Chesterton Tribune



One BZA petition advances; one stalls again in Chesterton

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The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals postponed opening a public hearing Thursday on Karrie and Ryan Thoma’s request for a variance to install a 6-foot fence at 2941 Nautica Dr.

It’s the second time BZA attorney Julie Paulson informed the board that the couple hadn’t notified all property owners within 300 feet of their lot perimeter as required by law.

As they did in December, the Thomas said they believed they had done the proper notification and repeated their frustration that town officials hadn’t helped them enough with questions about their petition.

“I’m not going to get in an argument with you,” said Paulson. “It’s not my responsibility to tell you (who’s within 300 feet of you).” She again directed the Thomas to where the information could be found.

BZA member Jim Kowalski said his hands are tied if notification wasn’t legally done. Karrie Thoma said she doesn’t want to put the board in a position of having to break the law to proceed. The unopened hearing was continued until Feb. 27.

In Thursday’s first petition the request of Jeremy and Sarah Snowdin also was set for public hearing that night on a 4-0 vote with BZA member Thomas Browne absent.

Sarah Snowdin explained someone built a 10-foot by 12-foot shed at their 4251 Westwood Lane home as a surprise for them, but according to town building commissioner Mike Orlich it was done without a building permit so a violation notice was issued.

The shed is in a drainage/utility easement and if the Snowdins opt to keep it in that location, they will need permission from the Town Council as well as a BZA variance to have the shed encroach into the side-yard setback.

Town engineer Mark O’Dell reminded that Westwood Manor experienced flooding previously so the town needs access to the easement, and BZA member Sig Niepokoj said blocking it could affect neighbors.

Paulson said Snowdin’s variance paperwork needs to be revised and expanded, and Orlich offered to meet with her. It was suggested the couple just move the shed to another location.

In a 2014 BZA reorganization Rodney Corder was returned as president and Niepokoj elected vice-president. Gail Murawski was retained as secretary.






Posted 1/24/2014