Electronic billboard debate for Ind. 49 delayed

Chesterton Town Hall

Chesterton Town Hall

The question and debate over whether the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group will be able to convert its billboard at Coffee Creek into a dynamic, electronic sign has been delayed a month.

Chesterton’s Advisory Plan Commission at its Thursday meeting granted the law group’s request to delay a review of the case in a preliminary hearing until the plan commission’s next meeting July 21.

Longtime Chesterton resident Paul Petro, during the public comment portion of the meeting, said he was opposed to an electronic billboard on Ind. 49. He noted that a good friend of his was involved in a collision where someone ran into the back of his vehicle, near the Toll Road exit on Ind. 49

“I don’t think we need any more distractions on Route 49,” Petro said. “There is no need for distractions to take away from concentration on the road.”

The billboard originally was owned by the Lake Erie Land Company until the property lot was sold to Allen. The law firm is having new offices built next to the sign. There is some question about how the billboard became a permanent fixture, and Associate Town Attorney Charles Parkinson asked Allen’s representative, Bill Ferngren, to support his case with historical research.

If the present billboard becomes an electronic sign, it would be the largest of its type in Chesterton.

The Coffee Creek development is ruled by a Planned Unit Development agreement, which is why the owner has to approach the town for permission on the sign. The Town Council would make the final decision after the Advisory Plan Commission makes its recommendation.

The Advisory Plan Commission set a public hearing for July 21 to determine whether the Thomas T. Roberts trust can replat a six-acre property on Michael Drive to accommodate six single-family houses.

The process involved changing the zoning for the property, which is located on the back side of Duneland Cove, to R-1 for single-family homes. The property had been originally zoned for B-3 business, with one lot an R-3 for multifamily housing.

There will also be a public hearing on July 21 for PSR, LLC concerning a lift station that is required for a development at County Road 1100 N.

Attorney Gregory Babcock said that the agreement would allow the developer to build the lift station, which would then be taken over by the town. A backup generator is required for the lift station. The development, projected to have 36 single-family houses, is regulated by the 1100 Woods Planned Unit Development agreement.

The Advisory Plan Commission agreed that they would meet in a special meeting on June 28 to consider an amendment to a Planned Unit Development agreement with the Springdale subdivision that would allow at least one property owner to erect a six-foot fence along County Road 1050 N .

Part of the reason for the delay on the action was that Sean and Sandra Evans were the only ones out of four property owners that petitioned for the change. Under the advisement of Assistant Town Attorney Julie A. Paulson, the other petitioners had to be present or submit power of attorney before the matter would be considered.

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