Chesterton Tribune



Porter residents talk speeders and Johnson Inn at Town Council

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Two concerned residents addressed the Porter Town Council at its meeting last night --one with concerns about speeders in the Porter Cove subdivision and one with questions about the Old Johnson Inn.

First up was Gus Brown, who recalled that the last time he attended a meeting was when he and dozens of other Porter Cove residents descended upon the Town hall, packing it so there was standing room only, to demand the Council take action to improve Kids Cove Park. Since the Town has used part of the proceeds of a $830,000 general obligation bond to do just that, Brown said he believes the Council has shown they care about what he formerly called “the forgotten subdivision.”

So, Brown said he was hopeful tonight that the Council would take his concerns about speeders seriously, as they had listened before. Brown estimated some people are flying by the Essex Drive entrance to the subdivision at up to 60 miles per hour and said the problem occurs all over the subdivision, according to members of the Porter Cove Facebook group. He requested an increased police presence in the short-term and the addition of a better-placed speed limit sign, as well as installation of seasonal speed humps, as a long-term solution.

“My request is that at some point in the very near future, that I can come here and hear from the Council about what action you’re taking. I don’t want to come back here talking about us losing a child,” Brown said.

Next up, Porter Beach resident Cheryl Vesh presented the Council with a list of questions about how Town ordinances apply or don’t apply to Carl Dahlin Jr.’s parking business at the Old Johnson Inn at Porter Beach. Vesh is one of several residents who’ve recently complained about the condition of the Inn and what they deem unregulated business activity. Vesh worked with Jim Morsch and five other concerned residents on the list of questions, she said. The questions pertain to why changes were recently made to Porter’s code on “non-conforming structures”--structures that were built before the current code was in place and thus are not required to make additions that would bring them up to code --and how the Town governs “grandfathering” non-conforming properties.

Vesh said she thinks the Town should either bring Dahlin into compliance or shut down his parking operation because it’s an eyesore and a hazard that will cost Town dollars down the line, and that it seems like he gets unique treatment. “I’d just like to say that I personally continue to feel like Porter’s sliver of paradise at the lake deserves so much better than what we have there on so many levels,” Vesh said.

A third Porter resident, Ann Schreiner, echoed Vesh’s concerns in a letter to the Town Council, which Council Vice-president David Phillips read out loud.

In other business, Porter resident and Democratic candidate for North County Commissioner Becky Mateja Lombardini appeared to announce her candidacy and to tell residents that she’s open to discussions and questions.


Police Chief Jamie Spanier noted residents who see speeders or other traffic violations can request extra patrols in their neighborhoods via the Town’s website. He also asked that the Council start thinking about whether or not it will allow in-person trick-or-treating this Halloween.

Fire Chief Jay Craig thanked residents and first responders who came from far off en mass to help with a house explosion that destroyed a Porter home on North Frist Street on Sept. 10. Craig and Spanier noted neighbors and out-of-Town cops held up the collapsing roof of the structure while others searched for people in the rubble. Two were pulled out.

“If that would have been our typical response without that outpouring of support, the outcome could have been a lot different that day,” Craig said. “It was teamwork from our responders and teamwork from our community that made a difference.”

Building Commissioner Michael Barry reported he and Craig conducted an inspection of the Old Johnson Inn, and he’s preparing a report for the Council. Dahlin is slated to appear before the Board of Zoning Appeals at its Oct. 21 meeting at 6 p.m. to answer to the unsafe building order that was issued to him in August.

Other Business

The Council approved an additional appropriation of $150,000 form the Motor Vehicle/Highway fund to buy a new dump truck for Public Works. No one spoke for or against the additional in a public hearing. Barry had previously reported the best deal he and Public Works Superintendent Sarah Olson could find was on a new truck to replace a key part of the Town’s fleet that’s currently beyond repair.

The Council also approved a transfer of $135,000 from LIT to the Town’s General Fund. The purpose is to support the Town’s budget going into 2021 as a safeguard against potential revenue losses from the economic fallout of COVID-19, according to Council President Bill Lopez and Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy.



Posted 9/23/2020




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