Porter Beach resident Michael O’Connor told reporters after Tuesday’s Porter
Town Council meeting it’s likely an injunction will be sought over town
plans to tow vehicles parked on Dearborn Street, which is prohibited by
The dust-up is the latest in long-standing parking problems at Porter Beach,
where some roads/alleys are platted but unbuilt and some homes are
inaccessible by vehicle with no on-site parking.
Several years ago the Dearborn association was formed, but O’Connor
confirmed there is no existing agreement between it and the Town of Porter.
The association assesses dues for upkeep of a lot where members park on both
private property and the town street.
O’Connor came before a previous Town Council in 2007 inquiring about using
Dearborn for parking. He said the practice has been ongoing for 50 years.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, O’Connor displayed a Porter Police
Department flyer left on cars for beach residents indicating the town will
ticket and/or tow vehicles illegally parked on Dearborn effective July 15.
O’Connor asked chief James Spanier to explain why.
Spanier said a complaint was received about cars parking on a town road.
“For police, there’s not good laws or bad laws. There’s the law.”
Council president Elka Nelson noted the town receives no revenue from the
association lot even though a private group is leasing out town property;
she indicated the council is open to negotiating a proposed agreement but
until one is adopted, there is no on-street parking at Porter Beach and town
code will be enforced.
O’Connor said that’s not an acceptable option because residents haven’t been
given enough time; he later described it as an onerous punishment and
questioned why it’s being employed now by a council that campaigned on
maintaining open government.
As O’Connor pressed Spanier for answers how residents would find their towed
cars, Nelson ended the discussion. “I didn’t like him cross examining my
(police) chief,” she later explained to reporters.
At the June 25 council meeting Nelson stated the town had received requests
from two Porter Beach residents seeking a license to park on Dearborn; the
matter was referred to the town attorney.
A Porter Beach resident herself, Nelson confirmed she’s subsequently
outlined a tentative proposal to parking association officers that, if
acceptable, would be reviewed by town staff and the attorney before being
brought to the full council. Nelson also wants to see how the association
was incorporated as well as its bylaws and membership.
Nelson said the town’s only interest is providing parking spaces for people
who are landlocked without vehicle access as opposed to for people with
on-site parking who just want more.
O’Connor said the association is being coerced by the town to create public
In other business Tuesday:
* Voting 5-0, the council appointed Republican Charles Kaufman to
serve on the Park Board until Dec. 31 completing the unexpired term of Patty
Raffin, who resigned. The other applicant was Jessie Campaniello; she
formerly served on the board but resigned.
* Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer was excited to
report that a new Porter Avenue sewer lift station was set in place. The
project is eight years in coming, she noted, and a demolition day for the
current undersized station will be scheduled.
* Brueckheimer emphasized that brush/branch pick-up from last week
* Spanier said he received an application from Ride 2 Recovery for an
upcoming pass through town on U.S. 12. The group, which is anticipating
almost 200 veterans, disabled veterans and support staff on its
cross-country trip, is requesting a police escort through town on U.S. 12.
* Spanier, Nelson and park director Brian Bugajski all praised those
reponsible for organizing and working at the recent Lakefront fireworks and
at the many activities of the Family 4th Fest at Hawthorne Park. Bugajski
said the Park Department hopes to do things bigger and better next year.