Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Town Council approves Westport PUD

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The Burns Harbor Town Council approved ordinance 296-2020, an ordinance establishing the Westport planned unit development (PUD) on second reading at its meeting Wednesday.

The Westport PUD outlines master developer Holladay Properties’ plan for a mixed-use Town center development on the 32-acres across Ind. 149 from the Town Hall. The development is slated to have a new municipal complex, including a Town Hall/Community Center, along with residential and commercial developments along part of the Burns Harbor section of the Marquette Greenway Trail.

The PUD came to the Council with a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission, with the note that one lot was subdivided into two lots in compliance with Town Code on the width and depth of lots. The same lot is planned to be further subdivided anyway for Townhouses, according to Town Council Vice-president and Plan Commission President Eric Hull.

In related business, the Council opted to waive the Westport primary plat application fee because the Town would have been charging itself. Fees will not be waived for third parties involved in the development of the Westport site, Hull said. “Pretty soon it’s going to start to change. It will be other entities paying their own fees.”

The Council also adopted on first reading an ordinance establishing a Redevelopment Authority for the Town. The RDA will make recommendations for the Town’s financing of the new Town Hall/Community Center, Hull said. Financing options that have been floated include the traditional bond process and a leasing option that’s gained popularity recently.

The Council also made appointments to the reestablished Burns Harbor Economic Development Commission, which will make recommendations on tax incentives for new development. Per Indiana law, one member of an EDC is appointed by a town council president, one by a council as a whole, and one by the local county council, which considers recommendations from the Town. Members serve staggered terms.

Council President Nick Loving appointed Hull for the EDC seat that expires in January 2024. The Council appointed Council member Angie Scott for the term that ends in January 2023, and the Council opted to forward a recommendation that the County Council appoint Loving for the term ending in January 2022. The Council is slated to make its appointment at its Aug. 25 meeting. The first meeting of the new EDC will be Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

Other Approvals

The Council extended its COVID-19 safety plan for the Town Hall through Sept. 11. Residents can do business at the Town Hall by appointment only, masks are required in the building, and those entering are subject to temperature checks with a contactless thermometer. The Town will also continue to waive sewer bill late fees through August.

The Council approved an additional appropriation for the RDC to allocate an extra $139,490.16 in tax abatement fees to fund the Town Ambulance payroll and an additional appropriation for the RDC to spend its $1.74 million Next Level Trails grant funds on construction of Phase 3 of the Marquette Greenway Trail this year. No one spoke for or against either additional appropriation in a public hearing.

The Council adopted on first reading an ordinance bringing Town Code regarding temporary political signs in line with Indiana Code. The Council then suspended its rules and passed the ordinance on second reading because the 2020 general election is fast approaching.

The Council voted to purchase a new camera and necessary software to live-stream meetings on the Town website not to exceed $1,500. The expense will be reimbursable from the $58,528 in COVID-19 relief funds the State has earmarked for the Town.

Good of the Order

In related business, Fire Chief Bill Arney reported he’s also going by the name “Mobile Decon” since the Town’s new Nacere Solutions disinfectant misting machine is in his care. The machine works “like a big bug bomb” to disinfect entire rooms at once. The machine and 12 gallons of the disinfectant solution it requires cost around $1,260 last monthÑanother charge that will be reimbursable though COVID-19 relief funds.

Arney reported he’s used the new machine at the Fire Department and Town Hall so far. He’s started disinfecting the Town Hall meeting room in advance of meetings, and he’ll hit other high traffic spots once a week.

Loving took a moment to mourn the late town historian Bill Meyer. “We’re really going to miss his presence in the Town, and we really thank him for all the work he did on the Town’s history on our behalf.”


Posted 8/17/2020





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