Turns out, the
Chesterton Zone Map is inaccurate.
As Town Engineer
Mark O’Dell told the Advisory Plan Commission at its meeting Thursday night,
more accurate mapping technology and GPS data have revealed nearly 70
anomalous “split-zoned” parcels in the older parts of town.
In most cases, the
parcels are located in R-2 or R-3 neighborhoods which abut commercial or
industrial zones, with odd “leakages” from the latter into the former. Thus,
for instance, the front two-thirds of three parcels on Brown Court are zoned
R-3 but the rear third is zoned I-1. A slim wedge of the backyard of an R-2
parcel on Taft Street is zoned B-2. And one half of a parcel on South
Seventh Street is zoned R-3 and the other half B-2.
The question for
planners: what to do about the problem of split-zones? are they even a
problem at all?
O’Dell thinks that
they are, or potentially could be. The owner of a split-zoned parcel who
wants to build a porch in his backyard or an addition could very well fall
afoul of the Zoning Ordinance--since what’s permitted in an R-2 zone may not
be in an I-1 zone--and would accordingly need to obtain a variance from the
Board of Zoning Appeals. The BZA would in all likelihood grant such a
variance, but it would still cost the homeowner time, effort, and money.
On the other hand,
as Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson noted, it’s entirely possible
that some of the parcel owners are fully aware of the split-zone, purchased
the property specifically with that split-zone in mind, and intend to make
use of it.
In any case,
Parkinson said, the Plan Commission may not change any zones without proper
notification to the parcel owners and a public hearing. Perhaps the wise
thing to do for now would be simply to send the parcel owners letters
informing them of the split-zones and of the possibility that, in the
future, the Plan Commission may consider taking steps to remedy the
anomalies. Because, as Parkinson observed, “We don’t go out of our way to
change the Zone Map.”
one further complication. “Let’s say you’ve got a swath of area and the
middle guy doesn’t want the zone changed,” he said.
“I can see the
benefits but I can also see its opening a can of worms,” planner Jeff Trout
question,” as planner Tom Kopko put it: “Do we want to kick a sleeping dog?”
Nothing firm was
decided on Thursday, although it appears that rather than kicking a sleeping
dog, planners intend instead just to kick the can down the road. As
Parkinson noted, there’s absolutely no urgency in the matter, and maybe the
issue would best be addressed by the committee currently working on an
update of the Chesterton Comprehensive Plan.
“I’d be delighted
to pass this off to the people working on the Comprehensive Plan,” Stone
O’Dell’s reason for
raising the issue in the first place certainly worked, though. “I just
wanted to start a dialogue,” he told planners, “just give you something to
Earlier in the
meeting, by unanimous votes, planners did the following:
Darnell as president, Fred Owens as vice-president, as Gayle Murawski as
letter of credit in the amount of $12,800--in support of an infrastructure
guarantee--to the developer of the Residences of Coffee Creek.
cashier’s check in the amount of $6,738--in support of a sidewalk
guarantee--from the developer of the Brassie Phase I.