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Feature Stories for Thursday, October 4, 2001

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
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Variance for C.L. eatery passes

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

CEDAR LAKE - The Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously passed a variance petition last week that will allow Sergio Urquiza to build a wrought iron fence around the front of his proposed restaurant, Mira Bella, located in the old bank building at 13200 Lake Shore Drive, and to build a 12-foot screen wall that will shelter the outdoor patio.
     "The purpose of the fence and screen wall is to improve the look of the restaurant and provide safety for our patrons," architect Jim Keilman said.     "Outside of the fence we are planning to construct a sidewalk."
     Town ordinance only allows a 3-foot screen wall to be constructed, making a variance necessary. Members of the board questioned whether a 12-foot high wall was really necessary.
"The purpose of the wall is to block oncoming headlights from vehicles driving down Lake Shore Drive," answered Keilman.
     But "the deck or patio that you are talking about is elevated and I cannot see how headlights would be shining directly into were your customers will be eating," said board member Tim Kubiak.
     Keilman told the board that Urquiza also plans to put a sign on the wall to advertise his business.
     Police Chief Charles Kouder said that he has no problems with a sidewalk or fence being constructed on the property.
     Kubiak added, "I just want to make sure that this fence is aesthetically similar to the other businesses surrounding it."
     In other business, the BZA unanimously passed a petition to allow Larry Stenger, 10819 West 133rd Avenue, to build another windmill on his property.



200-acre annex proposed

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT Local developers led by Whiteco Industries hope to have about 200 acres of land between Court Street and Cedar Lake Road south of Burrell Drive annexed to the city so they can build nearly 1,000 housing units on it.
     The City Council on Monday set a public hearing for its December meeting on the annexation of the first parcel of land for the proposed Feather Rock development, which would include townhouses, duplexes, row houses, and single-family homes.
    Attorney Richard Anderson, representing the developers, said the complete parcel would have to be annexed in three parts in order to meet a state law that requires one-eighth of the border of an annexed area to be contiguous to the city's border.
     Because only a small part of the parcel touches the current city limits, only 31.1 acres can be annexed at first. That will make possible a second annexation of 63.6 acres, which in turn will make possible a final annexation of 105 acres.
     That did not meet the satisfaction of Councilman James Wirtz, R-at large, who thought that multiple annexations went against the spirit of the law.
     The developers were asking officials "to take a chunk of land out in the middle of nowhere and hang it to the city of Crown Point," Wirtz said.
He repeated complaints he has made since his last stint on the council about "islands" of unincorporated land, like the fairgrounds, and other annexations with tenuous links to the city.
     "I'm tired of our city looking like a hodgepodge," he said.
      Other officials, though, thought the annexation could fit into a long-term plan for the area immediately south of the city.
      Besides the possibility of annexing more land south of Burrell Drive, council members discussed the opportunity to control the extension of Burrell to Cedar Lake Road to handle traffic from the new high school.
     Also, Councilman Michael Conquest, R-at large, said annexation would give the city the opportunity control development and to make sure sewer problems are addressed.
     "That area, whether we bring it (into the city) or leave it out, is going to be developed," Conquest pointed out.
     Anderson said sewers in Feather Rock would connect to Ellendale Farms. The Fleming family, which is developing Ellendale, is involved in Feather Rock too, he said.
     Before December's public hearing, the matter will be reviewed by the council's Annexation Committee, which is chaired by Wirtz and includes Robert Corbin, R-5th, and Steven Farley, R-2nd.


For questions concerning the Star Newspaper or content on their articles, please contact
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P.O. Box 419
Crown Point, IN 46307
(219) 663-4212

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