Chesterton Tribune


Plan Commission ponders changes for sidewalk sandwich board signs

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Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission members agreed Thursday the zoning laws that regulate sidewalk “sandwich board” signs should be changed.

But member George Stone suggested waiting to do a package of amendments to the overall sign ordinance rather than addressing them one at a time. Member Sig Niepokoj proposed having a committee named or scheduling a work session to advance the project, which will be discussed again Dec. 20.

The commission is hoping to receive input from the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce.

Building commissioner Dave Novak said the number of sandwich boards, especially in the downtown, has increased exponentially.

Commission member Emerson DeLaney said such signs should be limited to one per business. Members Tom Kopko and Jeff Trout agreed. “I don’t know that our intent was to let them have more than one,” said Kopko.

Stone asked whether three businesses in one building each should get a sandwich board sign. DeLaney said if only one sign could be displayed at a time, the businesses could alternate.

He noted some businesses have displayed up to four sandwich boards. “We have to look at the safety of pedestrians walking on the street and compliance with (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.”

The commission also touched upon business uses in the Business-1 and Business-2 zoning districts. From the audience attorney Greg Babcock said the town needs a better way of considering potential uses, such as computer repair, that are not specifically identified in its table of uses.

Replied Stone, “There’s no way we can anticipate every use everyone would want.”

Commission attorney Charles Parkinson said members might want to look at whether its definitions are too broad or not broad enough.

Babcock was present representing Wake Robin Inc. doing business as Pioneer Lumber, which seeks to have Pioneer’s lot in its Pioneer Pointe commercial subdivision divided so the Duneland Community Church can purchase the former Pioneer retail building.

Lumber operations would continue on the remaining Pioneer property north of the church. Members inquired how access to that site would be preserved. Babcock said a 60-foot easement would be dedicated east of the retail building.

He noted the church, which has met in the Pioneer building for three years, is anxious to close on the sale. A public hearing on both primary and secondary plat approvals was set for Dec. 20.

In other business, the commission voted 4-0 on Stone’s motion to recommend Niepokoj be reappointed as its representative on the Board of Zoning Appeals. Niepokoj abstained and members Jeff Ton and Fred Owens were absent.



Posted 11/16/2012