Valpo residents get chance to share views on airport plan
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent March 3, 2013 10:45PM
•The Valparaiso Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on the Porter County Airport Zone Development Plan at 7 p.m. March 12 at City Hall, 166 Lincolnway, Valparaiso.
•The Porter County Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on the plan at 6:30 p.m. March 13 in the Porter County Administrative Center, 155 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso.
More information on the plan can be found at www.portercoplan.org.
Updated: April 5, 2013 6:17AM
VALPARAISO — City and county residents will get the opportunity to share their views on the Porter County Airport Zone Development Plan.
The plan, according to city, county and airport officials, is meant to assess what’s available for development around Porter County Regional Airport on U.S. 30, just southeast of the city.
“This is not changing zoning or ordinances,” said Robert Thompson, the county’s planning director. “It’s a plan, a vision for 30 years on out.”
The zone includes roughly 15 square miles. Though its boundaries aren’t square, the zone is bordered on the south by Division Road, on the north by the Canadian National Railway tracks, by Sturdy Road on the west and by County Road 600E on the east.
The area, Thompson said, includes a mix of zone uses, including agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial.
The county, Airport Director Kyle Kuebler said, is “multi-modal.” It’s home to three rail systems, major highways, an airport with a runway longer than the one at Midway Airport in Chicago, and has an international port. The airport’s interest in the development plan is maximizing that facility’s potential.
Any development in the zone will “all be compatible for uses around an airport,” he said. The plan does not include expanding the airport beyond its current boundaries.
The county is short on “shovel-ready” sites for development, and the plan can help identify some of those sites to attract quality jobs and businesses to the region, Kuebler said.
“It’s a great opportunity for the three government entities to work together to have the same vision for that corridor,” said Tyler Kent, Valparaiso’s planning director.
The plan, Kent said, is to integrate the unified development ordinances of the city and the county for the airport zone to one set of standards, to reflect the vision of the city, the county and the airport.
“We can show this to property developers as they want to come in,” Kent said. “This is the look and feel of what that area should be.”
The Valparaiso City Council will review the plan for adoption in late March or early April. The plan also will go before the county Plan Commission, and the Porter County Board of Commissioners may approve the plan as a resolution in late April.
“There’s definitely interest to develop in and around that area,” Kent said.