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
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
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