Chesterton Tribune

Dune Acres road eyed as second entrance/exit for Porter Beach

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Porter and Dune Acres should enter into a formal memorandum of understanding over when and how to use an emergency access road between the towns at Porter Beach, recommended Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser.

The road was used following Friday’s wind-driven thunderstorm that downed large trees in Porter including on Waverly Road blocking the only exit from Porter Beach, said town Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer. That stranded residents there as well as visitors from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Indiana Dunes State Park.

Brueckheimer conveyed the observation that a beach resident was impressed with how the gated access road between the towns was used to caravan out people who needed to leave the area. Keiser said he met this weekend with Dune Acres officials to discuss how the road could be used without advance notification when necessary.

Porter fire chief Lewis Craig Sr. said a key for the road gate is available at the Dune Acres guard house.

Keiser said there’s a need to look for a more-permanent alternate access for Porter Beach, and the Lakeshore and state park should be brought into the discussion. Porter Councilman Jon Granat asked why the Dune Acres access road can’t be made into a permanent street; Keiser said he can’t speculate about Dune Acres’ position on the matter but it’s something to explore.

Craig said there likely is a fear people would use the road, which in its current condition won’t support more than a car’s weight, as a short-cut.

Brueckheimer urged residents not to go sightseeing and gawk following a damaging storm, especially driving over downed power lines as occurred Friday. She thanked the Porter Fire and Police departments for their cooperation after the storm and her own staff who had to deal with nine lift stations losing power although none overflowed.

Porter resident Jennifer Klug also commended town departments for a job well done.

In a related matter, Brueckheimer said 12 large trees in the downtown Porter area will be taken down as the elms and oaks are in bad shape and at the end of their lifespan. She also noted any trees planted in town easements will be trimmed by her department as needed “and it won’t be pretty” so residents may want to trim back overhanging branches themselves.

Because of the storm Public Works is now backlogged with chipping brush but it still can be placed out for pick-up, she added.

Audience comments heard

Ellen Anne Eddy in the 100 block of Franklin Street addressed a recent complaint about the condition of her yard. She said it is an amazing display of plants collected from across the country and, although not a typical yard, it lets her not run a lawnmower which would be difficult for her to do.

Eddy said as far as she knows her yard is up to code after removing plants in the town easement, and she’s happy to live in a lovely town given to individualism and expression where residents don’t have to pretend every yard should look the same.

In her remarks Karen Pisowicz asked why two Town Council members, later identified as president Michele Bollinger and member Micheal Genger, are on the town’s employee insurance health policy. Bollinger said under state statute elected officials can participate. Pisowicz said the three council members who don’t use the health coverage are receiving less compensation than the two who do. Bollinger said coverage is an option open to them as well.

Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy confirmed each month the town pays $1,286 for covering Bollinger, Genger and their respective families or 80 percent of the family plan. The council members each pay $1 for themselves and $191 for their family coverage every month.

Pisowicz also asked about the status of Porter’s long-planned hike/bike trails, the Brickyard Trail in development for a decade and the Orchard Pedestrian Way nearly as long. Bollinger said things are constantly changing but progress is being made little by little, and she suggested Pisowicz meet with Keiser privately or herself because the council doesn’t have an hour to answer her questions.

Pisowicz said she prefers the answers she receives be on the record at a public meeting. Bollinger thanked her for her comments. At Tuesday’s Porter Redevelopment Commission meeting Keiser reported construction on the Brickyard Trail is slated to start this fall.

At the commission meeting Pisowicz asked its members why they are pursuing so many projects including development of three hike/bike trails when the first one hasn’t even turned a shovel of dirt other than the Pedway’s “ bridge to nowhere” over the Little Calumet River.

Keiser said the Pedway along Woodlawn Avenue and Waverly Road is temporarily on hold pending resolution of deeds and land acquisition. Commission president Bruce Snyder told Pisowicz to meet with Keiser for a full report because “It’s public comment, not public questions” on the agenda. Snyder said as far as he’s concerned the Pedway is on track and he thanked Pisowicz for her interest.

Golf cart regs coming

Town attorney Patrick Lyp said he is working on a draft ordinance regarding golf carts driven on public streets based on one adopted by the town of Chesterton. He anticipated a draft would be available for the July 13 meeting.

In other business Porter police chief James Spanier’s request that a Deaf Child in Area sign be placed in the 1200 block of Mineral Springs Road was approved. A child is learning to ride a bike and the parents asked that the sign be installed.

Building commissioner Art Elwood said he thinks a situation in Porter Cove where a business was being run out of a home has been resolved. He also cautioned residents that a 4 foot-tall, blow-up pool likely requires a fence under town zoning codes. “Just because you buy it, it doesn’t mean it’s legal.”

The council voted 5-0 to put a hold on a vendor’s permit previously approved for George’s Gyros to sell food at Porter Beach until the town can develop some guidelines for seasonal food service there. The town’s Technical Advisory Committee or TAC comprised of town department heads and the town planner hasn’t been able to meet to address the matter but will, it was stated.

Bollinger invited residents to the Duneland community fireworks display at the Indiana Dunes State Park July 2 at 9:15 p.m. but she suggested arriving earlier for best seats. She also noted a ribbon-cutting takes place Thursday and a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at the new Comfort Inn & Suites on U.S. 20 in Porter at North Babcock Road.

 

 

Posted 6/23/2010