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Feature Stories for January 11, 2001

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
The Crown Point Network offers a sneak preview of weekly cover stories.

Lowell to 
fight landfill

By Kathie Godfrey 
Star Correspondent

LOWELL -  In one of its first moves of the new year the Town Council moved to halt development of the West Creek Prairie Landfill site a proposed construction and demolition landfill owned by Allied Waste Industries located north of State Road 2 just outside the town's western boundary. 
    Citing the adverse environmental impact of the proposed landfill on area well water, issues of increased truck traffic and the effects on local property values, the council agreed to petition the Lake County Council, Lake County Commissioners and the Lake County Plan Commission to rezone the 92-acre parcel of land formerly owned by E. Feddeler and Sons, Inc., back to its original agricultural status. 
    "I'm concerned about the leachate, the black ooze and the previous violations in the area," said Town Council President Robert Hatch (R-3rd), in reference to problems experienced at the proposed landfill's sister operation located just across the street. 
    After Feddeler and Sons sold the undeveloped property to Allied Waste last year, the new owner renewed a standing request to permit the new C and D landfill from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in October 2000. 
    Allied Waste officials filed an injunction against the Lake County Plan Commission last week to stop a proposed change to the zoning of the parcel from M2 to A1 which could prevent the property from being developed as a landfill. 
    Mary Ann Hoffman of 763 Mohawk, who said she definitely didn't want the landfill in her neighborhood, asked the council for clarification of their position on its development. 
    Downtown business owner Mona Kuechenberg asked the council how residents could help support the town's effort to stop the development of the landfill. 
    Councilwoman Karen Brooker (R-2nd) said residents should be present at county plan meetings when the rezoning issue will be addressed. 
    "You don't have to speak, but we need bodies at the meeting," she explained, adding that residents should get in touch with Hank Kozuba and Martin Kroll, who have coordinated the opposition to the landfill since the property was rezoned from A1 to M2 in 1997. 
    Hatch said residents could collect signatures on new petitions if they wished. "There's nothing wrong with business owners supporting the Town Council's resolution," he said. 
    In other business, the council pledged to bring about a quick conclusion to ongoing work on the parade and sidewalk ordinances that occupied much of last year. 
    Brooker said a draft ordinance to allow downtown merchants to display additional merchandise on the sidewalk for one year with a clause that would hold the town harmless for liability should be passed. 
    Currently, merchants are only allowed to display two items on the sidewalk in front of their shops. Councilman Joe Mika (D-5th) agreed with Brooker. 
    "The merchants are going to be hurt when the renovation is going on," he said. "This has been going on long enough." 
    Mika also said a draft of the parade ordinance that would lower insurance costs for parade sponsors first proposed in November would soon be presented to the public for comment before a council vote would be taken.


Back to 
drawing board

Council tells Hawk to bring new plan to Plan board

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The City Council on Monday told the Plan Commission to reconsider a request to rezone about 25 acres north of Timothy Ball Elementary School and the NIPSCO substation on Summit Street. 
    Hawk Development Corp. has asked for a change from R- 1to R-3 zoning to allow for the construction of condominiums, and the Plan Commission made favorable recommendation to the City Council for the rezone. 
    Hawk Vice President Jack Slager said that tentative plans call for three-story structures, with a garage on the bottom. 
    He said there would be a maximum of 100 units. Single-family housing on the site was not economical, Slager said, because only a small part of it is fit for construction. 
    But neighboring property owners, many of whom said they were not notified of the Plan Commission meeting at which the issue was considered, asked the council to leave the land R-1. 
    They cited aesthetics, increased traffic, and property values as reasons to reject a condominium development. 
    JoEllen Catlow said it doesn't matter that Hawk has created a high quality development in the neighboring Whitehawk subdivision. 
    "I don't care (if the development is) nice or not," she said. "I know (the condominiums) will probably be nice, but I don't want to look at it." 
    "I cannot see how you can say this will not effect my property values," said Catlow, a resident of Pratt Street and a realtor. "It will." 
    Gary Scearce, another Pratt Street resident, presented a petition against the rezone signed by 58 area residents. 
    He and others brought up the issue of additional traffic, and the fear of a "monolithic brick view" if three-story buildings are built just behind their back yards. 
    Council members decided they were uncomfortable voting on the rezone in light of the fact that many neighboring homeowners appear not to have been notified of the Plan Commission meeting. 
    Mayor James Metros said he was surprised when he learned no remonstrators had appeared at the Plan Commission meeting in December. 
    But several council members pointed out that Hawk Development has the right to improve its property, and the city must grant the rezone if it allows for the "highest and best use" of the property. 
    Hawk, however, needs to come up with a more detailed plan, one that details exactly what they want to do, and considers neighbors' concerns, councilmen said. 
    Councilman James Wirtz (R-at large) suggested one revision to Slager. 
    "Three story buildings are not going to work. That's just not going to happen at all," he said. 
    Slager said no detailed plans were developed because the company wanted to get the rezone before putting money into engineering and design. 
    But Councilman William Condron (R-4th) told Slager this was a case in which his company would have "to spend money to make money." 
    Five councilmen supported sending the issue back to the Plan Commission. Councilman Stephen Farley (R-2nd) was in favor of rejecting the rezone request. Councilwoman Pam Roth (R-3rd) was absent. 
    Slager said Hawk will do what the council asked. "We will go back to the ... drawing board and come back with more information and more detail," he said.



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