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
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
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.”
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
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
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.
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
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
Bell Manor, 442 N.
voted unanimously to hold public hearings at its next meeting, March 28, on
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.
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.
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.”