Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton planners OK plat for duplexes at 5th and 1100N

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The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission at its meeting Thursday night approved the primary plat for a duplex development at South Fifth Street and 1100N.

Attorney Greg Babcock, representing Kathryn Cochran, told planners that eight duplexes would be built on 10 acres of vacant land zoned medium density residential at the northeast corner of South Fifth Street and 1100N,

Developer Brett Carney and his contracted engineer, Charlie Ray of The Duneland Group, have been working on the plat, which allows for four two-family units on nine lots. Lots 1 through 8 will each have a two-unit townhouse of 1,800 square feet each. There are no current plans to develop the five acres on Lot 9, given the fact that it’s bisected by the Pope O’Connor Ditch.

Babcock said that the new development will contribute to housing diversity in the neighborhood and provide a smoother transition between different types of housing. The property is neighbored by multi-family property--apartments-- on the northwest corner of the intersection and other medium density residential buildings. Further north on South Fifth Street are single-family homes.

Babcock noted that utilities and emergency services are already in place for the location, so no extra effort needs to be made by the town. He also said the property generated $3,100 in property taxes last year, and he estimates it will increase to $3,500 per building with the new development.

Patty Shumate and Keith Gladdis, who live near the site, spoke in opposition to the plans. Shumate expressed concern that the new development would worsen drainage problems along 1100N. “I’ve lived in this area my whole life,” she said. “It floods. No one does anything about it.” Shumate also said Pope O’Connor ditch needs to be cleared of fallen trees and debris and dredged.

Gladdis, for his part, worried about drainage near his home on South Fifth Street. “In 41 years, I never had flooding in my backyard until the apartments over there were allowed to expand their parking lot,” he said. Gladdis also asked if the plans for development included any fixes for drainage issues.

According to Carney and Ray, the natural flow of stormwater is west to east with about a six-foot drop from the road to the ditch. The plat includes plans for a swale to help direct water. The plan also includes a detention area with a pipe that will direct water straight to Pope O’Connor ditch. Ray said this, along with more grass on the property, will slow down the flow of water. “That will stop the sudden rise of water in the ditch itself,” he added.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell also addressed concerns. He asked that Gladdis notify the Street Department about his yard because the town wasn’t aware of drainage problems in that area. O’Dell also said that the apartment expansion wouldn’t have affected it and the flooding could be due to a backed-up drain.

In addition, O’Dell noted that Shumate was correct about Pope O’Connor ditch needing to be dredged, but the town has no authority to do so. “It’s a county regulated drain,” he said, and remarked that that the County has cleared the south end of the ditch recently and hasn’t yet returned to do the north end.

O’Dell said the Town has put in calls but hasn’t heard back about when the north end will be done. He noted that there are problems with the overall watershed in town, but also said that the features in the new development won’t improve or worsen drainage on a larger scale.

The Commission voted unanimously to approve the plat.



Posted 3/16/2018




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