Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Town of Porter: 70 cats is 64 too many

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Porter town officials said Tuesday they’re intensifying their efforts to remove about 70 cats from a man’s home near First Street and Main Street north of Hjelm Road. At one time more than 100 cats were living at the residence, said Porter building commissioner Art Elwood.

“We’ve involved every agency but still have a problem,” said Elwood after the Town Council meeting. He and town attorney Patrick Lyp reported the Porter County Health Department and Porter County Animal Control will be contacted again with court action a very real possibility; a town citation already has been written.

Elwood said Adult Protective Services earlier determined the owner of the cats is competent. Town code limits the number of approved animals allowed in a residential zone to six.

Last summer, Elwood explained, Porter town firefighters entered the feces-ridden home with breathing apparatus to sort out the situation. At that time feral cats and dead cats were found, he alleged, and cats were eating kittens. Elwood said since then about 40 cats were placed with others while the Porter County Animal Shelter has been removing cats to be spayed/neutered but returns them to their lawful owner.

Elwood estimated as of Tuesday about 60 to 80 cats were at the home. Short of cooperation from the resident, a court order would have to be obtained by the town to force removal of the animals and a clean-up of the property.

When asked why it’s taken so long to resolve the situation, Elwood said the town has been working through the required avenues with the appropriate agencies.

On another matter, Lyp said he and Elwood are requiring a more efficient way for Carl Dahlin to park cars on his commercially zoned property at Porter Beach. Town resident Robert Kuna told the council that recently the backed-up parking resulted in a traffic jam at Porter Beach that created a nuisance. Lyp said waiting cars can’t stack on a public road. “What happened on that weekend can’t happen in the future.” Kuna said it’s well past time the situation was addressed.

Golf cart regs enacted

The Town Council adopted under suspension of the rules an ordinance regulating the use of golf carts on public streets. Council president Michele Bollinger said the process will be trial-and-error with the ordinance amended in the future if needed as circumstances warrant.

Modeled after Chesterton’s ordinance, Porter’s allows for the operation of golf carts on streets within its jurisdiction except on Indiana 49, U.S. 20 and U.S. 12 or at any grade crossing of either highway. Operators must be a licensed driver and carry written proof of insurance for the cart, which must obey all traffic regulations applicable to motor vehicles, display a slow-moving-vehicle emblem and be limited to daylight operation unless equipped with headlamps.

No overnight parking of golf carts on public streets is allowed, and the use of golf carts by town employees/public safety personnel is exempt from ordinance regulations. The number of occupants in a golf cart is limited to the vehicle’s factory-rated capacity and all occupants must be seated during operation.

Bollinger said, “We hope common sense prevails with residents and they won’t be out there in an ice storm with their golf carts.” Vote was 3-0 with members Jon Granat and Michael Genger absent.

Gateway input sought July 28

Bollinger announced a special open house July 28 at 7 p.m. at the town hall for the public to learn about the planned Gateway to the Indiana Dunes projects about to begin. Porter received a $1.8 million grant for Phase 1 work with a request for $17.2 million more pending.

“We want people to come and ask questions about the studies, how money’s being spent and about the proposed plans,” said Bollinger. An introductory overview will take place with consultants later hosting individual break-out groups.

Described will be the highway aesthetic enhancements, subarea designs for where retail and related tourism development would go, and three tentative routes for Porter’s four-mile leg of the new Dunes Kankakee hike/bike trail, which also will pass through Chesterton. Porter Redevelopment Commission president Bruce Snyder said each trail route has pluses and minuses to weigh.

In other business Tuesday:

• It was announced Franklin Street will be closed for right-of-way work Thursday and Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• The council voted 3-0 allowing George’s Gyros to locate a food-sales stand at Porter Beach this season from dawn to dusk in the far parking spot in the town lot that usually drifts over with sand so the vendor will have to clear it; a permit previously was granted but no location identified. Over the winter town officials will consider expanding the vendor area for next summer and what ordinances would need to be amended to accommodate beach food sales.

• The Porter Beach Overlay Committee will convene July 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the town hall to discuss additions to the ordinance it recommended and the Town Council adopted last year. An amendment regarding landscaping and invasive species is being considered.

• An assembly permit was granted for the Chesterton Art Fair Aug. 7 and 8 in Hawthorne Park.

• Bollinger thanked Porter’s Police, Fire Department and Public Works for helping make the second annual community-wide Independence Day fireworks display at the Indiana Dunes State Park a success.



Posted 7/14/2010




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