Chesterton Tribune



Town Council insists that sidewalk along 11th St. by CHS must be built

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The house being built for John Deal at 1840 S. 11th St.--immediately across the street from Chesterton High School--is nearly finished, and he’s hoping to get an occupancy permit for it soon.

The problem: under Town Standards a sidewalk must be built in front of all new construction, and Deal’s frontage totals 858 feet, which would be a lot of expensive sidewalk.

Which is why Deal asked his builder, Steiner Homes, to appear before the Chesterton Town Council at its last meeting to request a waiver from the Town Standard, on the ground that the sidewalk would serve his house only.

Members made it absolutely plain at the time, however, that they oppose such a waiver, and that in their view granting it would betray homeowners of the future who will build and live south of Deal’s house in what is now unincorporated Liberty Township.

That response apparently came as a surprise to Deal, who at Monday night’s council meeting told members that he was under the impression--an impression given to him by his Steiner guy--that a waiver would be no big deal at all.

“I still feel that this would only serve my house,” Deal said, then added that his property is located well south of the intersection of South 11th Street and 1100N, that there’s no crosswalk in front of his house, and that he personally wouldn’t want to see CHS students jaywalking to get to the other side of the street. “It feels like a dead-end kind of sidewalk.”

President Sharon Darnell, D-4th, indicated that the fault here, if fault there is, is the Steiner guy’s. “That’s a problem you have with your builder,” she said. “To think it’s just a waltz and you could get it taken care of.”

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, on the other hand, suggested that what seems to be a dead-end sidewalk now will be an essential neighborhood link in an unforeseen future. “There’s no way years ago we would know there would be a high school there. Or Growing Kids. Or an orthodontist. I don’t think there’s any way we can mortgage the future. There will be Town of Chesterton further down Meridian Road at some point, and we can’t have a gap in the sidewalk.”

“Nobody’s talking about a crosswalk now,” Ton added. “But nobody was talking about a high school either. I don’t have a crystal ball but I’m sure there will be a crosswalk one day at 1050N.”

Deal, interested at the moment chiefly in getting his occupancy permit, wondered whether he could pour 90 feet of sidewalk now, from the north edge of his property to the driveway, and then pour the rest later.

Members expressed interest in this compromise but Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson and Member Jennifer Fisher, I-5th--herself an attorney--both expressed concern about its enforceability. “My concern is the time frame,” Paulson said. If Deal fails to pour the remaining stretch of sidewalk and then sells his house, how would the town force the new homeowner to do it?

In the end members voted unanimously to reject Deal’s petition for a sidewalk waiver, then voted unanimously to continue the matter at their next meeting, to explore other options for getting the whole of the sidewalk built without unduly burdening Deal.


In other business, members voted unanimously to grant Tammy Symmes’ petition for the vacation of a platted but unimproved portion of Union Ave. south of and adjacent to her property at 723 S. Jackson Blvd.

Symmes told the council that she has a one-car driveway but three teenagers who drive, and that she would like to have a parking area on the south side of her home.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the petition and no one in opposition.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell noted that Symmes and her neighbor to the south will each acquire ownership of 33 feet of the former public right-of-way, on either side of the center line of platted Union Ave. Each will also have responsibility to pay property taxes on that 33-foot sliver.

Riverfront Designation

Meanwhile, Town Manager Bernie Doyle announced that Carlos Chavez, owner of the former Sweeney Todd’s and of the new Mexican taco restaurant now in the same location on South Calumet Road, is seeking a Riverfront District designation to allow him to apply for an alcohol license from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

A riverfront designation allows the granting of alcohol licenses to eateries located within a specified distance of a riverfront--in this case, Coffee Creek--without respect to quota limits.

Chavez can serve up to 25 people at his restaurant and appears to be doing pretty good business right now but would like to build it further with the help of an alcohol license.

“I see no red flags,” Doyle told the council. “I see no reason why he can’t apply for the license.”

Members accordingly voted unanimously to grant the Riverfront District designation.



Posted 8/12/2020




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