Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Public hearing September 16 on new Chesterton comprehensive plan

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By PAULENE POPARAD

One year after a public input session to kick off an update of Chesterton’s current 2004 comprehensive plan, the town’s Advisory Plan Commission will conduct a public hearing on a final draft of the new planning document.

By unanimous vote Thursday the commission set Sept. 16 as the hearing date.

Over the last two months members, staff, town manager Bernie Doyle and commission attorney Charles Parkinson have been fine-tuning the 151-page document that includes a new land-use map. They were assisted by zoning consultant A.J. Monroe of SEH Inc., whose fee was funded with a Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant.

“I noticed a lot of changes (in the final draft) and they were all for the better,” said commission president Fred Owens.

“A lot of people put a lot of hard work into it; I appreciate their efforts,” said commission and Town Council member Jeff Trout.

The new comprehensive plan includes a separate downtown master plan; it recommends inventorying vacant buildings and infill sites, making intersection improvements at Broadway and Calumet Road, and adopting a master plan for the adjacent Coffee Creek Park.

Also, conducting studies and developing a downtown parking plan, and constructing a municipal boulevard at 15th Street and Broadway, site of a future combined town public works building.

The downtown plan also addresses building massing and height, building facades, awnings, signage, street plantings, lighting, street furniture/seating, sidewalks and private pathways and streetscapes.

The areas encompassed in the downtown plan are the central business district, the north Calumet Road corridor to Indian Boundary Road, and the west Broadway corridor to 15th Street. In that area two hike/bike trails will converge so it’s recommended the intersection be transformed to welcome trail users to the Chesterton community.

The downtown plan also recommends an extension east from the existing 15th Street Prairie Duneland Trail terminus to Thomas Centennial Park to link to the future Dunes Kankakee Trail, for which a route has yet to be chosen.

Monroe said while not specifically part of the downtown, the Indian Boundary Road corridor is addressed in the overall comprehensive plan with suggestions for better access management because Indian Boundary is an important route that leads people into Chesterton’s downtown.

Once the Plan Commission makes a recommendation whether to adopt the updated comp plan, final action will be up to the Town Council.

Copies of the final draft plan will be available at the town hall and at Thomas Library in Chesterton at least 10 days prior to the Sept. 16 hearing. The plan also will be available on the town website at www.chestertonin.org

After months of drafting, review and comment, “I think we’re on the one yard line,” said Trout.

 

 

Posted 8/20/2010

 

 

 

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