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