October 7, 2012

Commission to discuss downtown standards

Mayor, officials quash rumors of meeting’s purpose.

by Amie Sites

LOGANSPORT — Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin wants to quash the rumors that Monday’s planning commission meeting has to do with a proposed senior housing project that was rejected recently.

“The planning commission reached out to me and advised me of the status of the meeting and how it was being portrayed,” Franklin said. “I was told there were rumors on Facebook that suggested I concocted a way to get the senior housing project going, which is not true.”

The Logansport Planning Commission will be discussing Tanguy Street and downtown standards, according to the agenda.

Peggy Dillon, secretary of the Logansport/Cass County Planning and Zoning Department, said commission members will discuss the downtown overlay district design standards. The design standards include height, signage, parking, treatment of facade and other matters of buildings to be placed in downtown Logansport.

“They have been working on this for a year,” she said. “It is just a coincidence that it falls after the previous meeting. The planning commission will propose what they want requirements of development to be.”

Franklin said that the changes to the downtown overlay district had been in place since the end of former Mayor Mike Fincher’s term.

“I also found out that the changes they are proposing demand stronger requirements, not weaker,” Franklin said. “These plans have been in place. It just takes awhile to massage through these things.”  

During Fincher’s term, the Logansport City Council voted to disband the Downtown Development Review Board. The board at one time had a hearing officer for variances, but in the late 2000’s, the officer was removed and the board approved simple changes to downtown, such as requests for window signs and awnings.

Fincher, at the time, assigned those tasks to city staff members.

Franklin noted that developers of the rejected project have moved on. He said that the project is no longer viable and that he has plenty of other projects on the front burner to devote time to.

The rejected project was a four-story, 44-unit senior housing complex planned for the city’s downtown. It would have been built on the farmer’s market lot and Salvation Army property. Part of the old Salvation Army building would have been kept open for the use of public restrooms for those visiting Little Turtle Waterway.

Three of four board of zoning appeal members rejected the plan for the senior housing. Logansport residents attended the board of zoning appeals meeting to express their concern for the project.

Community members said they were worried about the existing farmer’s market, art festivals, downtown parking that could become limited and the proposed location and how it would hurt the envisioned art district.