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Lake County's weekly hometown news source since 1857

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Petitions top agenda

Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

CROWN POINT -- The first city Plan Commission of the millennium got underway this past Monday with three significant new business proposals on the agenda.
    Jack Kovich, the owner of the Stillwater Subdivision, petitioned for a for a revision of his primary plat from that of residential (R-1) single family homes to residential (R-2) single family homes.
    This hopeful change, taking place on the easternmost side of the subdivision off U.S. 231, will total 248 residential lots on the acreage with a decrease from 80-foot frontages to that of 60-foot frontages.
   Suhheil Nammari, a Professional Engineer from Intercon Engineering Corporation representing Kovich for the evening, stated, "We want to increase our lot size and, thus, decrease each residential frontage to create a buffer between our R-1 homes, which is directly behind and to the west, to the commercial atmosphere that is to the east of Stillwater."
    Commission member Alda Vellutini questioned, "Won't compacting twenty-nine more residential lots in this small of area detract from the subdivision?''
    Greg Valenti, the architect of the future homes representing Kovich, explained, "We have three different styles of that will be constructed for these lots. They will more or less be marketed as 'maintenance-free' villas. In regards to detracting from the subdivision, there will be fifteen feet open between each lot, which if we were to have used the previous proposal with
larger homes, there would have only been ten feet available in between."
    Patt Patterson, again elected as the commission president, voiced concern over the fact of recent flooding from neighboring subdivisions to the south of Stillwater.
    "In the past few plan commission meetings, city residents have explained their dissatisfaction with the flooding on some of their properties."
    Nammari stated, "Mr. Kovich has listened to those concerns and is planning to cut a ditch downstream from those subdivisions to filter out the excess water as long as it does not pose any threat to the Stillwater subdivision.''

   Jeff Ban, the Town Engineer, ended by saying, "Mr. Kovich will be adding 8 lots to the previous proposal. To say that nothing is really changing with regards to the subdivision is not totally correct. There will be eight more driveways and rooftops which calculate to
generating more water within
    The homes will range in monetary value from $178,000 to $200,000 with lots varying in size from 1735 to 2035 square feet.
    But, because the Plan Commission was unsure and reluctant with the new changes proposed within the Stillwater subdivision, the petitioning was motioned for a continuance until next month's meeting with the inclusion of a workshop.
    Additionally, Jim Hawk, the owner of White Hawk Country Club, petitioned for a workshop for the purpose of creating 76 luxury duplexes on 36 lots. The request of zoning will be R2 for the two-unit townhouses which will be located off the intersection of Clark Street and Route 6.
    Richard Anderson, the attorney for the Hawk Development Corporation, explained, "A 9-hole golf course will be built first with the 1800 to 3000 foot parcels following.     Finally, an 18-hole golf course will be built around these townhouses."
    Each piece of land will sell for approximately $250,000 - $330,000 with 2-3 car attachments for each. The building schedule for each piece of property is four years.
    Anderson added, "We could have placed 300 sites on this property but really tried to minimize the amount of sites available on this piece of property.''
    The Plan Commission, subsequently, motioned for public hearing on this petition.
    Lastly, Daniel Jordan and Tim Heidbreder, the owner of property on Troutwine Drive east of Balemaster, requested a workshop for a possible two lot subdivision, zoned Industrial-I (I-l).
    Bruce Lambka, the spokesperson, stated, "We are the fifth largest employer in this city and we would like to keep our east-west thoroughfares absent from truck traveling."
    Ban responded by saying, "Presently your parcel on Troutwine Drive has three points of access which is more than that of adjacent Balemaster. Probably the best alternative would be to remove the northernmost section of road positioned eastwest on Troutwine Drive."
    Both comments were taken for consideration with a public hearing motioned for the following month.
Space growing for county
Lake County Jail to expand inmate capacity to 619

Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

CROWN POINT --Approximately five years ago Lake County decided it needed to renovate and expand its jail quarters with hopeful completion upon the eventual turn of the millennium.    Since that time the Lake County Jail has been architecturally planning and is now placing the new jail ceils on the westernmost part of the Government Complex property.
    "The jail can presently house up to 619 inmates with the inclusion of the two portable trailers. With our newest addition, 256 more cells able to be accessed with 10% - 20% used for classification purposes," stated Robert Piskoty, the Commander of the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
    The approximate cost for the addition is $29,880,000 with the construction of the project to be completed in early September of this year.
    "This will be a three tier facility with each inclusive of two pods, one stacked on top of each other. Each pod will include 48 cells from which each tier will be divided down the middle so to have one day room for approximately 24 jail cells," explained Thomas Echterling, the Project Manager overseeing the construction from Gough, Inc.
    Each tier will contain a control room surrounded with one inch glass of which is substantially propped above the first row of jail cells on the tier.
    "The purpose of raising the control room from floor level is for maximum visibility of all inmates as well as flexibility of all staff in case of an emergency.   With this setup staff will have to make half as many personal visits to ceils than as in our present case," cornmented Piskoty.
    Another reason for this is that CCTV cameras will be strategically placed to allow monitoring of inmates virtually anywhere throughout the new building.
    "With the new monitoring system implemented, staff will have visual access to any inmate and almost any crevice throughout the entire building," smiled Piskoty.

 Joe Mrak, of RQAW in Indianapolis, was the creator of the new jail composition and has devised more than 40 county jails within the state of Indiana over the past years.
    "The building itself was a popular design used in the past by other county's but the control room elevation was a 'cutting-edge' specifically created for our jail," interjected Echterling.
    The new building will also include its own Magistrate court room that should eliminate 30-40 transports to a other court rooms within the building.
    "This court room will have limited public seating with accessibility of a jury room for a possible trail if needed," stated Piskoty.
    The more severe crimes committed will be included in the new facility with the average stay of an inmate of less than a year.
    Piskoty noted, "Most of our inmates are usually awaiting trial for the alleged crime committed with the holding period up to several months. We do have to have a specific number of inmates residing within the jail with most being criminals convicted on misdemeanor charges with a stay of no more than a year."
    Moreover, Piskoty explained that public sentiment was been positive throughout the whole process with the understanding that the addition was needed for the betterment of the community.
    "Everyone has been very supportive of the additions to the Lake County Jail. Because of the problem with severe overcrowding, the result was unnecessary litigation and lawsuits brought to that of Lake County. The determination that needed to be made was to either reduce the population in the present jail, which would be to release criminals on the street - which is ludicrous, or add bid space to the present building in order to house more inmates."
    Upon completion of the new building, the present portable trailers, that which house 140 inmates, will be disposed of.
    "Those currently in the trailers will be transported in the existing jail or into the new addition.     Then we will begin renovating the first floor of the current jail inclusive of a new kitchenette area. The final project will be to paint the remainder of the standing building with renovation of the secured elevators," stated Echterling.
    The new facility will include the movement of all staff presently in the portable trailers to the new building with relatively no change in employment availability at the Government Complex.
    Piskoty ended by saying that he sees an annual increase in bookings with regards to that of possible criminal activity.
    "It is unfortunate that alleged criminal activity is increasing in Lake County and that the hard-working taxpayers and having to suffer from it. But, with the additions to this facility, the safeguards for problems or possible escapes will be significantly reduced creating a safer atmosphere for the residents of the county as a whole."        END

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