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
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
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
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.