Chesterton Tribune



BZA splits to OK variance for duplex at 126 W. Porter Avenue

Back To Front Page



The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-1 at its meeting Thursday night to approve a variance which will permit the construction of a duplex on the B-2-zoned lot at 126 W. Porter Ave.

Member Fred Owens was the lone vote against the motion.

The petitioner for the variance is the Estate of Keith Pomeroy, attorney Greg Babcock told members, who on his death left a very old single-family houseÑoriginally built in 1880 and later added on toÑsorely in need of repair. Despite the B-2 zone in the 100 block of West Porter Ave., the neighborhood is home to six single-family houses and five duplexes or triplexes, one of which is currently being used by a single-family.

The plan is for Spencer Sutton to purchase the property, demolish Pomeroy’s old single-family home, and build a duplex in its place, on one side of which Sutton himself would reside, Babcock said.

“I believe this is an appropriate use for the property,” Babcock said. “Could you do a single-family? Sure. But I don’t think a single-family is the best and highest use, based on the costs and values around us.”

Babcock did say that Sutton would be amenable to two conditions: that a sidewalk would be built on a surveyed easement traversing the lot’s front lawn, to permit space for a parking blister on West Porter Ave.; and that the garage would be backloaded, constructed behind the duplex and accessed from the east/west alley.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the petition but one person, Nicole Wood, a neighbor, spoke against it.

Wood said that the large lotÑabout half an acreÑcould easily support a home of a much higher value and argued that a duplex “would adversely affect the value of my home.”

Wood also noted that, though there is a mix of duplexes and triplexes in the 100 block of West Porter Ave., none of them have two front doors, that is, the multiple units are accessed by side doors. “It appears when driving down the street that the houses are all single-family. A duplex with two front doors would be out of character with the neighborhood.”

Member James Kowalski told Wood that while he understands her concern, the underlying fact is the neighborhood’s B-2 zone. “That property could be developed in a very, very different manner,” he said. “There could be businesses on that block and they could end up creating more of a difficulty in that area with traffic.”

Kowalski added that some of the properties on that block have been neglected and that a brand-new duplex might have the effect of “lifting the character of the neighborhood.”

Member Richard Riley, for his part, concurred with Kowalski on the fact of the B-2 zone. “If it were a commercial establishment going in there, none of us would have a say about it,” he said.

Riley did, however, urge Sutton to consider a design which would make the duplex look like a single-family from the street.

Owens didn’t comment explictly on the petition on Thursday except to say that he was happy the garage would be backloaded. At the preliminary hearing in January, though, Owens did voice his preference for a single-family on the site, given the current trend in Chesterton to in-fill empty lots with duplexes.

2008 Terreno Drive

In other business, members voted unanimously to approve the petition of Daniel and Erin Woods for two variances: one to permit an increase in maximum lot coverage, from 30 percent to 35 percent; the other to reduce the distance between an accessory structure and the principal structure, from the minimum 10 feet to six inches.

The Woods plan to build a detached cedar shelter in their backyard.

At a public hearing prior to the vote, no one spoke in support of their petition and no one in opposition.

Bell Manor, 442 N. Calumet Road

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to hold public hearings at its next meeting, March 28, on six petitions.

The first public hearing on March 28: on the petition of BenLew Enterprises LLC for a variance to permit the residential use of the third floor of the old Bell Manor building, zoned B-2, at 442 N. Calumet Road.

508 Wabash Ave.

The second public hearing on March 28: on the petition of JTR Construction for two variances: one to reduce the front-yard setback by five feet, from the 25-foot minimum allowed under Town Code to 20 feet; and one to reduce the rear-yard setback by eight feet, from the 25-foot minimum to 17 feet.

Builder Jason Robinson is seeking to construct a duplex on the site, at 508 Wabash Ave. Robinson told members that the two variances would allow him to configure the duplex on the lot in such a way as to permit driveway access off the less congested Locust Street as well as to maximize residents’ privacy by avoiding “window-to-window line of sight with adjacent neighboring homes.”

350 Brown Ave.

The third public hearing on March 28: on the petition of 350 Realty Group LLC Series 123 Brown Ave. for a variance to return the single-family home at 350 Brown Ave. into its original use, a duplex.

Builders Nick and Jake Cross told members that the duplex was converted into a single-family in 2005. “They literally cut out a doorway in the drywall,” Nick Cross said.

The adjacent residences are duplexes.

2009 Torreno Drive

The fourth public hearing on March 28: on the petition of Steven and Ashley Tolton for a variance to increase the maximum concrete coverage on their property at 2009 Torreno Drive, in the Stone Meadows subdivision, from the 30-percent maximum to 36 percent.

The extra coverage would allow the construction of an inground swimming pool and a shed, the Toltons told members.

100 Brown Ave.

The fifth public hearing on March 28: on the petition of Richard Neal for two variances: the first to build four additional principal structures on the 3.28-acre site at 100 Brown Ave.; the second to reduce the minimum 30-foot front-yard setback to 20 feet for two of those structures.

Neal is seeking to build four storage buildings on the property comprising 94 total units.

1851 Hogan Ave.

The sixth and final public hearing on March 28: on the petition of a Bradley and Christine Joyce for a variance to reduce the 10-foot minimum side-yard setback to six feet.

The Joyces are seeking to build a three-car garage on their property.

When asked whether their neighbor had been apprised of their plan, Bradley Joyce replied, “It was his idea. We’re both car guys.”



Posted 3/5/2019




Search This Site:

Custom Search