Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor snow parking ban enacted for alleys and streets; park liquor sales approved for event

Back To Front Page


Burns Harbor residents, take note: new snow emergency and parking regulations were adopted by the Town Council on Wednesday.

Whenever two or more inches of snow has fallen on town streets and alleys, a snow emergency exists and parking on all town streets is restricted until the snow emergency is canceled.

On even-numbered days of the month during a snow emergency, no parking between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 midnight is allowed on the north and east sides of the street. On odd-numbered days, parking’s not allowed between the same hours on the south and west sides of the street.

No parking at all is allowed on any town alley between 8 a.m. and 12 midnight during a snow emergency.

The town street commissioner is authorized to prohibit parking in town streets and alleys at any time for the purpose of snow removal, emergencies, repairs and maintenance at his discretion; the commissioner is required to post signs giving notice of the closure at least four hours before it occurs, and the closure may not last longer than eight hours.

If vehicles are illegally parked during a declared ban, they may be towed or removed. Town police may issue citations to remove and store them at owner’s expense, but town marshal Mike Heckman said that likely won’t occur unless the owner can’t be reached or they refuse to move the vehicle.

Whether a snow emergency exists or not, it is illegal for a person to move, discharge, throw, place or cause any snow, ice or slush into alleys or streets within the town at any time. The Street Department is exempted while performing official duties.

The new rules carry fines of $10 to $25 and if not paid the town may file in court seeking payment as well as additional fines and fees.

At the Jan. 8 Town Council meeting, Burns Harbor street superintendent Randy Skalku said parking on both sides of the streets during snow events hampers his crew’s ability to get around town and plow effectively.

Last night, Skalku said his department has been very, very busy plowing and pushing snow piles back to make room for more snow; he also said his salt situation is bad and he has been mixing it with sand to use on hills and curves sparingly.

Last week the Town Council authorized purchase of a 2014 Street Department truck with 9-foot snowplow and related equipment for $92,650. The town hasn’t taken delivery yet pending financing.

During public comment resident Ray Poparad asked how the town can plow alleys, which he considers driveways and therefore private property.

Welsh said if the subdivision is approved by the Plan Commission with alleys on the plat as public right-of-way, then once accepted by the town they becomes its responsibility to plow and maintain whether the town gets state gas-tax money for them or not.

Councilman Greg Miller said, “This is a thinly veiled attempt to single out The Village (subdivision) again.” He noted emergency services and buses use alleys.

Having heard Welsh’s explanation, “Now that I’ve been set straight, I’ll move on,” said Poparad.

Votes on the snow emergency/parking ban were 4-0 to approve with councilman Mike Perrine absent. Three motions were involved including one to suspend the rules and adopt the printed, numbered ordinance amendment in one night.

Earlier in the meeting the council voted 4-0 on one motion to amend town ordinance as verbally stated with no draft amendment in hand, and the topic wasn’t on the agenda. The amendment dealt with allowing alcohol sales at Lakeland Park for a June 28 event.

Miller, who made the motion, asked town attorney Bob Welsh if amending the ordinance required further action. Welsh said no.

Later, when asked by the Chesterton Tribune why the two ordinance amendments were handled differently, Welsh said of the park matter, “It’s nice to have (an ordinance amendment) ahead of time” but you don’t have to have it in front of you. He added that in the past a council has amended an ordinance without a prior draft copy, but in that case a document was subsequently prepared for later signature.

Wednesday’s vote allows Burns Harbor Park Department-sponsored events to have alcohol sales with the approval of the Town Council president; if a council member objects, the matter would come before the full council and challenge deadlines were added.

Miller asked if an alcohol waiver could be given for private events on park property as well. Park Board president Marcus Rogala said his board would be opposed.

The park is planning a June 28 kids fun run and Footloose 5K beginning at Lakeland Park. A licensed, insured vendor will operate a beer garden on a fenced park ballfield, a Chicago cover band will perform ‘80s hits and food will be available.

The event from 5 to 9 p.m. will be family friendly, assured Rogala. As for any concern about the lake, “We’ll have eyes everywhere.”

Rogala said the speciality painting workshops the Park Department has sponsored are booked as soon as one is announced. Mixed martial arts instruction is offered, Feb. 22 is family movie night at Lakeland and May 10 is a volunteer clean-up in the town’s three parks.



Posted 2/6/2014