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By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

The lure of fishing

Richie Graves, left, waits as his fishing friend Bill Weaver casts Monday at Francher Lake.  The cooler weather found more people outdoors.
CROWN POINT — Opponents of the proposed new high school have started collecting the 250 signatures needed to instigate a petition drive that would decide the fate of the building project.
   Former School Board member Michel Nikolich said he began handing out petitions Friday and that about 100 signatures were collected over the weekend.
   “It’s going good,” he said. “I don’t think (the 250 signatures) is a problem.”
   The new school opponents have 30 days from June 10 to collect the signatures. If they are successful, a 60-day petition period would start, during which proponents and opponents of the project would each collect signatures from property owners.
   If proponents collect the most signatures, the project would proceed as planned. If opponents collect more, the school corporation could not proceed with the project for at least one year.
   If after one year the School Board still wanted to build the new school, project opponents would again have the right to attempt a remonstrance petition.
   Nikolich said that it’s hard to tell what kind of support project opponents would get in a petition race.
   “I want to sit down with some of the petition carriers in the next few days ... to see what is being said (in the community),” he said.
   The School Board has already committed to borrowing $64 million for the new school project. Architects are working on the building’s plans, and the schedule calls for work at the new school site on Burrell Drive to begin in October.
   That date is just after the pending petition drive would be completed.
Planners OK pharmacy, barely
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT — A divided Plan Commission on Monday approved the construction of a CVS Pharmacy on the southeast corner of 93rd Avenue and Main Street.
   The commission voted 4-3 to approve the site plan. Critics cited traffic and noise concerns.Though the property is zoned for business use, commission member Jack Kemp said CVS’s plan for the property would “disrupt the neighborhood,” thereby giving grounds for rejecting the plan. Kemp, Steven Bazin and Paul Bremer voted against the project.
   Besides approving the drug store site plan, the commission approved the subdivision of the property to create a smaller lot which CVS plans to sell to another business.
   Plans call for the new drug store to cover about 10,000 square feet with 67 parking spaces on 1.8 acres. The store will have a drive-through, and CVS has set tentative business hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
   Critics of the plan, including commission members and residents, said the site could have been laid out so that the building would be further from the residential area that borders the property to the east.
   They also questioned how efficiently and safely customers could drive into and out of the drugstore, considering the closeness of its entrances and exits to the busy intersection of Main Street and 93rd Avenue.
   Cheryl Carniello, who lives directly behind the proposed store, said the proximity of the building to her property would lead to unacceptable noise.
   “They could get rid of 10 parking spaces and move the building 42 feet away from our house,” Carniello said. “That extra 42 feet would be a world of difference.”
   Others suggested rotating the building on the property to keep the drive-through, loading dock and trash compactor away from the side of the building facing residential property. Moving the property’s stormwater detention pond in between the building and residential property was also suggested.
“It looks to me (CVS is) making the site fit the building plan and not the building plan fit the site,” resident Ray Keilman said.
   But CVS representative Todd Maurer said his company uses the same floor plan for all its stores, and didn’t intend to change this one.
   The company did agree though to put a 10-foot-high cedar fence around its property, increase the number of trees from what it had originally planned to plant, and build a brick wall around the trash compactor and dumpster area.
   Maurer also pointed out the number of parking spaces allotted correspond to city ordinance requirements.
   “I don’t know how much more I can do,” he said.
   Traffic concerns centered on left-turns from the CVS parking lot onto 93rd Avenue. Traffic backs up well down the street in the morning and afternoon, critics pointed out.
   Bremer said people pulling out of the CVS lot onto westbound 93rd could cause accidents.
   “It troubles me quite a bit,” he said.
   City Planner Curt Graves pointed out that the city had required CVS to dedicate an exit lane for left turns onto 93rd Avenue. He also said traffic problems there would be little different from those at Walgreen’s at Main and Summit streets.
   As for left turns onto Main Street, the Indiana Department of Transportation must rule on that because the street is a state road.
   Commission member Jeff Ban, also the city’s engineer, made the motion to approve the CVS plan based on the fact that it met all city ordinance requirements.
   Denying the petition simply because CVS would not move the building “20 or 30 feet” was not justified, he said. Moving the building that far would have little, if any, benefit for neighboring residential properties, he argued.
   In other business, the commission approved a rezoning request from Tony Fleming and Terri Weerts to change the zoning of about four acres on Marshall Street just south of St. Jude House from residential to office use.
   The developers intend to build an office building that would house doctors’ offices.
   The City Council must approve the zoning change for it to become law.


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