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
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
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.