Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Resident urges Porter Town Council to drop Johnson Inn issue

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By LILY REX

More residents spoke about the Old Johnson Inn at the Porter Town Council’s meeting Tuesday night.

Porter resident Karen Pisowicz said the Council should take it easy on Carl Dahlin Jr., the owner of the Old Johnson Inn that was the subject of several resident complaints at the Council’s Aug. 11 meeting. Then, residents made a slew of complaints about the poor condition of the building and Dahlin’s business where he charges Porter Beach visitors to park on the Inn property.

“The man is 86 years old,” Pisowicz said. “The place has looked that way for years and years. Let him park his cars. It’s on his property.”

Pisowicz said the Council should give Dahlin a break at least through the end of the year, citing the potentially exorbitant costs of tearing down the Inn. “He ain’t got that kind of money.”

The Inn has not been ordered torn down, but its condition is not yet known, as it hasn’t been inspected in at least five years, according to Building Commissioner Michael Barry.

Barry said he’s pursuing a new inspection of the property, which Dahlin has tentatively agreed to for later this week. Barry also sent Dahlin an unsafe building notice asking Dahlin to secure the property and conduct needed maintenance within 30 days. The notice also compels Dahlin to a hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals on Sept. 16 about the state of the property.

“I just think you should let it drop this year and see what happens next year,” Pisowicz said. She said the residents who complained about Dahlin’s parking operation were unfair. “That’s none of their business. He doesn’t bother anybody.”

Resident Jennifer Klug also spoke to say she supports the order to secure the building because she’s heard there are exposed wires that pose a fire hazard inside. “Secure the structure so it’s not a danger to people and the surrounding area,” Klug said.

Rob Albrecht-Mallinger, a Porter Plan Commission member as well as Porter Beach resident, who was also one of the Aug. 11 complainants, said, “I challenge the notion that there’s no harm.” He added, “All we’re talking about is inspection and enforcement.”

Other Approvals

In other building department business, the Council approved Barry to spend $1,800 from LIT to have David’s Lawncare clear trash and mow the lawn at a property that’s in pre-foreclosure at 1032 W. U.S. 20. Barry reported the property’s become an eyesore, and he’s been unable to contact its owner. The Town can place a lien on the property to reclaim this expense once it changes hands, member Greg Stinson said. “We can’t just sit by and let that get worse. It’s a disgrace,” Stinson added.

The Council also approved a cybersecurity contract with Arete for $1,200 per year. The $1,200 cost will be split among the three departments that will have the new software on their computers: Clerk-treasurer, Parks, and Public Works.

The Council then approved a contract with Town Planner Jim Mandon for research for a new Town comprehensive plan, not to exceed $4,500, to be paid from LIT.

Reports

The Duneland Seniors will host a drive-thru flu shot clinic at Hawthorne Park on Sept. 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Council Vice-president David Phillips reported on behalf of Parks Director Brian Bugajski. Flu shots will be provided by Walgreen’s, and the clinic will be open to the public.

Barry reported paving and striping has concluded in Town, and just minor shoulder work that should be done by Thursday remains. “Walsh and Kelly did a wonderful job,” he said.

 

Posted 8/26/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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