Chesterton Tribune



Town backs off buying house at Calumet and Porter

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The Chesterton Redevelopment Commission has decided not to pursue the purchase of the house and property at the southeast corner of South Calumet Road and East Porter Ave.

Members made it official--walking away from the much-discussed acquisition--by unanimous vote at their meeting Monday night.

Two appraisals of the property sought by the commission valued the property at $195,000. The problem: the expense of the project as envisioned would have cost significantly more than the price of the house, chiefly because the intersection is utility-rich, including a 16-inch storm sewer, a 16-inch sanitary force main, a water main (along with a fire hydrant, which would have to be re-located at the town’s expense); and--also buried underground--fiber optic conduit, a telephone line, and a natural-gas line.

More: the improvements proposed for the intersection would only have enhanced the southeast corner, as the other three are--as Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the commission in July--“solid,” that is, with no potential right-of-way available for acquisition and no further room for expansion.

What had been proposed: a dedicated right-turn lane for motorists northbound on South Calumet Road to turn onto eastbound East Porter Ave.; a dedicated right-turn lane and combined through-and-left turn lane for motorists westbound on East Porter Ave. approaching South Calumet Road.

As Member Emerson DeLaney noted on Monday, “Town Engineer Mark O’Dell said it could be rather quite expensive to pursue purchasing that. Moving the utilities would cost more than the house is worth.”

“It seems costly given the challenge there regarding the utilities,” Member Nick Walding concurred. “And it would only improve one corner.”

“The real benefit to the town would be the acquisition of all four corners,” non-voting Duneland Schools rep John Marshall added. “Failing that, the cost outweighs the benefits.”

Marshall also urged his voting colleagues to take action on Monday, right away. “I think it’s important for the voting members to take care of this tonight,” he said. “To be fair to the property owner, we’ve kind of tied her hands.”

Indeed, at the commission’s July meeting, the property owner pleaded with members to make a decision soon, as the publicity over the proposed acquisition scared off at least one potential buyer as well as chased off a tenant.

In the future, Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann said, it’s permissible under Indiana Code for the Redevelopment Commission to meet in executive session when discussing the possible acquisition of property.



Posted 8/27/2018





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