Chesterton Tribune



Porter planners decline to back Childress farm rezoning

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The Porter Plan Commission will send Paul Childress’ request to rezone his property at 1035 Wagner Rd. to the Town Council with no recommendation, on a vote of 6-0.

A fractured Commission last month failed to reach a majority vote on motions for a favorable or unfavorable recommendation. Six members were present Wednesday to vote on the rezoning, all except planner Ken Timm.

Prior to the vote, planner Tara Duffie talked about reducing the number of animals to make the farm less intrusive on the neighbors. She said two or three cattle would cut down drastically on the amount of manure, as she had researched and found that cattle can produce up to 60 pounds of manure each daily.

Within a 100-yard buffer, the length of a football field, the neighbors shouldn’t be bothered by strong smells of the manure.

Duffie also suggested having fewer chickens and other fowl as the feed for them is known to attract rodents and other vermin.

Childress said he could do with three cattle and less poultry. The numbers he requested were just “worst-case scenario” figures.

“It would not affect my operation at all,” said Childress.

Childress, a former Town Council member, presented plans to the Plan Commission last summer to operate a self-sufficient farm operation to leave to his family known as the Childress Family Foundation. He wished to have green space to allow for animals and be able to produce plants and crops. The site was once a Nike Missile base and Childress made plans to rehab the structures there. Neighbors expressed concerns about Childress’ plans to store and use methane gas on the property and of not wanting to live next to a farm operation within town limits.

Duffie made a motion to make a recommendation for the green space rezone to the Town Council with the condition that the animals be kept south and west of one of the outbuildings.

The motion died with dissenting votes from planners Erik Wagner, Jamie Spanier, Amy Waechter-Versaw and President Jim Erikkson.

But all planners voted in favor of Spanier’s motion that the Commission send no recommendation to the Town Council, which will have final decision on whether to grant the rezoning.

Town Planner Jim Mandon said it is likely the Council will hear the request sometime next month.

Erikkson told the Chesterton Tribune afterwards he liked the plan Childress outined but wanted to be fair to the neighbors.



Posted 10/20/2016




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