Chesterton Tribune



BZA hears petition for duplex in B-2 zone at 126 W Porter Ave

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The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public hearing at its next meeting on a variance which would permit the construction of a duplex on a lot zoned B-2 at 126 W. Porter Ave.

The petitioner for the variance is the Estate of Keith Pomeroy, attorney Greg Babcock told the BZA at its meeting Thursday night, who on his death left a single-family home on the lot sorely in need of repair.

“The home was built in the 1880s and later added on to,” Babcock said. “But it’s not in good condition and would be very expensive to fix.”

The idea, accordingly, is to demolish the home and build a duplex on the site. The site, however, like the rest of the neighborhood, is zoned B-2, although to Babcock’s knowledge the home has never been used commercially.

Babcock noted that the north-south alley which runs from Park Ave. and dead-ends at the old fabric shop on West Porter Ave. has historically been the line of demarcation separating residential from commercial in that neighborhood: east of the alley, commercial (today Lucrezia’s and Details Dry Cleaning, for instance); west of the alley, residential, typically duplexes.

Babcock did say that the duplex would feature attached garages, a rarity in that neighborhood. “We’re making some choices to make it more attractive. We can probably get a pretty good rental there.”

Member Fred Owens, for his part, observed that most of the fill-in residential properties being built right now in town are duplexes and specifically expressed his preference for a single-family home on the lot. “Why not build an R-1 house?” he asked Babcock. “It’s a good-sized lot.”

Except, Babcock replied, it’s a duplex neighborhood. “It would be the most expensive property on that block,” he said. “I just don’t think that’s what we want to accomplish in that particular setting.”

Members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on the petition at its next meeting, Thursday, Feb. 28.

Accessory Structure

In other business, members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing at its next meeting on the petition of Daniel and Erin Woods for two variances which would permit the construction of an accessory structure--a detached cedar shelter--on the patio of their home at 2008 Terreno Drive in Stone Meadows.

The first would allow a 5 percent increase in maximum lot coverage, from 30 percent to 35 percent. The second would allow the accessory structure to be closer to the house than the minimum 10 feet.

Bell Manor

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to continue a preliminary hearing on the petition of BenLew Enterprises LLC for a variance to permit the residential use of the third floor of the old Bell Manor building, zoned B-2, at 442 N. Calumet Road.

On Thursday Brian Lewandowski of BenLew submitted drawings to the board for four units: one studio apartment and three one-bedroom apartments.

But members want Lewandowski and his partner, Brandon Bennett, to consult with Fire Chief John Jarka and Building Commissioner Mark O’Dell about the legalities of converting the space to residential before they schedule a public hearing on the petition.



Posted 1/28/2019




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