Developers Bob Gorgei and Richard Brennan got their one-year extension to
delay building Phase 1 of the 190-home, single-family subdivision known as
The Trails of Porter.
But the Porter Plan Commission made it clear Wednesday it’s the last
extension B&R Development is going to get. An initial one-year extension for
The Trails was granted 11 months ago.
The primary plat for the subdivision, to be on land known as the Iron
Triangle bounded by railroads north of Wood Street, was approved by the
commission in 2009; the Town Council adopted a planned unit development
ordinance in 2008 assigning special PUD zoning with the project’s general
“Bob and Rich are still excited about the project,” assured attorney Greg
Babcock last night. He blamed sluggish demand for new housing, unemployment
and tighter restrictions on securing funding.
For Phase 1 alone, said Babcock, B&R Development has to build a new sewage
lift station, widen South Mineral Springs Road and build the internal
subdivision infrastructure including roads.
“You’ve got some up-front costs to get those 54 lots started,” Babcock
added, estimating the pricetag would be at least $1 million.
Commission member Brenda Brueckheimer asked what will happen if the 68
acre-parcel is sold.
Commission attorney Laura Frost said the PUD ordinance remains in force and
within the next year a new owner has to build based on the existing plat.
But if the new extension expires without construction having started,
whoever owns it --- including B&R --- has to start the platting over.
Commission president Lorain Bell said the town’s comprehensive plan needs to
be reviewed every so often and “it needs to be assured this will be the
final extension.” Brueckheimer’s motion to limit the extension to one final
year passed 5-0 with members Jim Eriksson and Bill Cantrell absent.
In other business, the commission voted to table for one more month the
original petition of Carolyn Trepper, who filed in December for a rezoning
to build a duplex development along Old Porter Road west of The Trails
subdivision. The commission had urged Trepper to refile her request as a PUD
but it never was.
The 5-0 motion included that Trepper be notified by letter that if she isn’t
present to update the commission in May, her rezoning petition will be
During both the Plan Commission and separate Board of Zoning Appeals
meetings Wednesday, Frost and town planner Jim Mandon recommended both
boards change their procedure regarding who gives petitioners the list of
names of adjacent neighbors so they can be notified of a scheduled public
Plan Commission and BZA members both unanimously asked the Porter Town
Council to allow the Clerk-treasurer’s Office to provide the list for an
additional petitioner’s fee; the Porter County Assessor’s Office has
provided the names in the past but Frost said it has no legal obligation to
Petitioners will be responsible for using the town’s list of names to give
notice of the hearing as they currently do. Porter also requires that
petitioners post a sign on the property involved giving notice of the