Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Council reaches agreement with Villages developer

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At the end of its meeting Wednesday, the Burns Harbor Council reached a consensus agreement with the developer of Villages of Burns Harbor Phase 4A where Traditions Apartments are being built.

Dirt seen along U.S. 20 at the development caused a stir last month for Council President Ray Poparad and other Council members who wanted to see it removed.

Poparad said Wednesday that he, along with Building Commissioner Randall Lopez and Sanitary Superintendent/Fire Chief Bill Arney, met with the contractors and developers.

“They apologized for dumping it and not going through with proper procedures. They wanted to add they would like to clean it up, regrade it, remove all the garbage and put in grass seed and some erosion matting on it,” said Poparad.

Arney said there was some confusion because the development was not aware of new ordinances. “They went off the request of the property owner and dumped it there, not knowing the ordinance that was in place,” he said.

Arney said since then, the development has tried to work with the ordinance the best they can, grading down the dirt, moving it and cleaning it up. If the Council allows them to leave the dirt where it is now, they should get the assurance from the developers that vegetation is grown back to control erosion and for aesthetics.

Council member Eric Hull said he was “good with that,” and the rest of the Council agreed.

One of the representatives involved with the developers, Jeff Ban of DVG Inc., said he would like to work with the Town in a way that is favorable for them.

“You get to keep the dirt. Make sure to get some grass seed or put sod out there,” Poparad told Ban.

Poparad said he will now leave the matter with the Town department heads and asked they report to the Council if there are any problems.

Council member Toni Biancardi added that the development has put in the lights which are working now.

Holidays added to Town schedule

During business matters, the Council also agreed unanimously to add two more days to its holiday schedule -- Good Friday and Christmas Eve. Those will now be paid holidays for full-time employees.

The Town’s current holiday schedule includes New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after, and Christmas Day, plus a “floater” or a bonus holiday of their choosing, said Clerk Treasurer Jane Jordan. The new schedule will have nine holidays with Good Friday and Christmas Eve added and two floaters.

Department heads present said they would be fine with the changes. Employees who do work on holidays like Police and Fire receive double time.

Street paving

Paving this spring has started in Burns Harbor with the help of the state’s Community Crossings grants.

The Council agreed to pay $20,000 extra to do a fix of Navajo Trail after, as Poparad put it, the soil “pounded right up” when the Rieth-Riley Construction truck was coming through past the Town Street Department entrance and busted the asphalt.

Poparad said the foreman with Rieth-Riley said he did not want to put the top coat on after that.

The Town’s engineering firm Global Engineering inspected the road and figured it would be an extra $20,000 “to fix it right,” Poparad said, from the street department to the end of the street.

The Council voted 5-0 to take $11,500 of what’s remaining in Town’s share of county income tax funds and about $8,500 from cumulative capital development (CCD) funds. Along with Navajo Tr., parts of Westport Rd. and Salt Creek Rd. have been resurfaced.

“It’s strange that in all the years I’ve lived here, this is the first time we’ve had striping on (Westport Rd),” Jordan commented

Abatement forms

In business matters, the Council voted unanimously to accept three sets of CF-1 compliance statements submitted by property owners currently receiving 10-year tax abatements.

Two of the forms were submitted by ArcelorMittal and one by Praxair.

Lakeshore presentation

Dropping in Wednesday were National Lakeshore Superintendent Paul Labovitz with Deputy Superintendent Chris Pergiel and Civic Engagement Program Manager Lynda Lancaster, who wanted to give community partners like Burns Harbor an outline of their goals.

Labovitz said the park welcomes up to 3 million visitors annually and has adjusted its hours to later closing time -- 11 p.m. -- so more can experience it.

The beaches at Mt. Baldy and Central Ave. are being reopened and there is an effort to clear the log jams in the Little Calumet River for paddling. There are other nature programs like the birding festival in the spring to enjoy, Labovitz said.

“We’re trying to convert the Park into a year-round destination rather than a summer beach park,” he said.

Specific to Burns Harbor, Lavovitz said the park is “completely onboard” with the Town’s goal of implementing its portion of the Marquette Greenway Trail which intersects the park’s trail on its east and west ends.

“We want to add value intrinsically as well as economically,” Labovitz said.

He also told the Council that the Lakeshore will continue to monitor the reported hexavalent chromium spill near the U.S. Steel plant with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Poparad thanked the group for the visit and praised them for working with the Dunes Learning Center to bring animals back to Chellberg Farm.

Recycling and Waste Reduction

Meanwhile, Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District Director Therese Haller gave a presentation on the 2016 statistics for waste collecting, education and recycling. At the Burns Harbor Street Department, the RWRD drop off recycling bins collected 64,000 pounds of recyclables.

Haller mentioned there will be Waste Hazardous Collection days on June 17 and Aug. 5 at Portage High School and July 8 at Westchester Intermediate School.


Posted 5/12/2017





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