Porter County commission OKs 30-year airport plan
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent March 13, 2013 9:32PM
Updated: April 15, 2013 11:24AM
VALPARAISO — With an eye toward the future, the Porter County Plan Commission approved the Porter County Airport Zone Development Plan on Wednesday.
Tapping into his two years of experience on the board for the Gary/Chicago International Airport, commission member and County Council President Bob Poparad, D-At-large, said that board never looked 10 or 15 years down the road.
“We have a chance to do this right,” he said.
With that in mind, the commission asked for the addition of an overlay for a north-south runway east of County Road 400E. County planning director Robert Thompson said he could designate the overlay, but he would have to make sure the plan would support it.
While the airport’s east-west runway is 7,000 feet, members of the commission wanted the plan to take into consideration the need for a longer north-south runway, also 7,000 feet. The current one is 5,000 feet.
Had the Gary airport board had the same foresight, that airport would be far ahead of where it is now, said Poparad, who resigned from the airport board after returning to the County Council.
“If they had this 15 or 20 years ago, they’d be done and have two airlines flying there,” he said.
The development plan, a joint effort between the city, the county and the airport, is meant to assess what’s available for development around Porter County Regional Airport on U.S. 30, just southeast of the city.
Commission members said the development plan is a vision for the next 30 years and is not set in stone. Rather, it’s meant to be a tool for development around the airport, using the zoning that’s already in place.
The zone includes roughly 15 square miles. It’s 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 Board of Commissioners is expected to consider the plan at its April 2 meeting.