Chesterton Tribune



Ind. 49 / 950N plans revealed in September; zoning uses may get update

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A preview of the proposed Alliance Business Center at Indiana 49 and County Road 950N will have to wait until next month.

Representing Alliance developers, attorney Cliff Fleming told the Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission on Thursday that a dialogue is ongoing with town department heads how the 81-acre project can unfold and there’s still a lot of input to be consolidated.

Rather than engage in a discussion when some aspects of the planned unit development might change, Fleming explained, he requested that last night’s scheduled preliminary hearing on the PUD be continued until Sept. 19. The commission voted 7-0 to do so. If the petition is in order at that time, a public hearing will be set.

Outside the meeting room, Fleming said engineers are fine-tuning the Alliance PUD details. “We’re making sure the developer comes up with uses and standards both the town and developer believe will induce the quality development to take place there we’re looking for.”

In other business, the commission conducted a public hearing on a minor technical amendment to the district boundaries for a portion of Coffee Creek Center necessitated by the recent 157-acre purchase of land there by Urschel Laboratories Inc. for a new manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters.

Fleming spoke in favor and no one spoke in opposition; the commission voted unanimously to recommend the change to the Town Council for final action.

Also Thursday, commission member Sig Niepokoj reported that after months of work a committee has completed its review of the town’s sign ordinance, and a final draft of the new proposals could be ready for the commission to discuss next month.

Tatoo shops OK?

Commission and Town Council member Emerson DeLaney said he’s had three different requests recently asking to open a tatoo shop in Chesterton, but it’s his understanding that isn’t identified in the zoning table of uses so a use variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals is needed. That was confirmed by commission/BZA attorney Chuck Parkinson.

DeLaney said since tatoo shops are licensed by the Health Department, is it time for Chesterton to add them as an allowable use in certain zoning districts? Town building commissioner Mike Orlich said the entire table of uses is antiquated and needs to be updated to better address current business, professional and light manufacturing uses.

Commission president George Stone said it sounds like a new committee should be assembled to review the use table like the sign ordinance was.

Any changes to both the sign ordinance and table of uses would be made by the Town Council following a public hearing and recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Tree replacement quizzed

At the meeting’s conclusion Steve Bushore asked from the audience if the town participates in cutting down dying ash trees.

DeLaney said there is a waiting list for the Street Department to cut down dead/dying trees in the public right-of-way and because of the emerald ash borer infestation, “We’re being inundated by that.”

DeLaney said typically town property is from the sidewalk to the street in most cases but not always. Attorney Andre’ Wright, who represented Coffee Creek Center on the Urschel matter, said in CCC private property there extends to the back of the curb at the street.

CCC is systematically removing diseased trees on its property and replacing them where appropriate with substitute trees, said Wright.

In both the town’s case and at CCC, said officials, trees on private property are the homeowner’s responsibility to remove/replace although Wright said at CCC approval by the Homeowners Association may be needed first for such projects.

DeLaney said Chesterton, a recognized Tree City, has a cost-share program for tree replacement on public property. He said the town also makes available free tree guidelines through certified forester Gina Darnell. DeLaney suggested residents with tree questions contact the Street Department at 926-2222.


Posted 8/16/2013