Chesterton Tribune


Chesterton Plan Commission sees concept plan of future Urschel facility

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Construction for the new Urschel Labs headquarters and manufacturing facility at Coffee Creek Center is set to break ground in just a few months.

That is what the Chesterton Plan Commission heard at its meeting Thursday from representatives of Tonn and Blank Construction of Michigan City, the firm chosen by Urschel for the project.

Senior Project Manager Michael Bailey said construction for the 350,000-plus square-foot facility could kick off as early as late spring and estimated the work would be finished in approximately 18 months. Then Urschel will be able to transfer its equipment and resources from its current Valparaiso site at their own pace, he said.

“We, as well as Urschel, are very excited at getting it started,” Bailey said.

Mike Ford, of SEH consultants, began the discussion by presenting the commission with preliminary engineering concepts for the entire 157-acre site north of the 80/90 toll road and west of CR 200W.

The facility will take up 47 acres in the southeast portion of the property. Offices will be located along the west side while the manufacturing plant will be to the east of them. To the south, the plans show loading areas for trucks which will be accessed by a 25 foot wide driveway.

Employees will have their parking on the north of the building which will be accessible from CR 200W. Another parking area will in the northwest corner.

Ford also described a proposed curb and gutter system. Storm water will be transferred in sewer pipes to detention basins west of the plant. Urschel will use bioswales and grass swales to treat the water before it is discharged into Coffee Creek, Ford said.

The main waterline will connect to lines following along CR 200W. Water lines can be extended north of the facility in case of any future development.

A lift station will be put in somewhere on the open acreage near where three ANR pipelines, which cross the property diagonally from southwest to northeast lie, the largest being 42 inches, Ford said.

Commission President George Stone raised questions as to how the increased traffic patterns would affect CR 200W and the campus’ other entry access from Gateway Boulevard.

“How many trucks a day? How many cars a day will be coming into the plant? I realize it is going to vary,” Stone said.

Bailey and Urschel associates said the company has approximately 360 employees, whose arrival times will “stagger” through the morning from 6 to 8 a.m., the same goes for the drive home which ranges from employees leaving from 2:30 to 6 p.m. each work day.

As for trucks, the average expected is about twelve full size semis per day that will use the driveway from Gateway Blvd. to bring in steel and other materials and travel over a bridge that will cross Coffee Creek before it reaches the facility.

Stone also questioned how the bridge will be used and constructed since the town in its long term plans intends to connect Gateway Blvd. with Dickinson Road to the north.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell said that campus will be a planned unit development (PUD) and that Commission attorney Charles Parkinson will meet with Urschel to discuss design details. The plan for the bridge is to pave it with asphalt, O’Dell said.

Bailey said the bridge will be finished before the building opens for business.

Stone said he was pleased that the issues were being addressed.

“I’m glad it’s under discussion,” he said.

Other Commission members inquired about Urschel’s plans for landscaping.

Tonn and Blank architect Larry Ballah said there will be a landscaping plan but one has not been developed yet. He added that the concept for the building will be to use earth tones to “blend it in with the natural environment.”

Sign ordinance gets committee

Also on Thursday, the Commission voted to form a committee to scrutinize the town’s sign ordinance and make recommendations for amendments.

Stone and fellow Commission member Sig Niepokoj appointed themselves to the committee which is likely to grow to include other representatives.

With talk of making changes for months and input from the Duneland/Chesterton Chamber of Commerce at the last meeting, Niepokoj advised that the committee set its deadline at the end of May.

Commission members in January set out to draft amendments to the ordinance, especially in Business-1 and 2 zoning districts.

Town Manager Bernie Doyle said the last time the ordinance had been amended was in April 2010.



Posted 3/22/2013