Chesterton Tribune



Road cuts for proposed Fifth Street duplex project still concern planners

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The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission remains concerned about developer Brett Carney’s proposed duplex project at the northeast corner of South Fifth Street and 1100N.

At issue: not only the proximity of the southernmost duplex to the intersection of 1100N but the volume of traffic which planners expect would be generated on South Fifth Street by the occupants of the development.

Although, as Carney’s attorney, Greg Babcock, noted at Thursday’s Plan Commission meeting, Carney has reduced the number of duplex buildings on the 10-acre property from nine to eight--and thus the total dwelling units from 18 to 16--that concession was not enough for President George Stone. “It’s great you got rid of the ninth but there are still too many driveways on Fifth Street, too may road cuts. I still think that’s a hazard.”

Planner Tom Kopko agreed. “There are too many units,” he said. “The eighth is so close to the intersection for someone backing out. I don’t know how that’s going to work.”

Planner Jim Kowalski voiced the same concern. “Sixteen families, 32 cars popping in and out of there every day, to me that’s a lot of movement of vehicles,” he said. “I realize the (property) is 613 feet long. But my goodness. That’s a lot of movement on that piece of property.”

Carney, in response, noted that Lot 8’s southernmost side-yard setback is already 60 feet north of 1100N, fully 10 feet more than required by Town Standards.

If that’s the case, Planner Jeff Trout ventured, “if this is a dangerous situation and it meets Town Standards, then we may have to revise the Town Standards.” Trout also wondered whether there are any similar duplex developments in Chesterton with a comparable number of road cuts.

“If there are,” Stone said, “they’re not on an arterial like Fifth Street. If this were on a cul de sac, I wouldn’t be concerned.”

Planners did suggest possible fixes. Could Carney set the duplexes further back on the property and put in a collector street in the front?

That possibility has occurred to Carney. “We sat down with the Duneland Group but it was just a whole bunch of concrete, including turn-arounds,” he said.

Stone floated the notion of building the garages in the back of the duplexes. That also would present a problem, Carney said. “The further back we go, the more difficult it becomes. There’s a significant decline at the rear of the property, it drops off fast. We did borings and had to go down two feet before we hit good soil. We’ll need to build that up as it is.”

Stone’s conclusion: “More work needs to be done.”

“That’s okay, that’s fine,” Babcock replied.

One neighbor did voice her own concern from the floor. Lorraine Burkholder, a resident of the 1600 block of South Fifth Street, is worried that the development will contribute to a flooding problem on her property, given its proximity to the Pope O’Conner Ditch, which runs south to north behind the 10-acre property. “My house is the lowest on the block,” she said.


Posted 10/20/2017




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