Chesterton Tribune



Distillery at old Westchester Lanes on BZA agenda Thursday

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The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals will resume its public hearing on a use variance for a distillery at the old Westchester Lanes when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27.

In fact the owner of the building, Lukas Weldon, is seeking two variances: the use variance for the distillery; and a special exemption which would permit the inside storage of RVs, boats, and trailers, and other vehicles in the portion of the building which used to be a bowling alley proper. The distillery would be sited in the former lounge area of Westchester Lanes, and a rated firewall would be constructed between the two uses.

At the public hearing convened in at the board’s July meeting, Fire Chief John Jarka and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell both expressed some degree of concern related to the flammability of the spirits which Vern Brown--owner of The Chesterton Brewery and Weldon’s proposed tenant--would be distilling on site. Hence the firewall as well as Brown’s investment in a “spirit safe,” in which the actual liquid and vapors would be stored temporarily until transferred to bottles.

Members, however, are likely to impose other conditions on the variance, which is why they opted to continue the public hearing to its August meeting.

One other public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, on Earl and Cathy Clark’s petition for two variances to permit the construction of a larger garage on their property at 223 S. Eighth St.: one to increase the maximum lot coverage of 30 percent to 41 percent, a variance of 11 percent; and the other to reduce the sideyard setback from eight to three feet, a variance of five feet.

Three preliminary hearings are also scheduled for Thursday.

The first: the long-continued preliminary hearing on BenLew Enterprises LLC’s petition for a raft of variances related to the property at the southeast corner of East Porter Ave. and South Calumet Road. That property has since been subdivided into two separate lots: the one with the house; and the one with the former travel agency. The variances mostly concern setbacks and lot coverage, but BenLew is seeking as well a variance to allow automobile storage at the old travel agency, zoned B-2.

The second preliminary hearing: Ryan and Scarlett Spains’ petition for a variance to permit the construction of an additional attached two-car garage: to reduce the side street setback from the minimum of 25 feet to 18 feet, a variance of seven feet.

The third preliminary hearing: on Neal Storage II LLC’s petition for a use variance to permit the establishment of a dog daycare, grooming service, and boutique.



Posted 8/24/2020




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