The Burns Harbor Town Council has asked town attorney Bob Welsh to research
its legal options regarding what to do about crumbling Tech Drive.
Last month the president of Tech Business Center’s property owners
association discussed with the council a needed $500,000 for its members to
rebuild the private road; the POA was supposed to present an update to the
council Wednesday, but no representative attended.
The council next meets July 13.
Town building commissioner and fire chief Bill Arney said the POA had stone
placed in the craters that pit Tech Drive, but it’s washing out. According
to town marshal Jerry Price, “They’re not pot holes; they’re pot valleys.”
The stone was like putting a Band-aid on a bleeding artery, he added.
The council was not happy about being stood up by the POA. John Krowiarz of
C.R. England trucking, a Tech Center business, was present to hear the
discussion but was not an authorized POA spokesperson.
POA stonewalling can’t continue, said councilman Cliff Fleming. Added fellow
member Mike Perrine, “All business owners down there need to know we’re not
going to let the issue rest. The actions we could take are limited --- and
It’s not uncommon to see vehicles driving in the grass, or eastbound
semi-trucks driving in the westbound Tech Drive lane.
Arney and Price said they fear for their emergency personnel and equipment
because of the condition of the two-lane road; the Town Council has
discussed possibly closing it to the public.
Even if that happens, said Arney, firefighters and police still would have
to respond to the business park when called.
Fleming, an attorney, asked Welsh to determine whether employees of the Tech
Center businesses are considered “the public” or whether they have right of
access to their employment at a POA location. Perrine questioned if the
council really wants to put people out of work.
Also to be researched is POA documentation that should spell out members’
rights and responsibilities --- and whether they can withdraw rather than
pay a share of the $500,000.
Arney could start writing violations for the unacceptable condition of the
road, which is to be maintained in the condition it was at its final plat
approval, but Perrine said it might be preferable to POA members to pay
$5,000 in fines rather than $500,000.
Added Perrine, “I’m beginning to get the feeling we may need to take the
road over and find some way of fixing it.” Fleming said the matter is
clearly a safety issue and suggested possibly requiring the POA to post a
bond assuring the road will be rebuilt to highway standards; if not, it’s
When asked to make a recommendation, Welsh said he wasn’t in a position
without knowing more details and knowing what policy decisions the council
wants to make.
Council president Jim McGee didn’t rule out a special council meeting with
POA members but said Welsh’s research needed to be in hand first.
In other business Wednesday:
•The council voted 4-0 with member Louis Bain absent to authorize up to four
anti-mosquito sprayings around town this season at a cost of $460 per
•Following a lengthy discussion it was agreed clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan
would request the actual petition and proposed order Indiana American Water
Co. has filed seeking state permission to bill water customers directly for
the fire hydrants their respective municipality leases. Burns Harbor pays
the approximately $4,200 monthly rental from its general fund for 86
•The council voted unanimously to donate $2,200 and in-kind services of town
employees for the July 1 community fireworks display at Indiana Dunes State
•It was announced Lakeland Park is open this weekend, and as of June 13
lifeguarded swimming will be available daily for the season. The first
children’s daycamp is June 20-24, and a new fire-safety camp in cooperation
with the Fire Department is slated for July 21 and 22.
•Arney said June 25 the department will be soliciting donations, and in May
firefighters responded to 18 calls spending 9 hours 43 minutes on-scene.
Thirty-three firefighters spent a total 121 man-hours on training and
station duty, while department vehicles traveled 828 miles.
•Price said last month the Police Department had 328 calls to service and
responded to six vehicle crashes resulting in four property damage and two
personal injury. Of 10 arrests, five each were for misdemeanors and
felonies. Twenty-six tickets were written, 68 total verbal and warning
tickets issued, and police vehicles traveled 6,227 miles.
•In addition to seasonal Street Department duties, superintendent Randy
Skalku said his staff is working on a remodeling project in Jordan’s office
after completing a remodel with Building Department employees of offices
•On final reading the council voted 4-0 to adopt an ordinance that regulates
certain public assemblies by instituting a permit process.
•With several houses going up, Arney said he is going to begin issuing metal
tags to affix on outdoor utility meters if a building is constructed using
pre-manufactured lumber, which burns faster than conventional lumber. State
officials are in the process of adopting similar language, some conflicting
with Burns Harbor’s ordinance, but the town’s will remain in force until the
state’s takes effect next year.
Arney is hoping to convince the state to use metal tags rather than
stickers, which would be consumed in a fire.