June 28, 2012 Town Council Minutes
Mr. Forbes called the meeting to order at 6:01 P.M. and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Roll call was taken with the following members present: Michael Forbes, President; Gregory Volk, Member; Ken Gembala, Member; Larry Bustamante, Member; David Austgen, Attorney; Steve Kil, Town Manager and Sherry Sury, Clerk-Treasurer. Also in attendance were Fred Frego, Police Chief and Chip Sobek, Parks Superintendent. Absent were Mark Barenie, Vice- President and Fred Willman, Fire Chief.
Approval of minutes: May 10, 2012 Regular Meeting, May 24, 2012 Executive Session and May 24, 2012 Regular meeting minutes - Mr. Gembala motioned to approve the minutes. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider Resolution #12-06-28, an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the Lake County Solid Waste Management District related to the proposed Ethanol Plant ‐ Mr. Forbes stated that they are committing their trash to the ethanol plant if and when it is built. This agreement will be used as collateral to attempt to acquire financing for the ethanol plant. It is a non-binding agreement. If they find the costs are not to their benefit they can back out of the agreement without penalty. The benefit to signing prior to July 18th is a stipend for being in the agreement. Mr. Austgen confirmed that there is not a risk in terms of the opting out of the garbage. However, in the agreement there is a twenty year relationship as a member of the Joint Interlocal Agreement. Once the Council joins it, it becomes a binding body. Mr. Volk motioned to approve Resolution #12-06-28. Seconded by Mr. Bustamante. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider appointment of members to the Waterworks Board ‐ Mr. Kil stated that this is in accordance in what the Council recently adopted in their new operation with the Utility Board. There needs to be three members of the Town Council appointed to this forum. Mr. Austgen added for the record that the reason it is three council members and not all the council members is that the Statute in Title XIII, Indiana Code 8-1.5 provides that the Board of Waterworks is a three member body, there is no option for expansion, other than three members. Mr. Volk nominated himself, Mr. Gembala and Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Bustamante. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Ordinance #1559, Anti-Nepotism and Contracting with Relatives Ordinance ‐ Mr. Forbes stated that this came from the State, it is not a mandate; however, if this is not approved the Town will not be able to present their budget. Discussion ensued. Mr. Gembala motioned to consider Ordinance #1559 on first reading. Seconded by Mr. Bustamante. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Mr. Gembala motioned to adopt Ordinance #1559. Seconded by Mr. Bustamante. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Mr. Austgen recommended that with the adoption of this Ordinance that the Clerk-Treasurer and Town Manager compile a list of all employees of the Town through July 1, 2012; that would be the baseline for identifying anyone that is entitled or is grandfathered or legal non-conforming pre the law. This would and should be made a public record. He recommends an agenda item at next month's regular monthly meeting be included that the list be presented and accepted on the public record and in the minutes. Then there will never be a question of whether someone was here before or after and whether the public law applies. Mr. Forbes agreed and stated that Mr. Kil will work with Ms. Sury to compile the list.
Opening of bids for Town Equipment and Vehicle Purchase ‐ Mr. Kil stated that there is a problem because the bid opening was advertised to begin at 7:00 P.M. not 6:00 P.M. Mr. Austgen stated that if the meeting concludes before 7:00 which is probable but not certain; the meeting should go into recess and at the conclusion of the Sanitary Board meeting, reconvene the recessed meeting to complete the business including the opening of bids related to the vintage fleet. Mr. Gembala motioned to move this item until the meeting reconvenes. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider donation for St. John Girls Softball League ‐ concession and restroom facilities at Heartland Park ‐ Mr. Austgen stated that the Council is permitted to contribute as they deem appropriate from the appropriate fund; this is in partial consideration of the long term lease that is contemplated and they (Attorney Austgen) are in the drafting stages of. It was not ready for tonight; it was not ready for advance review but they will have a lease very shortly. It is his understanding that this monetary amount was a partial consideration of the arrangement or agreement between the Town and that entity. He would recommend that the partial consideration be authorized tonight and they can anticipate on next month's regular monthly agenda a lease. Mr. Gembala emphasized that this money is for a Town building that will be on Town property. Discussion ensued. Mr. Volk motioned to make a donation to the St. John Girls' Softball field in the amount not to exceed $50,000.00. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Mr. Austgen suggested that the donation be identified as the partial consideration for the anticipated long term lease.
Mr. Volk amended the motion to include that the donation be in partial consideration of the long term lease. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider donation to St. John Volunteer Fire Department for the maintenance of the Training Site ‐ Mr. Forbes stated this is a yearly amount that the Council donates for the training site of the Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Gembala added that the training site is not owned by the Town, the Fire Department built it with all their own labor and donations. They maintain it themselves and the costs including maintenance, insurance and utilities (water and NIPSCO). Mr. Bustamante motioned to give a donation to the St. John Volunteer Fire Department Training Site. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Approval of Pay Estimate No. 1 (One) for Walsh & Kelly in the amount of $1,084.23 (One Thousand Eighty-Four Dollars and Twenty-Three Cents) for 2012 CDBG Project ‐ Mr. Kil confirmed that this is the project done in the Watts Subdivision. The county will pay $44,900.58; the Town's total amount for this project is $1,084.23. He added the project is basically complete except for some restoration and they are holding a retainage for that part of the project. Mr. Volk motioned to pay Estimate No. 1 to Walsh & Kelly in the amount of $1,084.23. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider approval of consulting agreement with Solomon, Cordwell & Buenz for Marketing Plan for Town of St. John ‐ Mr. Forbes stated that the Town's EDC has been active meeting wise in how to promote the Town commercially. Mr. Kil (a member of the EDC) stated that a problem the EDC is having is they do not have anything to present to potential businesses that represents demographic information on the Town. This company will develop the plan; this is the same company that developed the Town's Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. This includes a booklet of 8-10 pages. Discussion ensued about the requirement to have three quotes and the price not to exceed $20,000.00, with an actual total of $18,350.00. Mr. Austgen stated that the message Mr. Kil can take back to the Commission is that the Council is looking for additional proposals/qualifications with pricing so they have a recommendation on the full panorama of “like” requests. Mr. Forbes added that they need a little clarification of what businesses they are trying to pursue. He summarized that they need two more bids, qualifications of the bidders, and basically direction. Mr. Austgen stated that they have a body working on that; setting those parameters for the body would/could in most instances result in a recommendation of the body based upon obtaining all that data to this Council. At the end of the day they are doing the work; just like the Council gets recommendations from any of the Boards and Commissions to act on or not act on. Mr. Volk stated that he would like to see who they are doing this marketing for and who they are trying to attract. Discussion ensued. Mr. Volk motioned to defer this item. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider RES #12-06-28A, a resolution authorizing an extension of the Temporary Loan of Funds ‐ Ms. Sury stated that she only has an loan extension for the Sanitary District and does not have any temporary loan extensions for approval for the Town Council, there are no outstanding loans. Mr. Kil stated that this needs to be removed from the agenda as it is a Sanitary District item. Discussion confirmed that it was a Sanitary District Loan. Mr. Gembala motioned to remove from the agenda. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider special exception request for a sport court at 10119 South Branch (Hunter Atkins) (unfavorable recommendation) ‐ Mr. Forbes stated that he has been asked to open the floor for discussion. He is not going to do that. He believes it is completely inappropriate to do that; the BZA held their meeting on Monday night, the Public Hearing was held, was properly noticed, discussion was held there, public comment was taken there, he believes it would be inappropriate to open up and continue that discussion. He stated that he will entertain a motion regarding the unfavorable recommendation from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Gembala stated that he would to note that at that time when that information was provided, their unfavorable recommendation included the findings of fact. Two neighbors spoke against the request, and it was presented as a community court and that was the findings by the BZA. Mr. Volk motioned to accept the BZA's unfavorable recommendation based on the findings of fact by the BZA and to deny the variance. An Unidentifiable resident requested to speak (inaudible) and Mr. Forbes stated that the floor is not open to the public Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider special exception request for a sport court on vacant lot near 9792 Rosewood Court (Pat Hennessy) (unfavorable recommendation) - Mr. Bustamante motioned to accept the unfavorable recommendation from the BZA incorporating the finding of facts and denying the variance. Mr. Gembala referenced the information the BZA gave to the Council regarding this request. The request received an un-favorable recommendation, request was previously denied by the Home Owners Association and there was an attorney representing some homeowners remonstrating against the request. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Consider variance of use request for home based business at 8770 Tapper Street (Michael Lazowski) (unfavorable recommendation) - Mr. Volk motioned to accept the unfavorable recommendation from the BZA incorporating the finding of facts and to deny the request for a home based business at 8770 Tapper Street. Mr. Gembala added that the unfavorable recommendation included with the information they received was that the individual is a police officer and his guns and ammo would be used for a SWAT Team; the concern by the BZA is there is no way to regulate any additional sales that would occur. There is no way to restrict the home sales of firearms or ammunition. Seconded by Mr. Bustamante. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0. Mr. Lazowski requested to speak and Mr. Forbes stated that the floor was not open to the public.
Consider consultant agreement for 2012 Haunted House ‐ Mr. Forbes stated that the contract is identical to what it has been for the past couple of years with the exception of the amount paid to the Consultants which would be $7,000 this year as opposed to the $6,000 paid last year. Discussion ensued. Mr. Bustamante motioned to accept the agreement. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0. Mr. Forbes added that he will present the budget for the Haunted House at the next Council meeting.
Reports & Correspondence
Mr. Gembala asked for a couple of “No Parking” signs at Prairie Park West on the West Oak Ridge, east side of the street, the park side, Discussion ensued.
Mr. Bustamante asked why there is not a “Welcome to St. John” sign on the east side of Town on 93rd Avenue, discussion ensued regarding the location of the sign and Mr. Forbes stated that it is in the works. Mr. Bustamante also inquired about the two signs on 97th (Homestead Acres) off of Route 41 and stated that they look terrible. Mr. Kil stated that there is an entrance sign in the median and belongs to the subdivision. Mr. Volk stated that it could use some updating and Mr. Forbes disagreed and stated that it would be the developer's responsibility. Mr. Forbes stated that the Welcome sign on 93rd is on the Council's to do list when they have time. Mr. Volk asked if they had an association there, (Homestead Acres). Mr. Kil stated that there is no association. If anything Mr. Forbes stated that he would suggest taking it out and it is an odd place for the sign on the island. Mr. Kil asked if it should be removed, Mr. Forbes stated that no one would miss it and asked for feedback. Mr. Volk stated that used to be the entrance for the subdivision and Mr. Forbes stated that the majority of the traffic comes in off 97th Lane from US 41 and asked if there was a sign there. Mr. Kil stated that this is where the sign is at. Discussion ensued regarding the two island locations dedicated to the town and are considered (public right-of-ways) for these signs and the uncertainty of responsibility.
Mr. Forbes stated that he had several requests to purchase:
The fence at Heartland Park that separates Silverleaf from the boy's baseball field behind the Ice Arena is our property and responsibility. Discussion ensued regarding the three options for repair of the panels and reinforcement. Mr. Volk motioned to approve the $16,400.00 to D&C Fence for Heartland Park fence repairs. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Need to purchase of 8,500 gallons of 87 octane for $27,200.00. Mr. Gembala motioned to approve the purchase of 8,500 gallons of octane for $27,200.00. Seconded by Mr. Bustamante. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Request from Jason, IT, for renewal of license agreements for GIS and a couple of other items for $2,740.00. Discussion ensued. Mr. Gembala motioned to approve the license renewals. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Request to pave parking lot at Heron Lake, (ski hill) Mr. Forbes stated that he would like to review first and will have ready for the next meeting.From Parks & Recreation to replace a swing set in Patnoe Park for $2,596.00. Mr. Bustamante motioned to approve the new swing set. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Clerk-Treasurer ‐ None Staff
Mr. Kil stated that he would like to hire a man to work at the Farmers Market for the summer. His name is Stephen Letz, 2307 Flint Court in Dyer. He will be paid out of the Farmer's Market fund and is out there every Sunday. Discussion ensued. Mr. Bustamante motioned to hire Stephen Letz as summer help at the Farmer's Market. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Chief Frego gave the May Activity Report for the Police Department.
Mr. Sobek reported all the programs all going smoothly this summer; concert attendance is pretty good and everything is pretty much okay.
Payment of Bills for the Corporation APV's #7899 to #8136 in the amount of $1,353,256.15 - Mr. Bustamante motioned to approve APV's #7899 to #8136 in the amount of $1,353,256.15. Seconded by Mr. Volk. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Adrian Bugariu, 11747 West 90th Avenue ‐ Demands the immediate resignations of Frego, Fryzel, Dodaro, Kil, Bustamante, Austgen, etc.
Ms. Christine Conroy, 10102 South Branch ‐ stated that there is a neighbor that consistently leaves their pool uncovered; they do not have a fence and is located next to a park where young children play. Several neighbors contacted the Town and were basically told they (the Town) cannot enforce that code. What can the Council do? Discussion ensued about the owner being in the house leaving the pool uncovered, it is a retractable cover. Mr. Forbes stated that he would like to research further. She asked if she should attend the next meeting. Discussion ensued and she asked if she should video it for them.
Lu Ann Franklin, Reporter, The Times Newspaper ‐ asked if there is not a State law that supersedes St. John law that states that there must be a fence around a pool. She stated that she knows that that has been a question in her neighborhood in Munster and they have been told that, yes, there must be a fence around any kind of in-ground pool and above could have a cover. She asked if they could check on state law because that has been a major issue in the community where she lives. Mr. Austgen stated that he is familiar with State Law and it does not require a fence if there is a cover. Discussion ensued regarding the time frame into checking into this and documenting.
Mr. Dan Steiner, Steiner Homes LTD ‐ asked if there is an appeal process after being denied at the BZA and not being considered by the Town Council. He is referring to the Hunter Atkins sports court. Mr. Austgen stated that his appeal for the adverse ruling from the Town Council following the public hearing process at the BZA is through the courts. Mr. Steiner stated that Mr. Atkins never said it was a community court. It is 30 by 40 feet; you can have a 3 point arc in there. They met all the ordinances; if you look at most pools they take up almost the size as a shooting pad in the backyard. He already poured the concrete pad and was not aware of the city ordinance for the sports court. The Atkins asked him if they could have a sports court when they purchased the house and he told them yes. All the neighbors are in support except for one adverse person and that is the person who owns the pool and does not keep the cover closed. He asked if they can reconsider the decision.
Mr. Hunter Atkins and his emotionally upset son - 10119 South Branch ‐ stated that they have been in St. John for 13 years, moved away for job concerns and moved back two years later. They love St. John. Their son has a goal to become a college basketball player; that pad is made for him to use 90-95% of the time. This is not a community park ‐ he never said that ‐ he said the neighbors are welcome to come. The one man that objected has reconsidered and signed the document agreeing to the sports pad. He has given his blood, sweat and tears to the community and has coached like 40 seasons in the St. John community. He has never had any problems. It's not going to be a bunch of kids with the radio blasting. His property does not butt up to the objector's property. They are doing additional landscaping. They had a sports pad in their previous home in St. John. He stated that he was told that they would have floor time to get another vote and yet they will not even let us speak. They have their neighbors there to support them, the coach from Lake Central is here to support their son and tell them about his character along with their current neighbors and previous St. John neighbors. Ms. Atkins stated that they are doing additional landscaping and when they lived here for 13 years, they did have a basketball pad in their backyard, we never in a million years dreamed that this would ever be an issue or if it would have been, she would have reconsidered building in St. John. Her husband is allergic to dogs and cats and we don't have an option of getting an existing home so anywhere in this town we will run into this. Mr. Atkins stated that he asked Terry (Building & Planning Department) two times what was needed for the public hearing; the green cards, return receipts, list from the assessor's office and the proof of two publications. He was blindsided when they started asking about drainage, etc.at the BZA hearing. Mr. and Mrs. Atkins continued on with their overall concerns and their denial for approval regarding the matter.
Mr. Forbes stated that he does not feel it is a matter of blindsiding or numbers; truthfully, the builder should have known better, should have been prepared. Mr. Atkins stated that he understands that; both he and Mr. Steiner overlooked it. They lived here for 13 years and it was never an issue. There is a basketball pad in their neighborhood right now; he's a politician in the county and he wants to know if it went through the 2011 BZA meeting because it's in there. He's pleading that they reconsider.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any thoughts. Mr. Bustamante asked if they should look into it. Mr. Forbes stated that he didn't think anything was going to change. Mr. Volk stated that they could take another look at it. Mr. Atkins offered a comment and was denied by Mr. Forbes and stated that he could not address them and asked Mr. Austgen if they could they take any action on this. Mr. Austgen stated that they can remand it back to the BZA, that's where the administrative hearing was held. It was not opened to the floor at this meeting so they did not reconvene the public hearing here; so they have that option. Mr. Volk asked if it would hold up the process for the BZA or just pick up on where they were. Mr. Austgen recommended that they give notice to everyone so that no one is missed that would have an interest, would have a concern or comment. Mr. Forbes asked if they would have to go through the whole process again and notification to all neighbors. Mr. Austgen stated that they would not have to reapply and would not recommend that there be a reapplication fee and there would be the notification in the same manner to the list. Mr. Forbes stated that basically if they remanded it back to the BZA, they can address it again because it is one of our options. There has to be notification to everyone within 300 feet of them again and there has to be documentation that those individuals were noticed and present it to the BZA. Mr. Gembala stated that it is not allowed because the Town has always had problems. Just recently they had a problem where the pad went in and the landscaper didn't care and there were drainage problems in another yard. The Town is reluctant to give exceptions because it causes problems. Mr. Forbes added it is not a commentary on sports or basketball or families. It is the functions, the locations, and the effect on the neighbors. Mr. Forbes stated that he would entertain a motion to remand the special exception for the sports court request at 10119 S. Branch back to the BZA for further review. Mr. Austgen suggested that in advance of doing that; you solicit a withdrawal of the action that was taken and then subsequent motion being the remand. Mr. Forbes stated that he would entertain a motion to rescind the previous action on the sports court at 10119 S. Branch. Mr. Bustamante made the motion. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Mr. Forbes stated that he would entertain a motion to remand the sports court request at 10119 S. Branch back to the BZA for further review. Mr. Bustamante made the motion. Seconded by Mr. Gembala. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0. Mr. Forbes told the Atkins' to talk to Mr. Kil and figure out when they can schedule the meeting, make sure they get their notifications out, this is about the court. Bring all their drawings, bring all their plans, and make sure drainage is addressed; they are going to have a list of things they are going to consider. Discussion ensued. Mr. Forbes stated that the function is the greatest concern; having a lot of bodies there is probably not going to be helpful. You can have people there but in his experience it does not help. Mr. Atkins asked if people should sign a petition; Mr. Forbes replied either way, whatever they feel is appropriate; he does not feel the decision was based on the remonstrance. Discussion ensued. Mr. Austgen stated that Mr. Forbes' comments are not to be construed as Council or advice on how to proceed that is their burden, Mr. Steiner needs to read our book and figure it out so this does not happen again and that this is no guarantee.
Irene, (last name and address inaudible) stated that she lives in the Edgewood Subdivision ‐ she commented that the reason they moved into their subdivision is because they allowed them to have a basketball court. Their neighbor's first had the same fears the Atkins neighbors have but now they love it and also expressed her support for the Atkins.
Lesa DeJong, 10135 South Branch ‐ stated that the Town needs to take care of the speeders; one reason they want the sports court is so the kids are not running into the street after a basketball. Discussion ensued. She stated that they have had two trees stolen from their front yard. She asked that there should be some sort of speeding awareness campaign and also offered her support for the Atkins. Discussion ensued.
Ms. Laura Mentgen, 10095 South Branch ‐ stated that she agrees with Ms. DeJong that something needs to be done about the speeding. People cut through Lake Hills and drive down Parkside, she has seen two wrecks in that area; it is very bad in that area. She also said they have been egged twice since they lived there ‐ it has been only their cars. She has seen young boys skateboarding in the neighborhood that do not belong there; she has seen them walking with their skateboards with eggs in their hand. Discussion ensued.
Mike Lazowski, 8770 Tapper ‐ asked why he was denied his variance. Mr. Forbes stated that the BZA thought it was an inappropriate business in a residential district; there was no way to control the business if it was given the approval. There is no way the Town can put restrictions on home sales. Mr. Lazowski stated that when he began this process Chief Frego said there were two people in Town that have a license to do this; the BZA told him that Chief Frego told them there were not any people in Town that have a license to do this. When in fact there are two people in Town that have licenses; one lives approximately 3-4 blocks away from him that also advertises on the Internet. The difference between them and him is that he is a police officer and he is not getting this to open up a business, he is getting this to benefit a SWAT Team that responds to over 30 communities that does over 100 high risk search warrants a year not to mention 8-12 barricaded gunmen/hostage rescues. This is why he is getting a license, to benefit those. He was told by the BZA, that what benefit does this have to St. John and he stated in return that that it could benefit St. John; he could also supply the police department cheaper ammunition or other officers if they choose to buy a weapon. This is not a business he chooses to open up; this is not a business that is here for a profit; this is a license to be obtained to help officers putting their lives on the line on the high risk stuff. Ordinary people call the police for help, when the police need help, they call this team. These are the people that this town is denying.
Mr. Forbes stated that he appreciates his passion, he is a police officer but he fully believes this is an inappropriate business for a residential district. Mr. Gembala stated that the business he mentioned began in 1986 before these requirements were established. Mr. Lazowski stated that every three years when the other business renews his license he must meet all village requirements. Mr. Gembala said because they are grandfathered in; they do not have to meet subsequent ordinance requirements. Discussion ensued.
Mr. Lazowski stated that the second business is Gerald Hancock at 12042 West 97th Lane; the Town will investigate. Mr. Lazowski asked if this is a standing decision and Mr. Forbes stated that it was as far as he was concerned. Mr. Gembala agreed. Discussion ensued.
Opening of bids for Town Equipment and Vehicle purchase
Mr. Forbes stated that Item D was deferred because the advertisement for the bid opening we were going to accept bids until 7:00 and it is now 7:40 past the deadline for acceptance of the town equipment. Mr. Austgen stated he has reviewed the notice to bidders and they are in good order, have been timely published and the bids are properly received.
Mr. Austgen proceeded to open the bids ‐ Exhibit 1.
Mr. Volk motioned to take the bids under advisement. Seconded by Mr. Gembala\. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0.
Adjournment ‐ Mr. Gembala motioned to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Mr. Bustamante. Motion passed with a vote of 4-0. Meeting adjourned at 7:45 P.M.
/s/ Sherry P. Sury Clerk-Treasurer