Chesterton Tribune



Council untables 1100N annexation petition, will consider July 27

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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 property values.

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.

The council, 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 property.

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 public comment.

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.



Posted 7/14/2020




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