The Porter Plan
Commission denied an application for a rezone to allow multi-family
residential development in an area zoned for single-family use at its
meeting Wednesday night.
Dane Jackson, of
Chesterton, petitioned to rezone 6 Franklin Street from single-family
residential use to multi-family residential use so he can subdivide a house
at 6 Franklin Street into two apartments and construct two fourplexes on
vacant parcels behind the house. Jackson said he would like to make these
changes so he can offer small and affordable rental units for senior
citizens. Jackson also sought approval to designate the property as a minor
subdivision. A separate public hearing was held for each request.
In the public
hearing on the rezone, no one spoke in favor of the request. Attorney Terry
Hiestand spoke on behalf of abutting property owner Marcia Bell. Hiestand
said Bell opposed the development for several reasons, one being that zoning
one parcel differently is “spot zoning,” and it doesn’t fit with the
character of the surrounding properties. Hiestand also noted that there was
no clear plan for drainage.
adjacent property owners spoke against the rezone. Trey Christenson agreed
with Hiestand’s points and added that he is concerned about property values
dropping and the promise that the development will stay exclusive to senior
folks. Josh Pool said his main concern was increased traffic to the area.
Sherrill Newman said, “There’s already a lot of illegal apartments around
here and a lot of illegal rentals, and I think the Town has to get that
under control first.”
that the number of units he has proposed won’t increase density or traffic
that much more than houses with multiple occupants could. “As far as the
density, you’re not gonna have that many people coming in there,” he said.
“These are seniors, and most of them won’t be driving.”
and Public Works Supervisor Brenda Brueckheimer said “My big concern is the
square footage of the units you’ve proposed is 480 square feet. They look
like cabins or a rowhouse. They don’t have any ambiance. They don’t match
the downtown area.” She also noted that parking is cramped and the drainage
has not been worked out.
Laura Madigan asked how Jackson planned to make his development exclusive to
seniors. Jackson said his research shows that he can specify that only
seniors can be approved to live in a complex as long as he follows certain
guidelines set forth by the Fair Housing Act. Madigan asked to see his notes
recommended denial of the rezone request. It will go to the Town Council for
a final decision.
In the public
hearing on subdivision approval, Hiestand renewed his concerns about
drainage and noted that subdivision approval should involve improvements to
the public right of way behind the lot on Rankin. Pool and Christenson
renewed their concerns about drainage and traffic. Christenson was
especially concerned with whether or not Rankin could be made into a private
road with restricted use. No one spoke in support of the petition.
Barry and Mandon
recognized that a drainage plan has not yet been done for the property, but
Mandon said subdivision approval is more “ministerial” and not as
discretionary as the rezone request. If all the requirements of the Town’s
code are met, the Commission has to give subdivision approval, and it is the
sole body that approves subdivisions. Mandon said everything appeared to be
in order, so the Commission approved Jackson’s request for subdivision
approval. Without the rezone, though, Jackson is limited to constructing
single-family dwellings at 6 Franklin.
The Commission held
a preliminary hearing where Carl Cox sought a rezone for property at 1700
Old Porter Road. Cox is doing some improvements on the property, and
Building Commissioner Michael Barry suggested it be rezoned as well.
According to Barry,
the zoning map from 1976 shows the property zoned for industrial use, but
the zoning map from 1995 is different. “When Porter Cove was done, that
whole area was zoned R1,” Barry said, and for unknown reasons, Cox’s
property is also shown as being zoned residential on that map. “Since 1976
there have been businesses there, motorcycle and car repair shops nonstop,”
Barry said. “It should really be industrial.”
President Jim Eriksson asked Town Planner Jim Mandon for his input. “I think
it was a mistake when the map was drawn,” Mandon said.
approved setting a public hearing for the rezone for 1700 Old Porter Road
for its next meeting, August 15.