6100 Southport Road

Portage, Indiana 46368

(219) 763-6060

Land Use Committee

Thursday, November 4, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 815 5984 3171 Passcode: 985696

Ph: 312-626-6799



Call to Order by Chairman

George Topoll


Minutes of DATE (pp. 1 – 2)



Metropolitan Transportation Plan- Land Use/ Housing

Eman Ibrahim


Update on Current NIRPC’s Projects

Eman Ibrahim

4.1 DNR Coastal Resiliency Project

Jennifer Birchfield

4.2 City of Gary E-Commerce Subarea Plan

Scott Weber


Legislative Update

Eman Ibrahim

6.0 Communities Update - Everyone

7.0 The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 25, 2022, at 10:00 a.m.

8.0 Adjournment

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, familial status, parental status, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.


NIRPC Virtual Meeting November 4, 2021 Minutes

This meeting was convened as an electronic meeting, pursuant to Governor Holcomb’s extended Executive Order 21-28. All persons were meeting remotely on a Zoom platform that allowed for real time interaction and supported the public’s ability to observe and record the proceedings. When the agenda item was provided for public comment, this was supported as well. A roll call was taken to motion and approve the agenda items. The recording of the meeting can be viewed on

George Topoll called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and roll call. In attendance were George Topoll (Union Township), Jon Derwinski (Winfield), Kelly Wenger, Nick Bellar (Winfield), Tom Vanderwood, Jen Orsburn (DNR), David Wright (GPTC), Michael Berry, Aaron Kowalski, Chris Herman, David Heinold, Joe Exl (DNR), William Sheldrake, and Sherry Collison.

NIRPC staff present were Eman Ibrahim, Meredith Stilwell, Thomas Dow, Candice Eklund, Kevin Polette, Scott Weber, and Flor Baum.

On motion by Nick Bellar and second by George Topoll, the minutes of the August 5, 2021, meeting were approved.

Eman presented on the update to the TOD Funding Program. The goal for the TOD came from the


2050 Plan. The program is for transit-oriented development for train and bus stations. The goal is image to also bring vitality and create livable areas of mixed- use around transit stations and enhance

transit infrastructure. Station areas boundaries within a half mile were identified. Collected data of transit service, current, and future bus and train station locations, bike trail data, and locations data. Existing conditions and potential improvements for each TOD area were evaluated. Typologies for proposed TOD areas was also developed. Four typologies identified were Land Use, Network Connectivity, Bike/Pedestrian Accessibility, and Public Areas. Funding programs were finalized, as were the eligibility scoring criteria, evaluation procedures, and funding mechanisms to support capital and planning projects. There are three TOD classifications: TOD I emphasizes on the urban core/downtown area; TOD II focuses on the suburban community; TOD III is addressing the commuter community. Eligible TOD projects must be located within a TOD Eligible area. Eligible areas are TOD areas that include the following:

The travel demand model was divided into LaPorte County, Northern LaPorte County, Northern Porter County, Central Porter County, Southern Lake County, and North Lake County. Congestion impacts caused by increase employment and movement of goods for a major distribution center was evaluated. The Laporte County cluster performed best in absorbing future congestion impacts.

Northern Porter County performed the least.

Phase II is the implementation of the E-Commerce in NWI Plan and focuses on the subarea plans for communities. Rigorous mapping for suitable potential locations for e-commerce investments were made. 2050 Plan strategies were presented. Among the strategies was to create a parcel-based map of current and potential e-commerce facilities locations along major NWI corridors to help identify economic centers and prioritize future transportation improvements. The subarea plan selection focused on three northern clusters because of their proximity to the urban core and connectivity to the I-94 corridor. The Gary Subarea Plan Development process consulted Gary’s 2019 Comprehensive Plan for areas zoned, planned for light industrial, employment flex, and other areas suitable for e-commerce around the targeted zone from travel demand modeling. Based on the city’s feedback, the focus was shifted to other areas, including the old Majestic Star Casino and an area adjacent to the Gary International Airport.

For more information, please contact Eman at or Scott at

The document will be available to the public and members for review upon request. Upon approval of the final draft, the next step is to provide training to the commissioners in 2022.

For more questions and/or more information on the Sensible Tools Handbook update, contact Eman Ibrahim at

Legislative and community updates were announced. House Bill 1243: Lane elimination or reduction and road funding. Provides that a county, city, or town that eliminates or reduces the width of a lane of road or street will have a percentage of the money distributed from the local road and street account reduced for the following year. House Bill 1292: Wildlife corridors. Establishes the wildlife corridor action plan (plan) for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, improving, and protecting wildlife corridors to preserve habitat connectivity, which promotes species diversity, lowers the risk of extinction, and promotes opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The next meeting of the Land Use Committee will be on February 23, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at the NIRPC offices.

Hearing no other business, the meeting adjourned at 10:03 a.m.