By Allison Deutschman
For more than a year, a popular topic of conversation for Town of Porter residents on Lake Road has been former Councilman Mike McCabe's property. As covered by The Sentinel at previous Porter board meetings, nearby neighbors claimed to witness the property illegally exploited as a commercial venue over an extended period of time, despite town zoning laws prohibiting the practice.
Participants at Monday's Town Board meeting expressed disappointment, suggesting the Town of Porter Board has taken little action.
"He (McCabe) has never been, from day one, allowed to do what he's doing," Councilman Joe Fleckenstein said. "We did not ignore what was going on. It is a slow process."
William Dean, one of McCabe's neighbors, has chosen an alternative avenue for dealing with the disruptive operation of commercial vehicles, sandblasting and more: legal action.
Dean provided additional pamphlets of evidence of the activity at 2384 Lake Road to each councilman, the deputy supervisor, supervisor and town clerk during the public participation segment of the meeting.
Despite a cease and desist letter sent out last spring, focused on ending all industrial operations on McCabe's land, not much has changed, Dean claimed.
Fredricka Dean, another Lake Road resident, said McCabe's intent to have this business was not necessarily the problem, but rather the location.
"It would have been so great, had he been directed to purchase property in the commercially zoned area," Dean said.
She, too, pointed to the perceived lack of board action. Complaints by community members were first voiced in the public portion of board meetings in May 2014.
Councilmen Fleckenstein and Jeff Baker told Dean and others voicing complaints the board discussed repercussions at a work session prior to the board meeting. The private session included the Planning Board and Zoning Board chairs. Town officials didn't offer details.
Not intent to just take the board's word, Lake Road resident Vicki Waterson suggested a "political agenda" from those focused on re-election this year (Fleckenstein and Larry White).
At this time, a public hearing appears to be the most likely course of action, though it's probably months away.
Interested residents are invited to attend the Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. July 13 in Porter Town Hall on Creek Road.