Chesterton Tribune



Use variance granted for dog daycare at 102 Brown Ave

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The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals has greenlighted the town’s first dog daycare business.

At their meeting Thursday evening, members voted unanimously to grant a use variance to Richard Neal, owner of the currently vacant building at 102 Brown Ave., where Tonya Fugate plans to lease space for a dog grooming, daycare, and boutique establishment.

The Zoning Ordinance’s Table of Uses does not specifically include this kind of business, hence the need for the variance.

Fugate’s attorney, Greg Babcock, reminded the board that some years ago he represented the owners of Bark of the Town, 207 Broadway, in obtaining a similar variance, although in that case it was only for dog grooming. “And I think it’s worked out pretty well,” he said.

The space in question is around 2,000 square feet in size and well suited to such a business, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to begin with, and then--if demand warrants--from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Fugate plans on enclosing an area on the east side of the building for a dog run, which will feature play and exercise equipment. No dogs would be left unattended in the enclosure and no more than one at a time would be permitted inside it, while no more than five to seven dogs will be accepted for daycare at any one time.

There will be no overnight kenneling and all dog owners must provide proof of up-to-date vaccinations and the results of recent stool samples.

Fuguate, for her part, told members that her business will cater to the “very, very pampered pet, so it’s going to be an upscale business.” The boutique itself, in the front of the business, will sell canine bakery goods, leashes, toys, and other merchandise, as locally sourced as possible. She added that she expects to invest $15,000 in the business, “to get it up to where I want it to be and look.”

All employees will have taken canine behavioral classes, Fugate herself is a former veterinary technician with a certification in grooming, and her business partner is a nationally recognized groomer who formerly operated a salon in Las Vegas.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor and no one in opposition. The board did receive a letter from a neighbor who lives on the east side of North Calumet Road, Guy Vanes, who objected to the petition. “The hours stated in the petition are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday,” Vanes wrote. “That’s nine hours of barking dogs, every day, seven days a week.”

Babcock, responding to Vanes’ concern, noted that the entire neighborhood is zoned B-2 and that the largest part of the operation will be conducted inside the building. “I don’t believe noise is going to be an issue because we’re indoors,” he said.

Member Joe Ackerman agreed. “I don’t see that five to seven dogs are going to add to the noise that collectively surrounds that area,” he said.

"I think it’s a very appropriate place” for the business, President Richard Riley added.

109 Laurel Creek Drive

In other business, members voted unanimously to grant a pair of variances to Ryan and Scarlett Spain which will permit them to construct a second 14’ x 28’ two-vehicle garage and a connecting 8’ x 14’ breezeway on their property at 109 Laurel Creek Drive.

The first variance reduces the minimum side-street setback from 25 to 18 feet, a variance of seven feet. The side street in question is a platted but unnamed and unimproved public right-of-way immediately west of the Spains’ home. The second variance permits the construction of the breezeway connecting the new garage to the home by reducing the minimum percentage of principal structure which must be covered by the new breezeway from 50 percent to 35 percent.

Ryan Spain told members that he owns an inherited 1966 Corvette and a 1968 Camaro, as well as a riding lawn mower and all the toys and sports gear accumulated by a family with children, and that he needs the garage to store them. He noted that the Tamarack homeowners association’s covenants specifically prohibit outside storage.

Babcock, also representing the Spains, noted that the platted but unimproved roadway will never be built, and the Tamarack homeowners association has given its own approval to the new garage and breezeway, subject to the board’s granting the two variances.

Town Engineer Mark O’Dell did ask the board to attach a condition to the breezeway variance, namely, that the stated dimensions--8’ x 14’--do not change, by the time the Spains break ground on the project, probably next spring. And O’Dell reminded the Spains that, when they formally apply for a building permit, they will need to provide an updated survey to ensure that the seven-foot side-street setback reduction granted by the board is indeed the correct number.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in support of the petition and no one in opposition to it.

“If the homeowners association is good with it and the guy next door is, it looks like a good project to me and I can see no reason not to go forward with it,” Ackerman observed.

505 Ash Trail Drive

Meanwhile, in the first of two preliminary hearings, members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing at their next meeting, 6:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 22, on the petition of BMO Harris Bank N. A. and Jennifer McClain, co-guardians of the estate of William Hope III, owners of the residence at 505 Ash Trail Drive.

That petition is seeking a variance to permit the erection of a six-foot privacy fence at the rear of the property, which backs onto 1050N. The Zoning Ordinance specifically prohibits six-foot fences fronting thoroughfares, but as the occupant’s attorney, Terry Hiestand, noted, she would “like to have family activities in her backyard without being observed by motorists along 1050N.”

Hiestand added that the neighbors on either side of her home both have six-foot privacy fences. “I think it would be very consistent with what I see driving around town,” he said.

Note: the BZA’s Oct. 22 meeting will be held in the Chesterton fire station, as the regular meeting room will be hosting early voting at that time.

2701 Quicksilver Drive

In the second preliminary hearing, members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing at their next meeting on Shaun Connelly’s petition to increase his lot coverage from the 30-percent maximum permitted under the Zoning Ordinance to 39 percent.

Connelly is seeking to install an in-ground swimming pool and a concrete patio around it in the backyard of his residence at 2701 Quicksilver Drive, but doing so would push his total lot coverage to 39 percent.


Posted 9/29/2020




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