Chesterton Tribune



Taller fences approved; downtown outdoor market hearing to be July 24

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Two separate 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. Calumet Road.

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 Washington Avenue.

Representing the 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 to occur.

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.

Neighbor 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 previously submitted.

Representing the 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.


Posted 6/27/2014