Chesterton Tribune

Public has little interest in Chesterton's new comprehensive plan

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So what are Chesterton residents’ reactions to the town’s updated comprehensive plan?

Apparently, a collective yawn.

Only two of six persons attending spoke during a public hearing on the 151-page document Thursday, following which the Advisory Plan Commission forwarded it to the Town Council with a favorable recommendation for adoption. Vote was 6-0 with Jeff Trout absent.

Indian Oak Mall-area property owner Larry Chubb said although he’s not against the plan, he believes some aspects regarding land he owns could lead to confusion. “The existing land-use map is incorrect and based on this perhaps the future (map) is too.”

Commission member George Stone said Chubb simply does not understand that what is depicted as existing land uses are not the official town zoning map. “I don’t know how he could say it’s wrong. I think it’s a definitional problem and no way are his property rights infringed upon.”

Commission attorney Charles Parkinson said it appears to be a semantic difference between use and zoning.

Chubb said that’s something that needs to be clarified because the plan’s existing land-use map shows property around his lake as open space, something that would suggest to potential investors the land can’t be developed when in fact half is zoned Business-3 and the rest Residential-3.

Parkinson said zoning maps are not part of a comprehensive plan because it is supposed to present a long-range view whereas an official zoning map is more fluid over time.

Later, resident Bernie Holicky spoke neither in support of or opposition to the plan update yet noted it represents a lot of work. He said the town shouldn’t write off the Indian Boundary Road area or take the attitude “all these sins of the past are so bad we can’t do anything.”

The early strip-mall development there has been criticized by planners for its multiple road cuts along Indian Boundary instead of having required frontage roads or limited access points.

Holicky said problem areas can be turned around and he pointed to the recent redesign and reconstruction of the downtown’s southern gateway at Indiana 49 and County Road 1100N. “The South Calumet District took courage.”

In his remarks about the comprehensive plan, Parkinson cited the contribution of consultants from Short Elliott Hendrickson, who with town manager Bernie Doyle and a steering committee used grant funds from the Lake Michigan Coastal Program to rewrite the 2004 plan. Parkinson said state law requires such plans to address policies and objectives regarding land use of public ways, places, utilities and lands.

According to Doyle, “We took a good plan and made it a better plan we can use for five to ten years.”



Posted 9/17/2010