Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Porter Town Council passes climate emergency resolution

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By LILY REX

At its meeting last night, the Porter Town Council unanimously approved a resolution declaring a climate emergency.

Chesterton resident and CHS senior Sid Augustyn, the driving force behind last night’s resolution and a similar one Chesterton adopted in November, said Porter should adopt his resolution in continuation of the Town’s record of environmental consciousness.

“The past and current environmental efforts of this Town are many to enumerate,” Augustyn said, citing the Porter Plan Commission’s 2009 efforts to design the Lakeshore Preservation District, which Augustyn said was “widely supported by residents of Porter Beach and the Town as a whole”, and its extant efforts in trail mitigation, MS4, and its plastic caps to benches program.

Augustyn said there are two aims to his resolution: (1) the Town formally recognizes the climate emergency--which he said is “a fundamental step to addressing the emergency and supporting future endeavors to combat the crisis”; and (2) the Town commits to “establish a mechanism to ensure the future of ongoing inclusion of young people in the process of creating and executing climate-related policies and actions” in Town.

“The only way to make a change is through local government, and the youth of Duneland are no longer silent to this,” Augustyn said. “The youth of Duneland may be young, but we will stop at nothing to fight for our future, because we are our future.”

Council President Greg Stinson said the resolution was well done. It won unanimous approval from the Council.

In related business, Stinson said the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Committee (NIRPC) has passed a resolution to be sent down to Governor Holcomb’s office urging him to follow other states and municipalities in declaring a state of emergency over lakeshore erosion.

Stinson said the resolution is going downstate on behalf of all 53 government entities represented at NIRPC. “It’s recognized by even those in the southern parts of Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties that we’re all lakefront communities, and we all benefit from the tourism that the lake provides,” Stinson said.

Economic Development Commission

The Council, Stinson, and the Porter County Council made their appointments to Porter’s new citizen Economic Development Commission last night. Stinson said the Town received 10 applications for the three spots on the EDC, which will be an advisory entity reviewing requests for tax relief for new development in Town.

The initial appointments are made in staggered terms, but subsequent appointments will be for four-years, Stinson said. The Council appointed Jim Burge to serve through 2021, Stinson appointed Elka Nelson to serve through 2022, and the County Council appointed Rob Pomeroy to serve through the end of 2020.

Meeting dates for the EDC have not been decided yet, but they must meet within 30 days for an organizational meeting, per state law. The EDC will meet as needed when business arises, and meetings will be public.

Nelson and Pomeroy are both former members of the Town Council. Burge is a former County Councilman and lost a bid for the fourth ward seat on the Porter Town Council last year. He currently serves on the Porter Board of Zoning Appeals.

When asked why he appointed a former Town Council member to this new commission after a wave of community concern over new development at the former Splash Down Dunes waterpark, Stinson said he picked Nelson for her strong understanding of real estate and municipal finance.

Stinson said the EDC isn’t the proper avenue for residents to learn on the fly, and several applicants were up front that they don’t know much about municipal finances. Stinson added that several applicants remonstrated against the proposed waterpark development, and he thinks EDC members should be neutral about new development.

Reports

Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy reported beach permits go on sale March 9 and 10 to Porter residents. Residents are limited to buying two permits per household and buying four permits at one time if they are buying for friends or family. Residents who are buying for others may get back in line if they need to buy more than four permits.

Residents need to have a valid driver’s license and car registration with a Porter address to buy permits on the first two days of the sale. Since Porter addresses are sometimes mistakenly listed as Chesterton due to the shared zip code, Police Chief Jamie Spanier noted that only the legal address on the car registration matters. If the mailing address says Chesterton, but the legal address (in smaller print in the corner of the registration) says Porter, that’s okay.

The Council approved Fire Chief Jay Craig to do the annual application for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources matching firefighting grant and approved the receipt of approximately $5,000 from this year’s DNR matching grant. The Council also reupped its Fire Services contract with Westchester Township. Changes in the contract, which is based on call volume, were negligible, according to Stinson.

Craig thanked the community for its support of the dedication of the Lewis T. Craig Sr. Heroes Memorial Garden and in-service ceremony for the PFD’s new fire engine Sunday. “I also want to mention our great appreciation to the Town of Porter and Town Council for working with us toward that purchase and bringing that piece of equipment into the station,” Craig added.

Craig said the new engine went on its first two calls shortly after the ceremony. The PFD took it for a mutual aid call from Chesterton, then responded to a car accident.

 

 

Posted 2/26/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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