Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Your government: Public input sought on comprehensive plan for Chesterton

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Rather than tweak it now, the Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission decided Thursday to do it after getting public input.

To that end a formal public hearing was set for March 18 on the proposed update of the town’s 2004 comprehensive plan. A final draft will be available at the town hall.

Commission members themselves only received their copies yesterday from consultant A.J. Monroe of SEH Inc. Member Jeff Trout suggested hearing what the public thinks of the changes first, then possibly scheduling a workshop for members to discuss the draft before making a recommendation to the Town Council regarding final adoption.

Member George Stone said the draft more clearly needs to state that a planned zoning overlay establishing design and implementation framework for the downtown district as a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly area has yet to be completed but will.

It was agreed to include the future downtown overlay as one of the 10 action items to be completed in 2010.

Other projects slated are an update of the zoning and subdivision control ordinances; an Indian Boundary Road sub-area plan; the proposed Dunes Kankakee Trail route analysis, engineering and design; an engineering feasibility study of the Dickinson Road extension, and an alternative transportation study.

Also, an intersection improvement study for Broadway and Calumet Road; a Coffee Creek Park master plan; a County Road 1050 North engineers feasibility study; and a Chesterton public art initiative.

The comp plan appendix lists four pages of public comments heard at initial planning meetings last fall, but over the last few months hardly anyone attended the commission meetings or addressed the update although it’s been on the agenda monthly.

The new draft document, if approved, would expand Chesterton’s future land use planning area to County Road 350 East and County Road 900 North on the south; while not all territory is within town limits, the designations are intended to assist the town in guiding its own development and not meant as a blueprint for annexation.

At a Jan. 6 workshop, commission members said they didn’t want Chesterton to become solely a bedroom community and asked that more areas for business growth be provided.

They propose possible business/industrial uses north of Interstate 94 and south of U.S. 20 near County Road 1400 North northeast of Chesterton; the town has limited opportunity for future growth to the north and west.

Additional business/industrial uses are proposed immediately north and south of the Toll Road on both the west side of Indiana 49 and the east side of Indiana 149, the latter in anticipation of a new interchange being built there some day.

Considerable areas along primarily the east side of Indiana 49 are earmarked for business/medical office development. Beyond the higher traffic areas, land is intended to be residential, institutional/public uses or open space.

Determining where smaller pockets of proposed land uses are specifically located is challenging when only the largest state and federal highways are identified on the land use map.

The new comp plan includes current statistics and information providing a snapshot of Chesterton and the surrounding area today. At Stone’s request a policy statement encouraging a range of housing types and neighborhood choices for all ages was expanded to include “and income levels.” The current 2004 plan encourages a range of housing types and price ranges.

Chesterton’s vision statement would be that the town will “coordinate land use planning and site development practices to manage sustained, sensible growth of the community while preparing for the next growth cycle.”

Planning themes, guiding principles and policy statements providing a roadmap for implementation also are identified.

In other business, the commission also set for public hearing March 18 amended changes to the town sign ordinance initially requested by a group of business owners.

The topics deal with projecting blade signage perpendicular to a building, sandwich board signs, non-illuminated signage allowed within a window on the interior portion of the glass, and several changes and clarifications related to legal non-conforming signs such as changing the face, abandonment and disrepair.

No report was given on the proposed The Village at Popes Farm in Chesterton residential/commercial project on 81 acres at the southwest corner of Indiana 49 and County Road 950 North.

Developer Cliff Fleming had asked that the project be a standing item on the commission agenda, however, he recently asked that it be removed.


Posted 2/19/2010




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