Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Burns Harbor looks to make it harder for trucking businesses to locate in town

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On the heels of last month’s approval by another board of a new 250 semi-truck parking lot in town, the Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission set in motion plans to remove such uses in certain zoning districts.

Commission president Jeff Freeze suggested the zoning amendment, which would have to be approved by the Town Council.

The commission will conduct a public hearing on the proposal Oct. 4. Vote to do so Monday was 6-0 with member Jan Hines absent.

Freeze said if his recommendation is approved, residents won’t have to deal with even more truck traffic in town.

Utah-based CR England, which operates a Midwest regional truck terminal in Burns Harbor as well as a truck-driving school, won 3-2 permission Aug. 24 from the town Board of Zoning Appeals to expand its operations with the new semi-tractor/trailer parking lot on the west side of Indiana 149 south of Tech Drive.

Several conditions were tied to the approval including installation of a new stop light on Indiana 149 at Tech Drive between existing 149 stop lights at both U.S. 20 and County Road 1050N in Crocker.

Commission attorney Charles Parkinson said because the zoning ordinance allows freight terminals as a special exception in what were formerly light-industrial zoning districts, such terminals are essentially a permitted use but one that requires additional BZA oversight.

The Plan Commission’s intention is not to allow truck terminals except in the heavy-industrial zoning district. It was noted that a future petitioner still can ask the BZA to locate a terminal in a non-permitted district as a use variance, but the standards for approval would be different than for a special exception.

In related zoning action, the commission took Parkinson’s suggestion to review past meeting minutes to determine what the intent was regarding residential uses in a Business Park zoning district. Current language includes references to residential there, but some officials present recalled that was not the desire when the entire ordinance was revamped last year.

“Why bother with a master plan?” asked resident Gayle Van Loon, one of 14 persons in the audience. “I don’t think residential needs to be (in a Business Park).”

On another matter, the Plan Commission agreed it has no involvement in reviewing a proposed town ordinance that would regulate parades, public assemblies and pickets; the draft ordinance, modeled after the Town of Porter’s version, involves the Police Department and Town Council so Burns Harbor planners referred it back to those departments.

When the meeting turned to review of bonds, maintenance guarantees and letters of credit related to subdivisions, the commission voted 6-0 to put a stop-work order on Trail Creek subdivision on south Babcock Road. One house under construction would be affected.

Parkinson said at a previous meeting the commission agreed to extend Great Lakes Development’s letter of credit for the project yet the company’s documentation never was provided.

Tom Lightfoot, manager of R&B Development’s 200-home Corlin’s Landing, told the commission he would present a $100,000 cashier’s check as the subdivision’s required guarantee to clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan today.

Harbor Trails subdivision developer Don Coker was present and agreed to work with town officials on a maintenance guarantee to cover final punch-list items.

Hesham Khalil of town engineer Global Engineering and Land Surveying said he’s working on a punch list for Parkwood Estates south of Haglund Road including 50 feet of sidewalk replacement.

Khalil noted a builder who owns lots there has inquired about modifying a retention pond, which would require amending the approved plat.



Posted 9/14/2010






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