Chesterton Tribune

Burns Harbor moves to regulate door to door peddlers

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Whether they’re selling meat, magazines or poker-playing dogs on velvet, the Burns Harbor Town Council is taking steps to better regulate transient hawkers, vendors and peddlers.

The council engaged in a lengthy discussion Wednesday over a draft ordinance that would carry a $200 fee per peddler to obtain a town license. The penalty for non-compliance was set at a $500 fine per person per violation.

Applicants would be asked questions under oath, fingerprinted and a criminal background check done.

No license would be issued for less than one day or more than 30 days, and applicants would have to wait six months before reapplying for another license. Sales would be restricted to weekdays (except holidays) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Councilman Mike Perrine was concerned that a person bringing multiple peddlers to town wouldn’t have to get a license; town attorney Bob Welsh said “employer, agent, representative or contracting party” could be added to the language.

Some sales would be exempt, like a seasonal ice cream vendor with a regular route, youth fundraisers and in-home parties at which merchandise like cookware, jewelry or candles are sold. An amended ordinance will be ready for the April meeting.

Who’s on first?

Another long discussion ensued when John Miller presented his request to fill in a portion of a drainage swale on certain lots in Parkwood Estates subdivision and install buried drainage tube instead.

The merits of the request never were tested because it was determined engineering on the project hadn’t been approved by Hesham Khalil of town engineer Global Land Surveying and Engineering; Kahlil didn’t attend the council meeting.

Questions arose how the request got before the Town Council in the first place, and how the council was presented with an ordinance for consideration prepared by Miller’s engineer with little other information.

Perrine and council member Louis Bain said they needed to know a lot more before acting on the request, which was forwarded to the council from the Advisory Plan Commission where it originated as a proposed replat. Perrine said the commission should have done its homework and sent a researched recommendation.

But commission members present and its executive secretary said they were advised by commission attorney Charles Parkinson, Welsh’s law partner, that the commission shouldn’t deal with the matter at all until the easement was vacated first.

Welsh said yes, the council has jurisdiction over vacations, but the Plan Commission could have decided if it wants to buy into it or not and tell the Town Council so. Welsh also said he doesn’t believe his office knew there were outstanding engineering concerns.

Council president Jim McGee, a commission member, expressed his displeasure over the situation. Perrine said it was a mistake to forward the vacation request prematurely and doesn’t want it to happen again. Bain said he wants written assurances from the engineer.

It was agreed the easement vacation will be placed on next month’s Plan Commission agenda. Said Miller, “We’ll figure it out.”

Sanitation money helps out

By a 4-0 vote with member Cliff Fleming absent the council adopted an ordinance under suspension of the rules requiring 25 percent of clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan’s $1,926 bi-weekly salary now be paid out of the Sanitation Fund. The balance will come from the General Fund.

The latter fund formerly paid 100 percent of her salary although Jordan does work for the Sanitation Department, which has a large surplus unlike the cash-strapped general fund.

Also Wednesday the council adopted Park Department salaries for 2011 including $13,248 annually for the park director; assistant director and maintenance $11 (all per hour); lifeguard $9.25; head lifeguard $9.75; head gatekeeper $7.75; gatekeeper and teen help $7.25; and each Park Board member $400 per year.

Council member Toni Biancardi said this spring the former tennis courts at Lakeland Park will be removed and the park is looking for a suitable place to dispose of the asphalt debris.

It was announced the Duneland School Board has chosen member Ralph Ayres to sit on the Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission as a non-voting member; the commission hasn’t met in several months.

McGee asked town marshal Jerry Price if it could cause a problem because Price refers to himself as the police chief. Price said both are titles and although there are technical differences, it’s all the same. Perrine said town marshal is an outdated term. “What really does it matter?” Welsh did not comment.

In February the Police Department had 249 calls to service, made three misdemeanor arrests, issued 22 citations and 48 written/verbal warnings. Four property-damage crashes were investigated and police vehicles traveled 7,338 miles.

Last month the Fire Department responded to 20 calls spending 16 hours 5 minutes on emergency scenes. Firefighters spent 62 training hours and 104 duty hours on station. Fire vehicles traveled 484 miles.

Jordan said the most recent federal census determined Burns Harbor’s population rose to 1,156 residents in the last decade, a nearly 51 percent increase. However, revenue from taxes based on the higher population won’t start until next year.

Welsh said he has been working with building commissioner Bill Arney and litigation will be filed this week against property owners who have not cooperated in correcting longstanding code violations.




Posted 3/10/2011