Chesterton Tribune



Planners set public hearing on 64 unit PUD behind the Post Office

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The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the planned unit development ordinance for Duneland Prairie Residences, a 64-unit project to be constructed on 11.83 acres of heavily wooded land immediately west of--behind--the Chesterton Post Office.

Planners voted unanimously at their meeting Thursday night to approve the concept and hold a public hearing on the PUD ordinance at their next meeting, Thursday, Dec. 20.

Sixty-two of the residential units will consist of paired patio homes, similar to those built on Texas Street. The other two will be single “cottage homes.” The primary entrance/exit to the development will be off South Calumet Road, with a secondary entrance/exit off Richter Street. According to the ordinance, the developer, John Nekus, intends to begin construction of the infrastructure in May 2019.

Although there will be no public open or recreational space set aside in the development, it will have both “walking trails and open green space maintained by a homeowners association.” Sidewalks will also be installed to serve the development proper, but as Nekus’ attorney, Greg Babcock, told planners, no five-foot sidewalk will be built either on South Calumet Road or Richter Street, the latter of which will run along the back lots of a number of homes on the north side of the development.

Instead, Babcock said, Nekus will dedicate a sum of money equivalent to the cost of installing a five-foot sidewalk along South Calumet Road, running the length of the development north to south, to be used by town at such time as it builds a larger eight-foot sidewalk there as part of the Dunes-Kankakee Trail.

Planners Jeff Trout and Fred Owens did share one concern: that the PUD ordinance as written has no enforcement language guaranteeing that public walking trails will actually be planned and built. “They’re a great amenity for people who like them,” Trout noted. “Let’s tighten the ordinance up to make sure they go in.”

Owens concurred. The problem, as he sees it, is not that Nekus would fail to build the walking trails but that the residents of the development themselves may not want the foot traffic that comes with them. “But as a community we need this,” he said.

Babcock promised that enforcement language would be added to the ordinance prior to the public hearing on Dec. 20.

Amerilodge Hotels

In other business, planners voted unanimously to continue a public hearing scheduled for Thursday on the primary plat for a double hotel project at Coffee Creek Center, located immediately to the north of the Speedway gas station and the Culver’s restaurant.

The continuance was at the request of the developer, the Amerilodge Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which is proposing to build a Holiday Inn Express and a Fairfield Inn & Suites. The Holiday Inn would feature 90 rooms in four stories; the Fairfield, 87 rooms in three stores. The complex would be accessed via Matson Street and Blackwell Lane.

Planner George Stone did repeat a concern he’s stated before about the hotels: that Amerilodge wants both of them to face west, toward Ind. 49, the Holiday Inn on the north and the Fairfield on the south. Stone said that he understands the desire of the developer to attract as many travelers as possible but that Amerilodge could get the same result with the proper signage.

Planners will hold the continued public hearing at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29.

Comprehensive Plan

Meanwhile, planners endorsed the creation by the Town Council of a steering committee for the purpose of overseeing the development of a new Chesterton Comprehensive Plan, the most recent version of which dates to 2010.


Posted 11/16/2018




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