The old Lipinski
Automotive property at 1300 Broadway--which for more than a year the
Chesterton Town Council has hoped to acquire for a possible expansion of the
landlocked municipal complex at 1490 Broadway--could be the home of a new
Dollar General instead.
At its meeting
Thursday night, the Advisory Plan Commission heard a pitch from Michael
Young of the engineering firm Falk PLI under which the property, about an
acre and a half in size, would be subdivided and one of the parcels sold to
Dollar General, while Tom Lipinski would retain ownership of the other
however, would require a planned unit development ordinance permitting a B-2
use--the Dollar General--in an I-1 zone. Other variances would likely be
necessary as well, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell said, specifically regarding
setbacks but possibly others too.
One planner did
express skepticism about the concept. Tom Kopko, who in the past has
objected to the down-zone of commercial property to residential, similarly
dislikes the idea of down-zoning industrial to commercial. “We have even
less industrial than commercial in town,” he noted.
Two planners, in
contrast, thought the concept a pretty good one. “It would be hard to put
anything industrial on that property at this time,” Jim Kowalski suggested.
“It’s sat there for
my 20 odd years in town,” George Stone added. “It’s just been a run-down
garage and a vacant lot full of weeds and junk cars. It would be a plus for
“I agree,” Kowalski
Planners took no
action on Thursday. The next step would be a preliminary hearing on the
proposed PUD, which Lipinski has not yet requested.
Villages of Sand
In a second concept
review, members heard a proposal from the Homeowners Association of the
Villages of Sand Creek to use a sum of money estimated at $40,000--and for
years held in escrow for the construction of sidewalks in the
development--to expand a children’s play area located just north of Sawgrass
Drive and east of Ballenisle Court.
Patton, representing the HOA’s board of directors, told the commission that
for various reasons the planned sidewalks were never built and at this
point--given the fact that they were meant to be routed behind
residents’ homes--would probably irk a lot of folks interested in their
So the HOA
conducted a survey of Villages of Sand Creek residents to determine an
alternative use of the escrow funds. The top preference was the erection of
a wall and signage at the west entrance to the subdivision but that idea was
ultimately rejected as infeasibly costly.
preference: an expanded play area.
Members had two
concerns. The first: whether the HOA actually is legally entitled to use
those funds for any reason.
Both Patton and
Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson are of the opinion that the HOA is
in fact legally entitled, as the owner of all the common areas in the
Villages of Sand Creek.
concern: whether the majority of Villages of Sand Creek residents actually
do want to see an expanded children’s area, inasmuch as only 40
percent of them bothered to return the survey.
“I have no problem
with the concept but whether it’s a consensus view,” Stone said. “We don’t
want to be the arbitrator between one half of your people and the other
Darnell couldn’t have agreed more. “I don’t want to get stuck in a room a
couple of months from now with a bunch of people screaming at us,” she said.
The commission took
no action on Thursday, although Parkinson did say that he and Patton would
attempt to determine the extent of the HOA board’s authority to make
decisions on behalf of all residents of the Villages of Sand Creek.