An extra 45 spaces
added to Discovery Charter School’s west parking lot may not solve the
traffic problem completely but it will make it better, Discovery Board of
Directors Laurie Metz told the Porter Plan Commission on Wednesday.
unanimously approved the site plan submitted by Discovery for its upcoming
expansion including a 16,686 sq. ft. additional building connected to the
utilities checked out too, according to Town Building Commissioner Michael
Barry and Town Planner Jim Mandon, but the commission advised Discovery to
have a plan in the future for traffic stacking.
In the afternoons
around 3 p.m. when school lets out, cars line up on Canonie Drive to pick
children up and sometimes the bottleneck will extend on to Tremont Rd.
toward U.S 20.
Police Chief and
plan commission member Jamie Spanier said his department frequently gets
calls from motorists about the traffic backup. There is not much police can
do, he said. Police can ask for the cars to move but they would just turn
around and go to the other side of the road, Spanier said.
“For us, the
situation is there is no place to put them,” Spanier said.
The bigger concern
is making sure emergency vehicles can get through, Mandon said. Discovery
Principal Ernesto Martinez said however there was at least one time where an
ambulance was called during student pickup and successfully reached the
there is a car breakdown in line, there are at least two Discovery staff
members on hand to direct traffic and keep the flow moving, Martinez said.
Metz said the
school has ideas to work with police on directing drivers, especially in the
beginning of the school year when they are learning the system. There is
also going to be a stronger push for carpooling, she said.
The student to
vehicle ratio currently comes to about 2.6 students per car and “it would be
awesome” to get close to 4 to 1, Metz said.
But at the current
rate, the additional parking would cut down on the lines even if the school
grew by 100 students, which comes to about 36 additional cars, Metz said.
She said though that Discovery does not plan to add that many students, at
least not right way.
Pick up does move
more efficiently as the school year progresses, Metz said, where 500
students are let out in about 20 minutes.
At the Porter
Technical Advisory Committee about two weeks ago, the plans originally
called for 30 new parking spaces and Discovery has since found room for 15
more. Planner Kenneth Timm asked if any more could be added since Discovery
recently acquired five additional acres.
Metz said the
school’s budget is very limited which makes it difficult to create more
Planner and Town
Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer inquired about the school having
an extra exit onto U.S. 20. Metz said the Indiana Department of
Transportation would require a few studies which is also not conducive for
the school’s budget at this time.
Mandon said he
doesn’t believe the extra egress would solve the problems since the cars
would exit onto a four-lane highway.
Metz reiterated her
belief that the parking lot expansion “will make things better” and said the
school would check in regularly with the Town on how the car lines are
Discovery has done “a good job with what they have to stack cars.” He also
said he was impressed with how they’ve adjusted the site plan in a short
amount of time.
President Jim Erikkson thanked Discovery officials after the site plan was
“You’re a real
asset to the community. We appreciate the schools,” he said.
Summer Tree tabled
Wednesday also was
scheduled to continue a public hearing on Fox Chase Farms’ request to replat
lots 1-4 and 25 for nine duplex-style homes in Summer Tree subdivision, but
no representative was present to present the petition.
Laura Frost said Fox Chase Farms’ attorney Todd Leeth phoned her earlier in
the day informing her that there are some revised drawings being made by The
Duneland Group that they are waiting on and asked to be continued until the
next plan commission meeting.
obliged the request by postponing the hearing to May, even though half a
dozen Summer Tree residents came out Wednesday.
“I’m sorry. It’s
been extended eight times already. But we’ll try to get it next time,”
BZA sets hearing
Meanwhile, the BZA
met for a whole six minutes after the Plan Commission to set for public
hearing a petition by John Markos to build a garage on the northwest corner
of his residence at 1550 Main St.
The variance is to
allow Markos to build an extra accessory building as the property already
contains a shed as well as an attached garage.
Markos said the
garage, which will be used to hold one car and storage, will aesthetically
match the house. Barry said the work is “well done” and he had no issue.