Chesterton Tribune



Porter proposes more fence rules; volunteers needed for town cleanup

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The Porter Town Council introduced new regulations governing fences Tuesday, but they won’t be adopted until the town’s Plan Commission conducts a public hearing on them and forwards a recommendation to the council.

Although specifics of the fence ordinance weren’t discussed Tuesday, council president Greg Stinson said the new text needs to be amended to reconcile it with an existing Porter Beach overlay that governs certain zoning matters there.

As of now the town’s rules regarding fences are vague, according to town building commissioner Mike Barry.

The new ordinance requires that the design, location and construction of a fence or wall be approved by the Porter building commissioner prior to the issuance of a building permit in all zoning districts.

The building commissioner also would have the authority to decide whether a fence could be placed within a drainage easement.

Residential front-yard fences/walls would be allowed, but of split rail, picket or ornamental metal construction only and not exceeding 4 feet in height. Fences/walls in the side or rear yard could not exceed 6 feet in height.

Electric fences would not be allowed although underground electronic pet containment fencing would be under certain circumstances. Fencing materials are addressed, as is a fence’s relation to property lines. In non-residential districts fences/walls could not exceed 7 feet in height, and poured concrete, concrete block or other similar materials could only be used for walls not facing a street or residential district.

In addition to the town’s regulations, all fences/walls would be subject to applicable subdivision covenants and restrictions as well. Variances from the fence rules would have to be granted by the Porter Board of Zoning Appeals.

In related zoning news, Barry said the new Dollar General Store on U.S. 20 east of Waverly Road has opened for business with a grand opening planned in about three weeks.

Matt Reardon of consultants SEH attended the meeting to present Barry and the Town of Porter with an oversized $500 check made out to the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry. Barry’s name was randomly drawn from among SEH clients participating in an online survey. Stinson thanked the firm for its donation.

Clean-up volunteers needed

Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer invited citizens to participate in a Porter Beach clean-up day May 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to spruce up the beach area and along Waverly Road north of U.S. 12.

She also said volunteers and/or community organizations are needed to help maintain Wood Street, Old Porter Road and Wagner Road on a regular basis. She asked all volunteers to contact 926-4212 if interested.

Lincoln Street business owners were urged to help beautify the downtown area by collecting bottles and cans as needed.

Brueckheimer also thanked the Porter Stormwater Management Board for purchasing giveaway items distributed at the April 19 Earth Day celebration at the Porter County Expo Center.

The newly bald Brueckheimer was among town employees thanked by Stinson for joining him as Team Porter for the recent St. Baldrick’s head-shaving fundraiser at Valparaiso University. The group, including Public Works employees, raised $4,000 for pediatric cancer research.

Eight Porter Fire Department members participated in a Merrillville St. Baldrick’s event raising $2,500 of their own.

May fundraisers coming

Porter Parks director Brian Bugajski, sans his hair, invited the public to a May 10 spaghetti dinner from Fazoli’s at the Porter community building. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children under age 10 and carry-outs are available at the door. Money raised will be used for new park equipment. Contact 921-1687 for more details.

The fundraiser coincides with packet pick-up for the Mother’s Day 5K and half-marathon races in Porter starting at 9 a.m. May 11. Cause2Compete is the sponsor.

Town police chief James Spanier said the final agreed-upon race routes will make the event safer, and that a lot of police manpower will be involved to maintain safety. The Town Council approved issuing an assemblage permit for the races pending insurance.

Bugajski said the April 12 Easter egg hunt in Hawthorne Park had a record turn-out, and he thanked its volunteers and sponsors. He also acknowledged members and friends of State Park Little League who spent six hours readying the Hawthorne ballfield and associated buildings for the season, and said Rebuilding Together Duneland would be at Hawthorne on Saturday doing projects.

On another matter, the council OK’d an assemblage permit pending proof of insurance for the Chesterton Art Fair Aug. 2 and 3 in Hawthorne Park.


Posted 4/23/2014