Chesterton Tribune


Lamar billboard and Rothman shed carried over until April 25 by BZA

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Lamar Outdoor Advertising’s request to replace an existing billboard along Indiana 49 was continued Thursday.

By letter dated March 11, Lamar assistant real estate manager Shawn Pettit asked that last night’s public hearing be deferred until the April 25 meeting of the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals.

The BZA unanimously continued the petition but asked attorney Terry Hiestand, who was present representing two Smith Family trusts as landowner, to have Lamar readvertise and give updated notice of the April public hearing.

Lamar requires four variances, including for a sign that is larger, taller and moving LED digital, to replace the existing sign approximately 465 feet north of Porter Avenue on the east side of Indiana 49. Lamar made a similar request to upgrade the existing sign last year but pulled the petition before a decision was made.

If the hearing would have taken place Thursday, all three BZA members present would have had to vote the same way for final action to occur; members Fred Owens and Thomas Browne were absent.

Citing the short-handed board, members Jim Kowalski, Sig Niepokoj and president Rodney Corder voted 3-0 to continue a second public hearing opened for Craig and Rebecca Rothman; they seek a variance to legalize a 12-foot by 12-foot garden shed built without a building permit and within 5 feet of a side lot line at 324 Jefferson Ave., the shed being located within a fenced backyard.

No member of the public commented either for or against the petition.

During his remarks Craig Rothman said the shed has no foundation so he didn’t think a building permit was required, although he subsequently has obtained one. “I hope I don’t have to demolish (the shed). It would be a sizeable loss.”

Board members took turns chiding Rothman for his oversight.

Kowalski said it galls him that someone wouldn’t take the opportunity or responsibility to do the right thing. Addressing Rothman, “If I didn’t feel sorry for you, I’d vote against it,” said Kowalski. “We can’t keep looking the other way.”

He reminded that the town can fine persons who violate its zoning code, in some instances up to $2,500 per day. Replied Rothman, “I’ll be careful from now on.”

Corder said zoning laws are there for safety sake, and it’s important that property owners understand and respect town rules. Niepokoj said the BZA meets every month to consider variance requests, and he suggested continuing the Rothman petition until five board members are present.

On another matter, BZA attorney Julie Paulson said upon further review a petition listed as a preliminary hearing Thursday doesn’t require a variance after all. Tyler Slazas with Renaissance Properties-IL, LLC and Michael Slazas had sought to reduce the minimum front yard depth for a home at 1211 Woodland in Duneland Estates, but it was determined the depth had been reduced after the subdivision was platted.


Posted 3/29/2013