Chesterton Tribune



New site plan in works for Centier Bank signs; BZA okays garage

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Centier Bank at South Calumet Road is withdrawing its petition for a second free standing sign and will review the option of having two monument signs instead.

The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-0 Tuesday to allow Centier to amend its petition for a preliminary hearing in December, after hearing the original petition in July.

By obtaining a variance, Centier wishes to have a sign visible from CR 100E, which is now the main thoroughfare from CR 1100N. In 2003 the current freestanding sign was installed at Calumet Rd. when it was the main road until a reconfigured South Calumet Business District was built along CR 100E.

Greg Babcock, attorney for Centier Bank, provided the board with a new site plan scrapping the freestanding signs and proposed a 6.5’ tall monument sign at the northwest corner of property abutting CR 100E, instead proposing 45 sq. ft. of signage on each side for a total of 90 sq. ft.

A variance is sought for a smaller monument sign of 30 sq. ft. on the east side near Calumet Rd. The freestanding and the awning sign would then be removed.

“We’re getting away from the big, tall freestanding signs. I think the location will be useful for southbound and northbound traffic,” Babcock said.

The signage would be 120 sq. ft. total which is within Town code, Babcock said.

Both BZA members Jim Kowalski and Kim Goldak said the plan is an improvement over the proposed two freestanding signs. Kowalski said he appreciates the signs not blocking the view of neighboring businesses.

Goldak said that for the public hearing, she would like for Babcock to give further explanation why a second sign is needed. She reasons that the bank is wanting a sign at Calumet Rd. to not lose any more customers but would prefer to know how many. If the BZA allows the bank to have two signs, it could interest other businesses to petition for additional signs of their own.

“We’re going to have other businesses in this area wanting more signage,” Goldak said.

Town engineer Mark O’Dell said he would like Centier to give the dimensions of its site plan at the next meeting to see where the signs would be in relation to a sanitary sewer that runs east and west in the CR 100E right of way.

Sand Creek garage

Also on Tuesday, the BZA approved, 3-0, four variances in Sand Creek resident Michael Monaco’s request to build a two-story garage attached to the back of his house on Nelson Dr.

One variance would allow a reduction of the 25 foot rear yard setback to 17 feet. Another is to reduce the side yard setback from 10 feet to 9 feet to allow the roof eave to not be in the setback, said Terry Hiestand, attorney for the petitioner.

Monaco, who was present at the meeting, said the house sat vacant for about seven years before he and his wife purchased it. The owner before them would rent the home out to university students who left the home in bad shape, he said.

“It was never taken care of by the original owner,” he said.

Monaco said he’s put in roughly $250,000 in new improvements to the house and his neighbors have been thankful for what he has done to restore the property. No neighbor or anyone from the public attended the meeting to support or oppose Monaco’s petition. Ę

Hiestand said what Monaco is doing will increase the property values of his neighbors as he continues to improve his home.

Goldak said it “sounds like a win-win for everybody.”

The new garage will require an extra footprint of 636 square feet on the property, Hiestand said. The garage will be connected to the house by a vestibule but it will not be accessible from the home’s second floor.

O’Dell suggested that the BZA make it a stipulation that the second story of the garage will not be used for living space and that it be checked first that none of the building will encroach on any drainage easement before a building permit is issued.

Another variance would allow the property’s lot coverage to be 46 percent. The usual limit is 30 percent but it is moved up to 40 percent for parcels adjacent to lands zoned for open space. Monaco’s property borders the golf course at Sand Creek and most of the homes around the course are at 40 percent, according to O’Dell. This would mean the amount of variance for the lot coverage will be only 6 percent.

The board voted 3-0 to grant the variances with O’Dell’s suggestions.

Fleming home setback

Meanwhile, a public hearing will be on the BZA’s agenda for December for a petition from the Joyce Fleming Revocable Trust to reduce the front yard setback from 25 feet to three feet at 112 Wilson St., in Mogan Park.

The BZA granted a variance in September to reduce the setback from 25 feet to nine feet and the setback had been changed from 25 feet to 15 when it was subdivided about fifteen years ago.

The variance is to allow the Fleming family to build a one-story home on the property next year. The property abuts Coffee Creek park and has many existing maple trees that the family is hoping to retain to keep a scenic view and open space.

Representing the Trust, Cliff Fleming told the BZA that since September, he’s had the chance to speak to his geotechnical engineer who recommended moving the house forward eight feet or else there would be issues with erosion underneath, which is why the desired setback is now three feet. The foundation would be 21.5 feet away from the street curb.

BZA Attorney Connor Nolan said should the new petition fail, the variance for the setback approved at nine feet would still be in effect.

The BZA voted 3-0 in setting the case for public hearing. BZA members absent Thursday were Joe Ackerman and Richard Riley.



Posted 11/25/2016




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