Chesterton Tribune

LEL partner fined $9,400 by Town of Chesterton for drainage violations

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Coffee Creek Development I (CCD) LLC, the Lake Erie Land Company’s joint development partner and the developer of the Village Green Townhomes at Coffee Creek Center, is the first developer ever in the Town of Chesterton to be assessed a fine for violating the town’s stormwater quality control ordinance.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Stormwater Management Board voted 3-0 to assess CCD a fine of $9,400. Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann told the Chesterton Tribune on Thursday that that fine represents somewhat more than the calculated cost of municipal staff time devoted since November 2007 to enforcing the stormwater quality control ordinance at the construction site.

That amount is far less than CCD might have been assessed. Under Town Code a first violation is subject to a fine of between $1 and $2,500 and any subsequent violation to a fine of between $1 and $7,500, and every day in non-compliance is considered a separate violation.

Village Green Townhomes is the first project undertaken by CCD since it entered into a formal relationship with the Lake Erie Land Company in June 2006. The project occupies 18.5 acres located south of Sidewalk Road and east of Village Point. A total of 94 units in 35 buildings are planned. CCD—whose principal is James Gierczyk, a developer and builder based in Homewood, Ill.—is the official holder of the Erosion and Sediment Control Permit and is therefore legally responsible for meeting the requirements of the stormwater quality control ordinance.

In support of the fine, members adopted a raft of findings, among them the following:

•The town issued notices of violations of the stormwater quality control ordinance to CCD on Oct. 18, Nov. 7, and Nov. 26, 2007, and on Jan. 8, 2008.

•On three separate occasions, Nov. 21, Dec. 10, and Jan. 8, sediment-laden water escaped the project site and onto Sidewalk Road in violation of the ordinance.

•CCD has failed to maintain its inlet protection throughout the project site in particular along Sidewalk Road.

•CCD agreed on Dec. 20 to install a sediment trap at the corner of Village Point and Legend Circle no later than Dec. 26, and as of Jan. 30 had failed to complete the trap.

•CCD similarly agreed to backfill curbs by Dec. 26. Backfilling was not begun until Jan. 15.

•CCD was required to stabilize unvegetated areas with dormant seeding and erosion control blankets by Nov. 20. It did not do so until Dec. 27.

Last year Chester Inc. was accused of violating the town’s stormwater quality control ordinance while working on a construction project at St. Patrick Catholic Church. Chester paid $5,000 to settle the town’s claim and was never formally assessed a fine.


Posted 2/22/2008