Chesterton Tribune



Liberty Township annexation now in the books

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The Town of Chesterton has grown by just under five acres.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Town Council voted unanimously on first and second reading to approve an ordinance annexing 4.7 acres owned by Richard Blount on the south side of 1100N just west of Dogwood Park.

No one spoke in favor of the annexation and no one in opposition at a public hearing which preceded the vote.

The property comes in as five lots zoned R-1, on one of which is a pre-existing home, attorney Greg Babcock told the council. The other four are buildable and valued at approximately $200,000 each.

The town will benefit slightly from the annexation, Babcock noted, from the additional assessed valuation, from the impact fee payable to the Parks & Recreation Department on completion of each new home, from the sewer rates and tie-on fees incurred by each, and from the $1,000 donation to the Street Department which Blount has agreed to make to defray any equipment needs exacerbated by the annexation, Babcock noted.

Of course, the smallness of the annexation means that none of these benefits will be very great but then its very smallness also means that the new incorporated area won’t place much of an additional strain on municipal services, Babcock added.

Re: Fox Chase Farms

Special Utility Area

In other business, members voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing at their next meeting, June 8, on the creation of a “special utility area” serving the Fox Chase Farms subdivision and the Whispering Sands Mobile Home Park, to both of which the Utility is extending sanitary service to replace their failing sewage treatment systems.

The purpose of the special utility area: to re-capture, from the fees, rates, and charges paid by the residents of the two communities, the 0-percent, 20-year loan which the Utility expects to receive from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) to finance the $2.1-million extension. The SRF has also signaled its willingness to award a $750,000 grant for the project.

Chesterton ratepayers are not on the hook for any part of the extension’s cost.

Morgan’s Corner PUD, Amended

Members also voted unanimously on first and second reading to amend the planned unit development ordinance governing the Morgan’s Corner subdivision at Coffee Creek Center.

The first key amendment: a reduction in the total number of lots, from 178 to 126, making each lot considerably roomier and the entire subdivision far less dense, a significant move away from the original designers’ New Urbanist philosophy calling for smaller lots to encourage a more neighborly proximity between houses.

The other key amendment: the elimination of alleys to accommodate storm sewers.

Olthof Homes LLC, in talks with the Lake Erie Land Company to purchase a large portion of the property in Morgan’s Corner, had sought the amendments.

Olthof, headquartered in Lake Station, expects to offer a variety of homes with six different floor plans and a price range from the upper $200,000s to the lower $300,000s.

To date, 22 lots have been developed in Morgan’s Corner, and none of them more recently than eight or nine years ago.

Waiver from Town Standard

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to grant Shawn Woodard’s petition for a waiver from the Town Standard requiring a sidewalk in front of all new construction.

Woodard has built the home at the southeast corner of West Porter Ave. and 15th Street, in an older neighborhood without sidewalks.

Staff signed off on the waiver, after Woodard showed he’d completed a punch-list of items necessary for an occupancy permit, including the proper grading of his lot.

Town Standard, Amended

Finally, at Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg’s recommendation, members voted unanimously to amend the Town Standard requiring the use of limestone only as a base for roadways. Builders now will have the option to use limestone or certain kinds of slag.

“The material has improved over the years,” Schnadenberg said. “And it’s less costly than limestone. This gives builders an alternative to limestone.”




Posted 5/29/2015




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