Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton BZA OKs variances for townhome at 301 W Morgan

Back To Front Page



Eric Robinson has gotten the green light to build a townhome-style duplex at 301 W. Morgan Ave., the former site of a house built in 1890 and demolished last fall.

At its meeting Thursday night, the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously to approve the three variances requested by Robinson: one to increase lot coverage for a corner lot to 58 percent, 18 percent more than the maximum 40 percent allowed by the Zoning Ordinance; a second to reduce the sideyard setback to 7’ 10’’, four inches fewer than the minimum of eight feet; and a third to reduce the front-yard setback to 14 4’’, 10’ 8’’ fewer than the minimum of 25 feet.

Robinson told the board that he needs more lot coverage chiefly in order to install a paved driveway off the back alley to serve two garages, and in that way reduce on-street parking along West Morgan Ave.; that he needs the front-yard setback variance so that duplex will line up with other homes in the 300 block of West Morgan Ave.; and that he needs the sideyard setback variance because, as he said, “it’s hard to build on the property because of the size of the lots platted a long time ago.”

The property is zoned R-2, and Robinson will live in one of the units himself and expects to rent the other for $1,400 to $1,500 per month. “This will be my personal residence for at least the next decade,” he said, “so I’ve taken a lot of consideration on what it will look like.”

Robinson added that his townhome duplex will be much less intensive a use than the six-unit multi-family building located next door. “This is not something out of the ordinary for this area,” he said.

Two neighbors remonstrated against the petition. Geoff Lambert said that there are three other residences in the 300 block of West Morgan Ave.: two of them are historic homes which comply with Town Code and one is the multi-family which is similarly compliant. Lambert specifically questioned Robinson’s need for additional lot coverage.

Johnetta Braunm objected to what she considers the likelihood that the townhome duplex would attract transients. “The people living in that we’re not wanting in our neighborhood,” she said. “I’m worried about our heritage. I’m worried about our homes being destroyed. I just don’t want riff-raff coming in.”

Members did not share the neighbors’ concerns. As Jim Kowalski noted, “It’s zoned R-2. He has the right. The parking off of Morgan Ave. makes sense too. It will make a huge, huge improvement. If anything, it will bring the property values up.”

“What is proposed,” Fred Owens said, “is quite expensive and quite nice.”

Fred Ackerman concurred. The alternative is a different developer building a duplex “much less expensive and without a garage. (Robinson) is willing to make a significant investment.”

“It’s owner-occupied,” Joel Carney added. “It’s not the kind of building he would rent to ne-er-do-wells.”

Members accordingly voted 5-0 to approve Robinson’s petition.

108 S. 13th St.

In other business, members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing at its next meeting, Feb. 27, on the petition of Mary Cahillians for six variances which would permit her to remodel the carriage house at 108 S. 13th St. and use it as a residential unit.

The property--zoned B-2--is actually comprised of five separate lots with three structures, Cahillians’ attorney, Greg Babcock, told the board: a commercial structure immediately south of Broadway, a single-family residence further south, and--adjacent to and west of the single-family--a carriage house. The home itself was built in 1910, the commercial structure shortly thereafter, and the carriage house in 1948: all prior to the Town of Chesterton’s adoption in the Fifties of a Zoning Ordinance.

Which means that the property is legally nonconforming but--in order now to secure a building permit for renovations--several variances are required:

--A use variance to permit two-family residential use in a B-2 zone.

--A variance to permit a second principal structure on a lot.

--A variance to permit remodeling of the carriage house in a B-2 zone with a lot area of 7,062.5 square feet, 137.5 square feet under the minimum 7,200 square feet required by the Zoning Ordinance.

--A variance to permit remodeling in a B-2 zone with a width of 56’ 6’’, 13’ 6’’ under the minimum 70-foot width.

--A variance to permit remodeling in a B-2 zone with a front-yard setback of 22’ 10’’, 7’ 2’’ less than the minimum 30 feet.

--And a variance to permit remodeling in a B-2 zone with a rearyard setback of four inches, 9’ 8’’ less than the minimum 10 feet.



Posted 1/27/2020






Search This Site:

Custom Search