The Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission decided Monday that having a
version of the town code online that hasn’t been updated is causing more
problems than it’s worth.
Members agreed to pull the link from the town website until conflicting
versions of the ordinances are resolved.
President Jeff Freeze, one of three Town Council members on the commission,
said of the online code, “It’ll be back there very quickly.”
Building Commissioner Bill Arney said the discrepancies are causing problems
for him and his staff; a builder of apartments going up in town believes one
certificate of occupancy is all that’s needed, said Arney, even though each
living unit needs to be inspected individually and an inspector paid to do
Arney said he has packets prepared for contractors/developers with updated
ordinances and those getting a packet sign that they’ve received them, but
they’re apparently not reading them and relying on the website instead.
“I’m just looking for a way to all stay on the same page,” said Arney.
“If it’s not what Bill’s going by, we need to pull (the web page) down,”
said Freeze. “I want to see the current code up there and that’s it.”
Plan Commission secretary Tyler DeMar said he plans to present the Town
Council April 11 with a proposal to get and keep the website version of the
town code accurate. Freeze said a solution could be a disclaimer that the
web version is for reference only and not intended to be a complete
Arney also noted the town code doesn’t appear to require a fee for signs
under $1,000 in four zoning districts. The commission recommended a building
permit-fee addition of $75 or 10 percent of the cost of the sign, whichever
is larger, in the Residential/Commercial 2, Downtown, Business Park and
On another matter, after months of discussion going back to 2011 the
commission voted 6-0 with Jan Hines absent to allow developer John Miller to
fill in approximately 74 feet of a drainage ditch with a culvert to increase
the usable rear yard of a home on Lake Park Avenue at the east cul-de-sac in
the Parkwood Estates subdivision.
Hesham Khalil of town engineer Global Engineering and Surveying said the
plans submitted by and discussed with Miller’s engineer are now
satisfactory. Commission attorney Charles Parkinson said there’s not a
formal process for what Miller’s asking but it seems to be related to
construction details of the plat approval so this could be considered a
variance to them.
The motion was to allow Miller to modify his existing construction details
to conform with the drawing as submitted and approved.
Commission member Bernie Poparad asked if there is a way for the town to
recoup the legal, engineering and related fees its incurred reviewing
Miller’s request. Parkinson said yes, and Miller agreed to pay upon invoice.
The motion was amended to include the payment requirement.
In other business, the commission discussed the long back-up of vehicles on
U.S. 12 when trains block the crossing into steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s east
gate. Khalil said the town could contact the Indiana Department of
Transportation seeking an additional lane there to permit U.S. 12
through-traffic to move.
It was noted the east gate itself is in the Town of Porter and a joint
effort was suggested to lobby for intersection improvements. A regional
transportation committee also is studying the matter.