Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor rejects stop sign removal

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The Burns Harbor Town Council voted not to remove a stop sign at Burns Boulevard in the Village Subdivision at its meeting last night, opting instead to try other safety measures.

The Village Property Owner’s Association sent a letter to the Town recently, with the support of Police Chief Mike Heckman, requesting the removal of a stop sign that was installed a couple years ago at a T-intersection in the Village on Burns Boulevard. According to Assistant Police Chief Jeremy McHargue’s memory, the stop sign was installed following an accident where a bus was rear-ended. Town Council Vice-president Eric Hull said the Village residents had requested its installation at the time, also in part due to speeding.

Hull reported the stop sign is ineffective and has even become a hazard because the neighborhood wasn’t designed to have a stop sign there. Motorists often don’t stop for it because they’ve just gotten going again after stopping at other stop signs that are just down the street on either side of it, according to Fire Chief Bill Arney, who lives near the intersection.

Though “people run it all the time,” the stop sign gives kids crossing the road a false sense of security, Arney said. “I’ve witnessed it myself.” Arney said he thinks bright-colored “Slow, Children at Play” signs would be more effective.

McHargue, for his part, said the BHPD has responded to complaints of speeders and drivers who don’t stop by watching the intersection with the hope of issuing tickets, but “when we go out there and watch it, everybody behaves.” A speed counter that was placed there recently logged only one speeder, and it was McHargue himself responding to an emergency call, Hull said.

Hull said he isn’t in favor of removing a sign just because nobody heeds it, but he’s concerned about kids who expect cars to stop there. Council member Toni Biancardi, however, was concerned removing the stop sign is too permanent a decision. “Once you take it out, it’s out.” She cautioned that the Town would have to communicate very effectively with residents about the removal.

McHargue agreed with Biancardi, noting kids might not notice the stop sign is gone and continue to use the intersection like it’s there. “One kid hurt because we’re removing a stop sign is too many,” he said.

After a lengthy discussion, the Council decided to take other safety measures first rather than removing the stop sign. The intersection is slated to get a new painted crosswalk as part of a larger plan for crosswalks in Town, and Street Superintendent Pat Melton will order and install “Slow, Children at Play” signs.

In related business, the Council formed a committee to look into installing speed humps in subdivisions in Town where residents have complained of speeding. Council President Nick Loving and member Roseann Bozak will look into how other municipalities regulate the use of speed humps, as Town Attorney Clay Patton reported there are no specific state regulations on the matter.


Arney reported the Burns Harbor Fire Department’s annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser is likely to become a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic because the Fire Department building would not allow for enough social distancing. “We’re not sure yet. We’re still exploring some other options,” Arney said, “But I don’t think it’s gonna be safe enough.”

Melton and Arney reported they’re working to get all the Town’s generators under one service contract after the alternator on one key generator failed during Monday’s severe storm, which allowed a power outage at the Town Hall. Arney also reported Lift Station No. 3 took a lightning strike in the storm and required service for a fried main fuse board. Meanwhile, Melton reported paving in Town has wrapped up, though some seeding and shoulder work remains.

Bozak reported the beach is open at Lakeland Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a lifeguard on duty. A concrete cornhole set has also been installed at the Park using the proceeds of the last Footloose 5K. Visitors can bring their own bags or borrow from the gatehouse.

Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan reported the Town has received approximately 49 percent of its anticipated tax draw for 2020. The Town’s Net Assessed Valuation is slated to increase to $36,964,000 in 2021.


Posted 8/13/2020




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