Chesterton Tribune

Seven Peaks seeks zoning OK to reopen Splash Down Dunes

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Seven Peaks Waterpark Porter, a Utah-based company, goes before the Porter Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday hoping to begin the process to re-open shuttered Splash Down Dunes.

The BZA meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the town hall. A preliminary hearing on a use variance to operate a waterpark/amusement center will take place; if the petition is in order, a future public hearing will be set.

Bruce Law, acting vice-president of marketing for Seven Peaks, said, “Our goal is to update the attractions, clean up the grounds, add boilers to heat the water and over time I’m sure we’ll add to the park and continue to improve it.”

Law indicated he’s not sure whether all the Splash Down Dunes rides can be saved after sitting idle since its closure in 2009, but he said the grounds definitely will be revitalized and maintained.

He also said Seven Peaks is always looking at properties around the country and Splash Down Dunes will be the company’s foothold in the Midwest where family entertainment attractions are popular.

In Utah, Seven Peaks owns and operates waterparks in Salt Lake and Provo, and three additional family fun centers in Orem, Lehi and Sandy.

As for the new jobs created at Splash Down Dunes, “I don’t have a number yet but our goal is to work with the local market,” said Law.

Town officials long have sought to do something about the blighted eyesore at Waverly Road and U.S. 20. Law said to-date the Town of Porter has been very supportive of Seven Peaks’ efforts.

In researching the Splash Down Dunes site, it was discovered that its previous zoning had expired and currently it’s a blank spot on the town zoning map. A use variance is needed to re-open before a new zoning designation is assigned.

According to the agenda, Wednesday’s BZA also will have a preliminary hearing for James and Heidi Gilliam seeking a variance at an undisclosed location; public hearings will be conducted for Tom Tarpley and John Ayala, who seek to locate two residential apartments on the ground floor at 200 S. Franklin St., and for Mary Lou de Groh, who wants to add a four-season room at 259 Spring View Dr.

At 7:30 p.m. or after the BZA has concluded, the Porter Plan Commission will address the lack of zoning for Splash Down Dunes and other parcels in the area. A public hearing will be conducted on a replat of the Johnson subdivision; no additional information was listed.



Posted 5/15/2012