Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Bike Station wins BZA variance to expand

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One of downtown Chesterton’s well-known businesses will build an addition next year.

The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday voted 4-0 in favor of a variance allowing the Chesterton Bicycle Station, at 116 South 4th St., to build a proposed 975 sq. ft. addition to its existing 1,800 sq. ft. shop along with a connecting breezeway to the existing house, combining both structures into one.

The house has been there since before 1900 but the business was built and opened by its current owner Anthony Evans in 1991. The variance is will permit construction of an addition to a legally non-conforming commercial structure in a B-1 business zoned area.

Evans said that he now has “very little space” in his shop and is willing to invest $60,000 into improvements to make more room for displays and office space for a potential new employee.

“We’ve packed about every square inch in that shop as we possibly can,” he said, adding that the joint gets crowded during downtown events like the European Market.

At the public hearing given for the variance, three audience members made remarks in favor, saying they appreciate the sense of character the business adds to the town. None spoke against.

Porter resident James Petrites, who works part-time at the Bicycle Station, said this type of successful business is “needed in a small town” and “adds to the atmosphere.”

Chesterton resident Tamatha Lozano, who attended the meeting to present a petition for a separate case, wished to say she bought a bicycle from the Bicycle Station when she was in middle school and looks forward to the day when she can take her son there to purchase his first mountain bike.

A resident of 4th Street, Douglas Hubbard said he thinks “to keep this business in town would behoove the town of Chesterton.”

Representing Evans, attorney Greg Babcock told the board that with the proposed Dunes-Kankakee Trail, there is a growing demand for bicycles and more people are getting engaged with cycling.

In the board’s examination, BZA member Jim Kowalski asked about a shed on the west side of the property’s location and if that would interfere if there would be an emergency. Evans said he’s spoken with the Chesterton Fire Department and was assured there would be enough room for them to get in the alley or to Indiana Ave.

Member Kim Goldak asked Evans if there would be work done in the front of the existing building, specifically any “small things that would make it nicer” such as landscaping or removing the pop machine.

Evans said the $60,000 does not include plans for the existing building. The pop machine gets used by many thirsty bikers who come up from the Prairie-Duneland trail and purchase Gatorade or water, he said.

The new addition will have the same kind of siding as the front of the building, Evans said.

Town engineer Mark O’Dell asked the board put in the motion to give the addition a size requirement and to put a French drain on the down spot on the west side of the building to help with drainage.

The motion passed with Kowalski, Goldak, Joe Ackerman and board president Rodney Corder voting.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to continue the public hearing for Indian Boundary Property Group, LLC’s two petitions for variances to put up bigger signage than permitted at the new Dollar Tree and O’Reilly Auto Parts stores currently being built on Indian Boundary Rd.

BZA Attorney Julie Paulson said IDPG asked if they could have a continuance because people wanting to speak on the petition would not be able to make it to the meeting Dec. 22 because of the Christmas season. The petitions will be on the agenda for January.

Also continued to January was a preliminary hearing for William and Mary Scott for a variance to build a six-foot privacy fence at 122 E. Michigan Ave. Paulson said the town had not received all the documents needed and advised to not set a public hearing until all those have been recieved.



Posted 12/23/2015




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