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Whitehawk duplexes approved
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

   CROWN POINT - The Board of Zoning Appeals on Monday granted a special-use variance to Hawk Development Corp. that will allow 38 duplex lots to be developed in the Whitehawk subdivision.
    The homes, called "luxury duplexes" by Hawk attorney Richard Anderson, will take up a portion of about 100 acres annexed into the city earlier this month.
    The rest of the land will be taken up by an existing golf driving range and nine new holes to be added onto the Whitehawk golf course.
    Anderson said the duplexes will be built by The Woodshop, of Schererville, and each of the 76 units will likely sell for about $250,000.
    The duplexes will be on two cul-desacs on the west side of the Whitehawk property. One street extends west off of Whitehawk Drive. The other will run north and south and connect to a road that exits the subdivision on Clark Road.
    Board member David Nixon voted
against the variance, and several area residents spoke against it.
Nixon said single-family homes should be built on the land.
    "You haven't proven to me that the only thing that can go in there is duplexes," Nixon told Anderson.
    The residents, all of whom live on Clark Road, expressed concern over increased traffic on the road.
    Jacob Krieter said traffic on the road is so bad he has a hard time backing out of his driveway.
    "I live in fear all the time," he said. "They go by there like it's a race track."
    Edward Dudzinski said construction in the area will add further inconveniences.
    "You're life is going to be totally ruined," he said, "and for what, more duplexes?"
    Anderson argued that the development, with only 38 lots, was very low density.
    Also, "there seems to be a demand for the luxury duplex," he said. Many homebuyers "want something that's bigger and fancier (than regular duplexes) but they don't want a house to maintain," he said.
Other board members agreed the proposal was a good one.
    Jeff Ban, also the city engineer, said the lots are twice the size of the minimum required in an R-2 zone.
    "I don't see anything obtrusive about this," he said.
    City Planner Curt Graves agreed with Anderson that there is demand for upper-scale duplexes.
    The ones in Ellendale Farms, he said, were built with the expectation that they would sell for about $175,000, but "most of those homes out there are hitting around a quarter million," he said.
    Graves also argued that duplexes would not be a major traffic burden.
Anderson and the board also discussed a plan to rebuild the intersection of Clark Road and 101st Avenue.
    A project to make visibility at the intersection better would include the city, county and Hawk Development.
    Currently, Anderson is negotiating the purchase of property necessary for the project with a local landowner.
Project helps local families

By Kathie Godfrey
Star Correspondent

   CEDAR LAKE -- Workers and their children at South Lake County Community Services enjoyed the warm feelings that come from helping others last week when they wrapped up two holiday projects for the area's needy families.
    SLCCS staffers distributed wrapped gifts for over 500 children provided by hundreds of anonymous donors who filled "Angel Tree" requests that had been displayed in such local businesses as the Schererville Wal-Mart, Civitas Bank and Dante's restaurant in Lowell.
    And the record number of gifts was only the beginning. More than one hundred 50-pound food baskets purchased with funds donated by United Auto Workers at the Chicago Heights Ford Stamping Plant were also distributed from the center last week.
    "I'm tired but I feel good" said Joseph Sabato, 15, during a break from moving 50-pound boxes of food for distribution.   
The son of SLCCS Executive Director  Margot Sabato, Joseph was one of Sabato's four children who helped distribute holiday food and gifts.
    Community Service Coordinator Connie Gurgel also had her three children on the job last Wednesday.
"I was just amazed," said Margot Sabato. "Some of these people spent hundreds of dollars on these gifts and the people at the Ford plant don't know these kids and will never get a thank you."
    Sabato said two big rooms at the Cedar Lake service agency had been piled high with gifts, including four brand-new bicycles.
    Volunteer Jeanann Patz was happy to see an enormous stack of gifts collected for a family of 13 being picked up. 'That was my worry that we would be stuck with all those gifts," she said.
    John and Cathy Nagle of Schneider, who have seven girls and four boys, were delighted to receive the presents.
    "We just want to say thank you to whoever donated these gifts for our children," said Cathy Nagle. "It will really make their Christmas."
    A volunteer who has worked at the agency for more than 10 years, Patz helped select gifts for Rosa Vasquez' two children, ages 1 and 3, from a table of unwrapped items arranged by age and size.
    "It's great for the kids, that's the main thing," said Vasquez, who also picked up a food basket for her family.
    UAW members at the Ford Stamping Plant opted to forgo their holiday party in lieu of the food basket project several years ago.
    Their donated party funds went to purchase the 10-pound hams, sweet and white potatoes, stuffing, carrots, corn, lettuce, tomatoes, cookies, milk and two pies that went into each basket to ensure that !ow-income families were supplied with the makings of a holiday meal, Sabato explained.
    Fred Sons of Lowell donated a truck to transport the baskets while Area Towing, also of Lowell, volunteered a driver for the truck that delivered food baskets to seniors last week.

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