Chesterton Tribune



Apartment developers seeking lower tap-on fees from Utility Service Board

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The developers of Eagle Crossing--a high-end 170-unit apartment complex slated for Coffee Creek Center--have asked the Chesterton Utility Service Board to reduce the tap-on fees for their project, on the ground that the fee schedule is far higher than those of other municipalities.

At the Service Board’s meeting Monday night, project engineer Jeff Ban said that Chesterton’s fees are based on daily water usage far in excess of what apartment dwellers use on average.

Chesterton’s fee schedule, Ban noted, is specifically based on usage of 155 gallons per day (gpd) for a one-bedroom unit, 232 gpd for a two-bedroom, and 310 gpd for a three-bedroom. But the developers of Eagle Crossing are seeing much lower usage rates at some of their other projects:

* Traditions in Burns Harbor: 68 gpd.

* The Enclave in Chesterton: 83 gpd.

* The Preserve at Grand Oaks in Valparaiso: 66 gpd.

As developer Mike Sakich also noted, the Service Board previously agreed to reduce the tap-on fees at The Enclave, when that project was developed some 15 years ago.

President Larry Brandt, however, replied that he has no memory of such a reduction, and Sakich, for his part, was unable immediately to produce documentation of that adjustment.

Brandt also found it odd that other municipalities would assess different--that is to say, lower--tap-on fees, as it was his impression that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management regulated the fee schedules itself in accordance with its own calculations.

Sakich’s response: IDEM “schedules tend not to change over the years but a lot of water conservation fixtures have been installed in more recent construction.”

In any event, the Service Board agreed to refer the matter to staff for further review.

Eagle Crossing will be built south of Rail Road, east of Kelle Drive, and north of Sidewalk Road.

Deer Run Apartment Easement in Place

In other business, Superintendent Dave Ryan reported that an easement granting the Utility access to the lift station serving the Deer Run Apartments on Taylor Street has at last been finalized with the property owner and recorded.

The Utility had been seeking the easement for months, after its previous access point--by way of the Amtrak railroad right-of-way east of Waverly Road--was declared off limits, even to duly trained and delegated utility workers, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

That meant, in the absence of an easement, crews which needed to service the lift station were technically trespassing on Deer Run property.

Negotiations for the easement, however, had been dragging, prompting Member John Schnadenberg, at the Service Board’s April meeting, to express his willingness to turn the lift station over to the owners of the Deer Run Apartments and let them worry about servicing it.

Schnadenberg said at Monday’s meeting that he’s happy to see the matter concluded.

Curiel Tie-In

Meanwhile, members voted 5-0 to authorize staff to pursue a tie-in agreement with Alex Curiel, who owns an unannexable five-acre lot on the north side of C.R. 1050N, between Meridian Road and C.R. 50W, in unincorporated Liberty Township.

Curiel wants to connect to a low-pressure force main originating in the 89-unit Preserve subdivision, being developed by Paul Shinn on the south side of C.R. 1050N. Staff had originally expressed concern that any additional connections could possibly over-tax the low-pressure system, but calculations have since indicated that the system could safely accept up to 39 additional tie-ins.

Any other requests for tie-ins, however, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, members said.

“I have no problem with these people coming in now,” Member Andy Michel said. “We pick up new customers. Down the road, who knows? We’ll see.”

Chitwood Tie-In

Members also voted 5-0 to authorize staff to pursue a tie-in agreement with Jill Chitwood, who’s seeking to replace a failing septic system on her late father’s property--located at the northeast corner of C.R. 1050N and C.R. 50E--with sanitary sewer service.

This property is annexable, though, and in advance of any connection would need to be annexed by the town. Chitwood’s attorney, Greg Babcock, told the Service Board on Monday that he has duly filed an annexation petition with the Town Council.

April in Review

In April, Chesterton used 64.99 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 56.76 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 81.33 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 62.96 percent of its capacity.

A total of 4.53 inches of rain was recorded at the plant last month, but no bypasses into the Little Calumet River. In what has proved to be so far a wet year, a total of 13.56 inches has been recorded over the first four months of 2017, Ryan noted, roughly four inches more than over the same period in 2016.

In April, the Utility ran a deficit of $154,776.97 and in the year-to-date is running a a surplus of $289,639.08.





Posted 5/17/2017




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