The Porter Board of
Zoning Appeals on Wednesday split 3-1 in favor of granting a use variance to
resident Amy Silverthorn to operate a daycare in an R-1 residential district
at 219 Arrowhead Trail.
she got her child care license from the state in early 2015 and has been
running the daycare for about 19 months at the residence. She had resided
there but is in the process of moving out and intends to keep running the
daycare where it is now.
she looks after 11 children currently, with her sister, ages ranging from
four months to five years.
By moving, she
learned she would need to have a use variance.
The BZA held a
public hearing for the petition with one neighbor raising a few concerns.
Linda Downey, who
resides in the house south of the daycare, said she can hear the children
outside early in the morning and other times during the day to the point
where she has to close the windows. She was also concerned about the
children’s safety as one the children had climbed the fence dividing the
sister Kelly Leon said it was her child who climbed the fence and he knows
now not to do it. Contrary to Downey’s comments, Leon said the children are
rarely outside because they can only go outside in certain weather
conditions and if they are outside, it’s usually later in the morning.
asked if there was a Town ordinance that prohibited noise by children.
“If kids are
shouting and screaming on a playground, do you shut down the playground?” he
Town Planner Jim
Mandon said there is nothing in the Town Code that specifically prohibits
noise made be children but the Town can take action if it is determined
there is a nuisance to the neighbors.
For the use
variance, the Town could set controls to mitigate the issues, Mandon said.
He said he expected there to be some concern over traffic with parents
dropping their kids off at the daycare, but the BZA could make the
suggestion that the drop-offs are staggered.
Leon said drop-offs are staggered from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the children
are all picked up by 5:00 or 5:30 p.m.
A day care center
is listed in the Town Code as needing a use variance. BZA attorney Laura
Frost however said the state law allowed Silverthorn to operate the daycare
when she was living there, which supersedes the Town code, but since she is
not residing there now a use variance is needed.
In part of the
findings of fact, it was recorded that the daycare was in compliance with
the state law the day it opened.
BZA member Amy
Wacheter-Versaw made the motion to approve the variance with the
encouragement that the daycare supervisors discuss with the neighbors times
for the children to be outside for recess. Leon said they would have set
those times earlier but no neighbor before the hearing Wednesday had ever
The board voted 3-1
to grant the variance. Voting in approval were President John Kremke and
members Wacheter-Versaw and Henry Huyser. Dissenting was William Sexton.
Absent was member Ken Timm.
In other business,
the BZA agreed unanimously to set a public hearing in November on Jesse and
Mike Campaniello’s request to place a fence in their front yard setback at
760 Marquette Rd. The fence is for privacy and to keep the owner’s dogs in
Mandon said he saw
that there are two principal structures on the Campaniello’s one lot that
may need to be subdivided. Mike Campaniello said the homes were built in the
1940s and 1950s. That is likely before the current zoning ordinance was
Mandon said he
would check to see what the rules for zoning were when the houses were
Also, the BZA
continued Joseph and Judith Navarro’s request to build an additional
accessory building at 1201 Mineral Springs Rd. No petitioner was present at