A year and a half
after tabling a petition for the annexation of 59 acres located south of
1100N--west of 23rd Street and directly across the street from Dogwood
Park--the Chesterton Town Council has officially “un-tabled” it.
Members did so by
unanimous vote at their meeting Monday night.
In the waning days
of 2018, residents of Stone Meadows, Rosehill Estates, and Dogwood Estates
all appeared before the council to voice their vociferous opposition to the
property owner’s proposed plans for the acreage: to build a mix of
single-family homes, duplexes, and triplexes, along with two commercial
buildings, as part of a planned use development. Neighbors maintained that
the PUD would be an ill fit for the location and negatively impact their
The council decided
at the time to kick the can down the road, a decision easy enough to make,
because under Indiana Code a municipality may not, in the year before a U.S.
Census, undertake any annexations.
Now, however, the
property’s owner, PSR LLC, wants to proceed with the annexation. Indeed,
PSR’s attorney, Greg Babcock, told the members at their last meeting that
one of the sticking issues--duplexes and triplexes--has been resolved, by
the simple expedient of removing them from the proposal. All housing units
on the acreage, he said, would instead be single-family residential R-1. The
matter of the two commercial buildings, on the other hand, would have to go
to the Advisory Plan Commission as part of the PUD process.
accordingly, took two actions Monday night. At the recommendation of Member
Jim Ton, R-1st, they first voted unanimously to untable the annexation
petition. Ton made it clear that by annexing the property itself, the
council would be exercising sole authority over the development of the
Members then voted
unanimously to consider approval of the annexation agreement at their next
meeting, July 27. Technically, the only public hearing required as part of
the annexation process--on the fiscal plan--was already held, in December
2018, and the council is under no obligation to open the matter again to
But the council
made it absolutely clear that the public will be given every opportunity to
comment on the annexation on July 27.
Ton, though, wanted
to make one other thing clear as well. The issue of annexation is completely
different from that of the development plan itself, and members will be
chiefly concerned on July 27 with the pros and cons of accepting another 59
acres into Chesterton’s corporate limits. “Annexation is different from the
matter of the plan itself,” Ton said. “It’s now a question of whether the
property is in the town or out of the town. Annexation has nothing to do
with what will go on it. That’s a matter for the Plan Commission.”
In other words, the
mere annexation of the property in no way guarantees that PSR will be able
to place commercial buildings--or anything else neighbors might object
to--on the site. Annexation would merely mean that they now own 59 acres in
the Town of Chesterton, rather than in unincorporated Liberty Township.