Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton BZA holds in person meeting at CFD

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On Thursday, May 28, the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals held the first in-person meeting by any municipal body in Chesterton since Gov. Eric Holcomb issued his stay-at-home order on March 23.

The meeting was held in the east bay of the fire station, as early in-person voting was being held in the meeting room of the town hall. The mask-only meeting went altogether smoothly, thanks to the combined efforts of Town Attorney Chuck Parkison, who formulated safety protocols which all participants adhered to; Fire Chief John Jarka, who unrolled the red carpet at his fire station, provided masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes, and generally acted as emcee and usher; and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, who ensured that the petitioner’s table and chairs were disinfected between each hearing.

All petitioners waited outside the fire house until it was their turn, alerted by Jarka standing at the door. All participants maintained a six-foot distance at least. And all participants wore masks. At none of the five public hearings were there remonstrators, making logistics easier than they otherwise might have been.

The only inconvenience: the fire station’s accustics left something to be desired, with trains to the north and traffic noise to the south, exacerbated by folks unaccustomed to speaking, and speaking loudly, while wearing masks.

109 Westchester Ave.

Members voted unanimously to grant a variance to Barbara Homme which will permit her to enclose a deck at the rear of her home at 109 Westchester Ave. and make it a three-season room.

The variance in question allows an increase in the maximum lot coverage of 30 percent to 34 percent, as the new structure will occupy an additional 4 percent of the property.

“The porch will look like the rest of the house,” Homme’s attorney, Greg Babcock said, and there will stil be a “substantial distance” between the three-season room and her rear lot line.

No one spoke in favor of the petition at a public hearing prior to the vote and no one in opposition.

The BZA did receive two letters in support of the petition, one from a neighbor, the other from the developer of the subdivision, Paul Shinn.

1840 S. 11th Street

Finally, members voted unanimously to grant two variances to John Deal, which will permit him to build a parking shed for his RV at his home, currently under construction, at 1840 S. 11th Street.

The first variance allows the construction of an accessory structure in the front yard; the second, an accessory structure 17’ 6” in height, 18” taller than the maximum 16’.

Deal sought the first variance because parking the RV behind his house isn’t feasible, given the configuration of his rear yard. He sought the second so that his RV can fit in the accessory structure.

Deal noted that his house is located 440 feet to the west of South 11th Street and is screened from almost all public view by a dense tree line. “It’s a little bit different circumstance from an in-town lot,” Deal said.

No one spoke in favor of the petition at a public hearing prior to the vote and no one in opposition.

762 S. Calumet Road

Members voted unanimously to grant a variance to BenLew Enterprises which will permit the R-1 use of the B-2 building at 726 S. Calumet Road. The building, constructed late in the 19th century or early in the 20th, was originally a single-family home and was used as such for much of its history. More recently, however, the house has been occupied by businesses, most recently by Winey Insurance, per its formal B-2 zone.

Brian Lewandowski noted that the surrounding neighborhood is almost entirely residential and that the house will do just fine returning to its original single-family use. “All smoke detectors, windows, ingress and egress comply with R-1 requirements,” he said.

No one spoke in favor of the petition at a public hearing prior to the vote and no one in opposition.

Parkinson emphasized, as he did at the preliminary hearing in April, that the board’s action did not constitute a rezone of the house. Its zone remains B-2, and a variance was simply granted to allow the R-1 use of it.

2017 Terrano Drive

Members voted unanimously to grant a variance to William and Marci Stone, developers of the Stone Meadows subdivision, which will allow the erection of a six-foot fence on the corner lot at 2017 Terreno Drive.

The Zoning Code limits the height of fences on corner lots to 4.5 feet, so as to preserve unobscured lines of sight at intersections.

As Williams Stone noted, though, the fence will be located well back of the roadway and behind the sidewalk and won’t impede any views at the stop sign for people turning off Terreno Drive onto 1100N.

No one spoke in favor of the petition at a public hearing prior to the vote and no one in opposition.

1008 Broadway

Members voted unanimously to grant three variances to Jonathan Hicks and Amber Hensell Hicks which will permit them to lease the modular building behind the former offices of Frontline Foundations Inc. at 1008 Broadway.

Leasing the modular building will make it a second principal structure on the lot, so that variance was needed, as were two others: one to permit the new second principal structure to be located 7’ 7” from the sideyard setback, 2’ 5” less than the 10’ minimum required by the Zoning Ordinance; the other to permit a shed at the rear of the property to be located 5’ from the new principal structure, 5’ less than the minimum 10’ minimum.

The backstory: Frontline Foundations Inc. has merged with NorthShore Health Clinics. The latter will be providing treatment services to young adults addicted to substances and will be doing so in Frontline’s former offices at 1008 Broadway. Frontline, meanwhile, is remodeling the former Spike & Buddy’s location--also the former Hopkins Ace Hardware location--at 320 S. Calumet Road, where it will continue to offer recovery services.

As a condition of the variance, the Hickses agreed to exclude a long list of possible B-3 uses when leasing the modular building, including bar and nightclub.

No one spoke in favor of the petition at a public hearing prior to the vote and no one in opposition.



Posted 6/2/2020




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