Chesterton Tribune



Town planners continue public hearing on post office PUD

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The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission agreed to continue to next month its public hearing on a proposed planned unit development (PUD) which has occasioned strongly worded concerns among residents of the Westchester South subdivision and Richter Street.

But two planners made it clear at their meeting Thursday night that they too are troubled by some aspects of the PUD as it’s been presented.

Planners voted unanimously to continue the public hearing at the request of John Nekus’ attorney, Greg Babcock, who told the commission that Nekus has reached out to the residents of Primrose Circle whose rear yards would back onto the PUD. When asked whether those discussions have prompted Nekus to make changes to the PUD, Babcock said that they have. “Some removal of units. Less dense.”

Babcock also said that Nekus is working to reconfigure lots on the west edge of the PUD to make the rear yards larger and thereby increase the buffer between the PUD and Westchester South. “There will be the tree plantings that were already there but there will also be more back yard,” he said.

Those changes are not yet reflected in the drawings, however, so Babcock requested the continuance. All new documents must be submitted to the Plan Commission by Feb. 4, in advance of the next meeting, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21.

Meanwhile, planner Jim Kowalski came into Thursday’s meeting loaded for bear--with six pages of notes on the PUD--and made no bones about his disappointment in the delay. “I’m telling you to be prepared next month,” he told Babcock. “These people have taken off work to be here. So I’m telling you, be prepared next month.”

Planner Sharon Darnell, for her part, expressed her dissatisfaction with the placement of the PUD’s secondary access/egress point: on Richter Street, immediately east of the intersection with South Second Street. “You’re dumping all the traffic onto Richter in a neighborhood,” she said. “I want that to go on the record.”

Planner Jeff Trout, on the other hand, read into the record a portion of a letter submitted to the commission by Jim Jeselnick, who remonstrated at length against the PUD at the public hearing on Dec. 20. Jeselnick has since had second thoughts, after meeting “privately” with Nekus, and now believes that his previous concerns--about density, drainage, and the number of variances--were without merit. “In summary, I should have made more of an attempt to discuss this project with Mr. Nekus and other town officials before taking them to task,” Jeselnick concluded his letter. “I feel that this is exactly the type of project that would go well in the open space that has been vacant for a long time.”

Springdale PUD

In other business, planners voted unanimously to continue to their next meeting a public hearing on the primary plat for the Springdale PUD, located south of 1050N immediately west of the Abercrombie Woods subdivision.

That PUD would consist of 48 R-1 units located to the east--that is, bordering the west edge of Abercrombie Woods--23 R-2 units located in the center of the development, and then 8.41 acres of commercial on the far west side.

One person remonstrated against the primary plat, Patrick Sobados, who lives on the west end of Abercrombie Woods with a view of the farm field which would become Springdale. “That field floods like crazy,” Sobados told planners. “That’s my main concern. The drainage on the property. I’ve run through three sump pumps in my home in 18 months.”

Double Hotel Project

Planners also voted unanimously to continue to their next meeting consideration of secondary plat for the double hotel project at Coffee Creek Center, located immediately north of the Culver’s restaurant.

The two hotels--a Fairfield Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express--are being developed by Amerilodge Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The Fairfield will feature 87 rooms in three stories; the Holiday Inn, 90 rooms in four stories.



Posted 1/18/2019




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