The Porter Plan
Commission met for reorganization on Wednesday night and discussed square
footage limitations for construction in town.
decided that Jim Eriksson will remain President, Erik Wagner will serve as
Vice-president, and Tammie Sufana will remain Secretary. Ken Timm will
remain the liaison to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The votes were unanimous.
Eriksson asked if
anyone had Board comments, as there was no new business. Timm responded that
he wanted to know if the Commission would follow through on addressing a
problematic square footage ordinance that has been on the agenda before.
“You can’t build a house on half the vacant land in town,” he said.
the history of the ordinance “Some developer wanted to come put a lot of
low-income housing in, so that was why we changed the square footage, but
then we decided we didn’t want to discriminate or anything like that, so we
brought it back down.” Eriksson clarified that “We have no problem with
low-income housing, but we didn’t want it congregated all in one area.”
Timm went on to say
that prospective homebuyers could build in Chesterton or Burns Harbor more
easily because most of them would have to appear before the BZA and be
granted variances to start construction. Per Article III, Section 27 of
Porter’s Town Code, single-family dwellings must be a minimum of 1,500
square feet for a one-story, 2,000 square feet for a two-story, and 1,800
square feet for a bi- or tri-level. There are similar restrictions on
multi-family units. Section 26 stipulates that single-family dwellings be
built on lots that are a minimum of 12,000 square feet.
Jennifer Klug said that a recent study seen in the Northwest Indiana Times
showed that areas of low-income housing often have similar crime rates
compared to subdivisions if population density is considered. “If you look
at the density for some of these apartment complexes, it wasn’t that the
crime rate was higher, it was just that it was a smaller area. Crime is
everywhere. Drug abuse and opioid abuse is everywhere, and it’s not just
people in rentals.”
that another concern in the passing of the square footage ordinance was road
damage from heavy traffic and emergency response. “There is a place in
Chesterton very close to here that has a lot of small homes like that,
condos or townhouses, over by the custard stand, but they have nice roads
going in there.”
The Commission took
no action on the matter Wednesday.