Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton enacts law regulating sexually oriented businesses

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More than three years ago, in July 2002, former Chesterton Town Council member John Kosmatka, R-1st, advocated the enactment of what he called an “anti-porn ordinance.” He was a citizen at the time, speaking from the floor, and nothing ever came of his suggestion.

But when Kosmatka ran for his old seat on the council in 2003, he campaigned on the issue. “I do not want to see massage parlors, adult bookstores, anything of that nature,” he told the Chesterton Tribune in April 2003. “I like this town. It’s nice to see you don’t see any big Xs or signs or stuff.”

Now, more than a year after Kosmatka resigned his seat in June 2004 to take a position with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the council has taken his advice to heart.

At their meeting Monday night, members voted 4-0 to approve on its first reading an ordinance which regulates—but does not outright ban—sexually oriented businesses, 4-0 to suspend the rules, then 4-0 to approve that ordinance on its final reading.

President Mike Bannon, R-5th, was not in attendance.

The ordinance does the following: restrict 11 classifications of sexually-oriented business—adult arcades; adult bookstores, novelty shops, or video stores; adult cabarets ; adult motels; adult motion picture theaters; adult theaters; escorts; escort agencies; massage parlors; nude model studios; and sexual encounter establishments—to a special S-1 district. And S-1 districts—which would have to be re-zoned by the Plan Commission—would be further limited:

•No S-1 districts within 1,000 feet of any property zoned residential or otherwise used or designated for residential purposes.

•No S-1 districts within 1,000 feet of a school, child care center, or child care home; nursing shelter, care, or rest home; religious institution; park or playing field; pool or billiard home or arcade; dance center or ice or roller rink; park or other public recreational facility typically catering to minors; indoor or outdoor theater; art gallery, museum, or library; or any area where large numbers of minors travel or congregate.

•No S-1 districts within 1,000 feet of any intersection of any two streets constituting an “entranceway” or “gateway” into town. The ordinance specifically lists 14 such entranceways or gateways, including the intersection of Ind. 49 with C.R. 1100N, Porter Ave., Indian Boundary Road, Gateway Blvd., Voyage Blvd., and Sidewalk Road; the intersection of C.R. 1100N with South Calumet Road and Pearson Road; and the intersection of C.R. 1050N with Ind. 149 and C.R. 200W.

•And no S-1 districts within 1,000 feet of each other.

Sexually-oriented businesses are prohibited from displaying material related to “specified sexual activities” in windows or to public view; prohibited from posting signage containing anything more than the legal name and address of the establishment; are permitted only two wall signs with a total of not more than 40 square feet of surface area and a freestanding sign of not more than 40 square feet of surface area; and are prohibited from illuminating signs by means of exposed neon or exterior lighting or flashing or animated lights.

Violators of the ordinance would be liable to a maximum fine of $2,500 per day.

“We would like to thank John for his vision and keeping the interests of the town at heart,” said Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

Ton—who was elected by a Republican caucus last year to fill Kosmatka’s seat—added that the ordinance is necessary “to preserve property values and protect our children.”

Garbage Bids

In other business, members voted 4-0 to take under advisement bids for the next three-year refuse and recycling contract, after rejecting the first set of bids and re-advertising at their Oct. 10 meeting, when Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann informed them that specifications on which the four firms based their bids were deficient.

Firms bid on two separate specs. Under the first residents would receive up to three 95-gallon wheeled carts to replace their existing 30-gallon cans. Under the second or alternative spec, residents would retain their existing cans.

The bids:

•Regional Industries LLC, Valparaiso: up to three carts per home, $10.85 per home per month in 2006, $10.96 in 2007, and $11.07 in 2008; without carts, $8.80 in 2006; $8.98 in 2007; and $9.16 in 2008. Monthly cart rental: $1.75.

•Meyer Waste Systems, Chesterton, the operator of Able Disposal: up to three carts per home, $10.50 per home per month in 2006, $10.81 in 2007, and $11.14 in 2008; without carts, $9.75 in 2006, $10.05 in 2007, $10.36 in 2008. Monthly cart rental: $2.25.

•Allied Waste Services of Northwest Indiana, Crown Point: up to three carts per home, $17.15 per home per month over the three-year life of the contract; without carts, $12.19 over the life of the contract.

•Waste Management of Indiana LLC, Portage: up to three carts per home, $19.85 per home per month over the life of the contract; without carts, no alternative bid.

Regional Industries’ first bid averages $10.96 per month over the life of the contract; its alternative bid averages $8.98.

Meyer’s first bid averages $10.82 per month over the life of the contract; its alternative bid averages $10.05.

Street Commission John Schnadenberg has said that the advantages of wheeled carts are numerous. They’re harder for scavenging animals to access, they won’t blow down the street on windy days, and they accommodate much more garbage than the 30-gallon cans. And because they’re fitted for mechanical collection by the trucks, they’re more efficiently emptied. Generally speaking, Schnadenberg has noted, one cart per home would probably do the trick.

When the council awards the next refuse and recycling contract, it will have to decide whether to go with the carts or leave things as they are.

The current contract expires Dec. 31. This year Chesterton is paying Meyer $8.16 per home per month and residents are paying a $9 monthly garbage user fee to defray the town’s costs, which include the expense not only of the refuse and recycling contract itself but also of collecting other debris—in part leaves and brush—not covered by that contract.

Truck Bids

Members also voted 4-0 to take under advisement bids for a new two-ton truck for the Street Department.

The bids:

•Great Lakes Trucks & Equipment Inc., Portage: $82,882.

•Lindco Equipment Sales, Merrillville: $83,600.

The truck—which would replace the old one sold at the town auction in August—would be acquired under a lease-purchase agreement. Schnadenberg is looking for a flat-bed model, not a dump body, to be used for general maintenance and sign installation, capable of hauling a chipper and being fitted with a plow and salt spreader. Schnadenberg has said that he has sufficient moneys in his Local Road & Streets Fund to make the first of five annual payments on the truck on its delivery, which Schnadenberg doesn’t expect until December or January.


Posted 11/15/2005