Chesterton Tribune



CoCo's and Amstar gain sign variances from town BZA

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CoCo’s Canine Cabana at 1601 S. Calumet Rd. and the rebranded Amstar fueling/convenience store at 860 Broadway both received sign variances from the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday.

All votes were unanimous by Thomas Browne, Rodney Corder and Jim Kowalski. Members Fred Owens and Sig Niepokoj were absent.

No one commented on either petition during respective public hearings.

CoCo’s owner Kathy Defries or her representative have been before the BZA since July seeking permission to reface a non-conforming freestanding sign that has sat idle for years. Last night interim building commissioner Mike Orlich said town engineer Mark O’Dell has determined the existing sign is 2 feet taller than the 18-foot maximum height allowed so that variance was added to the petition.

Both the refacing and height were granted but with conditions: that the power of attorney for DeFries from building owner Wilbert Hamstra Inc. be updated within 10 business days, and that the sign face submitted with the petition cannot be refaced again in the future without BZA approval.

Kowalski said he didn’t want the building owner to benefit by being able to change the sign when it was Defries who did all the work. “We’re going to do everything possible to help you,” he stated.

As for Amstar, Michael Schimpf representing owner RMK of Indiana LLC said the company rebranded from a Mobil station to offer the same gasoline but at lower prices. RMK owns 19 gas stations, according to Schimpf.

The BZA approval allows installation of illuminated letters spelling “Amstar” in two locations on the fueling canopy; only one canopy sign is allowed. A third sign on the building was elimnated.

In other business, Orlich said his department is developing a list of non-conforming signs in town.

Kowakski commended the Building Department’s diligence in pursuing demolition of an old Quonset hut-style metal building that has fallen into disrepair at 563 Broadway.

Orlich credited code enforcement officer Ed Surgener for his efforts in the matter. On Monday the Chesterton Town Council ordered the building vacated and razed for being a hazardous nuisance.



Posted 9/27/2013