Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Utility seeking easement for Deer Run Apartments lift station

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Time was, Chesterton Utility crews needing to service the lift station serving the Deer Run Apartments on Taylor Street used to access the site by way of the Amtrak railroad right-of-way east of Waverly Road.

But the nationwide threat of domestic terrorism eventually prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to declare railroad rights-of-way off limits, even for duly trained and delegated utility crews.

Which means, should Utility workers ever be required to work on this particular lift station--which serves only the Deer Run Apartments--they’ll have do a bit of trespassing, since the lift station is located on private property owned by Deer Run Apartments LLC and there’s currently no easement on that property granted to the Utility for right of access.

As Utility Service Board Member John Schnadenberg noted at Monday night’s meeting, negotiations for an easement have been ongoing for months now, with little progress being made. Perhaps it’s time, he ventured, for Deer Run Apartments LLC to assume responsibility for maintaining the lift station itself. “I’m of a mind to look into the procedure for giving that lift station back to them,” Schnadenberg said. “I think we’re pretty much done waiting for them after some months.”

As it happens, Deer Run Apartments LLC is currently petitioning the Town Council to vacate a portion of Taylor Street which for years now apartment residents have been using--technically illegally--for parking. Schnadenberg said that he hopes the LLC realizes that there’s no quid pro quo at stake in the matter, that the easement and the vacation are altogether separate issues and not a “package deal.”

Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson did say that there has been recent movement on the LLC’s part. “We’ve been seeing more progress in the last month than we have in the last six.”

A public hearing on the vacation petition will be held at the Town Council’s May 8 meeting.

Fairhaven Baptist Church

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to grant a billing adjustment to Fairhaven Baptist Church, related to a water line leak on the propety between August and October 2016.

Ryan noted that Indiana American Water Company has already authorized an adjustment of 617,000 gallons, after Fairhaven presented itemized receipts related to the repair of the water line. He added that the water from the leak in question went into the ground, not into the sanitary sewer collection system.

The Utility’s billing adjustment totaled $3,000.

Eagle Crossing

Members, on the other hand, had occasion to view a second petition less sanguinely, this one filed by the developers of the Eagle Crossing apartment complex, to be built east of Kelle Drive and south of Rail Road. Specifically, the developers have asked the Service Board to re-calculate downward the tap-on fee schedule for Phase I--the first 90 units--of the project.

The problem, as members see it: the tap-on fee schedule is calculated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and has simply been codified by town ordinance.

“Are they going to get IDEM to change their rules and regulations?” McCord asked Ryan. “You’d have to change our ordinance.”

“I think you would,” Ryan replied.

It’s not really a matter of calculating--or re-calculating--the schedule, President Larry Brandt noted. “You look it up in the table.”

“I don’t blame the developers for trying,” Ryan suggested.

“They can always ask,” Brandt agreed.

Kudos to Porter

McCord took a moment at the end of the meeting to express his appreciation to Porter Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer for the outstanding job done by the town in separating storm- and sanitary sewers and in rehabbing its lift stations.

“It really looks good,” McCord said. “It’s all coming together.”

March in Review

In March, Chesterton used 58.65 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 64 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 81.72 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 60.04 percent of its capacity.

March was a wet month, with a total of 3.6 inches of precipitation recorded at the plant, although there were no bypasses of wastewater into the Little Calumet River.

In March, the Utility ran a surplus of $514,632.55 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $438,390.91.

 

 

Posted 4/19/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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