Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday voted 4-0 in favor of a variance allowing
the Chesterton Bicycle Station, at 116 South 4th St., to build a proposed
975 sq. ft. addition to its existing 1,800 sq. ft. shop along with a
connecting breezeway to the existing house, combining both structures into
The house has been
there since before 1900 but the business was built and opened by its current
owner Anthony Evans in 1991. The variance is will permit construction of an
addition to a legally non-conforming commercial structure in a B-1 business
Evans said that he
now has “very little space” in his shop and is willing to invest $60,000
into improvements to make more room for displays and office space for a
potential new employee.
“We’ve packed about
every square inch in that shop as we possibly can,” he said, adding that the
joint gets crowded during downtown events like the European Market.
At the public
hearing given for the variance, three audience members made remarks in
favor, saying they appreciate the sense of character the business adds to
the town. None spoke against.
James Petrites, who works part-time at the Bicycle Station, said this type
of successful business is “needed in a small town” and “adds to the
Tamatha Lozano, who attended the meeting to present a petition for a
separate case, wished to say she bought a bicycle from the Bicycle Station
when she was in middle school and looks forward to the day when she can take
her son there to purchase his first mountain bike.
A resident of 4th
Street, Douglas Hubbard said he thinks “to keep this business in town would
behoove the town of Chesterton.”
attorney Greg Babcock told the board that with the proposed Dunes-Kankakee
Trail, there is a growing demand for bicycles and more people are getting
engaged with cycling.
In the board’s
examination, BZA member Jim Kowalski asked about a shed on the west side of
the property’s location and if that would interfere if there would be an
emergency. Evans said he’s spoken with the Chesterton Fire Department and
was assured there would be enough room for them to get in the alley or to
Member Kim Goldak
asked Evans if there would be work done in the front of the existing
building, specifically any “small things that would make it nicer” such as
landscaping or removing the pop machine.
Evans said the
$60,000 does not include plans for the existing building. The pop machine
gets used by many thirsty bikers who come up from the Prairie-Duneland trail
and purchase Gatorade or water, he said.
The new addition
will have the same kind of siding as the front of the building, Evans said.
Town engineer Mark
O’Dell asked the board put in the motion to give the addition a size
requirement and to put a French drain on the down spot on the west side of
the building to help with drainage.
The motion passed
with Kowalski, Goldak, Joe Ackerman and board president Rodney Corder
In other business,
the board voted unanimously to continue the public hearing for Indian
Boundary Property Group, LLC’s two petitions for variances to put up bigger
signage than permitted at the new Dollar Tree and O’Reilly Auto Parts stores
currently being built on Indian Boundary Rd.
BZA Attorney Julie
Paulson said IDPG asked if they could have a continuance because people
wanting to speak on the petition would not be able to make it to the meeting
Dec. 22 because of the Christmas season. The petitions will be on the agenda
Also continued to
January was a preliminary hearing for William and Mary Scott for a variance
to build a six-foot privacy fence at 122 E. Michigan Ave. Paulson said the
town had not received all the documents needed and advised to not set a
public hearing until all those have been recieved.