Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton BZA approves variances on 4 properties

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The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals ruled on five public hearings and conducted three preliminary hearings at its March 28 meeting.

Bell Manor, 442 N. Calumet Rd.

BenLew Enterprises LLC sought a variance to permit residential use of the third floor of the old Bell Manor building, zoned B-2, at 442 N. Calumet Road. Brian Lewandowski, of BenLew, said the plan is to put in two apartments.

No one spoke for or against the proposal in a public hearing, and the Board approved the use on the conditions that the petitioners obtain all required state and local permits and the space passes an inspection by the Building Commissioner once finished.

508 Wabash Ave.

JTR Construction sought two variances: the first to reduce front-yard setback from the 25-foot minimum allowed under Town Code to 20 feet, and the second to reduce rear-yard setback from the 25-foot minimum to 17 feet.

Builder Jason Robinson plans to construct a duplex on the site. Robinson told the BZA the two variances will allow him to orient the building for driveway access off Locust Street to reduce congestion on Wabash and provide better privacy for residents across the street.

No one spoke for or against the proposal in a public hearing. The Board approved the variances.

123 Brown St.

350 Realty Group LLC sought a variance to return the single-family home at 123 Brown St. to its original use, a duplex.

Jay Cross, manager with 350 Realty, said the structure was converted into a single-family home in 2005 after it was built as a duplex in 1969. The adjacent residences are also duplexes.

No one spoke for or against the petition in a public hearing. Donna Cunningham wrote a letter in opposition, saying there is too much variety in the area with industrial, single-family, and multi-family zonings. The Board approved the use.

2009 Torreno Drive

Steven and Ashley Tolton sought a variance to increase the maximum concrete coverage on their property at 2009 Torreno Drive, in the Stone Meadows subdivision, from the 30% maximum to 36% so they can build an in-ground swimming pool and a shed.

No one spoke for or against the petition, and the Board approved it.

Attorney Terry Hiestand later suggested the BZA members who are also on the Plan Commission, Jim Kowalski and Fred Owens, should look into upping the maximum lot coverage as part of their process reviewing and updating Chesterton’s Comprehensive Plan.

Hiestand said the BZA seems to get a lot of requests to waive the lot coverage standard.

“I don’t think the 30% is really realistic,” Hiestand said. “The Plan Commission should look at the type of petitions coming before this Board over and over again to see if it’s an issue that maybe is solved through the zoning ordinance.”

1651 Hogan Ave.

Bradley and Christine Joyce petitioned for a variance to reduce the 10-foot minimum side-yard setback to six feet. The Joyces said they want to expand their two-car garage into a three-car garage for more storage space.

Board Attorney Julie Paulson reported that the Joyces failed to meet the Town’s requirement to submit their paperwork 17 days before the meeting. Paulson said the materials were only turned in two days before the meeting, leaving nearby property owners and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell without time to review them.

Henry Dixon spoke in favor of the Joyce’s petition, and Brenda Hurst wrote a letter in opposition.

The Board continued the public hearing to its April 25 meeting so O’Dell can review the Joyce’s plans for the addition. Neighboring property owners can speak for or against the petition again that day.

Preliminary Hearings

B & B Developers Inc. is seeking a variance for residential use in an I-1 zone for a 40’ x 30’ second-floor residence at the west end of The Factory building.

Hiestand, representing B & B, said the apartment has been there for years without causing a disturbance. The property owners want to rectify the issue now that they realized a variance was in order after a recent inspection. The Board set the matter for public hearing at its April 25 meeting.

Bennett’s Rentals LLC is seeking a variance for a climate-controlled storage facility in a B-3 zone. Hiestand, representing Bennet’s, said his client wants to install climate-controlled storage due to demand, but climate-controlled storage is not listed as an official permitted use in B-3 zones.

Board President Richard Riley suggested the Fire Department be involved in creating a list of prohibited items, and Hiestand agreed. The Board set the matter for public hearing April 25.

A. Johnson is seeking a variance to build a sunroom where a deck is currently located, at an unspecified address.

Paulson reported the petition was without a deed, signature page, and list of properties within 300 feet. The Board members also pointed out that more variances, for maximum lot coverage and setbacks, may be in order. In light of these issues, the Board continued the preliminary hearing to April 25.


Posted 4/8/2019




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