Council mulls new sewer
County waits to appoint transit panel
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The County Council took several steps Tuesday necessary
to bring the Hermits Lake sewer system up to standard.
The council gave preliminary approval to a monthly
sewer rate of $69.71 for the community, located southwest of the city of
Crown Point. Final approval awaits a public hearing, scheduled for 5
p.m. June 27.
The monthly rate will fund operation of the
neighborhood's wastewater treatment plant and will pay back a $550,000
That loan, from the Sewer Relief Fund, will be added
to a $500,000 Build Indiana Fund grant to repair the sewer system, which
had been privately owned.
The county's actions are prelude to creating a
Hermits Lake Regional Sewer District and turning over operation of the
utility to the area's residents.
"Ultimately, this county doesn't want to be in
the sewer business," County Attorney John Dull said. "The
initial decision to go into this was a mistake."
Dull said that decision was made by County
Commissioners about eight years ago, when they thought the state was
going to provide money to rehabilitate the plant.
In other business, the council deferred making
appointments to the new Regional Transportation Committee until next
The deferral was made over the objection of several
council members including President Will Smith, who said other
governmental bodies with the power to appoint members had been given a
June 16 deadline.
"We are part and parcel of the deadline to other
participants," Smith said.
The Interfaith Coalition also expressed displeasure,
not just with deferral but with the RTC itself. The coalition wants the
county to create a Regional Transportation Authority that would have
power to create a public transportation system.
The coalition says the RTC was created to fool the
public into thinking a body with such authority had been created.
A speech by coalition leader Rev. Cheryl Rivera led
to three council members leaving the council chamber.
Rivera labeled Councilman Larry Blanchard (R-Crown
Point) the leader of a four-member majority obstructing creation of an
RTA on behalf of 'special interests.'
"The Larry Blanchard sprawl machine ... is alive
and well and controlling four votes on this council," Rivera
After Smith asked Rivera not to comment on individual
members, Rivera charged Blanchard and other council members of wanting
only 'golf courses' and 'gated luxury communities.'
That prompted Councilwoman Bernadette Costa
(D-Hammond) to leave the room, followed by Blanchard and Councilman
Thomas O'Donnell (D-Schererville).
The council deferred the appointments until 5 p.m.
Access issues end in petition
Hawk Development to try again at
July 10 meeting
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
CROWN POINT - Restrictions over residential parking proved to be a
deciding factor in the petitioning of 47 townhome units in the Prairie
View Subdivision owned by Hawk Development located on Madison
Rich Pasztor, an employee of Ability Construction,
petitioned to the board the building of two-story townhouses on 1224 to
1274 feet parcels of land.
The discrepancy stems from the 20 foot garages
attached to the units limiting the width of the adjacent streets to 30
feet. City Engineer Jeff Ban stated, "Because the width of the
proposed streets are 30 feet, parking is only allowed on one side of the
street. City ordinance states that in order for parking to be allowed on
both sides the width must be 36 feet."
Plan Commission member Bob Rees voiced concern on the
"This will be putting a high density populace in
a small area. Because the city really does not enforce parking
restrictions presently within it's limits, this will definitely provide
some problems if city emergency vehicles need access."
Similarly, members vociferated that they could see
future vehicles blocking sidewalks in order to park.
Plan President Patt Patterson explained, "With
this limited access, cars will likely have to block off some of the
sidewalks causing an inconvenience to residential owners. We do not want
this subdivision to look like the north side of Chicago where people
keep on looking out their front window to find an available parking
space to move their car into."
Ban offered an alternative to the problem by offering
some possible offsite parking. "There are some designated parking
spaces on the east side of this subdivision where people can park. Also,
a possible parking island could be created adding spaces for vehicles.
This situation can be worked out."
Ban cited another concern that posed difficulty from
an engineering standpoint. "The east end driveways of the
subdivision have turning radius" that are less than 18 feet wide
and appear to be too narrow. Service trucks would find it almost
impossible to turn on these streets without hitting the end unit homes
There were three proposed plans that Pasztor would
have used for these townhomes with the prices ranging from $99,000 to
The Plan Commission unanimously motioned, though, to
defer the R-3 zoning site approval plan to the next meeting, July 10, to
give city staff and the petitioner time to resolve the aforementioned
issues of parking and turning widths.