Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Porter County BZA denies location variance for Duneland Landscape

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals decided by a vote of 3-1 Wednesday that a 10-acre parcel near where CR 200 West crosses the Toll Road in Liberty Twp. would not be a suitable place for Duneland Landscape LLC to move its business.

Business owner Tom Frain purchased the property a few months ago, which is in a Rural Residential zoned district, where he would be able to have a small agricultural operation like a hobby farm or nursery, said his attorney William Ferngren. Frain felt it would be “convenient, efficient and economical” for him to also have his business there, Ferngren said.

In his opening remarks to board, Ferngren contended that having a landscaping business there would “not be discernible” from the small agricultural uses permitted in a Rural Residential district. How the business would operate is that work crews would load up supplies about 7 a.m., get their tasks, work offsite and return about 5 p.m.

“It’s seasonal type of work. There will be only about six to eight trucks a day,” said Ferngren. “The increase in traffic is going to be the same for what is already permitted.”

Representing neighbors Bill and Andrea Hollifield who reside east of the parcel, attorney Charles Parkinson said the Hollifields collected 14 signatures on a petition against the variance petition from other neighboring residents.

“In the petition, they feel that the increase in truck traffic and supply storage in that area would be inconsistent with that district,” said Parkinson.

Frain’s parcel is bounded by the Toll Road to the north, a NIPSCO property to the east and to the south property that is owned by the Porter County Parks Foundation.

Parkinson said he spoke with Parks Foundation member Dick Maxey, who told him the Foundation intends to open a bird sanctuary there with trails like they have done in Chesterton on 11th Street. A commercial type of use on Frain’s property would not be consistent with that, Parkinson said.

Parkinson said he feels that the landscaping business would be more along the lines of a construction trade office rather than agriculture, arguing against Ferngren’s points.

In rebuttal, Ferngren said he “respectfully disagrees” with Parkinson and emphasized again that the business is not retail and does fit in with the permitted uses.

One neighbor, Bruce Niepokoj, said during the public hearing that people who live in the area like their privacy and have larger properties. If Frain wanted to have a nursery, that is fine with him, Niepokoj said, but having a business “just doesn’t fit.”

BZA member Marvin Brickney said he would agree in that the landscaping business would not match the character of a “really tight” residential community and traffic on CR 200W is already busy because motorists tend to use it as an alternative to Ind. 149.

BZA member Luther Williams asked if the business’ existing operation on CR 1050N is adequate to continue there. Frain said in some ways it is and some ways it isn’t, but he would like to be able to have the space on the new property.

The board voted 3-1 on the motion to deny made by BZA member Mike Young. Voting against the motion to deny was Williams. Voting for it were Brickner, Young and Board President Debbie Kerr-Cook. Absent was BZA member Robert Poparad.

Dog Training on 875N

Also Wednesday, the board made a favorable vote of 4-0 to grant dog trainer Cynthia Andrysiak a variance to permit having dog training classes in her existing pole barn at 280 West CR 875.

Attorney Connor Nolan said Andrysiak works with one dog at a time for one hour sessions. She was told by a code enforcement officer she would need a use variance to continue operating the business.

The poll barn has about 1,000 sq. ft. of space for the therapy dog training or behavioral classes. Under the variance, Andrysiak would be allowed a maximum of four dogs at a time.

Nolan said that Andrysiak is not boarding any of the dogs and is not looking to have any other kind of animal. She does have a small sign that she will also need to get a permit for.

No neighbors have complained about dogs on the property. Neighbor Doris Stringer said she is in favor of the variance and the clients do keep their dogs on leashes.

Bases Loaded

Meanwhile, the board renewed a use variance for another five years for Bases Loaded LLC, a baseball and softball practice facility inside an existing pole barn located in Liberty Twp., at 884 North CR 100 West.

Owners Denise and Mark Price agreed to put in a buffer of arborvitae around the driveway area to mute sound and lights from vehicles to address concerns expressed by a neighbor north of the property.

Brickner asked about concrete blocks that were talked about when the variance was first granted in 2012. Mark Price said that he moved those off the parcel that has the business on it a few months ago. The previous owner will remove more items later this summer.

“I think the place looks great,” said Brickner, who made the motion to extend the variance for another five years.

The business’ new hours were added as part of the variance. It is allowed to operate from 3 to 9 p.m. on Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Cell towers

The BZA also approved locations for four new monopole cell towers. Two of them are for the Porter County 911 System 800 Megahertz upgrade. Those will be erected at the South County Highway Garage on Ind. 8 near Hebron and at the Lake Eliza Volunteer Fire Station in Porter Twp.

Lastly, a 165-foot cell tower was approved 3-1 on an agricultural parcel with an existing telecommunications facility north of 1148 North and west of CR 400E in Jackson Twp. The tower is requested by Cellusite LLC for better cell phone reception.

Brickner voted against the measure saying he wishes the tower could be located farther north.

 

 

Posted 4/20/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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