The Porter Board of
Zoning Appeals granted a developmental standards variance for a home at 3030
Dearborn at its meeting Wednesday.
The BZA approved
property owner Ray Cahnman to demolish an old fishing shack and build a
two-car garage in the same footprint on his property. The BZA granted
Cahnman’s request for a developmental standards variance to reduce south
setback from 15 feet to 7 feet and east setback from 15 feet to 5.4 feet.
Town Planner Jim
Mandon noted the surrounding area is unique, and many homes, including
Cahnman’s were built under different requirements, which means they’re
technically considered “non-conforming structures.” Property owners looking
to build in Porter can either build in the same footprint of non-conforming
structures, or update them to current Town Code requirements. Since Cahnman
is using the same footprint of the old building, he had to ask permission to
continue abiding by the outdated setback requirements.
the approval because many existing homes do not satisfy current setback
requirements, and the plan should improve the area. “For an investment the
size of what we’re talking about to be made on the property, I think
benefits the entire area, not only in financial value but also the
appearance of the area,” Mandon said.
Cahnman said he
plans to remove a gate and an old separate entrance to the fishing shack,
which will open up valuable street parking near his home. Cahnman said five
of his six neighbors were on board when he told them about the project. He
was unable to reach the sixth, who lives out of state. “I’m very mindful of
actually doing something that’s an improvement for all my neighbors,”
In the interest of
time and because neighbors had already been notified, the Board voted to
suspend its regular rules and hold a preliminary hearing and public hearing
for the project in the same night.
No one spoke
against the project in a public hearing, and no one submitted letters in
response to the project. Porter resident Jennifer Klug spoke in favor,
saying that the BZA should encourage people to improve their properties.