The Porter Board of
Zoning Appeals will send a letter to the Town’s Plan Commission asking it to
consider lowering its minimum requirements for one-story homes in
During a public
hearing Wednesday for Linda and Virgil Littlejohn’s request for a
development standards variance to build a ranch home at 1,329 sq. ft., Town
Building Commissioner Michael Barry said that people looking to build in
town have gone elsewhere because of the current minimum of 1,500 sq. ft.
In the past five
years that Barry has been working for the Town, he said about 40 to 50
people have requested to build a smaller house. The Littlejohns are the
first to file a request for variance, he said.
“We have had to
tell people they have to build somewhere else,” Barry said. “Other than the
subdivisions approved for smaller homes, everybody leaves. They don’t even
try this. Instead of having nice homes with nice people, we just have a few
empty lots scattered around that are difficult to build on.”
Town Planner Jim
Mandon said that years ago when the minimum was put in place, the plan
commission figured that a larger home would be a higher value. However,
that’s not always the case, Mandon said.
“It can be
counterproductive if it is too large of a structure,” said Mandon.
BZA members said
they agreed with Mandon’s points. “Bigger doesn’t always mean better,”
member Bill Sexton said.
Kenneth Timm, who
said he was on the Plan Commission when this was decided, said “there are a
lot of people who don’t need to have a 1,500 square foot house.”
Sexton said he
would give a letter to the Plan Commission requesting them to reevaluate the
The BZA voted 4-0
to grant the variance for the Littlejohns who wish to build a ranch-style
home at 326 S. 23rd Street, in Johnson and Kreiger subdivision. Mandon said
the request had met the first two conditions of a variance, to provide
safety and welfare to the homeowner and also to not have any adverse effects
on neighboring properties. The third condition of whether a hardship would
be presented if the variance wasn’t granted is more difficult to meet in
Barry said the
homes in that subdivision are smaller homes. Mandon said because of the
character of homes in the area, he believes that would satisfy the
Absent from the
meeting Wednesday was BZA member Henry Huyser.