Chesterton Tribune

Town still wants to treat new Porter hospital sewage and will intervene in IURC petition

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The Chesterton Town Council wants the opportunity to tell the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) the same thing it told Porter hospital: that it would be cheaper—and make a great deal more sense for the long-term economic development of Porter County—for the Chesterton Utility to treat the new hospital’s wastewater.

Instead—for reasons which frankly mystify Chesterton officials—Porter hospital elected to flow its wastewater through the Damon Run Conservancy District, a utility established to serve the Timberland subdivision and surrounding areas in Liberty Township.

But now the Damon Run Conservancy District has filed a petition before the IURC seeking formal permission to accept the new hospital’s wastewater (and flow it in turn to the Portage treatment plant), and at its meeting Monday night the Town Council voted 5-0 to instruct Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann formally to intervene in that petition.

President Jeff Trout, R-2nd, made the following case for intervening in the Damon Run Conservancy District’s petition: the capacity offered by Damon Run is half of that offered by the Chesterton Utility; Damon Run’s sanitary-sewer design is “inadequate for the continued development” of the area; and not only the Town of Chesterton’s economic development of the Ind. 49 corridor is jeopardized by the hospital’s decision but Porter County’s is as well.

Intervening in the petition, Trout said, “will give us the chance to tell our story and show we have the capability better to serve the corridor.”

Trout noted that, should the IURC deny the Damon Run Conservancy District’s petition, “it could affect the opening of the hospital.”

Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, agreed. “If they don’t get what they need, the hospital will be stuck on an island out there with no utility service. (Intervening) would help out not only the Town of Chesterton but the whole area and the opening day of the hospital.”

Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, put it this way. The town needs to intervene “so we’re not throttled down by another system that can’t meet the hospital’s effluent needs.”

Lukmann, for his part, said that the Damon Run Conservancy District is required to petition the IURC for permission to accept the hospital’s wastewater because the hospital is located outside Damon Run’s service area. “Damon Run has also known for well over a year that they would have to petition before the IURC.”

Orchard Pedestrian Way

In other business, members agreed to take under advisement the request of the Town of Porter’s contracted engineer, Sedrick Green, Haas & Associates, for permission to construct 286 feet of eight-foot sidewalk—about 4 percent of the length of the proposed Orchard Pedestrian Way—along Town of Chesterton public right-of-way, located on the west side of Waverly Road in the area of Woodlawn Ave.

Tim Haas said that a couple of trees would have to be removed but that a drainage problem in the neighborhood would be remedied with a swale constructed between the sidewalk and a street, including the installation of a culvert beneath a private driveway.

A resident of the neighborhood, while not actually objecting to the plan, did voice some concerns about speeding motorists on Waverly Road and scofflaws who blow the stop sign at the intersection of Woodlawn Ave.

The council referred the request to department heads for their review.

Haas said that the Orchard Pedestrian Way is planned for construction in 2012.

Comprehensive Plan

Meanwhile—drum roll, please—members voted 5-0 officially to adopt the newly revised Chesterton Comprehensive Plan, previously endorsed by the Advisory Plan Commission.

The Comp Plan came before the council earlier this fall for adoption but mistakes discovered in the current and future land use maps forced it back to the Plan Commission. Those mistakes have been corrected.

“So that process is completed,” Lukmann remarked.



Posted 12/7/2010