Chesterton Tribune



Council gives 11th Street home builder one year to finish sidewalk

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John Deal will have to pour an 858-foot sidewalk in front of his new home at 1840 S. 11th St., directly across the street from Chesterton High School.

He just won’t have to pour it all at one time.

At its meeting Monday night, the Chesterton Town Council voted unanimously to reject Deal’s petition for a waiver from the Town Standard requiring a sidewalk in front of all new construction. But members also voted unanimously to authorize Building Commissioner Mark O’Dell to issue him an occupancy permit, as soon as Deal does the following:

-- Completes the first 300 feet of the sidewalk, from his driveway north to the existing sidewalk in front of Hurst Orthodontics and the Growing Kids Childcare Center.

-- Submits proof that all necessary applications for wetland mitigation permits have been submitted to the proper regulatory authorities.

-- Provides a letter of credit for 120 percent of the estimated cost of the remaining portion of the sidewalk, from his driveway south to the end of his property, which abuts a Chesterton corporate boundary.

-- Dedicates a 40-foot right-of-way to the town.

“I have no problem giving Mr. Deal a year to get the sidewalk done, if it can be done,” Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann told the council.

Deal’s builder, John Kremke of Steiner Homes, originally appeared before the council in July to ask for the Town Standard waiver, and cited the substantial cost of pouring the sidewalk as the reason. At the time, President Sharon Darnell, D-4th, and Member Jim Ton, R-1st, made it quite clear that they personally wanted Deal to pour the entire sidewalk, for that time when new homes are built along South 11th Street and Meridian Road and the Duneland School Corporation builds a sidewalk of its own along 1050N. Not to pour the sidewalk, they said, would leave an unacceptable gap in the town’s infrastructure.

Deal then appeared on his own before the council, and gave members to understand that he believed the Town Standard was something in the way of a technicality and that a waiver would be forthcoming. Members assured him that neither was the case.

At Monday’s meeting, Kremke appeared again, this time to say that Steiner Homes would never have given Deal such an impression. “It’s always been our understanding that the sidewalk has to go in, 100 percent,” he said. Of Deal’s belief that a waiver would be granted as a matter of course?” That “never came from me or out of my mouth,” Kremke said.

“Maybe we had a misunderstanding,” Darnell suggested.

In any case, she said, “You know that the community will expand. We have to do the heavy lifting for the people who will come later.”

Ton agreed. “We would set a dangerous precedent by waving the sidewalk,” he said. “It’s going to have to happen.”

“It’s just a matter of time before homes to the south of you are built,” added Member Dane Lafata, D-3rd.

“We do not want to set a precedent,” said Member Jennifer Fisher, I-5th, for her part. “We are not pickers and choosers of who has to comply with the law. We have an obligation to do what’s best for the residents of this town.”


Posted 8/25/2020




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