Chesterton Tribune



Porter BZA grants setback variance

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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 Since Cahnman is using the same footprint of the old building, he had to ask permission to continue abiding by the outdated setback requirements.

Mandon recommended 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,” Cahnman said.

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.


Posted 6/23/2020




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