Chesterton Tribune



Porter BZA rules on unsafe building orders

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The Porter Board of Zoning Appeals ruled at its meeting last week that two derelict houses in Porter Beach must be demolished or improved within a certain timeframe.

Before discussion, the BZA first held a moment of silence for long-time member Ken Timm, who retired from serving the BZA this summer and passed away not long after.

Building Commissioner Michael Barry then reported he issued unsafe building orders to the owner of 2833 Market Street and 2824 Glacier Trail. Both homes were damaged by fires years ago, are uninhabitable, and have not been renovated. The Glacier Trail property is partially collapsed. Both are on parcels with four lots with septic.

The owner of the properties appealed to the BZA to grant him more time to start reconstructing the Market Street home because he wants to build on the original footprint. He said he considers the home historic, and said he has verified that it features Frank Lloyd Wright designs.

The owner said he’s been wanting to rebuild for years, but hasn’t been able to shore up the funds. He plans to sell the Glacier Trail property and use the proceeds to fund renovation at the Market Street home, he said. He’s also waiting on insurance claims for wind damage to come through. The fire that all but destroyed the Market Street property happened in 2010, and the Glacier Trail property was damaged by a garage fire in 2012, according to Barry.

Barry said he issued the unsafe building orders because he’s gotten complaints about the properties for years, but rebuilding the Market Street house would require a variance if the original framing and foundation were removed. In their current state, Barry also said he doesn’t think either property would be dangerous if they were each secured better.

The unsafe building orders had given the owner 45 days to start demolition. The Board ruled that he must secure the Market Street site with fencing by Dec. 20, maintain the fencing, and post “No Trespassing” signs. He must get a building permit by May 20, 2020 and finish construction by Nov. 20, 2021.

For the Glacier Trail property, the owner must secure the home’s door and post “No Trespassing” signs on the building. The home must be demolished within six months, allowing the owner time to let a sale of the property go through. If the property sells, the new owners will be bound by the same timeline.


Posted 12/2/2019




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