a member of the plan commission found to have had an ownership stake in Cobblestone.

The agreement, adopted by the Area Plan Commission in November, says Cobblestone will build an eight-foot brick wall “along the north and east perimeters of Lot 1, Lot 2 and the Future Phase south of Lot 2. …” That language indicates the wall is already promised to be constructed along “the Future Phase,” which is the phase along Viscaya Point, Hanley said. “The commitment looks like it’s in place to build the wall,” he said.

The second argument stems from the fact that concern over the potential conflict of interest cast the zoning of all of Cobblestone in doubt. Because of the conflict, a judge might find the entire property needed to be rezoned, Hanley said, a view widely held last fall. As a result of that concern, Cobblestone came back to the Area Plan Commission in November and sought rezoning, but only for Phase III, he said. Therefore, Phase IV, adjacent to Viscaya, has not gone through the rezoning process, Hanley said, and is not properly zoned.

Following these statements, Fred Wilson, commission president, asked for a motion. No commissioners spoke until Hanley made a motion to deny Cobblestone’s request for replatting and to bring Phase IV back to the county for official rezoning. His motion, which received a “second” from board member John Collett, passed without opposition, leaving yet another question mark in Cobblestone Crossing’s development.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@