Chesterton Tribune



Council takes RFP responses for quiet zone under advisement

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The Chesterton Town Council is now in receipt of three responses to its request for proposals for an engineering feasibility study on the establishment of a railroad quiet zone in the Downtown.

At their meeting Monday night, members voted unanimously to take those responses under advisement.

The three responders:

--James F. Giannini & Associates of Chesterton.

--Weaver Consultants Group LLC of Chicago.

--And CTC Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas.

There are five grade-crossings along the Northern Southern line which would need to be retrofitted with additional safety measures before the railroad will agree to pass through Chesterton without sounding train horns: at South Calumet Road; North Fourth Street; North Eighth Street; North 15th Street; and North Jackson Blvd.

In April, Member Jim Ton, R-1st, said that there is approximately $40,000 in CEDIT moneys, previously earmarked for the quiet-zone project, available to pay for an engineering study.

“I thought we’d never see this day,” Ton remarked on Monday. “Opening up these proposals.”

Re: Front Lot Lines

In other business, members voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance--previously endorsed by the Advisory Plan Commission--which changes the ordinance’s definition of “front lot line.”

The old definition: “Any lot line which is a street line except that, in the case of a corner lot, the front line is the shorter of the two intersecting lines.”

The new definition: “Any lot line which is a street line except that, in the case of a corner lot, the front lot line shall be the street line which the front of the principal structure, including a main entrance or front door, faces.”

The point of the amendment, Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann told the council: previous building commissioners have “commonly”--but incorrectly--interpreted the current definition to mean that the front lot line is where the address fronts, but that’s not what the current ordinance says.

“This will make numerous non-conforming corner lots in town both legal and conforming,” Lukmann added.

Re: Building Contractors

Meanwhile, members also voted unanimously to approve an ordinance more rigorously regulating building contractors who work in the town.

Among other things, the new ordinance mandates the following:

--The ordinance applies to building contractors working on any commercial structure or residential or development structure containing at least five dwelling units, provided that the estimated cost of materials and labor exceeds $250,000.

--Contractors must obtain and maintain appropriate workers compensation insurance for their employees.

--They must classify employees as employees--and not as independent contractors--and treat them as such, complying with minimum wage and overtime compensation, workers compensation insurance coverage, unemployment taxes, Social Security taxes, and federal income tax withholding.

--They must maintain detailed written payroll records and provide them at the Building Commissioner’s request.

“This will tighten up payroll procedures for some building contractors, to have only legally documented workers,” Lukmann said.

“I think this really holds contractors’ feet to the fire,” Ton added. “There’s nothing wrong with sub-contracting, but do the right thing by them.”


Posted 8/27/2018




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