Chesterton Tribune



Proposed R2 rezoning at 1050N and 125W tabled over drainage

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Possible drainage issues on a 30.8-acre parcel south of the Brassie Golf Course were enough for the Porter County Commissioners to table a proposed rezoning ordinance for a new residential subdivision.

At their meeting Tuesday, the Commissioners heard petitioner Donald Coker’s request to change the zoning of a parcel at the corner of C.R. 1050N and C.R. 125W from Light Industrial (L-1) to Medium Density Single-family Residential (R-2).

The Plan Commission’s Advisory Panel voted 8-0 on Jan. 8 to endorse that petition, after several planners members said that redesignating the property as residential makes more sense now that the Wabash Railroad lineŃwhich ran across the property many years agoŃis defunct.

How that property’s low elevation might impact drainage, however, drew questions at the Commissioners’ meeting.

The R-2 zoning would allow for a sanitary sewer hookup by a municipal entity, said John Hannon of Great Lakes Engineering, who presented the request to the Plan Commission. He said that the petitioner will be seeking sanitary sewer service from the Town of Chesterton while water will be supplied by Indiana-American Water.

Coker said that he’s had conversations with the Town of Chesterton Utility regarding a sewer hookup. The County Plan Commission, for its part, has said that a property of 30 acres could see as many as 60 to 70 new homes.

Official engineering and landscape plans for the so-called “Pearson Prairie” have not been developed yet.

Chesterton resident Paul Tharp voiced his opposition to the rezoning during the public hearing, saying that it’s his understanding that the design would be similar to those of other Coker developments. One of those developments near the Crocker area in the Town of Chesterton saw a litany of drainage woes, Tharp said.

Tharp expressed concern that something similar could happen here.

Coker responded from the floor, saying that he never heard any complaints from the Town of Chesterton and therefore “did not know what (Tharp) was talking about.” He also said that he’s not seeking a Chesterton annexation.

Hannon backed Coker’s comments, saying that it would be impossible for the town to annex because the property isn’t contiguous to Chesterton.

Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, and Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, both said that the low elevation would weigh on their decision.

“That area sits in a very low point,” Evans said. He recalled one time a “corn picker” that got stuck right at that spot because of high water.

Hannon said that Coker has worked with the County Drainage Board to fix the drainage issues on the site and that Coker paid for the work out of pocket. A new outlet was installed and the property has drained as it should for a few years now west of Pearson Road.

Evans agreed that the area has improved but also warned that he couldn’t approve the petition until there is evidence that Chesterton Utility would extend sewer service to the property. That was not confirmed with Town Engineer Mark O’Dell on Tuesday, Evans said.

Coker, in response, said that he plans to address the Chesterton Utility Service Board at its next meeting, Feb. 17, and will report back to the Commissioners at their Feb. 18 meeting. Coker did add that, should the Chesterton Utility not provide sewer service, it’s unlikely he’ll proceed with the development.



Posted 2/6/2014