A petition for a new 42’ x 64’ replacement shed to store vehicles for Area
Tree Service located at 25 West U.S. 6 in Liberty Twp., was tabled 3-2 by
members of the Porter County Board of Zoning appeals who said the business
is in need of some sprucing up.
Business owner Paul Edmonds and attorney Todd Leeth said an existing 28’ x
28’ primary structure has nowhere near the adequate space the business needs
to store its many bucket trucks and dump trucks.
Leeth said housing the trucks indoors will help them start and maneuver
better during winter months when the volume of service calls are high.
In addition to the new storage structure, the business made a separate
request to allow for Edmonds to reside on the same two-acre parcel where he
operates his business. A third variance request was made to keep the wooden
privacy fence that separates the property from an adjacent mobile home park
as it is instead of using a masonry divider as called for by the county’s
From the audience, neighbor Donald Trowbridge said the view of the property
from the road is “not pretty” with the wood stacked up near the front and
asked a tree buffer be put in along the road to soften the view.
Agreeing with Trowbridge’s suggestion was BZA member Rick Burns who thought
this would be “an opportunity to dress up the property.”
Burns said he is worried the property will “stick out” with new development
likely to be coming in the next few years as a result of the new hospital.
Burns and other board members cited safety concerns having an abundance of
wood material and trucks packed into the same area making it easy for a
possible fire to spread.
BZA member Marvin Brickner, who said he resides about a mile away from the
business, told Edmonds he has observed his business nearly double in the
past two years and has heard complaints from neighbors saying the wood and
equipment stored on the property is “unsightly.” The type of business, he
said, is more appropriate for a larger parcel.
“You’ve really outgrown your property,” he said to Edmonds. “You’ve crammed
as much as you can.”
Brickner suggested taking down several smaller sheds on the property if
Edmonds wishes to construct the new building.
Edmonds said the new shed would remove his trucks from view and agreed to
discuss other enhancements before the next BZA meeting on May 16.
The board unanimously tabled the discussion until then.
BZA member Tim Cole had faith improvements could be made but said to Edmonds
that the county has the ambition to keep up high standards for property and
“We all are in this together. We all have an obligation to each other to
keep our property values as they are,” Cole said.
granted for hospital neighbor
Three remaining variances for the 109-acre St. Andrews LLC development,
which will butt up against the west side of the land owned by Porter
hospital, were granted 5-0 by the board.
The variances pertain to sidewalk standards that were agreed upon earlier
this year. The roadways through the portion of the property zoned
Single-family Residential district (R1) will include 24 feet of road and
four feet of sidewalk on one side. The sizes were agreed upon by the
developers and the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department.
BZA members asked the developers to include sidewalks on both sides of the
roads for the one circuit of the subdivision where homes will be located
according to site plans.