Chesterton Tribune



North Calumet Road duplex proposal continued by Chesterton BZA

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In its first meeting since 2016, the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals Thursday continued two preliminary hearings to April including variance requests for a proposed landscaping business on Broadway and duplex buildings on Calumet Rd.

First, attorney Greg Babcock sent a letter to the board asking it to continue the request from the Thomas Edward Lipinski Living Trust, which owns parcels on Broadway at 13th St., for the placement of a landscape service.

Next, Town Building Commissioner Mark O’Dell wrote to the board a few concerns he had regarding Chesterton resident Jason Robinson’s variance requests. Robinson filed for two variances, one to build a duplex development in a 10-foot front yard setback and one to allow increased lot coverage of 7.8 percent. Robinson’s parcel is Pinney Park lots 64 and 67 on Calumet Rd. across from St. Patrick’s Church.

O’Dell’s letter said there is not enough variance in some instances for lot coverage since it didn’t include footage for eaves and overhang and another variance would be needed to keep a shed on the northeast side of the property, BZA attorney Julie Paulson said.

Paulson and other BZA members suggested Robinson meet with O’Dell to discuss what exactly he needs to ask in his request, or else he would run the risk of having to come back to the BZA.

Robinson said he agreed. He said the memorandum he got from O’Dell was for an older building plan and some of the things have been addressed in the newer plan.

Robinson said he’s looking for some relief from the coverage requirements so he can put up a building for storage. He plans to rent the duplexes that will include a two-car garage but wants to have another space so renters wouldn’t have to leave belongings in the open.

“Driving down streets in Chesterton for years, I know it’s very unsightly to see some of the stuff that’s stored outside like grills and basketball hoops and that’s what I am concerned about,” Robinson said. “It’s right across the street from St. Pat’s. People go to that church and I just want to make sure that I have a nice sightly building.”

The shed on the property belongs to the neighbor on the north and Robinson said that’s part of the reason would like additional lot coverage. The neighbor’s house to the south is older and he would like to keep the entire front side plane the same.

BZA member Richard Riley said he was curious why Robinson wanted to take the front setback instead of the rear setback as he suggested it might be more aesthetically pleasing. Robinson said his goal there is to keep the same site plane as the adjacent properties.

BZA member Jim Kowalski said he was surprised to see a septic tank lid on the site plan since the Town has sewer utilities and he was sure they were available to the property because St. Pat’s is across the road.

Robinson said Town Utility Superintendent Dave Ryan told him that there is a small diameter sewer in Pinney’s Park and there is a tank sitting there that feeds to the house on the north. The utility department pumps the tank once a year, Robinson said.

BZA member Fred Owens said the tank is a type of lift station for the small diameter sewer.

Kowalski said he wanted to ask about the tank just for clarification.

As the board voted to continue the preliminary hearing to next month, BZA member asked Robinson if he was on a timeline. Robinson said he was hoping to get started this spring to get the lot cleaned up as soon as possible.

“The board doesn’t want to hold you up but we like to do things right. We don’t have much choice but to do it that way,” Kowalski said.


The board voted its 2017 officers with Joe Ackerman continuing as president, Fred Owens as vice-president and Gail Murawski as secretary.


Posted 3/24/2017





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