St. Patrick Church cemetery has about 3,000 lots now but only five are left
for sale. The church is hoping to expand the Catholic burial site by a
projected 2,160 more graves.
Meeting Thursday, the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals set a public
hearing Nov. 26 on a needed use variance in a Residential-2 zoning district
for adjacent land north, and south and east of the current South Calumet
Attorney Greg Babcock and church pastor Fr. James Meade presented the
request to the BZA. Members of the cemetery expansion committee were present
in the audience.
The new irregularly shaped parcel, purchased from the estate of the late
Vern Odom Jr., is about 7 acres but only 3.5 acres would be used for burials
at this time.
BZA member James Kowalski inquired whether the land has access to
Westchester Court to the north. Babcock said although part of the church
land extends to that street, no cemetery access is planned and the lot may
in fact be sold eventually.
The church also plans to leave a greenbelt planting area along the north
side of the expansion parcel south of the Westchester Court homes. BZA
member Fred Owens asked that the greenbelt be extended in case future
development occurs there.
Owens inquired whether Chestertonís zoning ordinance has any special
requirements for cemeteries. Interim building commissioner Mike Orlich said
there are restrictions regarding elevation of a floodway.
Babcock explained an advantage to the expansion would be extending the
current cemetery road going around a grotto into the new property making a
longer interior road network so more cars can be parked off South Calumet
Road for burials. The 2,000-member congregation currently has about three to
four burials at the cemetery per month.
In his variance application Babcock noted expanding St. Patrick Cemetery
will help extend the life of Chesterton Cemetery to the northeast on the
east side of Coffee Creek.
In other business, BZA president Rodney Corder announced a petition
previously submitted by Debra Bernard of 2350 Arndt St. to construct a fence
running parallel to an alley within the required setback has been withdrawn.