Chesterton Tribune



Porter residents: Help guide future of town parks

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When the Porter Park Board was disbanded in October, provisions were made for a citizen advisory board to help the Town Council guide Porter parks.

Park liaison Elka Nelson announced Tuesday she is seeking names of interested persons willing to serve in an advisory capacity to present suggestions for fundraising, senior programming, grounds and improvements.

Those willing to serve are asked to contact Nelson. She said she hopes to have volunteers ready for appointment by the council in February.

The Town Council now has full authority and responsibility to operate public parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities and park programs in Porter.

Meeting Tuesday, the Town Council also gave final approval on a 4-0 vote with member David Wodrich absent to an ordinance that establishes a three-member administrative board to deal with enforcement of town ordinances where fines can be issued for violations.

The ordinance was adopted after specifying the membersí appointments are three-year staggered terms with initial lengths of one, two and three years to allow for continuity.

The new board will give the town teeth to collect fines of more than $250, and to introduce a due process for residents to appeal the fines if they can make the case they are not at fault for the violation. Fines shall not exceed $2,500 for a first occurrence and $7,500 for second and subsequent violations.

Building commissioner Mike Barry said he doesnít anticipate the administrative board being that busy because it will handle only the more serious zoning violations.

Resident Jennifer Klug questioned whether having the new board will save the town legal fees by handling violations locally. Nelson said if the town can levy fines it will generate revenue, but enforcing ordinances that deal with health, safety and public welfare canít always make a profit.

Klug said if residents know a board is established and ready to hear zoning violations, that could encourage compliance.

When the council gave first reading to the enforcement ordinance Dec. 30, Nelson said itís common for Indiana municipalities to have an enforcement body like the one Porter proposed. The new boardís three members will be appointed by the Town Council.


Posted 1/15/2014