Chesterton Board of
Zoning Appeals President Richard Riley recused himself on Thursday and
Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson formally--albeit temporarily--removed
herself as the BZA’s legal counsel, when the Town of Chesterton appeared
before the board to request three variances as part of the boxcar restroom
project in Thomas Centennial Park.
Riley, owner of
Riley’s Railhouse at 123 N. Fourth St., has been a main driver of the boxcar
Paulson, for her
part, told the BZA that, inasmuch as she represents both the board and the
petitioner appearing before the board, she would be unable to offer
impartial legal advice and needed to withdraw.
Riley left the
dais, Paulson her accustomed chair at the side table, and each took a seat
in the audience for the duration of the petition.
Members then voted
unanimously to appoint attorney Greg Babcock--who had other business with
the board later in the meeting--as its legal counsel pro tempore. Babcock
gladly accepted the position and Paulson’s chair.
Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell--whom the Park Board at its February meeting unanimously appointed
its agent in the matter--then presented the petition for the three
* One to locate an
accessory structure--namely, the boxcar restroom and the caboose
warming/cooling station--two feet from a rear lot line, three feet closer
than the five feet specified by the Zoning Ordinance. This variance is
required because the wooden access ramp, located to the north of the
boxcar/caboose, would come to within two feet of the rear lot line, O’Dell
* One to locate an
accessory structure 11 inches from a principal structure, namely, the old
New York Central passenger depot, now the Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s
offices. Under the Zoning Ordinance, an accessory structure must be located
at least 10 feet from a principal structure. This variance is required
because the Chamber building’s roof overhang would come to within 11 inches
of the rear of the caboose, O’Dell said.
* And one to allow
an accessory structure to be up to 20 feet in height, four feet taller than
the 16 feet specified by the Zoning Ordinance. This variance is required
because the roof which would cover the access ramp behind the boxcar/caboose
could be as tall as 20 feet, O’Dell said.
Of the concept in
general O’Dell said, “It’s pretty exciting, it’s a pretty cool project.” But
he did emphasize that the Park Board, in appointing him its agent, is
adamant that the petition for the variances be pursued with all due
their enthusiasm for the project but only one had a question. Kim
Parrilli-Goldak was interested in knowing whether the Park Board intends to
match the roof of the wooden access ramp with the Chamber building’s terra
cotta tiled roof.
from the audience, said that matching the two roofs would be ideal but it
depends on the cost of the terra cotta tiles.
The board then
voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on the petition at its next
meeting, Thursday, March 22.
With that business
concluded, Riley re-joined the board and Paulson returned to her chair at
the side table.