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
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 said he “respectfully disagrees” with Parkinson and emphasized
again that the business is not retail and does fit in with the permitted
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
against the measure saying he wishes the tower could be located farther