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Feature Stories for Thursday, April 5, 2001

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

Housing plan gets city OK

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - A divided City Council on Monday approved developer Tom Fleming's plan to put townhouses on Broadway on the east end of his Penn Oak Farms subdivision.
     Fleming intends to build 74 townhouse units on the 16 acres. The land stretches about 2,000 feet along Broadway, in the middle of the block between 113th Avenue and U.S. 231.
     Fleming needed the city to rezone the land from B-2 business to R-3 residential. The council did so by a 4-2 vote.
Council members Paul Bremer, R-1st, and Pam Roth, R-3rd, voted against the rezone. Roth questioned the wisdom of abandoning the B-2 zone, which she thought could bring more tax revenue to the city.
Fleming argued a mix of business and residential along Broadway would be better than business all the way down the road.
     Councilman James Wirtz, R-at large, recalling two-decade hopes for business development along Broadway, argued "this piece of property wouldn't be developed as business in my lifetime."
    Fleming added that the townhouses would add less traffic to Broadway than businesses. Also, there is substantially more green space with the residential development than there would be with a retail development, Fleming said.
    The townhouses will be 1,300 to 1,600 square feet and sell for $119,000 to $149,000, Fleming said.
    There will be two entrances to the main driveway. Each home will have a two-car garage at the rear of the building, and there will be as many as four outside parking spaces for each unit.
     The building design will conform to the city's style requirements along the Broadway corridor.
     The townhouses will be separated from the single-family housing in Penn Oaks by a large wetland area.
Included in the zoning approval is a commitment by Fleming not to put apartment buildings on the land. The R-3 zone allows construction of apartments, but city officials are opposed to their construction.
     There are several steps in the approval process before Fleming can proceed with the project. The Board of Zoning Appeals and City Council must approve a special-use variance, which is required for all multi-family housing, and the Plan Commission must approve a site plan.

END

Grants will aid C.L. projects

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

CEDAR LAKE - The town has been awarded over $250,000 in state Build Indiana funds to repair structures within the town.
The first, a $151,000 grant, has been set aside to repair the town's historical Lake of the Red Cedars Museum.
     "We asked for $175,000 but we got a little less than that. The museum is in bad shape and needs emergency repairs in the basement," explained Town Manager Tim Brown.
     Half of the building is constructed with support by using 10-by-10 beams. Of the 11 supports eight have deteriorated at least half way.
     "It was so bad that one of the supports crumbled to pieces when touched," commented Brown.
Additionally, there is no drainage in the basement, with levels rising up to three feet at times.
     "We are going to have to create some sort of drainage system for the building. Also there is a linear crack in the basement floor that is approximately one inch wide that needs to be taken care of," said Brown.
     The goal is to have this construction completed before year's end.
      Along with the museum, the Cedar Lake Enhancement Association received $100,000 for 2001 to take the required steps to dredge the lake.
     Included in these will be a round of water sampling throughout the lake, finalizing the feasibility study and recommendations to improve water quality from the five sample inlets, and providing stream bank stabilization on Sleepy Hollow Ditch along with a geotechnical analysis for a future wetland filter for the ditch.
     In related news the town has scheduled Spring Clean Up Days for April 24-28 at the public works department.
     Proof of residence within the town will be required, and no contractors or contracted deliveries accepted.
     Accepted materials consist of furniture, tires, appliances, scrap metal and miscellaneous unwanted items. Hours are 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on April 24-27 and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 28.

END

Board hears lake water concerns

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

WINFIELD - Residents concerned about the potential move to a Lake Michigan water supply packed Monday's Water Works Board meeting.
     Greg Bird, a two-year resident of Trees, was a customer of the proposed water provider, Indiana-American Water Company, Inc., when he lived in Schererville.
     "There was nothing wrong with the quality of water I was getting, (but) the pressure from the faucets was terrible," he said.
     The water company has said that once homeowners tap into its system, they must disconnect their personal wells.
     "Does this mean that even if the pressure per pound is substandard that I am stuck with this?" questioned Bird.
The six-member board stated that performance standards will be included in any agreement with IAWC.
     "IAWC is working on making a continual loop of services within the town that would increase the pressure. The more internal loops we have the higher our pressure will be," said board member Rebecca Melanson.
     Other residents complained that they could be forced to pay for something they don't want. The project will add an average of $428 to property taxes for 20 years.
     "I feel as if I have no say so as to what I am going to have to pay for my property," commented Mike Stevens, a Trees resident.
     Board members argued that the project's positive aspects, including increased property values and guaranteed water supply, outweigh the negatives.
     Seventy percent of affected homeowners must approve of the project for IAWC to provide service. To date, 86 of 104 Trees homeowners have agreed to the project, or 84 percent. In Hidden Creek, only 46 of 100 homeowners have approved.

END

 

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