Rather than tweak it now, the Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission decided
Thursday to do it after getting public input.
To that end a formal public hearing was set for March 18 on the proposed
update of the town’s 2004 comprehensive plan. A final draft will be
available at the town hall.
Commission members themselves only received their copies yesterday from
consultant A.J. Monroe of SEH Inc. Member Jeff Trout suggested hearing what
the public thinks of the changes first, then possibly scheduling a workshop
for members to discuss the draft before making a recommendation to the Town
Council regarding final adoption.
Member George Stone said the draft more clearly needs to state that a
planned zoning overlay establishing design and implementation framework for
the downtown district as a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly area has
yet to be completed but will.
It was agreed to include the future downtown overlay as one of the 10 action
items to be completed in 2010.
Other projects slated are an update of the zoning and subdivision control
ordinances; an Indian Boundary Road sub-area plan; the proposed Dunes
Kankakee Trail route analysis, engineering and design; an engineering
feasibility study of the Dickinson Road extension, and an alternative
Also, an intersection improvement study for Broadway and Calumet Road; a
Coffee Creek Park master plan; a County Road 1050 North engineers
feasibility study; and a Chesterton public art initiative.
The comp plan appendix lists four pages of public comments heard at initial
planning meetings last fall, but over the last few months hardly anyone
attended the commission meetings or addressed the update although it’s been
on the agenda monthly.
The new draft document, if approved, would expand Chesterton’s future land
use planning area to County Road 350 East and County Road 900 North on the
south; while not all territory is within town limits, the designations are
intended to assist the town in guiding its own development and not meant as
a blueprint for annexation.
At a Jan. 6 workshop, commission members said they didn’t want Chesterton to
become solely a bedroom community and asked that more areas for business
growth be provided.
They propose possible business/industrial uses north of Interstate 94 and
south of U.S. 20 near County Road 1400 North northeast of Chesterton; the
town has limited opportunity for future growth to the north and west.
Additional business/industrial uses are proposed immediately north and south
of the Toll Road on both the west side of Indiana 49 and the east side of
Indiana 149, the latter in anticipation of a new interchange being built
there some day.
Considerable areas along primarily the east side of Indiana 49 are earmarked
for business/medical office development. Beyond the higher traffic areas,
land is intended to be residential, institutional/public uses or open space.
Determining where smaller pockets of proposed land uses are specifically
located is challenging when only the largest state and federal highways are
identified on the land use map.
The new comp plan includes current statistics and information providing a
snapshot of Chesterton and the surrounding area today. At Stone’s request a
policy statement encouraging a range of housing types and neighborhood
choices for all ages was expanded to include “and income levels.” The
current 2004 plan encourages a range of housing types and price ranges.
Chesterton’s vision statement would be that the town will “coordinate land
use planning and site development practices to manage sustained, sensible
growth of the community while preparing for the next growth cycle.”
Planning themes, guiding principles and policy statements providing a
roadmap for implementation also are identified.
In other business, the commission also set for public hearing March 18
amended changes to the town sign ordinance initially requested by a group of
The topics deal with projecting blade signage perpendicular to a building,
sandwich board signs, non-illuminated signage allowed within a window on the
interior portion of the glass, and several changes and clarifications
related to legal non-conforming signs such as changing the face, abandonment
No report was given on the proposed The Village at Popes Farm in Chesterton
residential/commercial project on 81 acres at the southwest corner of
Indiana 49 and County Road 950 North.
Developer Cliff Fleming had asked that the project be a standing item on the
commission agenda, however, he recently asked that it be removed.