Chesterton Tribune


BZA tables Luke Oil car wash request at US 6

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A difference in opinion about where Luke Oil should place its entrance for a new car wash proposed at the station, at 3 East U.S. Highway 6 in Liberty Twp., led to a 5-0 vote by the Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals to table the matter on Wednesday.

The BZA gave no objections to the car wash being there but members Rick Burns, Marvin Brickner and Tim Cole said the entrance should be on the building’s north side rather than its south, which would be closest to U.S. 6.

Burns said he was concerned that the traffic for the car wash would be “stacked” and “back up traffic on U.S. 6.”

“It’s a safety issue,” Burns told Luke construction manager Mike Zell.

Zell said the entrance was proposed for the south to make it easier for the customers and added that it is “rare” to have the car wash traffic stacked where it would back up onto the roadway. The building would be at least 50 feet from the inset of the U.S. 6 right-of-way, he said.

If the traffic line for the wash were to ever become lengthy, a Luke Oil employee would be there to direct the cars coming in, Zell said, but he was open to redrawing the plans according to the board’s wishes.

“If you are adamant about this, we can switch it,” he said.

Zell said the request he was making was only for the approval of an automobile wash building, not for plan specifications to be approved. He added that he has been in contact with the County’s planning department and would discuss the plans for the entrance further with the development review committee.

In the end, the board felt their concerns were large enough that they asked Zell to come back with new plans “more suitable that will not harm traffic patterns” before they would give consent to the car wash. Voting to table the matter were members Burns, Brickner, Cole, Michael Young and president Debbie Kerr-Cook.

Brickner said he sees “plenty of room” for Luke to reconfigure building placement. The company plans to demolish and rebuild its convenience store this year ,with a square footage of about 4,000 feet.

Brickner added that he would like for Luke to have landscaping between the buildings and U.S. 6. Zell said landscaping is in the plans similar to the Portage station on U.S. 20.

“Our intent is to bring it up to the standards at our other locations,” Zell said.

Cole asked who will be providing Luke’s water and sewer at the station.

Zell said the water will be provided by Indiana American Water and the sewer service will come from Damon Run Conservancy District.

No audience member spoke for or against the variance during the public hearing portion Wednesday.



Posted 3/21/2013