Chesterton Tribune


Lorain Bell's contribution noted at Porter Plan, BZA meetings

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One member’s absence was especially felt at Wednesday’s Porter Board of Zoning Appeals and Plan Commission meetings.

The late Lorain Bell, who served 28 years on the commission and many years on the BZA, died Oct. 19. Wednesday’s meetings were the first since his passing.

BZA president John Kremke asked for a moment of silence as the meeting began, describing Bell as a man who gave decades of time and service to the Porter community.

At its meeting commission vice-president Jim Eriksson also called for a moment of silence saying, “Lorain was his own man. I really liked that in him. He’ll be a hard person to replace. I hope the (Town Council) will do something in honoring his name.”

With Bell’s seat vacant on both boards, council president Greg Stinson had appointed Ken Timm to the Plan Commission. Wednesday, the commission voted to name Timm as their representative on the BZA.

Both boards had nearly identical agendas, and each voted unanimously to adopt procedural changes recommended by zoning attorney Laura Frost clarifying and updating rules for petitioners.

These include charging a new $20 fee for the zoning secretary to provide petitioners with a list of contiguous property owners to be notified of an upcoming public hearing; requiring petitioners to submit findings of fact that detail the reasons why the relief they seek should be granted; identifying the owner of record, street address and tax ID number of the subject parcel; and requiring that notice of public hearing shall be provided by certified mail.

Kremke said in his business he brings zoning petitions before various boards and he personally believes findings of fact are a good aid for both himself and the board’s members.

Also, it’s state law that such findings are required when zoning decisions are made, he added. Frost has said she will amend a petitioner’s submitted findings as needed prior to adoption. Previously, Frost prepared the findings.

BZA member Bill Sexton agreed that submitting findings helps petitioners form a better idea what they want and need from the town. The new procedural changes are effective immediately.

In other business, the Plan Commission heard a report from member Brenda Brueckheimer, Porter Public Works superintendent, regarding Mineral Springs Villas developer Larry Gough’s request for a reduction in the subdivision’s bond. She said the infrastructure lines were inspected by video camera and Gough is having issues found repaired. When the town’s engineer approves the work, a reduction will be considered.



Posted 11/23/2012