Chesterton Tribune

Brown Ave neighbors turn out to oppose pawn shop

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It wasn’t a public hearing, but neighbors turned out anyway to oppose a proposed pawn shop in the Childress Industrial Controls building at 100 Brown Ave.

The use-variance request by Complete Control Systems Inc. through property manager Cheryl Bonin had been scheduled for public hearing Thursday and Bonin sent out certified notices to her neighbors, but she didn’t file the additional required paperwork in time so the hearing could not proceed.

With several neighbors present, Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals president Fred Owens let them comment anyway and encouraged them to attend the Nov. 24 BZA meeting to which Bonin’s hearing was reset. Comment also can be submitted to the town hall by mail or email.

The residents live on Brown Court, a quiet cul-de-sac with no outlet that Pat Scott said would be filled with pawn shop patrons believing it is a through street. “There’s a lot of concerns right now,” she told the BZA. Scott also said there’s limited parking at 100 Brown Ave. and there’s plenty of vacant store space along Broadway and Calumet Road where the pawn shop could go.

Scott stated pawn shops are used to unload stolen goods and could attract unsavory characters they don’t want in the neighborhood. She presented photos of the Childress building including gang graffiti on a wall. “That’s scary enough.”

Ken Wilkie, James Maranto and Roger Hewitt said theirs is a quiet area where children play and ride bicycles so extra traffic isn’t wanted and a pawn shop is not welcome. The neighbors also cited the building’s deteriorating condition, damaged roof and junk cars there. These and other concerns were referred to town building commissioner Dave Novak for investigation.

Bonin wanted to respond but Owens said if she properly renotices the public hearing for Nov. 24, that’s her chance to present her case.

The Nov. 24 meeting date is two days early because of the Thanksgiving holiday. A second public hearing was set for that night for Rodney and Kathi Corder of 1357 N. County Road 100E. The area, zoned Residential-1, was annexed into Chesterton in 2003.

The Corders’ 20-foot by 31-foot block garage built in 1959 was collapsed in the Aug. 19 tornado. Rodney Corder said the building housed a shallow well he wants to protect; the replacement garage would be a wooden structure built on the existing slab. Vote was 3-0 to set the hearing with members Brandon Kroft and Sig Niepokoj absent.

After the meeting town attorney Charles Lukmann clarified that the Town Council recently adopted an ordinance that would allow legal non-conforming structures damaged by the tornado to be rebuilt under certain conditions. However, the Corder garage was located in the front yard, where accessory structures are not allowed; their petition states wooded areas on the lot preclude them from relocating it behind the house so a variance is being sought to reconstruct an accessory building in the front yard.

The BZA also rescheduled its December meeting, which would have been Christmas Eve, to Dec. 22.


Posted 10/23/2009