On Monday, the Porter County Plan Commission will continue its series of
meetings reviewing and possibly approving proposed amendments to the county
Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
Having approved changes to the UDO regarding minor subdivisions and LED
signage on Nov. 2, the commission will turn its attention to three more
proposals including changes to the Planned Unit Development (UDO) ordinance.
Plan Commission Executive Director Bob Thompson said the county has not
formed a PUD since the existing UDO was enacted in 2008. The standards were
essentially eliminated and this new amendment will help reestablish them.
PUDs are mixed-use properties whose features and regulations are different
than adjacent areas and are agreed upon by the developer and county
Enacting the new PUD standards will help lessen the number of requested
variances which have been seen for every development that has come before
the county since the existing UDO was established.
Another proposal concerns amending the UDOís section on development plans.
It suggests that any smaller projects for commercial, institutional,
industrial or multi-family will be viewed by a development review committee
rather than the 9-member plan commission. Thompson said an amendment was
made about 2005 that required these plans to be presented to the plan
commission for its approval and the amendment reverts back to having them
screened by the committee instead.
Larger projects in those zoned areas will still need to be petitioned to the
plan commission for its approval.
The third amendment deals with the UDOís guidelines on property maintenance
and determines what would be considered a possible threat for the publicís
health and safety such as dilapidated machinery, unkempt areas and swimming
pools, and unmanaged vegetation.
The amendment regarding modifications to the countyís stormwater ordinance
will be held off until a later date in order to allow planners enough time
to look over a draft of the proposal. It is likely the board will meet to
discuss it in December, Thompson said.
There are a total of six amendments in all. A committee was formed in
February when President and County Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, asked
that the UDO be looked at to determine where its troubled areas were. The
plan was designed mainly to guide large subdivisions without taking into
account small subdivision developments, Adams said.
At an earlier meeting this month, the commission approved 7-2 regulations
for minor subdivisions (parcels that include a maximum of four lots). Such
developments will be reviewed by the development review committee instead of
the plan commission and forgoes a requirement to hold a public hearing. The
major subdivision ordinance, for parcels with five or more lots, will remain
as it is.
A unanimous vote pushed for an amendment to be made to the ordinances that
relate to signage requirements. The county will now allow LED billboards in
industrial areas as long as the four regular billboards are removed.
The plan commission will meet in the Commissionerís chambers or Suite 205 of
the Porter County Administration Building (155 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso) at
6:30 p.m. Monday.