Waterpark will no longer be just a summertime attraction, but a recreational
destination for every season of the year with paintball, electric go-carts,
a fall festival and an ice skating rink.
But first, the
owners must take steps toward the improvements they were asked to do by the
Town of Porter’s plan commission nearly two years ago.
The Porter Board of
Zoning Appeals voted 5-0 on Wednesday to allow the new uses with the
conditions that Seven Peaks by June 6 -- the opening day of the water park
-- make drainage improvements to the parking lot, submit a stormwater site
plan to the state, and work with the residents of the neighboring Summer
Tree subdivision to the west to put up a fence for privacy.
By July 31, Seven
Peaks is to have added new turn lanes off of Waverly Road to control traffic
and install a new ticket booth on the northwest section of the parking lot.
Then, after having
two complete seasons to build up revenue, park owners will need to have all
the parking area paved and landscaped by Oct. 31, 2016.
Seven Peaks’ new
manager Scott Brinton, whose father Gary Brinton purchased the park in 2012,
said being new on the job he was unaware of the “promises” made by Seven
Peaks managers before him. He agreed to turn in written commitments by the
board’s next meeting in April.
“I see myself as a
fresh face and I am willing to work with you to make this successful,”
As for activities,
the BZA imposed a number of conditions that were suggested in the
discussions from last month’s Technical Advisory Committee meeting. The
paintball area, on the property’s northeast corner, will have a maximum
limit of 50 participants and require a 12-foot high net.
The BZA gave the
permission for the paintball area to be open all year, not just in the
spring and fall as discussed previously at the TAC meeting.
Briton will be
allowed to have a go-cart track as long as he uses electric carts.
“Those don’t make
too much noise,” commented BZA member Kenneth Timm.
the reason he wants to offer these new activities is to “give the season
pass holders something to do year-round and to have “a competitive edge”
over other water park facilities.
The BZA agreed with
Seven Peaks’ request to hold a public hearing the same meeting as a
No one from the
floor objected to any of the activities discussed, but two neighbors raised
concerns about the recurring flooding seen on their properties.
Mario Guajardo and
Levi Neely said “they are all for” what Brinton and his team have proposed,
but asked that something be done about the standing water problem they have
in their yards on the east side of Waverly Rd..
“Our big problem is
the flooding. I hope there can be a solution for it,” Guajardo said.
Flooding has been a regular problem, even before Seven Peaks opened for
business in 2013, he said.
Town Director of
Development Michael Berry said a specialist from Soil Solutions had found
bits of an old field tile that has broken apart in that area. There is also
a concrete wall with two spots were water is getting through.
Brinton said he
would try to remedy the problem by digging “French drains” that will collect
storm water and then be pumped into the pond on site.
BZA President John
Kremke told Brinton he would like to see a detailed drainage plan rather
than just digging with a tractor.
Lynn Johnson, who lives in Summer Tree subdivision, said that the traffic
issues shouldn’t be ignored with the addition of the new activities.
“We see the line in
the summer back up all the way to U.S. 20. There’s got to be a way to
control that traffic,” Johnson said.
She also mentioned
that there have been patrons who have gotten their cars stuck in the parking
lot and wander over to neighbors asking for help. She asked that measures be
taken to keep people off private property.
Brinton said he
could put up a type a fence that would agreeable for the neighbors.
traffic, town planner Jim Mandon said the TAC believes traffic generated by
the new activities would not exceed what is seen now on days the water park
A Job to Do
BZA members said
several times during the discussion that they take issue with the fact that
the required improvements for Waverly Rd. and in the Seven Peaks parking
area imposed by the town in August 2013 have not been carried out.
Member Bill Stronks
said there has been little good faith effort seen by Seven Peaks and he
would have an easier time approving the new use request had those
improvements been made.
The town has the
authority to revoke the variance for the water park all together if Seven
Peaks fails to comply.
“That gives (Brinton)
all the reason in the world to get things done,” said member William Sexton.
Kremke said all the
members would agree that they would like to see Seven Peaks succeed and
asked that Brinton keep in contact.
“You guys need to
do your job. Know that we’re here to help. Just don’t ignore it,” said
Brinton and the BZA
agreed to a timeline schedule as the new uses were approved.
Berry said however
that before paintball games can commence, the Town Council will need to make
an amendment to the ordinance that bans “projectiles,” which would likely
require first and second readings.
Brinton said he
hopes the Council will give him permission at their meeting Tuesday to open
the paintball field. He intends to be open for business as early as next
In other business,
the BZA members held elections for 2015, keeping the same officers as last
Kremke will again
lead as President, with Henry Husyer as Vice-President. Tammie Sufana was
named board Secretary.