Chesterton Tribune

Burns Harbor sets hearing October 3 on ArcelorMittal excavation permits

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By PAULENE POPARAD

No one representing ArcelorMittal attended Monday’s Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission meeting, but that didn’t stop members from setting a public hearing Oct. 3 on the steelmaker’s request for two excavation permits.

One is to construct the Deerfield industrial-waste disposal facility at the U.S. 12 plant; the other is to remove clay as a $3 million borrow pit operation on Mittal-owned property generally west of the Burns Harbor Street Department complex using Navajo Trail, a local street, for access.

The clay would be used to line the Deerfield landfill.

Mittal consultants had given notice for a public hearing Monday, but last week commission officials said petitioners got ahead of themselves and a preliminary hearing would take place instead.

Commission attorney Charles Parkinson said he’s been in contact with Mittal representatives but couldn’t explain their absence last night. “I can’t read into their not being here what that means. I can’t tell you what somebody’s thinking.”

Parkinson said the commission has enough information to consider setting the petition for public hearing. But if Mittal representatives don’t give new legal notice and send revised mailings for an Oct. 3 public hearing, he added, the commission won’t open one.

Mittal also has to provide more information in its legal notice as well as submit the required numbers of all paperwork, it was agreed. Only three hard copies of application materials were received Sept. 2 so commission members were given a website link to approximately 100 pages of consultant documents --- not the way member Jim McGee said he wants to review a petition.

Hesham Khalil of town engineer Global Engineering & Land Surveying said Mittal needs to submit more detailed information on some aspects of the borrow pit so he can review it in time to give the commission a report next month.

Member Bernie Poparad asked if the commission can add conditions to Mittal’s proposal to protect the town because, “I feel (Navajo) will be trashed.” Parkinson said yes.

Said president Jeff Freeze, “I don’t see any harm setting (Mittal’s applications) for public hearing. I’m good with giving them that opportunity.” Vote on the subsequent motion was 6-0 with member Jerry Price absent.

On another matter, Freeze said he got a request for a special Plan Commission meeting for The Village in Burns Harbor seeking secondary plat approval of Phase 4A of the subdivision where upscale apartments were approved in August following a public hearing.

Member Toni Biancardi noted at that time Phase 4B also was approved with the impression it would be built, but Freeze said the project is being financed one phase at a time. Not going forward with Phase 4B means there won’t be an extension of Boo Road built now, said Biancardi.

The special meeting was set for 7 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 20. The petitioner requesting the meeting has to pay all related costs.

From the audience, resident Gordon McCormick asked what’s going on with Scott’s Way on U.S. 20, where trees have been leveled and a semi-truck parking lot apparently expanded to the north.

Replied building commissioner Bill Arney, “He continues to do what he’s not supposed to do. It’s not doing me any good to write violations.” The matter is already tied up in court, advised Arney.

 

 

Posted 9/13/2011