Hamlet Council Revising Ordinances, Amid Comprehensive Plan Preparations

The Town of Hamlet is moving closer to creating a new comprehensive plan. Up to 90 percent of the cost is expected to be covered by grant funding distributed by the state. In order to qualify, the town council has begun the process of updating two of its ordinances.

The Fair Housing Ordinance was presented for first reading last week. Council members also discussed an updated ordinance related to the employee drug and alcohol policy. But council President Dave Kesvormas was concerned that the updated language provided by the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission didn’t explicitly list accidents as one of the circumstances that would allow the town to conduct a drug test. Town Attorney Martin Bedrock said he hadn’t had a chance to review the proposed ordinances prior to last week’s meeting.

Both ordinances are expected to be finalized during next week’s council meeting. Meanwhile, council members will hold a public hearing on the comprehensive plan funding this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at Hamlet Town Hall.

Communities around Starke County are creating or updating comprehensive plans, in preparation for a potential regional Stellar Community application. The plan is to apply next year, but Ron Gifford with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation told council members the new plans may not be ready in time. “I think there’s some concern about how quickly they can turn this around and whether or not it’s going to be timely for us to file the letter we need to file in April if we’re going to go forward in this cycle,” he explained. “So if it’s not going to be possible to complete that timely, then there’s a possibility that we would wait a year and do it the next time around.”

A Stellar Community designation would likely bring millions of dollars in state funding to the county, through grant opportunities with a smaller local match. This year’s Stellar Communities designees are expected to be announced tomorrow.