Chesterton Tribune



BZA grants variances for duplex on N. 16th St., widened driveway on Union Ct

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Turns out, the property at 124-26 N. 16th St.--on which Bennett’s Rentals LLC wants to build a single-story duplex--isn’t zoned B-3 at all.

It’s zoned R-3, which means, as attorney Terry Hiestand told the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals at its meeting last week, that the project requires only two variances, not the five which his client originally was seeking.

Those variances: 20 percent more lot coverage than permitted by the Zoning Ordinance, or a total of 50 percent; and a waiver of the requirement to construct a sidewalk in front of all new construction.

Members voted unanimously to approve both variances, following a public hearing at which no one spoke in favor of the petition and no one in opposition.

A two-story duplex would have obviated the need for the lot-coverage variance, Hiestand noted. “But my client’s trying to do something with a little pizzazz that would appeal to seniors,” he said. As for the sidewalk, it’s an older area of town and no sidewalks were ever installed in that neighborhood, Hiestand added.

Member Fred Owens did express a mild concern about drainage, related to the extra lot coverage. But Town Engineer Mark O’Dell said that all gutter downspouts can be directed to flow into the grassy rear-yard and that builder Bill Bennett could install swales as well along the property lines. “He’s worked with us in the past.”

Member Jim Kowalski, for his part, had no concerns at all. “It’s an infill lot and a builder is willing to take a chance,” he said. “I don’t see any issues here.”

Jeff and Wendy Knarian

Members also voted unanimously to grant the petition of Jeff and Wendy Knarian for a variance to pour an additional concrete parking pad next to their home at 502 Union Court. That pad would increase total lot coverage to 44 percent, 14 percent more than the maximum permitted by the Zoning Ordinance.

The Knarians’ home is located in the rounded “knuckle” of Union Court, and there’s no good place to park either their RV or visitors vehicles’ other than in front of the mailbox. But the USPS won’t deliver when the mailbox is blocked.

“This is a no-brainer,” Kowalski said. “I have nothing to say.”

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the petition and no one in opposition.

Earlier this month, the Town Council also voted unanimously, at the Knarians’ request, to waive the Town Standard governing driveways. That standard requires driveways to be a minimum of six feet from the property line, but the Knarians’ widened driveway will be only 1’ 8’’ from that line. As a condition of the waiver, the Knarians must install a French drain in their backyard to capture runoff from the widened driveway.

Preliminary Hearing:

117 N. 15th St.

Earlier in meeting, members held two preliminary hearings, the first on the petition of Ed and Amy Spanopoulos, who are seeking a variance to add a second principal structure to the property at 117 N. 15th St.

Already on the site: an 800-square foot block building which has been the home of multiple businesses since it was erected in 1956, attorney Greg Babcock told the board. The Spanopouloses, owners of Lake and Pond Biologists LLC--currently located next to Hopkins Small Engines at 427 S. Calumet Road--want to re-locate their business to North 15th Street, build a 2,900-square foot facility immediately south of the block building, and use the old structure for office space.

“We’ve expanded to the point we need a lot more space,” Ed Spanopoulos said.

Members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on the petition at their next meeting, Dec. 30.

“I think it’s a good building and will clean up the area,” Member Kim Goldak observed.

Preliminary Hearing:

1720 Wood St.

The second preliminary hearing was on the petition of Brian Bartoszek, owner of Trapmasters Plumbing LLC at 1720 Wood St., who’s seeking three variances to enable the expansion of the business: one to increase lot coverage to 65 percent, from the maximum of 30 percent permitted by the Zoning Ordinance; a second for a sideyard setback of three feet, five feet fewer than the minimum of eight feet; and a third for a rear-yard setback of zero feet, 10 feet fewer than the minimum of 10 feet.

“We’ve got twice as many employees as we did five years ago and we need more space,” Bartoszek told the board.

Members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on Bartoszek’s petition on Dec. 30.

Bartoszek also approached the Town Council at its last meeting to request the vacation of a platted but unimproved alley next to the property as part of his expansion project. That petition is pending review by staff.

Preliminary Hearing:

Legacy Sign Group

Members voted unanimously as well to continue a third scheduled preliminary hearing, on a petition for signage variances submitted by Legacy Sign Group, to Dec. 30.

A representative from the petitioner was unable to attend last week’s meeting. Legacy Sign Group is seeking to increase the height and size of the Horizon Bank sign at 423 Roosevelt St.



Posted 12/2/2019




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