Chesterton Tribune



St. Patrick Cemetery expansion hearing November 26

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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 Road cemetery.

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Debra Bernard of 2350 Arndt St. to construct a fence running parallel to an alley within the required setback has been withdrawn.


Posted 10/25/2013