Mishawaka council gives green light for Toscana Park homes
"Renting for about $1,100 to $1,600 per month, they could house people who have just moved to the area or those whove just sold a house and need a place to dwell," said Rans, owner of the firm that recently bought Toscana Park.
He was asking the Mishawaka Common Council for an amendment to the planned unit development that would allow the new homes. The council approved it with an 8-0 vote.
In other business, the council once again postponed voting on the city's 2012 budget for using $2.25 million of CEDIT income.
And the council passed an ordinance that would require any impasse between the city and its unionized workers to go to a third party for an opinion, which would be nonbinding.
Rans owns Great Lakes Capital Development, which aims to bring life to the vacant storefronts at Toscana.
He told the council he's made adjustments to the apartment plans to ease concerns of neighbors. Mostly, the changes would make for a better buffer between the apartments and the Brendon Hills neighborhood to the north, he said.
Council member Ron Banicki, D-6th, asked several questions. In response, Rans said the units likely wouldn't be the size or type that would attract University of Notre Dame students. And if a traffic light is needed at a nearby intersection, Rans said he'd pay for it.
"The good thing about this project is that it's not speculative," Banicki said. "It looks shovel ready."
The ordinance that calls for a third-party opinion in labor impasses passed 7-1.
The no vote came from council member Mike Bellovich, R-2nd. After the meeting, he explained that he's concerned about the extra cost of having employees in mediation and co-workers having to fill their shifts. He also feels it could slow negotiations.
But James Elliott, the firefighters union president, said a third-party opinion adds a little protection for the bargaining units and could be a benefit to both sides.
The council delayed its vote on using County Economic Development Income Tax money until its next and last meeting of the year, Dec. 19. Council member Dale Woody Emmons, D-1st, said council members have had good conversations with Mayor Dave Wood since they sparred at the council's last meeting over issues like the fate of the Mary Gibbard Park pool.
"We just need a little more time to get things worked out," Emmons said.
Council member John Roggeman, D-at large, wasn't at Monday's meeting.