Chesterton Tribune



Porter zoning boards slate eight hearings Wednesday

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The Porter Board of Zoning Appeals and the Plan Commission meet back-to-back, so Wednesday the boards will be conducting six public hearings between them including requests to enlarge a Porter Beach home and to erect two billboards bordering Interstate 94 at the TA Travel Center on the south side of U.S. 20.

The Plan Commission also will take public comment on proposed changes to the town’s fencing rules. Each board has a preliminary hearing to conduct as well.

Three of the BZA petitions were continued from the July meeting because the applicants either didn’t show up or didn’t follow the required rules of procedure.

The BZA begins at 6:30 p.m. and the Plan Commission at 7 p.m. or at the conclusion of the BZA if that meeting runs late.

Charles Welter has a home at 2915 Dudley in Porter Beach but also uses the home at 2911 Dudley, which he wants to enlarge. Doing so will increase the home’s non-conformity with zoning laws so a BZA variance is required, according to town building commissioner Mike Barry, necessitating the public hearing.

Tilden Enterprises Inc.’s BZA public hearing is for a variance to reduce the required rear-yard setback from 20 feet to 4 feet 6 inches when building a new storage facility and attached office at the northwest corner of Lincoln Street and Porter Avenue. The structure will replace the current inventory building at 340 Lincoln St.

Tilden Enterprises has a companion public hearing Wednesday before the Plan Commission on its need to combine lots 23 and 24 and 25-28 so all six in the Business-2 zone are one lot of record prior to construction.

The BZA also will conduct a public hearing for Brian Marx, 445 Franklin St., on his request to extend a 6-foot high fence on the Hageman Avenue side of his corner lot. A variance is needed because both streets are considered the front yard in Marx’s case.

The BZA’s preliminary hearing is for John Rooney, who requires a variance to erect a 4-foot-tall fence in the front yard at 580 Pinecrest Dr. in Marquette Pointe subdivision. If the petition is in order, a future public hearing will be set.

Whenever the Plan Commission begins, in addition to the Tilden public hearing, planners will conduct one for TA Operating LLC d/b/a Travel Centers of America. The company wants permission to amend its Business-3 planned unit development and allow Outdoor Nation LLC to erect two double-sided billboards, each sign face being 14 feet by 48 feet in size.

An existing billboard is located adjacent to I-94 on the parcel’s far west end behind the large paved truck parking lot. The first new billboard would be erected 548 feet to the east of the current sign and the second 548 feet east of there.

The night’s final public hearing before the Plan Commission is on proposed changes to the town’s fencing regulations including allowing fences and walls to be located within the front yard if not exceeding 4 feet in height. Additional front-yard requirements would apply, as well as requirements for side and rear-yard fences in residential and non-residential zones.

At the conclusion of the hearing the commission may forward a recommendation to the Town Council for final adoption of the zoning changes.

The Plan Commission meeting begins with a preliminary hearing for Mineral Springs Porter LLC regarding requested changes to its Mineral Springs Villa planned unit development, which was platted in 2006 but only one of the 18 lots has been developed.

The 3.65-acre project is located at the northeast corner of Beam Street and Mineral Springs Road and is bordered on two sides by the Brickyard hike/bike trail.

Developer Larry Gough is requesting that the town take over ownership of the roads, which are now private; that paired-patio homes be allowed as well as single-family detached residential units on Lots 7-12; and that single-story, 1 1/2-story and two-story residences are permitted.

If the petition is in order, a future public hearing will be set.

Both the BZA and Plan Commission will hear public comment on other non-agenda matters as their respective meetings begin.

Posted 8/19/2014