Chesterton Tribune



Hearing set for March 13 on unsafe 402 Broadway building

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The Chesterton Town Council will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, March 13, on the fate of the building at 402 Broadway: the old Chesterton post office and most recently the site of an antique mall.

Members voted unanimously to schedule that hearing at their meeting Monday night.

The hearing is the next step in the abatement process which began in January, when the council voted to formally declare 402 Broadway an unsafe building and instructed Building Commissioner Mark O’Dell to notify the building’s owner--George Manning--of the need under the Unsafe Building Ordinance to repair, rehabilitate, or demolish the structure at his own expense.

O’Dell has declined to say which particular remedy--repair, rehab, or demolition--he intends to pursue. He has similarly declined to say what he found, in an inspection of the building, to give him reason to believe that the building is unsafe.

O’Dell did say at Monday’s meeting, when asked by Member Jim Ton, R-1st, that he will give a detailed report on the condition of 402 Broadway at the March 13 hearing.

An unsafe building is specifically defined by Town Code as follows: “In an impaired structural condition that makes it unsafe to a person or property”; or a “fire hazard”; or a “public nuisance”; or “dangerous to a person or property because of a violation of a statute or an ordinance concerning condition or maintenance”; or “vacant and not maintained in a manner that would allow human habitation, occupancy, or use under the requirements of a statute or ordinance.”

The condition of 402 Broadway as well as of 101 Broadway--both owned by Manning--has caused the council concern in the past. In the summer of 2015 members enacted a vacant building ordinance requiring the owners of buildings found to be both vacant and in violation of the town’s Unsafe Building or Public Nuisance ordinances to register the building with the town. It’s not clear whether either 402 or 101 Broadway ever met the ordinance’s threshold for registration or--if one or the other did meet the threshold--whether the building was ever registered under the ordinance.

New Firefighter

In other business, Fire Chief John Jarka reported that he has received authorization both from the state and from Town Manager Bernie Doyle to hire a new firefighter, Amanda Stagowski, who currently serves as a volunteer with the Lakes of Four Seasons FD.

Stagowski will be filling a vacancy in the CFD’s authorized strength which opened late last year.

New Police Officers

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to authorize Police Chief Dave Cincoski to make conditional offers of employment to the top three candidates on the CPD’s recently completed hiring list.

The first opening goes back to 2014, when Cpl. Fernando Dominguez resigned to take a position in a Florida department. The second goes back to January, when Officer Troy Allen accepted a position with a Lake County PD. The third only just opened, with the resignation of Officer Erik Herbert to take a position--also--with a Lake County PD.

11th Street Sidewalk

Later in the meeting Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that he’s currently working on a list of sidewalks to be replaced this season. The list isn’t done but Schnadenberg did say that he’s eyeing the stretch of sidewalk along South 11th Street between Park Ave. and Chestnut Blvd.

Much of that sidewalk was built adjacent to a wetland and parts of it are now subsiding and crumbling, Schnadenberg said.

CFD Grant Application

Jarka also reported that the CFD is applying for an Indiana Foundation Grant--intended chiefly for fire departments and other first-responding agencies--which reimburses the cost of equipment acquisitions up to $4,000.

Jarka is hopeful of securing a grant award to partially pay for new engine water intake valves.

Farewell Officer Herbert

Member Lloyd Kittredge, R-2nd, took a moment at the end of the meeting to bid farewell to Officer Erik Herbert as he leaves the CPD for his new agency. Kittredge recently spoke to Herbert, who “couldn’t thank the town enough” for retiring Herbert’s K-9 partner, Kahr, to his care. “He was very appreciative.”

“It was the right thing to do,” agreed Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

Erik’s new agency wasn’t interested in purchasing Kahr, who is seven years old and nearing the end of his effective career.




Posted 2/28/2017




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