The Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission wants to know what the public
thinks about a proposed ordinance regulating public assemblies of 100 people
or more where admission is charged or alcohol will be sold.
A public hearing on the assembly ordinance will take place May 2. At that
time the cost of a required assembly permit, reflecting staff time to review
and process it, will be determined.
Under the proposal an applicant would file at least 45 days before the event
with the town Police Department; town department heads would review but the
Town Council would make a final decision.
Police and fire protection, crowd control, traffic access, food service and
sanitation facilities would be considered.
The ordinance would cover fee-to-enter events like classic car shows and
rock concerts, but it would not apply to permanent stadiums, banquet halls,
auditoriums, arenas or certain other venues. Liability insurance has to be
provided by the sponsor, and one sworn police officer on duty for every 50
Commission member Terry Swanson said while he’s not against the ordinance,
it does set out a complicated procedure. The event applicant may have to
give notice of the planned assembly to property owners within 300 feet.
The commission began discussing an assembly ordinance months ago after a
large fundraiser was planned but not conducted last year; it would have
featured admission and liquor sales on private property. The town found the
current ordinance did not regulate such an event.
But under the proposed ordinance, said member Jan Hines, “Somebody’s who’s
willy nilly will see this and have second thoughts, which is a good thing.”
Also set for public hearing May 2 is an amendment to the excavation
ordinance requiring a permit if excavation work is being done within the
public right-of-way. The intent is so utility companies and their
subcontractors obtain a permit when doing excavation work in town to provide
basic information needed.
Commission president Jeff Freeze asked if the change would mean residents
who wanted to plant a tree between the sidewalk and street would have to get
a permit. Commission attorney Charles Parkinson said yes.
Vote to set the matter for public hearing was 5-1 with Freeze voting no and
member Toni Biancardi absent.
The Plan Commission also decided to send to the Town Council a recommended
change in the building code, which does not require a public hearing. If
adopted, for new construction projects stamped metal tags would have to be
placed on NIPSCO meters to notify firefighters if glued, manufactured
I-beams were used in the structure.
The beams burn three times faster than conventional lumber posing a hazard
to responders. Town fire chief and building commissioner Bill Arney said a
new national fire code is being developed to address manufactured beams.
On another matter, after receiving a negative review from Hesham Khalil of
town engineer Global Land Surveying and Engineering, the commission voted
unanimously to recommend the Town Council reject the request of John Miller
to vacate a portion of an easement in Parkwood Estates subdivision.
Miller wanted to decrease the size of the detention pond on Lots 16-21 and
instead use a series of storm sewers and manholes so the lots would have
Khalil said in heavy rains streets and yards would take longer to drain
under Miller’s plan and with Burns Harbor soon coming under the federal MS4
stormwater regulations, it’s better to plan for that now. Miller could
engineer a way to accomplish his goal, Khalil added, but it likely would
cost more money.
Khalil’s comments were outlined in a letter to the commission. Miller
requested a copy of the letter but was not provided with one.
Khalil said a
site plan has been submitted for review for a permit for C.R. England to
build its 250 semi-truck parking lot and guardhouses west of Indiana 149
south of Tech Drive. England also will use its approximately $100,000 held
in escrow since 2007 to install a stop light at that intersection now.
controversial 3-2 town Board of Zoning Appeals decision allowing the parking
lot resulted in a legal attempt by the Town Council to overturn it saying
the large increase in trucks likely will force the town to redesign and
rebuild the Old Porter Road intersection at Indiana 149 north of the England
England already operates a regional truck terminal off Tech Drive as well as
a truck-driving school there.
Superior Court judge ruled late last year that the town and its Town Council
had no standing in the England matter to challenge the decision of its own
said he’s going to recommend to the Town Council that Tech Drive, a private
road serving the industrial park, be torn out and rebuilt to highway
standards at the expense of the property-owners association; Arney later
estimated that cost to be about $200,000.
Repairs to the
road last year didn’t work, said Arney. A car hit a pothole on it recently
and the car was totaled. Commission member Jerry Price, town marshal, said
Tech Drive “has gone from a nuisance to purely a danger.”