Chesterton Tribune



TIF district proposed for Porter Beach

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The Porter Plan Commission approved a resolution recommending the formation of a TIF district in Porter Beach at its meeting Wednesday night.

Building Commissioner Michael Barry brought forth the Wabash TIF Resolution----a resolution approved by the Redevelopment Commission to form an economic development area at the end of Wabash Avenue in Porter Beach. He asked that the Plan Commission pass the resolution so it can go to the Town Council for consideration.

The economic development area would encompass the property that contains the old Johnson Beach Inn, which is zoned medium intensity commercial, and surrounding land that is zoned low-density residential. Barry said there are two residences in the area and some Dunes National Lakeshore land would also be included.

Barry said the purpose of the formation of an economic development area is for the Town to have input on what kind of development happens there, particularly with the hope of maintaining the business zoning. “There’s been discussion by people who want to put in condos and things like that. I don’t think anyone wants a bunch of condos down there. We want to keep some business and have development that makes sense,” Barry said.

Barry said having the economic development area in place means the Town would have a say in the density of development, coloration and design of buildings, and how much parking is installed if a developer wanted to build something in the area. Designating the area would also form a tax increment financing, or TIF, district.

Tax increment financing is a levy on real property in an established district that yields an annual flow of cash the Town can use for public works in that district at its discretion. Revenue from TIF is the difference between property taxes collected based on the assessed value of property in the district from a given base year and the total amount of taxes collected from the district in the current year. TIF revenue is not required to be shared with other entities such as the Duneland Schools, Porter County, or the Westchester Library.

Town Planner Jim Mandon noted that the formation of the TIF district could allow the Town to offer financial incentive to developers from the funds collected in the future.

The Commission approved the resolution unanimously. The Town Council will consider the matter next. A public hearing will ensue before the formation of the district can be approved.

Preliminary Hearing

In the preliminary hearing, Dane Jackson petitioned for a public hearing to receive subdivision approval for property at 6 Franklin Street. Jackson is also seeking to rezone 6 Franklin Street from medium density residential to two-family residential.

Jackson said he plans to divide the house at 6 Franklin into a duplex with a one-bedroom unit and a two-bedroom unit. There are two vacant lots on the property behind the house where he plans to construct two fourplexes. The new housing would be intended as affordable living for seniors and Jackson would contract an outside company to act as the property manager.

Barry said he has visited the house and dividing it is straightforward. All utilities are in place. Some demolition is being done already. Barry and Mandon are working together to form a recommendation on the rezone, which Barry said is more discretionary than the subdivision approval. The Commission voted to set the matter for public hearing at the next meeting, June 20.


Posted 5/17/2018




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