In 2013, Mayor Jon Costas appointed me to the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Valparaiso. This five-member board met monthly and dealt with petitioners for land use variances and zoning changes, both residential and commercial. Before my time, the city adopted a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) which is essentially the government document as to how the city should grow over time and the regulations as to what things should look and sound like. Now this sounds well intentioned for a new city when one can plan everything out but for a historical community that spent well over one hundred years without any local government oversight, the board found itself being far more activities because of the many unique pre-existing structures in the community.
We were able to help developers, individuals rehab historical houses, multigenerational family-owned business make improvements or investments locally. We had a few community outcries on a few decisions we made but in the long run, everyone ended up being happy and I served with a group of people that were politically diverse but truly unified in making Valpo a better place to work live and play.