The Burns Harbor Board of Zoning Appeals will meet in closed executive
session tonight at 6:30 p.m. to discuss a lawsuit filed last week
challenging its Aug. 24 approval allowing an expansion of CR England’s
At 7 p.m. the BZA will convene its regular public monthly meeting at the
town hall with business related to finalizing the England petition’s
paperwork on the agenda.
Plaintiffs in the appeal are the Burns Harbor Town Council, residents
Herminio and Andrea Soto, and 10 town businesses including the Lake Shore
and Arnell auto dealerships, Camp Land Inc., a corporation tied to The
Village in Burns Harbor subdivision and Fast Coffee Services Inc.
The appeal seeks to have the Aug. 24 approvals reversed and the England
petition remanded back to the BZA with instructions that the Utah-based
company’s zoning requests be denied.
Named as defendants are the BZA; CR England Inc.; William J. Brant Jr. &
Associates, developer of Tech Business Center where England is located; and
Robert Poparad and Maria Poparad, who own the property where England won
permission to build a 250 semi-truck parking lot and guardhouses west of
Indiana 149 south of Tech Drive.
Attorneys from Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis represent the Town Council and
co-plaintiffs. The appeal has been assigned to Porter Superior Court Judge
Mary Harper. Associate town attorney Charles Parkinson represented the BZA
during its consideration of the England petition but it’s not known if he
will represent the BZA for the appeal. Today, Parkinson declined comment on
England’s local attorney, Terry Hiestand of Chesterton, said of the lawsuit,
“I think it’s contrary to any precedents I’m aware of and we will be
responding with a motion to that effect.”
The property England plans to use for the parking expansion is in the
Special Use District 6 (light industrial) zoning district and Ice Miller
said the Burns Harbor zoning ordinance stipulates site expansion within each
Special Use District shall require a rezoning. For that reason the appeal
alleges England erred in asking for a special exception for a freight
terminal, which the BZA approved on a 3-2 vote with several conditions, to
be reviewed tonight, imposed on that approval.
Among the conditions is that England cannot begin operations at the new
parking facility until a traffic signal is installed and operational at the
Indiana 149/Tech Drive intersection.
Hiestand said the England petition was filed seeking a special exception
because Table 12-1 provides for a freight terminal in a SD6 zone with a
special exception. No one with the town ever told England its petition was
not filed properly, said Hiestand, and “England provided everything the BZA
told them to go out and get.”
The Ice Miller appeal also maintains a freight terminal was the incorrect
use for the BZA to consider because it is defined in the zoning ordinance as
“Terminals with the capability of handling a large variety of goods
involving various forms of transportation and providing multimodal shipping
capabilities, such as rail to truck or truck to air".
The entirely new Burns Harbor zoning ordinance was drafted, reviewed and
adopted in less than six months last year facing a June 30 deadline or risk
losing a $100,000 grant that financed the ordinance and a new comprehensive
plan. An additional $100,000 in zoning studies also were done by consultant
In other BZA business, tonight the board will conduct a public hearing for
Salvador Velez-Vera, who is seeking a developmental standard variance to
erect a 24-foot by 40-foot pole barn for personal storage at 359 Melton Rd.
(U.S. 20) in an RC-2 zone.