Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Bids are in for new CFD engine; Council approves South Calumet rezone to residential

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The bids are in for the Chesterton Fire Department’s new engine.

At its meeting Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to take those bids under advisement until staff and legal have reviewed them.

The bids:

* $508,746: Smeal Fire Apparatus of Valparaiso.

* $519,915: Sutphen of Dublin, Ohio.

* $524,989: Alexis Fire Equipment of Alexis, Ill.

* $584,647: Fire Service Inc. of St. John.

The new engine is slated to replace Engine 512, a 2000 Pierce Saber which--until it lost its rear axle and threw the differential in July during routine driver training--had been the CFD’s main backup, in support of the primary engine, No. 510, a 2015 Sutphen.

Fire Chief John Jarka determined that the cost of repairing the 18-year-old Pierce Saber was likely higher than the vehicle was worth. He also investigated the feasibility of replacing it with a demo model but learned that those available are too small for the amount of equipment the CFD regularly carries to a scene.

In this case, speccing out a new engine was considerably easier than the last time the CFD was in the market for one, three years ago, since Jarka already had to hand the bid package used to acquire the Sutphen.

The CFD has one other backup engine but it’s 26 years old: No. 511, a Pierce International.

Re-Zone on South Calumet Road

In other business, members voted unanimously to approve a re-zone of three parcels on the west side of South Calumet Road between Westchester Ave. and Washington Ave., from commercial to residential.

That re-zone was previously endorsed by a 4-3 vote of the Advisory Plan Commission.

The three parcels are owned by Shinn Building & Developing Corporation and have gone unsold and undeveloped for seven years, since Shinn Building was permitted to develop the six lots behind them into single-family, on the condition that the three lots fronting South Calumet Road remain commercial.

Shinn Building--owned by Paul Shinn--sought the re-zone on the ground that there is no interest in developing the three parcels commercially.

As Member Nate Cobbs, R-4th, said of the re-zone, “It went through two meetings (of the Plan Commission) and it was thoroughly vetted.”

And--though the Chesterton Comprehensive Plan specifically designates those three lots as commercial--Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, said that the Comprehensive Plan “is a guidance” that “can be massaged.”

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, agreed. Two years ago, a “livable center study” conducted by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission found that the Town of Chesterton has the “largest livable center in Porter County,” that is, an area in town where residents can walk or bike to businesses without need of driving. That’s because, Ton said, Chesterton “blends” commercial and residential exceedingly well.

DeLaney did have one suggestion for Shinn’s attorney, Greg Babcock, namely, that Shinn consider selling one of the parcels--an oddly shaped one--to the town, for future use as a trailhead for the Dunes Kankakee Trail, which, when completed, will connect Indiana Dunes State Park to the Kankakee River. Current plans for the route of the Dunes Kankakee Trail take it down South Calumet Road.

Babcock said that his client would be happy to have conversations about Emerson’s idea.

Amending PUD for Residences of Chesterton

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the planned unit development ordinance governing the Residences of Chesterton, the nursing home under construction immediately south of Sidewalk Road, east of Ind. 49, and west of Village Point in Coffee Creek Center.

That amendment--also endorsed by the Plan Commission--reduces the number of parking spaces provided by the PUD from 116 to 88.

Asphalt Bids

Members also voted unanimously to authorize Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg to begin preparing specs to go out to bid for next year’s asphalt contract.

Schnadenberg indicated that it would be smart to lock in a price earlier rather than later, given the possibility of sharply increasing fuel prices.

Next year’s paving season will be a busy one, inasmuch as the council earlier this summer issued a $1.8-million general obligation bond for roadwork and sidewalk repairs.

 

 

Posted 10/9/2018

 
 
 
 

 

 

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