Granger’s Growing Pains: Should Granger Incorporate and Who Can it Control its Development?

by Nick Molnar on June 28, 2007

Granger’s residential growth is nearing its limits, and businesses are beginning to migrate to the area in earnest. However the lack of city services such as sewers is hindering downtown growth, and a lack of city specific zoning concerns residents who fear they might end up with an unsightly business district or with commercial properties in their backyards.

These concerns and others prompted a gym full of residents to gather at Mary Frank elementary school recently to hear the thoughts of prominent local officials and to voice their opinions. Business leaders want sewers, the fire chief wants hydrants (which require a municipal water supply), and homeowners are split between a desire for more services and a need to keep their property taxes in line.

Different speakers proposed Granger’s incorporation into a town, working within existing structures for change, and leaving things as they are. You can read YaShekia Smalls’ notes from the meeting in the South Bend Tribune.

Perhaps surprisingly to non-residents though, one point came up nearly as often as the pros and cons of incorporation – commercialization near residential neighborhoods in general, and the fate of a parcel of land near the intersection of Elm Road and State Road 23 specifically.

Three residents of Granger’s Covington Shores neighborhood asked about the zoning of this lot and the possibility that it could become a storefront building that borders their community. This sparked my interest, so I looked a little deeper and found the following details:

There are two parcels for sale near Elm Road and State Road 23. A 39.25 acre parcel, listed for 7.5 million dollars, is located at the northwest corner of the intersection. The second, with 20 acres available for 4.5 million dollars, is adjacent to Covington Shores itself. An aerial view helps make the orientation of the lots more comprehensible, and helps you visualize how commercialization would impact the neighborhood.

Both lots are currently zoned for single family residential use, so no businesses will locate there without a public rezoning request. But they are being marketed as having “great potential for mixed use development in the heart of Granger,” a sign that a developer could try to acquire the farms for another purpose, and their asking prices suggest commercial use.

What do you think? Is Granger fine as it is, or sorely lacking services. Should zoning separate homes and businesses? Is there a way to spur smart growth outside of incorporation? Is there an angle that everyone is missing? You can sound off in the comments below, or visit the Yahoo Group “Granger46530” to share your thoughts.

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Tracy Molnar June 29, 2007 at 2:21 pm

I don’t live in Covington Shores but I can’t blame the residents for being concerned about their beautiful neighborhood. I’m sure they hadn’t planned to one day look out their back window and see yet another Walgreens or Starbucks.


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