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Burns Harbor restores deal on culverts; building facade standards approved

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Town of Burns Harbor proposes a deal for residents wanting to replace faulty driveway culverts -- provide the materials and the Street Department will install it for free.

At Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, President Ray Poparad said in the past the Town would change the resident’s culverts where the driveway meets the road.

“For some reason, and we can’t find out why, they quit doing it. It was always the practice the resident would provide the materials and the Street Department, since they have the equipment and the labor, would dig it out, install it and make sure it’s the right grade so the ditch drains,” Poparad said.

The arrangement could help alleviate drainage woes in some areas like Babcock Rd. and U.S. 20, he said. “The water is laying on South Babcock Road. It’s a mosquito pond just waiting for hot weather.’

Street Department Superintendent Pat Melton said he is willing to have his department do the work if the resident gives them what is needed to replace the culvert. The work time would likely take less than a day, Melton said.

The department will be able to tell residents what materials and size culverts they will need, Melton said.

“I think the main thing for us is it maintains the ditches,” said Council member Eric Hull.

From the audience, resident Wilbur Oundman asked if it mattered if the driveway is asphalt or concrete. Poparad said that is something to be worked out with the street department but if it is concrete, the resident will have to replace the concrete at their cost. The town will take care of the installation.

“We will explain it to (residents),” Poparad said. “We need to help our residents because it is a health hazard.”

The Council voted 5-0 in favor of the deal.

Facade standards

Also at its meeting, the Council adopted 5-0 new facade guidelines for non-residential buildings recommended by the Plan Commission.

Hull, who is the president of the Plan Commission, said the guidelines set what structures should look like. Building fronts would be required to have 50 percent door and window transparency on the first floor. Secondary facades would be required to have 35 percent glazing or transparency and all other sides 20 percent.

“It’s proactive in a way where you are not just going to come in and put up a four-sided pole barn with a sign on the front,” said Hull.

If someone comes in wanting to do something different, they can go through the Board of Zoning Appeals, he said.

Council member and Plan Commission member Toni Biancardi said the standards apply to all zone districts, including residential which may have a corner store.

CCD increase

In other business, the Council decided it will start the process of raising its Cumulative Capital Development fund rate about one cent per $100 of assessed valuation.

Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said the rate is at 3.04 cents now, which generates a total of $172,000 based on current assessed value. The maximum rate would be four cents and would generate about $54,000 extra for the Town, she said.

The rate increase request would need to be submitted to the state by Aug. 1 but a public hearing would be required first, as well as advertising in advance, Jordan said.

The Town can use CCD for capital improvements like repairing roads and buildings and equipment for police and fire departments, Jordan said.

Tree saplings

Residents can take home a tree sapling on Earth Day -- Saturday, April 22 -- at the Burns Harbor Fire Department.

The town received 100 saplings from the Department of Natural Resources courtesy of State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage. Up to fifty of them will be given away on Earth Day to residents on a first-come-first-serve basis in honor of Burns Harbor’s 50th anniversary as a town.

Fire Chief Bill Arney said there are 25 each of four different species, including oak, birch and white pine. Fifty of them will be kept in a nursery behind the fire station to be given away later. The ones given on Earth Day should be protected from threats like rabbits, he said.

“They will survive if people plant them and treat them right,” Arney said. Instructions for care will be given with each sapling.

Scholarship deadline earlier

Poparad announced that the applications for the Burns Harbor Town Scholarship are available and are due on May 31.

Jordan said that is a change from years past when the deadline was the end of June. She said that applicants should check the date to make sure they have the right form.

Scholarships are available to any Burns Harbor resident who is enrolled in a two-year or four-year university, a trade school or a training program.

Health insurance/Roads

After last year’s unexpected change to the Town’s health insurance plan that raised the amount employees paid out of pocket, Poparad said he would like to have meetings with employees to discuss possible alternative options.

“I would like to research this with the employees to see if we can get them a better policy,” he said.

Poparad also asked for an update on road grants from the state for this coming year. Jordan said she believes the application process will start after the Indiana General Assembly adjourns this month, possibly closer to summer.

The Town was able to get a $100,000 match this past year to pave portions of Westport Rd., Salt Creek Rd. and Navajo Tr. Poparad said he would like to see if the Town could match $150,000 for next year.

Rummage sale

The Council set Aug. 5 and 6 as the tentative dates for the annual town rummage sale so it will not interfere with the start of the Duneland school year.

Resident Melissa Graves is heading the committee this year.

Village Subdivision

infrastructure

At the end of the meeting, the Council discussed at length an acceptance of infrastructure for Phase 4A of the Village Subdivision. Poparad said the developers need to meet with the Street Department to make sure all the lights are in working condition and to remove all the dirt dumped on U.S. 20

Biancardi agreed they need to comply soon and get the street lights in.

 

 

Posted 4/14/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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