Chesterton Tribune


South Calumet building going to the dogs for upscale canine pampering

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CoCo’s Canine Cabana, an upscale dog boutique offering doggie daycare, boarding and bakery treats, received the necessary zoning approval Thursday to open at 1601 S. Calumet Rd.

The Chesterton Board of Zoning Approvals voted 4-0 to grant a use variance to property owner The Hamstra Group Inc. for CoCo’s owner Kathy Defries and manager Jennifer Ellingen to open the business around March 1.

CoCo’s Valparaiso location, in operation for three years, will remain at 405 Elm St. there in addition to the new one in Chesterton, where the CVS pharmacy formerly was located. Ellingen said several of their Valparaiso customers are from the Chesterton area.

During a public hearing last night, no one commented on the BZA petition. Although dog grooming is offered at the Valparaiso site, none is planned for Chesterton initially.

BZA member Jim Kowalski said the Hamstra building is in a Business-3 zoning district where a veterinary clinic is a permitted use and dog boarding is very similar. Member Fred Owens said absent member Sig Niepokoj had relayed a question whether 1601 S. Calumet Rd. is served by a septic system.

Ellingen said a sanitary sewer is nearby but the site has not been connected so a septic system does serve the building; she noted the dog waste is double bagged and placed in a dumpster, and the small number of employees won’t tax the septic system.

Town manager Bernie Doyle asked if any dogs would be kept outside. Ellingen said the dogs have an indoor play area and are housed in 5-foot by 5-foot kennels. Pricing for boarding will be $45 per day but less if a stay is for multiple days.

In other BZA business, Craig and Rebecca Rothman were no-shows for a preliminary hearing so their petition was continued to the Jan. 24 meeting. They are requesting a variance for a 12-foot by 12-foot garden shed within 5 feet of a side lot line and wholly contained within a fenced back yard at 324 Jefferson Ave.

According to the Rothman petition, the shed already has been constructed because the owners mistakenly thought a building permit wasn’t needed due to the structure’s small footprint and lack of a foundation.

A second preliminary hearing also was continued to next month at the request of the petitioner, Johnson’s Automotive at 301 N. Calumet Rd. The business had been seeking a variance for a freestanding sign but may be considering a change in plans, said BZA secretary Gail Murawski.

Owens, who also sits on the Advisory Plan Commission, gave an update on the commission’s progress in reviewing the town’s sign ordinance and sidewalk sandwich-board signs specifically. Kowalski said BZA members might want to attend the commission’s Jan. 17 meeting where the matter will be discussed.




Posted 12/28/2012