Town planner Jim Mandon told the Porter Plan Commission that town staff have
lots of concerns about the site plan for the proposed Dollar General store
at the northeast corner of U.S. 20 and Waverly Road.
Among them are how to move traffic safely at the busy corner, which also
serves Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland and is regulated by a delayed-signal
Reading from his tablet Wednesday, Mandon highlighted the concerns to
commission members and Mark Foster, a project manager with Weaver Boos
Consultants representing the retail chain.
Foster said he’s been working with town officials for a month. “I’d
certainly have loved to address these concerns before tonight’s meeting.”
Mandon said since Dollar General can’t build until it obtains variances from
the town Board of Zoning Appeals, he recommended continuing the site-plan
review until Oct. 16.
It was agreed Foster, commission members and the public will have copies of
the staff list available to them prior to next month’s meeting.
Dollar General proposed two entrances: one off U.S. 20 and one off Waverly.
Foster said he’s received the U.S. 20 road-cut permit from the Indiana
Department of Transportation, but Mandon said staff wants that entrance to
be right in/right out only and other changes.
Commission member Elka Nelson said with the National Park Service’s desire
that U.S. 12 be restricted as a parkway, Porter has to be prepared that more
traffic might be redirected onto U.S. 20.
Earlier in the evening the BZA heard Dollar General’s petitions for three
variances: to reduce the number of parking spaces from 41 to 39, to exceed
the maximum number of signs allowed, and to exceed the total allowable gross
surface area of signage.
All were set for public hearing Oct. 16 on 4-0 votes with member Bill
Foster said because the 2.1-acre parcel has two visible frontages, it needs
two 21 foot-tall freestanding pylon signs and two Dollar General signs on
the 9,100 square-foot building. That totals 492 square feet of signage when
100 square feet is allowed by the town.
The signs would be illuminated during the store’s 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Mandon told the BZA that at the following Plan Commission meeting he would
present numerous staff concerns about the site plan. Vote to advance the BZA
variances to public hearing also allowed Dollar General to amend those
petitions as needed no later than Oct. 1.
Foster’s presentation was brief. After the meeting he said Dollar General
would like to break ground as soon as possible, and that the area’s
population and specific location are a good fit for an American company
serving America that brings value and convenience to Porter.
During the Plan Commission meeting, Nelson suggested and members agreed to
have zoning attorney Laura Frost research town code and commission rules to
see whether they’re in conflict. BZA/Plan rules of procedure seem to
indicate department heads will meet as a technical advisory committee or TAC
to review pending petitions and issue a report, but Nelson said some
requests are so minor they don’t need extensive review.
If TAC does meet, town ordinance requires it to give legal notice and
conduct a public meeting, but a department head staff meeting has no such
However the zoning boards decide to proceed, Nelson said the rules should be
clear and consistently applied, and that TAC meetings could be required on a
In other BZA business, the board unanimously approved a variance for Al
Raffin at 451 Waverly Rd. to allow a fence in his front yard. He explained
this summer he replaced a rotting, non-conforming fence with the same size
and materials not knowing zoning approval was needed first.
During a public hearing, resident Jennifer Klug stated, “I don’t see why he
should be penalized for taking care of his property and replacing what was
there.” There were no remonstrators.