Chesterton Tribune

Planners recommend campground rezoning

Back to Front Page

 

 
 

 

 

By AL BODIE

The third time was a charm for the owners of Sand Creek Campground, when they won the support of the Porter County Plan Commission in their effort to have the Jackson Township campground re-zoned from R1 to P2.

Currently, the campground, located at 1000 north and 350 East, is zoned Rural Residential, which prevents the owners from replacing a building used as their check-in office and camp store. The owners are seeking Park and Recreation (P2) zoning.

Before the plan commission put their stamp of approval on the change, property owner Jong In Lee and his attorney, William Ferngren, Valparaiso, were required to answer questions and concerns carried over from two previous meetings.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, unanswered questions included the septic system capacity and whether the property is being used as permanent housing.

In the past two months Plan Commission members have made site visits to the property and observed what they believed to be recreational vehicles and trailers being used as permanent residences and others being stored permanently on the grounds.

The owner responded the only person living there full-time is a property manager. Vehicles are stored on the property, according to Ferngren, as is a common practice at many Indiana campgrounds. “So they (Sandcreek Campground) are consistent in doing this.”

During the first meeting in March, the commission heard from nearby residents who complained about the campground being a “trouble site.”

Ferngren responded “I spoke to several people with the county and there have never been any reports of problems at the campground.”

Supporting Ferngren’s statement was Jan Myers, Jackson Township Trustee, who lives on property that abuts the campground. “They have been great neighbors, no problems ever,” she said.

Myers added that the owners came to her house the night before and they assured her that in the future they were going to keep the property a campground.

The capacity of the septic system to handle the volume of campers using the site had come into question during previous discussions. Member Herb Read asked for an explanation of what the stated system’s capacity meant in terms of people. “A letter from McMahon Associates Inc, says the system is rated at 2760 gallons per day. How many people daily does that mean?”

Although Read’s question was not answered directly, Ferngren assured him the system was appropriate.

“Both the state and the county have said the system is appropriate and is working. They will not overload it,” he said.

Nearby residents previously suggested a natural sound barrier be provided by planting more trees. Ferngren rejected this request stating, “there is currently an adequate number of a trees on the property.”

The P2 zoning would allow the property to be used for other than the current intended purpose. The P2 zoning would allow change in future uses of the property to becoming a golf course, country club, skate or paintball camps amongst other listed uses.

Alleviating concerns that the property would no longer be a campground, Ferngren agreed that a letter limiting some of the property’s future uses could be and would be added to the zoning petition.

By a 7-2 vote the Plan Commission approved making a recommendation to the County Commissioners in support of Sand Creek Campground rezoning request.

 

Posted 5/12/2011