Porter Town Council unanimously passed an ordinance at its meeting last week
banning parking on several streets near the National Park entrance in an
effort to deter beachgoers from crowding the area.
Council approved ordinance 2020-07 on first reading, then voted to suspend
its normal rules to have a second reading and adopt the ordinance in the
same night, since an influx of beachgoers has made the parking issue timely.
Porter Police Chief Jamie Spanier noted, on top of resident complaints,
illegal or congested parking is a hazard because it can block ambulance and
fire truck routes. The ordinance, however, applies to Porter residents as
well as out-of-town visitors.
Street parking is now banned on both sides of the following roads: N. Bailey
Drive, S. Bailey Drive, Ballard Drive, Hjelm Road, Fleming Street, Coleman
Street, Ryan Court, and Howe Road from U.S. 20 to Mineral Springs Road.
Vehicles that are found illegally parked on these roads will be subject to
removal and impoundment at the cost of the vehicle’s owner.
Spanier said the intent is not to ticket people who live on those streets
and customarily park in the street, “but it’s a big possibility” that
residents could be ticketed because there are no exceptions once an area is
designated “No Parking.”
Council President Greg Stinson said it’s unfortunate that Porter residents
could get ticketed if caught in the shuffle, “but the bottom line is it’s a
public safety hazard. Last Tuesday when I talked to Jamie, there were 80
cars parked in this area on both sides of the street.”
Attorney Greg Sobkowski said, “It would be pretty difficult to craft an
exception that makes sense” to protect only Porter residents, but suggested
the ban could be made seasonal or limited to certain times of day.
Spanier asked the Council to approve the ordinance as is and come back to it
if changes are needed, since the issue is pressing. Spanier said residents
in the area should be most concerned on days when beach traffic is likely to
be high. “The time we’d be looking for it heavily is when its 80 degrees,
and it starts filling up,” he said.
Stinson announced he was stepping down as Council president effective at the
end of the meeting due to increasing work commitments. Stinson has served a
combined but not consecutive seven years as Council president. Council
Vice-President Bill Lopez will succeed Stinson as President and Council
member David Phillips will replace Lopez as Vice-president.
Stinson also announced his plans to step down from the Redevelopment
Commission for the same reason. Stinson’s absence would have left a Council
Customarily, the Town Council President appoints civilians to serve on the
RDC, and the Council must appoint from its own members. In order to leave
space for a Porter resident to serve in his place, Stinson and the Council
rearranged Council member Erik Wagner’s appointment on the RDC to make him
one of the Council’s appointments and free up a Presidential appointment.
Apply for RDC seat
Porter residents can now apply for the citizen opening on the RDC. The RDC,
sometimes called a TIF board, manages Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds
and the declaration of TIF areas and can grant economic incentives such as
tax abatements to promote development in Town.
Those interested in serving should submit a letter of interest to
Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy either at the Town Hall, 303 Franklin Street,
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 19. Lopez plans to make the
appointment at the Council’s June 23 meeting.