Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Council adds stop signs in the Village subdivision

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Stop signs were the topic of conversation at Wednesdayís Burns Harbor Town Council meeting.

For one, the Council approved adding two stop signs at the intersection of Pin Oak and Golden Drive in the Village subdivision to make it a four-way stop. Police Chief Mike Heckman said, ďsomething needs to be doneĒ about it based on the number of close calls and accidents he sees there.

Pin Oak and Golden Drive isnít even a four-way intersection yet, but will be when the last four lots of the Village and the road leading to them are complete. One of the signs will go up right away, and the other will go up when the last lots and road are finished.

Village resident Sarah Oudman asked what guidelines there are for putting up a new stop sign in Town. Heckman said he cannot lawfully use stop signs to try to slow down traffic, but he looks for areas where a stop sign can prevent accidents. The Town Council then has to vote to make the new stop sign enforceable.

During the public comment period, Burns Harbor resident Linda Herbert stood up and talked about her experience watching driverís react to the stop sign at Burns Boulevard and Bolinger in the Village subdivision. Herbert reported she sat at that stop sign for two hours each day for four days after a mother and child were almost hit by a driver who ran the stop sign. She was curious how many people would run it.

ďThe first day rather interesting. A lot of rolling stops. One of the first people that didnít stop, I yelled, and the lady stopped. I went to her window and said, ĎMaíam thereís a stop sign, and you didnít stop.íĒ Herbert reported the woman, a senior citizen, said she didnít see the sign.

Herbert suggested the stop signs might be too high, or that painting ĎStopĒ on the road approaching the sign might help drivers.

Fire Chief Bill Arney chimed in that low tree branches and cars parked too close to the corner are the likely culprit if drivers donít heed the sign. Heckman said cars should be parked at least 30 feet from the stop sign so drivers donít have to swing out to the middle of the road to stop.

Arney said an old ordinance creates confusion about whether or not homeowners in the Village are responsible for trimming their trees that might block road signs. Oudman confirmed sheís talked to a lot of Village residents who arenít sure if they need to trim their own trees.

The Council directed Street Superintendent Pat Melton to just trim the trees. Council member Kevin Tracy also suggested the Council should consider temporary speed bumps in areas where a lot of drivers speed. Council President Nick Loving asked Heckman to put together a list of intersections that need a stop sign and bring it to the next meeting.

In related business, 2020 Community Crossing grants have been submitted. In the last application cycle, Burns Harbor was awarded the full $1 million available. Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said she isnít sure yet when 2020 awards will be announced

The Council also approved Jordan to submit paperwork to change the name of Ridge Road to Allegis Drive. Jordan reported that INDOTís road inventory for Burns Harbor doesnít reflect the name change, though the Town no longer uses the name Ridge Road due to confusion with U.S. 6.

Plan Commission Recommendations

The Council voted to waive the subdivision application fee for the Tecumseh Trail subdivision because some of the land will be donated to the Town. The plan came to the Council favorably recommended by the Plan Commission.

The Plan Commission also forwarded updates to the Burns Harbor comprehensive plan to the Council with a favorable recommendation. Council Vice-president Eric Hull, who is also Plan Commission President, reported the changes focused on cleaning up language and updating plans, including adding the Westport Development site recently acquired from Duneland Schools. The Council adopted Resolution 2019-16 accepting the amendments to the plan.


Jordan reported the Townís new Net Assessed Valuation came in, though the net AVs havenít been approved at the state level yet. Jordan said Burns Harborís net AV increased by more than $11 million. ďHopefully our taxpayers will see a little bit of a decrease in their tax rates. I canít swear to it, but typically thatís how it works,Ē Jordan said.

The Council also approved hiring Corinne Peffers as Deputy Clerk. Jordan swore Peffers in, and Hull said Peffers is an asset to the Town. ďThe work youíve been putting in and your enthusiasm is very much appreciated, and the job you do is fantastic,Ē Hull said.

Melton reported the Street Department has been doing a lot of tree trimming to prepare for school buses. Melton also brought quotes for excavating and patching the square turnaround at the end of the alley behind Burns Boulevard. The low quote came from Total Excavating at $9,850. The turnaround has been a topic at the last two meetings because it tends to need a lot of maintenance, but paving grants cannot be used for alleyways.

Loving said he drove down the alley to see the problems and agreed with Melton that the work needs to be done. Council member Ray Poparad said itís a catch-22 because the work needs to be done, but garbage trucks will continue to put extra wear and tear on it. The Council approved the work, contingent on Jordan determining which fund the money will come from. Tracy voted no.

The Council also approved Meltonís recommendation to hire Jose Reyes for the open general maintenance/street department position. Reyes is coming from the Park Department, and comes highly recommended from Parks Director Kim Burton.

The Council approved Building Commissioner Rob Wesley to go forward with replacing T1-11 siding on the Street Department Building with vinyl siding and adding a half-door that locks from the inside to the office area of the building. The work will be done by A-Plus. Inc., out of Portage for $6,550. The cost will be split between the Street Department and Building Commissioner budgets.

The Council also approved on first reading Ordinance 291-2019, dictating that the local building commissioner cannot approve building permits he or she has a personal interest in. The new ordinance is a result of a state law mandating the municipalities clarify what the building department does if the building commissioner has a conflict of interest.

Town Picnic

The Council voted to donate $1,000 for the Town Picnic Sunday, Aug. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Lakeland Park. Council member Toni Biancardi reminded folks that everything at the Picnic is free, and itís a good opportunity to get to know others in Town. She also thanked the businesses that sponsor it and the Council for its donation.



Posted 8/19/2019




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