Chesterton Tribune



O'Connor wants to add air gun range; BZA continues billboard consideration

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O’Connor Martial Arts of 534 Broadway is asking the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals for a use variance to operate an air-gun educational instruction or plinking range there.

A preliminary hearing on the request takes place at Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. BZA meeting; if the paperwork is in order, a future public hearing will be set.

During the meeting the board also will revisit a pending petition by Lamar Outdoor Advertising, which seeks four variances needed to replace an existing billboard east of Indiana 49 and north of Porter Avenue with a slightly larger, 12-foot taller structure that would include LED digital technology.

Following a public hearing April 25, Lamar’s Shawn Pettit proposed a compromise after BZA members said Lamar can prove no hardship why the variances should be granted, especially when the town police chief has concerns about the sign being a traffic distraction.

According to the O’Connor filing, there currently is no existing air-gun range available to town citizens to practice shooting for both sport and fun in a safe and controlled environment; furthermore, the petition states that granting the variance will promote the safe use of all firearms, which is an advancement of public safety.

The petition maintains there is adequate parking available, adequate soundproofing will be provided, and that being in a Business-1 zoning district the proposed air-gun range is compatible with predominantly commercial existing uses at surrounding properties.

A use variance is required because the gun range is not permitted in any zoning district.

O’Connor’s application notes that the proposed range is closely associated with the primary use of his property and is being provided to the petitioner and his customers for their convenience and safety.

A second petition also will have a preliminary hearing Thursday. Thomas and Jane Biedron of 1540 Bunker Drive are requesting a variance to extend the north side of their home by 12 feet for a medically necessary aqua-therapy room; the addition will be 2 feet from the property line and encroach on sideyard and drainage easements.

Both the O’Connor and Biedron petitions will be heard prior to the continued Lamar discussion.



Posted 5/22/2013





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