Chesterton Tribune



Porter planners approve contract to update comprehensive plan

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The Porter Plan Commission voted to start the process of amending the Porter Comprehensive Plan at its meeting last week.

The Board approved an agreement not to exceed $4,500 for Town Planner Jim Mandon to produce a draft of a new comprehensive plan. Mandon estimates heíll spend almost 100 hours on data collection, population projections, a future thoroughfare plan, a future land use map, and conclusions/recommendations to complete the draft.

He proposed starting the work mid-April and finishing in August.

Building Commissioner Michael Barry said the Comprehensive Plan hasnít been updated since 2004, and since then, changes have occurred in Town such as properties rezoned or acquired by/donated to Shirley Heinze, among others, and some newer land uses arenít included.

Mandon said comprehensive plans should be updated every five to 10 years. Porter has seen a lot of changes in the past five years, he said, and some assumptions the original plan makes might need reconsideration.

The development of the U.S. 20 corridor, where multi-family residential developments are most suitable, and identifying problem areas are important considerations, according to Mandon.

He also said public input is essential once the Board has the full draft to consider.

Mandon said towns can go the route of having a public hearing at a regular meeting and calling it done, but he suggests going into neighborhoods to make better connections with residents who have busy schedules or may be turned off by meetings. Mandon said, ďitís better to meet on their turfĒ, and meetings at schools, churches, or libraries could go a long way. ďThere might only be five or six people at each of those, but if you do 10 of them, thatís a lot more impact,Ē Mandon said.

Long-time Board member Jim Eriksson noted public input sorely lacked back when the 2004 Plan was approved.

Barry added that the Town can also take online input now in addition to holding public meetings for input.

Mineral Springs

planned unit development

In other business, the Board approved a landscaping plan and an amendment to the site plan for a development at the southeast corner of U.S. 20 and Mineral Springs Road. The Boardís vote was unanimous with Board president Laura Madigan abstaining due to an unrelated business relationship with the petitioners.

Attorney Greg Babcock said petitioners Brett Carney of Carney Construction and David Ales of Davidís Lawncare had a PUD approved to build four buildings for their businesses on the site in 2015. Babcock presented a modified site plan that would instead allow the pair to build two buildings total, starting with one that fronts U.S. 20 and adding a second building as commercial demand dictates.

Also, per the 2015 ordinance, Babcock presented a landscaping plan for the Boardís approval. Norway Spruce will be planted at the siteís entrance and exit and native flowering crabapple trees will be planted near the building, he said.

The Mineral Springs lift station will serve the site, and two detention areas with rip rap outlets are planned so water from the site is retained, then continues to sheet drain to the south and the east, like it naturally would, as it leaves detention, Babcock said.

Mandon asked if the pair plan to store salt on-site for snow removal. Ales said they do, and Mandon said they need to have a plan for securely storing it. Carney said the amount of storage on site hasnít been decided yet.

Member Rob Albrecht-Mallinger was concerned about what will be stored outdoors and potential runoff to the Little Calumet River.

Barry assured him the site plan will go to a consultant who used to work for Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and the petitioners will have to be specific about outdoor storage when they apply for a building permit. Barry said heíll forward the specifics to the Board once he has them.

Board Vice-president David Phillips asked how long construction will take to get started since the site plan took five years. Carney and Ales said they hope to build as soon as possible.


Posted 2/28/2020




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