petitioners won final permission to increase the height of new back-yard
fences, and a public hearing was set for July 24 on the Bross Family’s
request to operate an open-air market in a parking lot north of 315 S.
All votes were
unanimous Thursday by the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals with member
Thomas Browne absent.
Also advancing to
public hearings July 24 after preliminary hearings Thursday were these
requests: by Christopher Torres to increase the height of a planned
back-yard fence from 4.5 feet to 6 feet at 1065 Birch Trail Dr., and by
David and Sandra Krieter to reduce the required side-street setback from 15
to 8 feet for a new home at the northwest corner of Creita Street and
Bross Family, attorney Terry Hiestand said his clients want to tap into the
customers present on Saturdays at the popular European Market in downtown
Chesterton and give them a reason to visit the businesses east and south of
it along Broadway and South Calumet. To do that, the Brosses propose an
open-air market in the paved, fenced parking lot north of ACE Hardware.
Hiestand said the
lot is assessed $4,000 in taxes annually but because of an underground
drainage system there, it wouldn’t be advisable to build a permanent
structure over it.
He noted no
livestock, guns or hazardous materials would be sold at the market, which
would make productive use of the parking lot and generate income.
BZA member Jim
Kowalski said the specifics of the proposal, which require a use variance,
can be debated at the July 24 public hearing.
Since at least two
of the five BZA members will be absent that night, the Brosses were given
the option of waiting until Aug. 28 for the hearing but Hiestand said too
much of the summer season would be lost. At least three BZA members are
needed to conduct a meeting and all will have to agree for official action
The two fence
petitions approved following respective public hearings last night were for
Seth and Lindsey Schugars at 1061 Birch Trail Dr., and for Jason and
Elizabeth Conway at 1480 Lob Wedge Lane.
Both cited the need
to increase their planned fences from the maximum allowable 4.5 feet to 6
feet for increased privacy and security for their children and pets, and for
a buffer from adjacent busy streets.
No one commented
either for or against during the Conway public hearing.
Christopher Torres spoke in favor of the Schugars petition. Its approval was
conditioned upon that the fence shall not extend beyond the petitioners’
property line into a subdivision outlot as depicted on a sketch plat
Krieters, attorney Greg Babcock said at next month’s public hearing he also
will seek a variance to eliminate the need to place a sidewalk along Creita
Street between Washington and Westchester avenues. He said the BZA waived
that same requirement on an adjacent lot for a previous petitioner.
He also noted the
couple prefer to reduce the side-street setback so they can build a 1,450
square-foot home that Babcock said is in keeping with comparable homes in
that area, which first was platted in 1908 and rezoned in 2011.
Before hearing the
Krieter petition the BZA voted 4-0 to suspend its rule regarding late
submission of paperwork and allow the petition to proceed. Babcock said the
couple’s current home sold much faster than they anticipated, accelerating
the need to build a new home here.