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Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes 2015

Meeting Minutes

01-26-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
02-23-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
03-23-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals

March 23, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, President Tom Ryan Attorney Tim Kuiper
Ken Schneider, Vice-President Paul Panczuk Steve Kil
Steve Hastings, Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Jim Maciejewski called to order the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals for Monday, March 23, 2015, at 7:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary, with the following members present: Jim Maciejewski, Ken Schneider and Steve Hastings. Tom Ryan and Paul Panczuk were absent. Steve Kil was absent. The Board’s attorney, Tim Kuiper, was present.

Mr. Maciejewski requested that formal notice of Mr. Tom Ryan’s resignation be submitted to the Board so that the minutes could accurately reflect the make-up of the same. Attorney Kuiper noted he would take care of this matter.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Maciejewski noted the first item on the agenda was election of officers for calendar year 2015. He stated he would entertain motions for the offices.

Mr. Schneider made a motion to nominate Jim Maciejewski to the position of president for 2015. Mr. Hastings seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion for the position of vice-president for calendar year 2015. Mr. Hastings nominated Ken Schneider for the position of vice-president. Mr. Maciejewski seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion for the position of secretary for calendar year 2015. Mr. Schneider made a motion nominating Steve Hastings to the position of secretary. Mr. Maciejewski seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: OCTOBER 27, MEETING

Mr. Maciejewski noted the minutes of October 27, 2014, were before the Board for their consideration. He asked if there were any comments or corrections. The Board members had no comments or corrections.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion on the minutes of October 27, 2014. Mr. Schneider commented that he was not present at this meeting. Mr. Hastings made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 27, 2014, as submitted. Mr. Maciejewski seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

NEW BUSINESS:

There was no New Business before the Board.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. DICUSSION ON ENGINEERING REPORT FOR PLAYHOUSE --- 8990 TAPPER STREET --- CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING --- TIM SALAMON.

Mr. Maciejewski announced the first item under Old Business was discussion on the engineering report for the playhouse located at 8990 Tapper Street. Mr. Tim Salamon, Petitioner, 8990 Tapper Street, appeared before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski noted an engineering report from James F. Gianni & Associates had been submitted by the Petitioner. Mr. Maciejewski asked the Petitioner if there was anything in the report that he felt he would not be able to comply with. Mr. Salamon stated all of the issues in the report were very minor and he should be able to comply with all of the recommendations in the report.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Board members if they had any questions or comments on the report. There were no questions or comments from the Board members.

Mr. Salamon stated the playhouse has been sitting “as is” since he was directed to get an engineering report. He stated he had delayed doing any of the work recommended in the report until he appeared before the Board and secured their direction.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski referred to the minutes of August 25, 2014, wherein it was indicated that Petitioner was using extension cords to run power to the playhouse. He noted the engineering report reflects that there are junction boxes and electrical outlets installed.

Mr. Salamon acknowledged these were correct statements. He stated that when it is warm outside and the children are actually in the playhouse, he ran power from the house off of an extension cord. Mr. Salamon stated that there is conduit inside of the building, but nothing has been installed. He stated he would like to run power to the playhouse at a future date.

Mr. Hastings commented that per the Town’s ordinances, outbuilding/accessory buildings are limited to 160 square feet. He noted the height requirement is 14 feet. Mr. Hastings noted that the playhouse height and square footage exceed the Town’s ordinances.

Attorney Kuiper noted, for the record, that this matter was originally advertised for a public hearing in August for a developmental variance on the square footage (accessory building) and the height. He stated that these two items along with the engineering report were before the Board for their consideration and review at this time.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Hastings stated he is in agreement with the engineering report in strengthening the structure. Mr. Schneider concurred.

Mr. Schneider stated his understanding was that there wasn’t going to be electric in the playhouse. Mr. Salamon stated he had wanted to run electricity to the playhouse, but he would have to hire an electrician. Mr. Schneider remarked the addition of electricity would make the structure a little bit more than a playhouse. Mr. Salamon stated the playhouse gets hot in the summer and a fan was used. Mr. Salamon stated if the electricity was a “make or break” issue, they could do without it.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing. He called for public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski stated, from the Board’s standpoint, electrical to the playhouse is a concern. He stated that this issue could be a condition for approval/disapproval.

Mr. Maciejewski noted, at the last meeting, it was the consensus of the Board that if the structure was evaluated and made to comply with the Town’s code and made sound, consideration would be given to the area and height of the playhouse. He informed the Petitioner that had he gone through the proper channels in Town and sought a building permit ahead of time, he would have been asked to do a number of things including submitting a drawing to the Building and Planning Department.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he believes this drawing should still be generated and inclusive of what the playhouse consists of in addition to what the report details as “a series of corrections.” He stated this drawing, as described, would form the basis for a building permit. Mr. Maciejewski stated that this would give the Town something to review the structure against.

Mr. Maciejewski stated submitting a drawing would be consistent with what would have happened had the Petitioner approached the Building Department first. He stated that there is also a plat of survey requirement. Mr. Maciejewski noted that all of the drawings and surveys that the Building Department would need to issue a permit should be submitted by the Petitioner.

Attorney Kuiper noted that there would have to be compliance in order for the playhouse to pass inspection. He recommended that the Petitioner remediate the items mentioned in the engineering report. Attorney Kuiper stated that if the Board were so inclined to allow the building to be electrified, the inspection would ensure that the electrical work was properly done.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Hastings requested that a fire extinguisher be attached inside the playhouse, for safety’s sake. Mr. Salamon acknowledged Mr. Hastings statement and stated that a fire extinguisher would not be a problem.

Mr. Maciejewski stated the structure would not be able to be occupied until a Certificate of Occupancy was issued.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Petitioner if he anticipated the project would take more than a month. Mr. Salamon stated as soon as he knows what has to be done he would get a timeline as to how long the work would take.

Mr. Schneider asked if the engineer from Gianni & Associates would review the playhouse after the corrections are made. Mr. Salamon stated that the engineer would come back when Mr. Salamon was provided with a list from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if any of the Board members felt the Petitioner’s request should be denied on the basis of height and size.

Mr. Hastings remarked that approving the playhouse as is does set precedent.

Mr. Schneider stated this was another example of coming to ask forgiveness after the fact. He stated one mitigating factor was that all of the neighbors that were present at the last meeting had no problems or complaints with the playhouse.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion on the developmental technical variances for a height increase of the structure as it exists and an area increase from 160 square feet to a total of 328 square feet, referencing and incorporating the findings of fact, setting forth the contingencies that all required documents of the Building and Planning Department be submitted by the Petitioner in order to obtain the building permit including but not limited to sealed drawings and a plat of survey, a timeline and/or overall completion date no later than the end of May, 2015, a final engineering report to be submitted to the Building and Planning Department at the conclusion of the project verifying that all of the deficiencies have been corrected and any electrical improvements must be in full compliance with the Town of St. John Building Code. “So moved,” by Mr. Hastings. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion.

Mr. Maciejewski requested a roll call vote. Steve Hastings --- yes. Ken Schneider --- yes. Jim Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote (3/0).

Mr. Maciejewski directed the Petitioner to go to the Building and Planning Department with any questions he had about the submission requirements.

Mr. Hastings commended the Petitioner for hiring a contractor to inspect the playhouse; he opined that the safety of the children is of the utmost importance to the Board. Mr. Salamon concurred.

OPEN TO THE FLOOR FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Maciejewski opened the floor for public comment. He called for public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the floor to public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Maciejewski asked for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Schneider made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Hastings seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

(The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.)

A TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

04-27-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals

April 27, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, President Paul Panczuk Attorney Tim Kuiper
Ken Schneider, Vice-President   Steve Kil
Steve Hastings, Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Jim Maciejewski called to order the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals for Monday, April 27, 2015, at 7:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary, with the following members present: Jim Maciejewski, Ken Schneider, Steve Hastings and Paul Panczuk. Steve Kil was absent. The Board’s attorney, Tim Kuiper, was present.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Board if they would consider the reversal of the order on the agenda under New Business. He stated that he would like to consider Item B first. There were no objections.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: MARCH 23, 2015, REGULAR MEETING

Mr. Maciejewski noted the first item for the Board’s review and action were the minutes of the March 23, 2015, regular meeting. He stated he would entertain a motion to approve the minutes if there were no amendments or revisions. There were no amendments or revisions.

“So moved,” by Mr. Hastings. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL --- LED SIGN --- MONUMENT HEIGHT AND SIZE --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE.

Mr. Maciejewski stated the next item for the Board to address was the developmental variance requested by Lake Central High School, for the LED sign, monument height and size.

Attorney Cheryl Zic appeared before the Board and on behalf Lake Central School Corporation. Superintendent, Mr. Larry Veracco, Lake Central School Corporation and Duane Dart, project architect, were also present.

Attorney Zic noted the height of the Lake Central monument sign is 12’4”, so Petitioner is requesting an exception for the height of the sign. She stated the LED screen is 9’3”x4’1 3/8”. She stated the sign would be used for the same type of applications that were talked about for the Kolling Elementary sign.

Mr. Maciejewski asked why the height of the sign 12’4” is so locked in on when the sign could have easily been adjusted to be 10’ or less. He stated that the overall geometry of the sign is fine, but opined that the sign could have been adjusted to have been 10’ or less and still achieve the desired architectural elements. He stated the proposed sign is “a pretty big sign.”

Attorney Zic stated she believed the sign’s height was because of “the look.” Mr. Dart remarked that the idea was to design a sign to complement the building. He cited one of the Town’s sign ordinances wherein it states that every sign should be “designed as an integral architectural element” of the building. Mr. Dart showed a rendering to the Board and pointed out how the masonry sign matches the building’s masonry. He explained that when you start shrinking the signage down, it does not look like the building.

The sign’s dimensions were discussed.

Mr. Maciejewski remarked that the sign did not have to exceed the height ordinance in order to achieve its desired effect. Mr. Veracco commented that the sign looked like a piece of the wall from the school building, and downsizing it would have defeated that purpose.

Attorney Zic stated that there was a lot of discussion at the Plan Commission about this “mimicking look.” Mr. Maciejewski wondered if there was any regard paid to constructing a sign that would have adhered to the Town’s sign ordinance. He stated that the Board is looking at a sign that is already built, which puts them at a disadvantage.

Attorney Zic stated that there was discussion with Mr. Kil and he approved the Petitioner putting up the sign during spring break, when there was less student traffic. She stated that Mr. Kil indicated that the Petitioner would be erecting the sign with the understanding that the Petitioner is at risk without BZA approval. Attorney Zic stated that the Town gave approval to put the monument in knowing that if the BZA did not approve it, the Petitioner would be taking the sign down.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if this “approval” should be a part of his and the Board’s consideration on the height issue. Attorney Zic reiterated that the sign was designed with the intent to achieve a certain look.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated he understands what the Petitioner was trying to achieve; however, the digital display and the sign are 400% of the Town’s ordinance. He remarked that this is a pretty big increase and it seems that there was no regard in trying to rein in any overage.

Mr. Maciejewski wondered about the position of the sign. He asked if it had been studied for sight lines. He wondered if it would create such a visual impediment to drivers (looking to the left) that are lined up to leave and catch the light out of the school parking lot.

Mr. Maciejewski asked how far from the stop light the front of the sign sits back. Mr. Dart stated the sign is back behind the right of way, probably 25’ to 30’ back from the edge of the highway. Mr. Maciejewski noted this was approximately one car length from the stop line. Mr. Maciejewski remarked that the first car in line will be able to see to the left, but everyone behind them will be blocked from seeing to the left.

Mr. Panczuk remarked that he concurred with most everything that Mr. Maciejewski just stated. He opined that the sign could have complemented the school on a smaller scale. Mr. Panczuk stated he has a concern with the entire size of the sign, especially the LED portion. He stated the sign is quite a distraction at a traffic point of entry.

Mr. Schneider commented on the location of the sign; he stated the sign is located right at the biggest congestion point at Lake Central High School. Mr. Panczuk noted the sign is on the boulevard; he stated the sign does not belong here at all.

The sight line and sign location was discussed. Mr. Maciejewski asked if any thought had been given to the distraction the sign will cause to drivers’ sitting at the traffic light. Mr. Veracco stated the location is not unlike high schools that he has been to where the sign is located at the entrance/exit of the school.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk remarked that the location of the sign is very unusual in that it is not near the entrance, but “in the entrance, pretty much in the middle of the road.” He stated he thinks it would be appropriate if the Petitioner scaled back the monument sign to comply with the Town’s ordinance. Mr. Panczuk stated a smaller sign would not block sight lines and would still get the job done. He stated this sign will be used for a lot more than just telling people where to turn. Mr. Panczuk stated that the school is large and most people know where it is located.

The green space where the sign is located was discussed. It was stated that the median where the sign is located is 10’ wide. Mr. Schneider stated if one pulled up next to the sign in a vehicle you can almost reach out and touch it.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if Petitioner had a reason for appearing before the Board in April, 2015, when the drawings submittal was back in December. He asked if any thought was given to an earlier discussion. Mr. Veracco stated he did not have the answer to this question.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked if the proofs of publication for a public hearing were in order. Attorney Kuiper noted the notices and publications for the public hearing were in order for a public hearing to be properly conducted tonight.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing for public comment related to the developmental variance being requested for an LED sign in addition to the monument sign height and size at Lake Central High School.

PUBLIC HEARING

Carolyn Nowacki, 8535 Kelly Court
Ms. Nowacki stated that her house actually touches the freshman sign, she lines right up with it. She states that she had three children that went through the school. Ms. Nowacki stated she was one of the first homes in the subdivision. She stated that she bought her house knowing her kids would be involved in school activities and would have a way to get to school.

Ms. Nowacki stated she wanted to inform the Board what types of things she is subjected to on a daily basis. She said she knew what she was getting into living next to a school. Lights. Alarms and more lights. Flashing lights that woke her up at 2:00 a.m. Buses coming and going and dropping kids off. Equipment noise, fans running and belts squeaking. Ms. Nowacki stated she knew and expected some of this activity. She said adding an LED sign to the noise…would be a mistake.

Ms. Nowacki stated she lives off of Ventura. She said she wanted to talk about traffic; she stated every day at 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. there is traffic. Ms. Nowacki stated she has called the police department several times about cars zipping down her street. She stated she can’t get in and she can’t get out. Ms. Nowacki stated she has had cars come around on her right side into Ventura Estates. She said the cars will cut her off just to get into Ventura Estates.

Ms. Nowacki reiterated, now Lake Central wants to add a sign. She stated that there is double parking on both the east and west sides of the street. She stated that there are cars whipping back and forth east and west.

Ms. Nowacki stated that there is an ordinance on her street because the residents didn’t want school kids parking on their street. She said now there are cars going back and forth, uncontrolled, due to the school system.

Ms. Nowacki acknowledged that it is the digital age. She stated putting up a marquee sign is not going to make that big of a difference. She stated she receives her information via text message. Ms. Nowacki stated that the LED sign is nothing more than a big text message. She stated there is an “all call system” out to the schools, and the schools can call the parents to let them know what’s going on or put the information on their website.

Ms. Nowacki stated she wanted to talk about the intersection. She stated for as long as she has lived here, there are accidents coming in and out on Route 41 on a weekly basis. Ms. Nowacki stated these accidents happen at the light and right where Petitioner is proposing to put the marquee. She stated there are now kids coming in and out of the school and going east and west on her street, fast, very fast.

Ms. Nowacki stated that the school is now adding another nuisance by putting in the sign at this location. She opined the sign would be a distraction. Ms. Nowacki stated she has called the cops, taken down license plate numbers of kids who have done these things to her. She stated that the comments she hears is, “It’s not our problem.” Ms. Nowacki stated, yes, it is our problem; it’s all of our problem. She stated that these are our children, our grandchildren. Ms. Nowacki stated that the problem is not being addressed. She stated she does not know where to go to next, the Town or the school.

Ms. Nowacki stated the traffic is a nuisance for people to see, and a nuisance for people in her subdivision to have to deal with. She stated if the school cannot control these little things, where is the trust? Ms. Nowacki reiterated that there are accidents all of the time where the sign is located. She asked if the sign could have been located somewhere else, she maintains the sign could have been placed somewhere else.

Ms. Nowacki stated we are talking about teenage kids who drive irresponsibly to try and get out ahead of the buses. She said she sees it every day. Ms. Nowacki stated that there are no cops there, and no school officials there.

Ms. Nowacki agreed that it is the digital age and she is all for it. She stated this sign proposal should be looked into a little bit more. Ms. Nowacki stated that just putting a sign in is not the answer; there are other things to consider.

Ms. Nowacki stated that a child does not need to have his picture plastered all over the LED sign. She stated if something is really important it can be put up on the website where it belongs. Ms. Nowacki also stated that if something is really important, an “all call system” can be used, and it will get the information around.

Jay Rizzo, 8388 Heron Lake Road
Mr. Rizzo stated he saw the sign going up, and he wanted to get more information on the sign’s size so he attended the meeting tonight. He stated he has learned a lot from sitting in on the meeting. Mr. Rizzo asked the Board if it was not somewhat irresponsible for the construction company to construct a sign knowing that the sign did not adhere with the current restrictions/ordinances and without seeking approval from the appropriate board.

Mr. Rizzo asked who would be responsible for the cost of moving or dismantling the sign in the event the Board does not approve it. He asked if the taxpayers who paid for the school bond would be responsible for this. Mr. Rizzo stated that if the Board orders the sign to be taken down he would not blame them; but, again, he does not think the costs should be borne by the taxpayers.

Carolyn Nowacki, 8535 Kelly Court
Ms. Nowacki stated that Highland School on Kennedy Avenue has a small marquee sign much like what Lake Central had in the beginning. She started their digital sign is back and set off the main road. Ms. Nowacki stated this is a small digital sign that does one message at a time.

Attorney Kuiper read a letter of in favor of the sign submitted by Mr. Dean Schilling.

Mr. Maciejewski called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he isn’t quite sure how to resolve the height and width variances

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk stated that the sign is quite large and he does not believe a digital sign, of any size, belongs in this location. Mr. Panczuk stated one option is to move the digital billboard back into the campus. He stated that this entrance and this particular area of Route 41 does not need another distraction.

Mr. Panczuk noted that a monument sign allowed by the Town via ordinance would be sufficient.

Mr. Schneider concurred. He stated this is a very large sign, especially for this location with the traffic.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated he is still of the mindset that the Petitioner could have achieved a scaled down version of this particular sign.

(General discussion ensued.)

Attorney Kuiper noted it does not appear that the Board is anywhere near a consensus. He stated the Board should consider tabling this matter until more information could be obtained.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if any study had been provided by a traffic engineer. Mr. Dart stated that a traffic engineer had done a study on the intersection, but not specifically the location of the sign.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that a suggestion had been made to defer action on the sign until the Board receives feedback on this issue.

Attorney Kuiper stated that the sign was basically a 12’x20’ wall. He stated much concern has been voiced about its location.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated it would be a good idea to have some feedback from a traffic engineer on this issue.

Mr. Panczuk stated he wanted to make it clear that he was opposed to the size of the sign, regardless of public safety. He opined Lake Central is a beautiful school. Mr. Panczuk stated the largeness of the sign right at the road is unnecessary, and he didn’t see that it served any purpose. He stated that the sign could have been integrated into the school’s design, but not at this scale.

Mr. Panczuk stated even with taking the vision obstruction out of the equation, there is the distraction of the text when entering and exiting the school. He recommended moving the sign back into the campus and placing screens on the entry walls coming into the school and everyone would be able to see it. Mr. Panczuk also stated that the sign could be scaled down and the Petitioner would still be able to accomplish getting their messages out.

Mr. Schneider opined the sign is way oversized. He noted the students already get all of the information that is placed on the sign. Mr. Schneider stated the messages are more likely intended for the parents. Mr. Schneider stated he does not agree with the location of the sign of the sign in a “very small median.”

Mr. Schneider agreed with Mr. Maciejewski’s recommendation that a traffic study related to a line of sight is appropriate. He stated that a traffic study may lead to either redesigning the sign, downsizing the sign or relocating the sign. Mr. Schneider noted the Board is pretty much in agreement that the sign is too big, but how much too big has not yet been determined.

Attorney Kuiper, to clarify, stated that the traffic engineer would evaluate the location and a sight line for the sign.

Mr. Hastings asked the Board if the “Lake Central High School and Indian LC” Indian, the feathers” could be downsized and place the LED sign underneath. He stated this was one option. Mr. Panczuk responded “And move it out of the median?”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk stated that the Kolling Elementary sign is “a lot more palatable for me from many aspects.” Attorney Zic suggested that the Kolling Elementary sign is significantly different than the high school and the high school sign should be on a larger scale. She noted the elementary school sign “is on par with other signs at other elementary schools in the district.” She stated the Lake Central sign would be unique because of the size of the campus and the size of the school.

Mr. Maciejewski opined that overall, the sign is too large. He stated he may feel differently if the sign were placed somewhere else. Mr. Maciejewski stated the size of the campus may suggest that this sign is the appropriate size, but this sized sign at this location may be his particular hang-up with the sign.

Mr. Maciejewski acknowledged the size of the sign as far as the sign representing the school and the school being the focal point of the community. Mr. Panczuk noted the size of the LED sign is really large; he stated it appears to him as if the LED sign was an add-on as it really sticks out. He stated if the entire sign was moved out of the median it would become more acceptable.

Mr. Maciejewski stated information he would like to see presented to the Board to better evaluate the sign is a site plan, landscaping plan, and a traffic engineer’s evaluation for a sight line. Mr. Panczuk stated he would like to see the sign in context with the front of the school.

Attorney Zic presented a rendering and showed the Board the location of the blue banding and the masonry. She stated it is the masonry and the blue band that exceeds 10’.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski suggested this matter be tabled until the Board’s May meeting and until other options could be explored and more information obtained. Mr. Maciejewski stated he was also requesting a rendering of what the sign would look like if it was scaled back, if the Petitioner would be willing to do this.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to table this matter. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to table the Lake Central LED sign matter to the next regularly scheduled meeting. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion.

Mr. Maciejewski requested a roll call vote. Mr. Schneider --- yes. Mr. Hastings --- yes. Mr. Panczuk --- yes. Mr. Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote. Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

B. KOLLING ELEMENTARY --- LED SIGN --- MONUMENT HEIGHT AND SIZE --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE.

Mr. Maciejewski addressed, Kolling Elementary School for a developmental variance at Kolling Elementary for an LED sign along with the height and size of the sign. He stated that this issue would be heard before the Lake Central LED sign.

Attorney Cheryl Zic appeared before the Board and on behalf Lake Central School Corporation. Superintendent, Mr. Larry Veracco, Lake Central School Corporation and Duane Dart, project architect, were also present.

Attorney Zic stated the Board had a rendering of the proposed sign before them. The Petitioner was seeking a developmental variance related to the size of the sign and an LED function.

Attorney Zic stated the sign will be used to provide information on school activities to parents and the community as they are passing or entering the property. She stated Petitioner believes the sign is consistent with other signs in the community. Attorney Zic stated the Petitioner would answer any questions from the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski stated the Board, when considering LED signs, usually adds contingencies as to how the LED signs can be used, i.e., the length of time a message appears, no side to side scrolling, no flashing and hours of operation to name a few. He asked if the school corporation had any concerns about the contingencies. Attorney Zic commented that Schilling Lumber has a sign that contains moving messages that change and flash.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk commented that the Schilling sign is an example of the extreme that the Board would like to avoid. He remarked the intent of the contingencies is to prevent LED signs from being a distraction and a driving hazard.

The parameters of the sign use were discussed in detail.

Mr. Panczuk stated the Board would like to avoid the appearance of an LED sign that looks like a large screen television. He stated the Board would like to stay away from the “bill board kind of look.” Mr. Panczuk stated if the sign was to be used for messages that are informational in nature it is best to keep it simple, for example, monochrome.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would be opposed to anything other than a single color sign and was also in favor of all of the other contingencies previously discussed being put in place. Mr. Panczuk stated the sign is quite large. He stated since the messages can be changed, there is no reason to put multiple messages on the LED sign.

Attorney Zic stated that the actual display space on the LED portion of the sign is 2’5” by 6’10”. She stated the sign will be viewed parallel to the road. The lines of text were discussed. Mr. Panczuk stated that six lines of text were possible with this proposed sign size. Attorney Zic stated that it is anticipated that large letters with short messages will be used. Mr. Panczuk noted that documents specified 5” letters would be used, which would make six lines of text possible. He opined this seems “quite busy.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated that the overall size of the proposed sign was approximately 34 square feet from the concrete up. It was noted the proposed sign, including the monument would be approximately 51 square feet.

Attorney Zic showed the Board a rendering of the sign. She stated that the Petitioner could possibly adhere to the letter sizing and sign use contingencies, but the Petitioner would like to stay with the sign they submitted if at all possible. Mr. Veracco stated that the 2x10 sign was presented as an option from the sign company as a “standard size.”

Attorney Zic asked if messaging could be done in blue, and then another message in red; she asked if this method would satisfy the monochrome requirements. Mr. Panczuk opined that “monochrome is the key.” He stated a monochrome lettering would lend more class and character to the sign.

Mr. Schneider asked if Kolling intended to put graphics on the sign. Attorney Zic stated that the school mascot may come up on a sign, but "90 percent plus is anticipated to be school events, and perhaps a message that accolades to a student"

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Hastings stated he liked the overall design of the sign, and didn’t think it “was that far over.”

Mr. Maciejewski asked if the notices and publications were in order. Attorney Kuiper noted the notices and publications for the public hearing were in order for a public hearing to be properly conducted tonight.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing for public comment related to the developmental variance being requested for an LED sign in addition to the monument sign height and size at Kolling Elementary.

PUBLIC HEARING

Rich Nowacki, St. John, Indiana
Mr. Nowacki stated he’s been in St. John for over 18 years. He opined that for the difference of color, the color red is not a color that most people would recognize if they have a problem with their eyesight. He stated most of the time when the color red is used it isn’t at all helpful for those who have color recognition problems. Mr. Nowacki suggested that the color black or would be a better choice.

Mr. Nowacki asked about the Lake Central signage. Mr. Maciejewski explained there would be a separate presentation and a separate public hearing on the Lake Central High School signage. Mr. Maciejewski pointed out that the proposed LED screen is black, therefore, the lettering could not be black.

Mr. Nowacki stated that the colors should really be reviewed to determine which colors are the best choice for someone who has sight problems.

Carolyn Nowacki, 8535 Kelly Court
Ms. Nowacki stated that she is not in favor of the sign proposed for Kolling Elementary for several reasons. She stated that there is a huge traffic problem in this area with cars speeding. Ms. Nowacki stated that adding a digital sign in this area is going to add more confusion to this area going down Route 41.

Ms. Nowacki stated she passes Kolling Elementary on the way to her daughter’s house. She stated every day at 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. she has cars speeding past and cutting her off when she has two small children in the back seat of her vehicle. Ms. Nowacki stated she has called the police department and the Lake Central school system. She stated she was told by the school superintendent’s secretary that “it is not our problem, that I need to come to the Town on it.”

Ms. Nowacki stated she lives right by the school she will be able to see the flashing lights from both directions. She stated she called the superintendent and was not able to get through. She stated the secretary stated “that the Lake Central High School is not part of St. John, it’s Schererville.” She stated this is a little bit of a problem that needs to be corrected.

Ms. Nowacki stated that in the area of Kolling Elementary there are buses dropping kids off in and cars zooming past. She stated there are cops there all of the time. Ms. Nowacki stated she has called with license plate numbers of people who have cut her off. She opined that adding more confusion to this area is not good.

Ms. Nowacki stated she had additional comments for the high school presentation.

Mr. Maciejewski called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there were any further comments or questions from the Board.

Mr. Schneider asked if there was an existing sign at Kolling Elementary. Mr. Veracco stated there is an old, marquee type sign.

Mr. Panczuk commented that “this is the modern age.” He stated his kids have smart phones and they know what’s going on at school and he knows what’s going on at school. Mr. Panczuk stated he also gets the superintendent’s messages via e-mail and text message. He stated the importance of the school signs is becoming less; he stated he is a little bit afraid to put in a sign that’s “going to be overdone and not necessary.”

Mr. Panczuk stated that for these reasons, he is somewhat reluctant to bypass the ordinance for something that he feels does not pose a hardship for the school and is not really necessary. Mr. Panczuk stated that he has also taken into consideration the public comment.

Mr. Panczuk stated he also has reservations about the size of the sign. He stated, as the Board has learned, there are multiple “standard sizes.” Mr. Panczuk stated it is a decent looking sign, but the LED portion is somewhat large.

Mr. Veracco stated many parents have approached him for years about upgrading the Kolling Elementary sign. He stated that the sign was not replaced until it could be done right. Mr. Veracco stated the sign will allow the celebration of school successes and recognition of outstanding teachers. He opined the sign would benefit the community. Mr. Veracco stated that the sign’s targets are parents, visitors and the community.

(General discussion ensued.)

The Board discussed the sign contingencies and the sign’s capabilities in detail.

The sign’s dimming/brightening and color and text capabilities were discussed. The programming of the sign was discussed.

The size of the sign was discussed.

Mr. Veracco stated that the school should be allowed to use multiple colors on more than just the school logo. He stated that to restrict the sign to one color does not make sense to him. Mr. Veracco stated there may be some messages that show up better without being restricted to a black background. He stated he is not interested in limiting the capability of the LED screen.

Attorney Kuiper addressed audience members, informed them that the Petitioner had the floor, and they would have an opportunity to talk at the public hearing for the Lake Central LED sign.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Veracco stated that advertising could not be sold for the sign.

Mr. Maciejewski summarized the contingencies that the Petitioner was willing to accept as follows: hours of operation from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., no side to side motion, no flashing, auto dimming function to be utilized, minimum of a six second message and text/graphics on a black background only.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion with the six criteria he just cited for the Kolling Elementary LED sign, and the monument sign size and height. Mr. Schneider made a motion to approve the developmental variance for the Kolling Elementary LED sign including the six items as follows: hours of operation from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., no side to side motion, no flashing, auto dimming function to be utilized, minimum appearance of a message at six seconds, and text/graphics to be displayed on a black background only, and incorporating the findings of fact by reference. Mr. Hastings seconded the motion.

Mr. Maciejewski requested a roll call vote. Mr. Schneider --- yes. Mr. Hastings --- yes. Mr. Panczuk --- yes. Mr. Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote. Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

OPEN TO THE FLOOR FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Maciejewski opened the floor for public comment. He called for public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the floor to public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Maciejewski asked for a motion to adjourn. Mr. Schneider made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Hastings seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none. (The meeting was adjourned at 8:56 p.m.)

A TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

05-25-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
06-22-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals

June 22, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, President Paul Panczuk Attorney Tim Kuiper
Ken Schneider, Vice-President   Steve Kil
Steve Hastings, Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Jim Maciejewski called to order the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals for Monday, June 22, 2015, at 7:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:

Mr. Maciejewski took roll with the following members present: Ken Schneider, Paul Panczuk and Jim Maciejewski. Steve Hastings was absent. Attorney Kuiper was present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: APRIL 27, 2015 MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING.

Mr. Maciejewski noted the first order of business before the Board was the consideration of the minutes of the April 27, 2015, regular meeting. Mr. Maciejewski stated that the minutes don’t reflect that there was a change on the order of matters heard on the agenda. He stated that the minutes should reflect this change. Mr. Maciejewski stated that the monument sign at the high school should be reflected as “Item B” and the Kolling School sign should be labeled “Item A.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated with the aforementioned amendment to the minutes, he would entertain a motion to approve the same. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to approve the minutes from April 27, 2015, amended to correct the chronological order of the meeting. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL --- LED SIGN/MONUMENT SIGN --- CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING FROM THE APRIL 27, 2015, MEETING --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE --- CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that the Lake Central High School was back before the Board with a continued public hearing. He asked Attorney Kuiper to briefly explain where the Board sits with this matter.

Attorney Kuiper stated that this matter was originally held in April. He stated the matter was supposed to be continued to May but the Petitioner was unable to submit the requested documentation, a traffic study. Attorney Kuiper informed the Board that the Petitioner has submitted the requested documentation related to the Board’s concern with the public safety issues on Route 41 and the entrance to Lake Central High School.

Attorney Kuiper stated that the Town Engineer, Mr. Kenn Kraus, also issued an opinion letter that seems to have conflicting information in it based upon the documentation provided by the engineer hired by Lake Central. Based upon this, and in talking with the school’s attorney it was determined it would be best to continue this matter tonight so that the Town Engineer has an opportunity to further review documentation and meet with the engineer hired by Lake Central. Attorney Kuiper stated for these reasons, he recommended that this matter be deferred tonight to the regularly scheduled meeting on July 27, 2015.

Mr. Maciejewski stated understanding that this information was provided relative to the sign’s current location; he requested that a message be conveyed to Lake Central’s counsel that alternative locations were discussed. Mr. Maciejewski stated he did not see anything presented on alternative locations. He asked that the monument sign location issue be conveyed back. Attorney Kuiper concurred.

Attorney Kuiper stated that the message he received was that based upon Lake Central’s traffic engineer maintaining that the current location of the monument sign is okay, Petitioner did not pursue alternative locations much further. Attorney Kuiper stated that based upon fact that the two engineers will most likely meet within the next couple of weeks, he would “reconvey” this information again.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there was any further discussion. There was no further discussion.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to defer the matter to the July 27, 2015, regularly scheduled BZA meeting. Mr. Schneider made a motion to defer the Lake Central High School monument sign developmental variance until the July 27, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. The motion was carried (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. LAKE FEDERAL 10865 PARRISH AVENUE --- MESSAGE CENTER --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE

Mr. Maciejewski stated the first item under New Business is Lake Federal bank, 10865 Parrish Avenue, seeking a developmental variance for a message center.

Mr. Gerald. R. Skrabala, President, Lake Federal Bank, FSB, and resident of Schererville, Indiana, appeared before the Board seeking a developmental variance for a message center at Lake Federal. Ms. Nancy Williams, branch manager, and Mr. Stephen Davenport, CFO, were also present. An Affordable Sign representative, Mr. Ray Thomas, was also present.

Mr. Skrabala thanked the Board for the opportunity to present their request for an LED message sign at 10865 Parrish Avenue, the northwest corner of Parrish Avenue and 109th Avenue. He stated that Lake Federal has been operating at this location since June of 2008. Mr. Skrabala opined that for as long as Lake Federal has operated in St. John, they have been a good neighbor and taxpayer and wish to continue in this manner.

Mr. Skrabala stated a traffic signal has been installed at 109th Avenue and Parrish Avenue for east/west traffic. He stated Lake Federal’s request for a message sign stems from a number of reasons, one being to allow for better community involvement by allowing the bank to publicize the Town’s community events and two, the message sign will signal customers of their presence.

Mr. Skrabala stated that the Town’s sign ordinance has been reviewed by Lake Federal. He stated that Lake Federal would abide by all of the rules and restrictions set forth in the Town’s sign ordinance. Mr. Skrabala stated that the bank currently has a monument sign that is lit, and it faces east and west.

Mr. Skrabala stated that the Board was provided with a color copy of the bank’s proposed sign. He stated that Lake Federal is currently in discussions with LRH Landscaping for a proposal on the landscaping around the sign.

Mr. Skrabala called Mr. Ray Thomas from Affordable Signs to explain what will be placed in the existing sign. Mr. Raymond Thomas, resident of Crown Point, and Vice-President of Affordable Sign Company appeared before the Board with a sign presentation.

Mr. Thomas stated he installed the LED message centers at St. John Evangelist Church and the Hands-On Car Wash sign. He stated Lake Federal’s sign is basically the same thing but with a little bit less square footage.

Mr. Thomas stated Lake Federal’s proposed sign is a full color EMC. He stated the proposed sign would not change the square footage of the existing sign whatsoever but will all be contained within the existing square footage. Mr. Thomas stated he and Mr. Skrabala discussed the operation of the sign.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated the sign as it sits now (12x10) is much larger than what is permitted by ordinance. He stated he vaguely recalls when Lake Federal’s sign was originally presented. Mr. Maciejewski stated he believes there was a trade-off on the size of the monument sign; the sign was allowed to go larger because an LED center was not allowed originally.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked what types of message would be displayed on the sign. Mr. Skrabala stated Lake Federal would display announcements from the Town, mortgage rates, savings rates, certificate rates and any specials the bank may be running at the time.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there was any reason the sign had to be a full color sign. Mr. Skrabala stated Lake Federal felt the full color sign was a better choice. Mr. Panczuk commented that the Board prefers monochromatic signs.

Mr. Davenport stated that the bank’s current sign just does not grab a lot of attention. He opined that the proposed LED message center will be more likely to get the public’s attention.

Mr. Maciejewski asked what the primary reason of the message board will be. Mr. Skrabala stated it would primarily be to get their corporate identity more visible in Town and for bank advertising.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked Attorney Kuiper if the notices and publications were in order. Attorney Kuiper stated that the notices and publications were in order for a public hearing to be properly conducted tonight.

Attorney Kuiper stated, for the record, that the information he was about to relay would apply to all three petitions presented to the Board tonight. He noted that there are only three BZA members present tonight so any decision made by the Board would have to be unanimous. He stated that if the Board cannot make a unanimous decision then the matter would have to be deferred until the following month when the absent Board member is present.

Attorney Kuiper stated he believed that this is one of four Petitioners that were denied LED signs on Route 231, including Citizens ( now known by another name) St. Anthony’s, and another business which is now a dentist’s office. He believed these four Petitioners were all before the BZA within a 12-month period of time.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing and invited public comment relative to the proposed LED message center for Lake Federal bank.

PUBLIC HEARING

Nancy Williams:
Ms. Williams informed the Board that she is the branch manager at Lake Federal in St. John. She opined that Lake Federal has done an excellent job in making a very tasteful corner at the intersection. She stated the intersection has a very “monochromatic look.” She stated that Lake Federal is not one of the great, big, bright banks where garish colors are used to gain attention.

Ms. Williams stated that it will be very helpful to put in the proposed sign because the corner is such a quiet, nice corner. She stated that there is vegetation growing along Route 231 which obscures a lot of their current sign. Ms. Williams stated that the sign is a muted tan color which is another reason it does not stand out. She stated the proposed sign would be used to promote the Town and really embrace the Gates of St. John.

Mr. Thomas:
Mr. Thomas that a 2x10 sign from a car distance is not going to look like a big sign at all. He stated anything, when looked at up close, is going to appear to be large.

Mr. Thomas stated he has installed 27 LED message centers. He stated every one of the businesses, starting from nine years ago, is still in business today. He stated he has never had one customer express regret to him over their purchase of the message center.

Mr. Thomas stated the message centers do make a difference. He stated it is a fact that the message signs work and will always work. He stated more people would have them if they were more affordable and the towns would allow them.

Mr. Thomas stated that he understands the ‘Vegas concept” too; the Town does not want their thoroughfares looking like Vegas. He stated that this was a concern in the Town of Merrillville too; he opined there’s no place in Merrillville that looks like Vegas.

Mr. Thomas stated there was also concern expressed over the signs causing accidents. He stated that there is a traffic signal by the bank now; he opined safety is not going to be an issue here.

Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Thomas what other size signs are considered standard in these types of signs. Mr. Thomas stated it depends on the size of the cabinet and the square footage. Mr. Thomas stated that the 2x10 cabinet is sufficient for the size. He stated that the proposed message center will not look too large. Mr. Thomas stated if you just consider the size of the sign itself, it’s really not that big.

Mr. Panczuk stated the sign would still be a 60 square foot sign, which would be double what the Town ordinance allows. He noted that Petitioner is also asking for a 20 square foot LED sign, which would be two-thirds of the allowable square footage of a normal sign which is way oversized.

Mr. Panczuk also commented that he could not see allowing for anything other than a monochromatic sign. Mr. Panczuk stated if it’s full color enabled, it will display full color. He stated that the Town has had issues with the full color enabled signs before. Mr. Panczuk opined that monochromatic is more tasteful and easier to read. He reiterated that a monochromatic sign is the only sign he would be willing to consider.

Mr. Schneider asked about letter sizing. Mr. Thomas stated in the 2x10 sign, you could have four rows of five inch letters or two rows of ten inch letters. Mr. Thomas stated a 2x10 sign utilizing two rows of ten inch letters would be more than sufficient.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Petitioner if it would be worth it for Lake Federal to use a monochromatic sign. Mr. Davenport replied that the coloring helps. He stated there would be a difference in the visual appearance of the LED message center compared to what Lake Federal has now.

Mr. Schneider stated he would agree with a one color background and one color lettering, no mixed color. He stated that the Lake Federal sign is “quite large, a “pretty whooping big sign.”

Mr. Davenport responded that the St. John Evangelist sign is 3x6, 18 square feet. He stated the Lake Federal sign, if considered from a square foot ratio, is only 20 square feet. Mr. Maciejewski concurred, but added that the overall sign is “so far beyond the ordinance for monument signs.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated, based on what he is hearing, the Board is not at a consensus. He asked the Petitioner if they would consider amending their application for a monochromatic sign. Mr. Skrabala asked for information on the Board’s vote. Attorney Kuiper explained the Board’s voting process to Mr. Skrabala.

Attorney Kuiper noted that it appeared that the Board would not have a unanimous vote at this point in time. He asked if the Petitioner would like some time to cogitate on the monochromatic sign decision. Mr. Skrabala stated that the Petitioner would like time to consider this matter and come back before the Board at a later date.

Mr. Skrabala stated he would like to bring up an issue that was bothering him. He stated that there is a ditch all around the bank’s lot, and the ditch has weeds that obscure Lake Federal’s sign. Mr. Skrabala stated that before the lot was purchased, he was told it was the developer’s responsibility and “it was all supposed to be smoothed out.” He stated that he once received an e-mail from the Town Manager that stated that the Bank “never be held to make that smooth.” Mr. Skrabala stated he was informed that the smoothing should have been done before the parcel was bought.

Mr. Skrabala asked if the Petitioner could amend their application for a 2x10 color enabled LED message center in a new and smaller sign. Mr. Maciejewski stated, “Possibly.” He reminded the Petitioner that the Board was down one member and one member was absent so it could change the debate.

Mr. Skrabala requested that the Petitioner be able to come back before the Board at the next regular meeting.

Mr. Skrabala noted that Lake Federal’s sign is at 120 square feet, and by ordinance, only 30 square feet was allowed in 2008. He stated he was present when the bank was asking for the sign in 2008, but he truly doesn’t remember much of the proceedings. Mr. Maciejewski stated they would try and locate the minutes from that date in order to review them.

Mr. Maciejewski stated, barring any further discussion, he would entertain a motion to defer the Lake Federal developmental variance for an LED message center sign to the July 27, 2015, BZA meeting. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to defer the matter to July 27, 2015. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

B. GREG SCHILLING, 10133 EAST WELLINGTON COURT --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE --- CHAPTER 5, PAGE 3, SECTION F2.

Mr. Maciejewski moved on to Item B, a developmental variance from Chapter 5, Page 3, Section F2, being requested by Mr. Gregg Schilling.

Mr. Greg Schilling appeared before the Board seeking a developmental variance for 10133 East Wellington Court.

(Board members reviewing documents.)

Mr. Schilling stated he was proposing a full masonry, detached, two car garage. He stated that the proposed garage would abide by the covenants of the Estates of Wellington. Mr. Schilling stated he hand-drew the elevations if the Board had any questions.

Mr. Schilling stated, with the out lot, his lot is approximately three acres. He stated that the parcel that the house sits on is closer to two acres. Mr. Schilling submitted pictures for the Board’s review. He stated it would be a full footing basement, 30/36” deep footings. Mr. Schilling stated the proposed garage would not be on a slab so it will not move.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked what the new distance from the corner of the proposed garage to the property line is. Mr. Schilling stated the proposed garage would be 32 feet from the property line.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Petitioner if the proposed garage was just to park additional cars. Mr. Schilling concurred.

Mr. Schilling stated the proposed garage(s) do not face the street, they would be side loading. He stated the proposed garage would be approximately 1550-1600 square feet.

Mr. Panczuk noted the proposed garage is consistent with the quality of the house and the neighborhood. He stated the garage will appear to be attached when viewed from most angles.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if all of the notices and publications were in order. Attorney Kuiper noted that the notices and publications were in order for the public hearing to be properly conducted.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing. He called for public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there were any further questions or comments. The Board had no further questions or comments.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion on the developmental technical variance, incorporating the findings of fact, by reference. Mr. Schneider made a motion to approve the developmental technical variance at 10133 East Wellington Court, as presented, and incorporating the findings of fact by reference. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. Mr. Maciejewski did a roll call vote. Mr. Schneider --- yes. Mr. Panczuk --- yes. Mr. Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

C. GET CAR FIT --- 10802 JOLIET STREET --- INSIDE SHOWROOM AND CAR DETAIL --- CONDITIONAL SPECIAL USE --- RECOMMENDATION TO THE TOWN COUNCIL --- MICHAEL A. SENA.

Mr. Maciejewski noted Get Car Fit, 10802 Joliet Street, an inside showroom and car detailing business was the next item on the agenda, and Petitioner was seeking a conditional special use. He stated that in this matter the Board would send a favorable or unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council for their consideration. He noted the normal findings of fact apply in addition to the three that he stated in a previous petition would apply to this petition.

Mr. Maciejewski noted that the Petitioner added a hardship “variance request or conditional use arises from some condition peculiar to the property involved, and Petitioner has established that the approval does not interfere substantially with the Comprehensive Plan of the Town. Mr. Maciejewski invited the Petitioner up to the podium to state his case.

Mr. Michael A. Sena appeared before the Board seeking a conditional special use for the Get Car Fit. He stated Joseph Decesar, his partner, was also present. Mr. Sena stated his partner has over 15 years of experience in the automobile industry. He stated he came up with a concept that they thought would be favorable to St. John, an indoor showroom.

Mr. Sena stated all of their cars would be featured in an indoor showroom. He explained that this is a new concept around the country, called a white room showroom. He stated instead of having just an open, used, pre-owned car lot, they would feature their automobiles indoors.

Mr. Sena stated that Petitioner is presently licensed as an automobile wholesaler, but they have applied to the State for a retail license. He stated the facility can hold approximately 15-18 cars. Mr. Sena stated all of the construction, approximately $25,000.00 worth, has been done already. He stated Petitioner is subleasing approximately 3,750 square feet. Mr. Sena stated that Youzsas is the actual tenant of the building. He stated that the Petitioner only has indoor signage. Mr. Sena stated they planned to put a vinyl sign on the garage door.

Mr. Sena stated that they missed the last meeting. He stated that it’s now holding Petitioner up from being able to apply for the State license. Mr. Sena explained that the State is cracking down on wholesalers and retailers. He stated that they have to have a designated space and meet all of the State’s compliance criteria, which Get Car Fit now has. Mr. Sena stated the missing part, at the present time, is the variance that they’re seeking tonight.

Mr. Schneider asked if the cars were custom cars. Mr. Sena stated that the vehicles would be standard automobiles. He stated Petitioner is licensed to go to auctions nationwide.

Mr. Schneider asked about the detailing end of the Petitioner’s business. Mr. Sena stated that at the present time, Petitioner would be detailing their own cars to get them ready for the market place.

Mr. Panczuk asked Petitioner if they had any other pictures to submit. Mr. Sena stated the only other pictures he had were on his cell phone.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Sena stated the Petitioner may put three or four cars out in front of their business during the day but no banners or pricing. He said the area would be kept “very classy.” He stated the cars would be stored indoors at night.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk asked about parking spaces. Mr. Sena stated that there are lines out front for four parking spaces. He stated Petitioner wants to give their customers a “unique buying experience indoors.”

Mr. Sena stated they have been doing no business as they just finished construction. Attorney Kuiper stated if all of the cars are inside, it is a permitted use for automobile sales. Attorney Kuiper stated it is the used car lot that which allows sales outside in a parking lot; he stated whether it’s one or three or twenty cars, it requires a designation. Attorney Kuiper stated that the gist of what the Board’s recommendation to the Town Council would be the conditional special use variance.

Mr. Sena stated that their goal is to sell about twenty cars a month. He reiterated that Petitioner can house 15-18 cars at a time. He stated, historically, the industry does about 40% of sales with drive-by traffic, and 60% on the internet. He stated Petitioner needs to be able to open the garage door during the day and park few cars outside. He stated they will be doing on-line marketing to drive people to the store.

Mr. Maciejewski asked where Petitioner would park the cars outside. Mr. Sena pointed out on the documents where they would be parking their cars.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Sena reiterated that the Petitioner’s goal is to sell approximately 20 cars a month or one car every one to two days. He stated Petitioner’s concept is unique as there will be full transparency of their invoices. Mr. Sena stated the Petitioner will offer the consumer with a unique buying experience. He stated the Get Car Fit is niche in the business somewhere between a CarMax and the rest of the car dealers out there.

Mr. Schneider asked for the hours of operation. Mr. Sena stated, by state law, with a retail license, the business would have to be open a minimum of 30 hours. He proposed the following hours for Get Car Fit: Monday and Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk stated he had a few concerns. He stated they had to make sure there was no encroachment on the neighbor’s property; he wanted a stipulation as to the number of cars Petitioners could have parked outside, possibly put more lines in the parking lot to designate parking stalls and ensure that the St. John Fire Department has access to the building.

Mr. Sena stated the size of the front overhead door is 13 feet high by 12 feet wide; he stated no car will impinge into that 12 foot width as it is a straight drive through for traffic.

Mr. Panczuk asked how the vehicles would be parked. Mr. Sena stated the vehicles would stay very much in line with regular parking stalls, facing in towards the driveway so that they can be seen by people coming from both directions.

Mr. Sena stated it is his understanding that if Petitioner adheres a vinyl sign to the garage door, no permit is needed. Attorney Kuiper explained that a permit is not needed, but Petitioner would have to comply with the sizing requirements. Attorney Kuiper recommended that Mr. Sena consult with the Building and Planning Department about the sign.

Mr. Maciejewski asked Petitioner how many vehicles they are requesting to be parked outside. Mr. Sena stated Petitioner would like to park three to five vehicles outside. Mr. Panczuk pointed out a possible encroachment behind the building line; he stated four vehicles would be a better fit. The Board agreed that a four vehicle maximum for outdoor parking.

Mr. Sena informed the Board that he owns a business called Pro Fit in Dyer, Indiana, across from the hospital. He stated he has been there since October of 2011. Mr. Sena stated that he has worked very closely with the Town of Dyer. He stated he has been one hundred percent compliant with the rules and regulations in Dyer. He stated Mr. Eberle would be his reference.

Mr. Maciejewski stated, thus far, some of the conditions he has heard are no more than four vehicles outdoor parking along the western property line, no encroaching onto the adjacdent property, reserving the parking spaces in the front of the business for customers and employee parking will be in the rear. Mr. Schneider and Mr. Panczuk concurred.

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for Get Car Fit, 10802 Joliet Street, with the following contingencies: no more than four vehicles displayed “for sale” in the outdoor parking area on the western property line, customer parking is reserved in the front of the business, employee parking will be in the back and no encroachment on the neighbor’s property (plumbing business). Mr. Schneider seconded the motion.

Mr. Maciejewski did a roll call vote. Mr. Panczuk --- yes. Mr. Schneider --- yes. Mr. Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Maciejewski noted a favorable recommendation would go to the Town Council at their August 25, 2015, meeting. Attorney Kuiper directed Mr. Sena to call the Town Manager to ensure that the matter is placed on the Town Council’s agenda for August 25, 2015.

D. MR. DAVID WALKER --- 9173 WEST 96TH AVENUE, CORNER LOT FENCE --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE.

Mr. Maciejewski noted the last item under New Business, was a developmental variance being requested by Mr. David Walker, 9173 West 96th Avenue for a corner lot fence.

Mr. David Walker, 9173 West 96th Avenue, appeared before the Board seeking a developmental variance on a fence. He showed the Board on a drawing reflecting what he was requesting. He submitted documents and photographs to the Board.

Mr. Walker stated he has a 30 foot build line. He showed the Board the locations of the double gate and a single gate.

Mr. Panczuk asked how many feet would be left to the curb. Mr. Walker stated there would be 15 feet to the curb. Mr. Panczuk asked about the location of the sidewalk. Mr. Walker stated that from the sidewalk to the house is 30 feet; Mr. Walker stated that there will be 15 feet from the fence to the sidewalk.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked if the notices and publications are in order for the public hearing. Attorney Kuiper stated that the notices and publications were in order so that a public hearing could be properly conducted tonight.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing. He called to public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Panczuk asked Petitioner if he planned to put landscaping on the outside of the fence. Mr. Walker stated he was not sure if he would put landscaping in or not.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion on the developmental technical variance to extend the fence 15 feet into the eastern side yard of the lot at 9173 West 96th Avenue. Mr. Schneider made a motion to approve the developmental variance at 9173 West 96th Avenue for construction of a fence 15 feet into the eastern side yard and incorporating the findings of fact by reference. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. Mr. Maciejewski did a roll call vote. Mr. Schneider --- yes. Mr. Panczuk --- yes. Mr. Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

OPEN TO THE FLOOR FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Maciejewski opened the floor for public comment. He called for public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the floor to public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Maciejewski adjourned the meeting.

(The meeting was adjourned at 8:38 p.m.)

A TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary

07-27-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals

July 27, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, President Paul Panczuk Attorney Tim Kuiper
Ken Schneider, Vice-President   Steve Kil
Steve Hastings, Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Okay. Call to order the Town of St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for July 27, 2015. Please rise for the Pledge.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Roll call. Ken Schneider.

MR. SCHNEIDER: Here.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Paul Panczuk.

MR. PANCZUK: Present.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Jim Maciejewski. Present.

Let the record reflect that Attorney Kuiper is here.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Item Four, approval of minutes. We do not have a written transcription of our minutes. I’m not quite sure what the --- the issue is there. So we will have to defer that until such time that that is made available to us.

Attorney Kuiper, do I need to do anything official with that, or just...?

ATTORNEY KUIPER: No. At the next meeting when the minutes are actually presented for your review and consideration

OLD BUSINESS:

A. LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL --- LED SIGN --- MONUMENT, HEIGHT AND SIZE --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE --- CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Thank you. All right. On to Item 5A. Old Business, Item A, Lake Central High School, LED sign, monument, height and size, developmental variance…is a continued public hearing from our June 22, 2015, meeting.

Petitioners are here. If you can maybe go to the podium and give us an update and where we’re at with some of the questions we had from last time.

ATTORNEY SEARS: My name is Michael Sears. I with the law firm of Christ, Sears and Zic. I represent the Lake Central School Corporation. We have Bill Ledyard who is the director of the facilities. You folks know that Duane Dart is the project architect.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Good evening.

ATTORNEY SEARS: As you know, this is a carry-over from an April 27th public hearing that was deferred. We were sent for an application for a developmental variance with regard to the sign at the --- outside the high school.

I believe, Mr. President, you were one of the people that asked that if we had more information to present it at our next meeting.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Correct.

ATTORNEY SEARS: We have --- on June 12, the school submitted a report from First Group Engineering, Mr. Denny Cobb --- which I believe went to your town engineer, who, I believe, has forwarded it to all members of the BZA along with Mr. Kuiper.

And --- I don’t mean to rehash that, but he does say in reviewing all of the design drawings he concludes the sign can be placed as planned and it will not interfere with the required clear sight distance.

We’ve spoken --- I know Mr. Ledyard has spoken, Mr. Cobb --- excuse me --- Mr. Kraus who seems to indicate that he’s okay with Mr. Cobb’s report. It’s our understanding that he reviewed it. I know he’s spoken with you. We’ve not received any type of report from Mr. Kraus other than what we received in May where he expressed some of his concerns. But we believe that we understand that you told us that safety was paramount at the last April meeting. We believe that Mr. Cobb’s report should allay any of those concerns with regard to safety. But we’re certainly here, the architect and the director of the facilities to answer any questions, further questions you have with regard to safety.

But I’d like to take a moment, if I could, to kind of just, you know, let you folks know that this message board that we’re here about is going to be more than just information for the school. It’s going to be a valuable service to the community as well. Just a couple of examples, notifying the residents that we partner with the Town to serve as a warming center; welcoming home military personnel from St. John; announcing Veteran’s Day celebration or a Chamber of Commerce Corn Roast; congratulating community members with regard to accomplishments; Eagle Scouts, Boy Scouts, those types of things, the Little League team. So it’s going to be used for more than just school information.

And we also want to make sure that the Board is clear that the same parameters or criteria that was placed on the Kolling sign that you approved in the April meeting, we would be willing to do those same criteria with regard to this particular LED sign. And there are seven of those that you approved. Text cannot scroll side to side. No flashing text or graphic. Words of each message must be of the same color. Message must remain on the screen for a minimum of six seconds. Any photo, school logo or mascot must be with a black background. Auto-dimming feature. And the sign will only be operational from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Now, I want to apologize to you folks right off the bat because I know that that was part of what was in the Kolling approval of the application. And I know we fell down on that when the sign was first on. And I want to tell you that that was a miscommunication of the school personnel. It’s been corrected. And I think you can all --- if you’ve been by there, it’s been corrected. And we do apologize for that. And we understand what happened, as to why that happened, and why the directions were not followed. It will not happen with regard to the high school sign.

You know, I --- I guess I’m --- not again to retread old ground here, but we feel that the size of the sign is appropriate with regard to the scale of the school. It’s a grand school. It’s a beautiful building. We want a sign that matches that. Certainly, a sign such as the Kolling sign wouldn’t be appropriate outside the high school.

Your own ordinance says that every sign should be designed as an integral architectural element of the building. We think that we’ve done that, spot on, with this --- this monument sign. If you shrink it down, I don’t think that it has the same effect. And I don’t think it leads to --- that what you’re really looking at with regard to the ordinance there, and the --- becoming an integral architectural element of the building.

We really want to move forward with this. We would like for you to make a decision tonight. We think that the application for a developmental variance should be approved. We’re certainly here to respond to any questions you have, any concerns that you may have. But, you know, this was set in April, and for various reasons has been deferred now, and we would like this honorable Board to make a decision. So we respectfully request that the application be approved.

MR. MACIJEWSKI: Thank you.

ATTORNEY SEARS: Again, we are here to answer any questions that you may have.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Okay.

ATTORNEY SEARS: I guess I’ll stay up here in case---

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Sure. Sure.

ATTORNEY SEARS: ---there’s something I can answer, or maybe one of the other...

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: One of the elements that we talked about at the last meeting was a request that the school corporation consider alternative locations for the sign, as it’s designed, other than the entrance island. And I don’t know that we’ve seen anything relative to that.

ATTORNEY SEARS: And I can tell you that we’re not submitting anything---

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Okay. So you’re---

ATTORNEY SEARS: ---with regard to that.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Okay. Okay.

ATTORNEY SEARS: We respectfully decline to do that.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Okay. There was also a request for consideration of a reduced size, but I’m guessing you’re going to tell me that you’re not going to submit anything to that regard either?

ATTORNEY SEARS: Yes, sir.

MR. PANCZUK: Mr. President, if I may?

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Sure.

MR. PANCZUK: There’s an entire punch list of concerns, none of which were addressed except for the safety one with this letter here. So...

And those concerns mirror the ones he just mentioned along with the size of the message board, scaling it down, individually.

We had addressed the architectural blending of the sign. Sure, it matches the building. It could be, what, twenty percent smaller and meet our ordinance. There’s a lot of gigantic shopping malls that want to put up a sign appropriate to their size too, and it doesn’t happen. I mean, it’s --- it’s, uhm, quite a sign.

And the alternate location was probably the most important that we had requested. If there was anything that I would like to see, it would have been a drawing of how it looked maybe out in the parkway, maybe in the vicinity of the current sign, it’s a great location.

There’s no question it would --- whether it would obstruct sight lines. The report might say that it’s safe, but I --- I find that hard to believe, especially with (unintelligible word/words) mixed into that. I feel a little bit of responsibility. But, in any event, safety aside, it just doesn’t seem to be a good location, and we made that really clear a few months ago, and haven’t seen anything addressed. So...

ATTORNEY SEARS: Thank you.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Any comments?

MR. SCHNEIDER: No, not yet.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: The sign, as it’s constructed, is supposed to be from the curb. The height of it, say, from the base, it’s drawn at three foot four, but it’s actually constructed at four feet from the curb. Is there any reason it why it was built eight inches higher than the submission?

ATTORNEY SEARS: I can’t --- Can you answer that?

MR. DART: Not that I’m aware of.

MR. LEDYARD: I think that may just be a cap. I think that just might be a cap for the sign itself.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: It’s the --- no, it’s the height of the brick, the brick masonry. You think that that was going to get knocked off?

MR. LEDYARD: I thought that might be the case.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Not --- not the --- the 12’4” section. The lower---

MR. LEDYARD: No, I --- the base itself.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: So the whole thing actually ends up being eight inches higher than what was submitted?

MR. DART: I did not measure what the build height was out there, so they could have an extra (unintelligible)

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: I think your drawing was followed, but the submission --- because ultimately, somehow in the file here, I’m seeing your drawings and you took the 3’4” from a --- from a datum line that was 8” up. But the ordinance is from the curb --- from the top of curb.

MR. DART: Sure.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Attorney Kuiper, just as a reminder, I believe, with only three of us there needs to be a unanimous consideration?

ATTORNEY KUIPER: Correct. It has to be the majority of the Board. The Board is five so you have to have three to approve any decision in order to have appropriate action on the item.

MR. SCHNEIDER: I guess, knowing that we have a ten foot high ordinance and the thing comes in 12’8”, which may be now 13”4’ --- I mean we at least hope for something, you know.

MR. LEDYARD: We’ll be happy to take that (unintelligible word/words) out. We could --- we could take that (unintelligible word/words) down and I’ll have to ask for a height variance. And we’ll also make that correction about the base there, Jim. (Unintelligible) so we’ll make that correction as well.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Just in relation to these sketches, the signed sketches?

MR. LEDYARD: We do have (unintelligible).

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Is --- is there any concern on the corporation’s part with the --- the nature of the drivers that are entering and leaving the campus? And some pretty novice drivers. And having this solid wall there that, you know, other than the lead car, nobody is going to see beyond.

MR. LEDYARD: Well, there’s always concern. There’s a sign there now. As you said, they’re novice drivers. We --- we hardly have any traffic accidents there at the intersection. I think the first two cars have their line of sight there.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: It would only be the first one because it’s 16 feet.

MR. LEDYARD: Well --- and I understand that, but we will have the stop (unintelligible word) that’s indicated in the drawings. But also people --- nobody really uses that sidewalk down there. I mean --- but we’ve been watching here lately, I’ve been out here. You have two cars that---

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Yeah, they’re going to pull further forward is what you’re saying?

MR. LEDYARD: I believe so. Mr. Redar was out this --- this morning taking some measurements for the town. Uhm, and you know, when I talked with Mr. Kraus as well as Mr. Redar after he took the measurements, they had a concern about a small evergreen looking north.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: I did see that e-mail come through.

MR. LEDYARD: We removed that per the recommendations of Mr. Kraus and Mr. Redar, and I pretty much --- I mean it’s --- it’s unobstructed, south and north with two cars.

MR. SCHNEIDER: I guess the question I have --- and I don’t know how this --- if it wasn’t a sign, would you have built a solid wall there, a 24 foot long 10 foot high or 12 foot high?

MR. DART: Probably not, but your ordinance probably would have made us put a bunch of bushes in there. There would have been something there, but (unintelligible word/words).

MR. LEDYARD: No. We have --- I mean it’s --- Mr. Dart indicated we worked long and hard with the Plan Commission and they were pretty strict on their landscape responsibilities, and we have tons of landscaping up and down 41 as well as all over the site.

UNINDENTIFIED: He’s right. We have landscaping there. And obviously, we need the --- we need the masonry to support the sign. That’s (unintelligible word/words).

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: I remember saying at the last meeting that I --- I recognize the size of the sign and the scale of the complex, but not at that location. And that’s what I was really hoping for, some consideration on alternative location for where this could go. Because I don’t think that it really belongs in that center median.

I think that it’s invariably going to end up --- whether it’s entering in and cars are backed up behind it and you can’t see them turning in, or kids racing out on the right turn and --- and just following the person in front of them and not being able to see until they’re actually out there. I just think that there --- there really --- I mean I understand the letter. I can recognize that. But I really think that some consideration for the skill level of who we have going in and out in relation to the magnitude of that. Like --- and I think that’s an appropriate statement, would we put a landscape wall that high would --- would essentially, other than the lead car, maybe two cars, nobody can see past it.

And I’m not --- I’m just not understanding that thought process. When you had some other opportunities, I think, to put the sign, still get the visibility that you’re after and maybe even, you know, still that --- that scale. Although I think that maybe there’s some issue still with some members’ concern over the size. I don’t --- I guess I was hoping that there would be some consideration of that. And to have you just say ‘no, we’re not going to consider it,’ that –-- that seems to be a little bit difficult to understand especially given the time --- the time that’s lapsed. And I know that’s due to some of the engineering in terms of people go back and forth. This is fairly current.

MR. SCHNEIDER: Was the sign location approved by the Plan Commission?

MR. DART: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED: But not the sign itself, so...

(Board members talk amongst themselves.)

MR. PANCZUK: Not this, obviously.

MR. LEDYARD: No, location. The question was location, and that was ---

ATTORNEY SEARS: We’re here for the sign, so...

MR. PANCZUK: Well, that would be like me asking to put a one car garage up and getting approval for that and then coming back and putting a pole barn up in its stead. So the location being approved is pretty much a moot point. This is nowhere near a thirty square foot monument sign, so...

UNIDENTIFIED: That’s why we’re here.

MR. PANCZUK: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED: (Unintelligible word/words).

MR. PANCZUK: No. I understand. I understand. I’m just...

MR. MACIEJESKI: Okay. Any other questions at this point?

MR. SCHNEIDER: I don’t think so.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: No. Mr. Kuiper, I believe we still need to continue the public hearing. I don’t think anything’s been changed with that. So, at this time --- have a seat. Thank you.

PUBLIC HEARING

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Open the floor for public comment. Anybody here or wishes to address the Board relative to this matter, please step forward, state your name and your address and your comment.

Hearing none, I’ll close the public hearing and return this to the Board for consideration of a motion.

MR. SCHNEIDER: I got one more question.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Sure.

MR. SCHNEIDER: If there was any chance that this sign wouldn’t have been approved, why did you build the foundation?

MR. LEDYARD: I asked --- we had spring break coming up and I asked Mr. Kil if we could go ahead and put the foundation in --- to go ahead because less traffic here where we could get machinery in, masonry and all the materials and stuff there. And he said we could --- we could go ahead at our own risk and so that’s what we did. And I apologize that it went up above grade, but I was home with pneumonia and my guys got a little rambunctious there when I was out. And three days later, you know, the base was built. We were supposed to only go below grade but we --- we --- you know, (unintelligible word/words) --- as Mr. Sears says it’s a good sign and a way for the school to communicate.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Okay.

(Board confers amongst themselves.)

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: If there aren’t any other comments, then it would be appropriate to consider a motion, either for or against the technical variance, giving consideration to the findings of fact, the comprehensive plan of the town, that approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety and morals, comfort, general welfare of the community. That the use and value of the area adjacent to the property including the variance will or will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner, and the strict application of the terms of the ordinance will or will not result in a practical difficulty in the use of the property.

MR. PANCZUK: Gentlemen, I have one more question for the Petitioner. Would any consideration be given in its current location --- one of the concerns that we pointed out at the last meeting, the aesthetics of the LED being just pretty much by itself. It’s like somebody thought of the sign and said ‘well, you know, let me just add a television to the side of it.’ It’s not integrated.

I mean the Kolling sign is small but it’s integrated. It seems to be, you know, thought out. It seems that we’d solve a lot of problems size-wise and aesthetics-wise and safety-wise if you were to limit the sign to the size of this Board here, and somehow integrate a smaller reader board.

It would basically cut eight feet off of it. Because right now, it’s about the size of a school bus. So, I’d be possibly willing to do that. I don’t know if there’s any consideration of making it smaller if there’s not another location. That’s --- that’s about the only other alternative that seems feasible within the ordinance and what we’re trying to support and keep pretty close to.

ATTORNEY SEARS: I think I answered that question, but at this point---

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: No.

MR. PANCZUK: No. Okay.

ATTORNEY SEARS: What we have before is --- is ---

MR. PANCZUK: Okay.

(The Board confers amongst themselves.)

MR. PANCZUK: Mr. President, I’d like to make a motion to deny the variance for Lake Central High School LED sign, monument height and size, developmental variance with the continued public hearing.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: A motion. Do I have a second?

MR. SCHNEIDER: Second.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Okay. Then I’ll call the roll. Paul Panczuk.

MR. PANCZUK: Nay.

MR. SCHNEIDER: Which way?

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Your vote ---

MR. PANCZUK: Oh, yeah. I’m for --- I’m sorry, yes.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: Mr. Schneider.

MR. SCHNEIDER: Yes.

MR. PANCZUK: I apologize.

MR. MACIEJEWSKI: And I vote yes. I’m sorry, your petition has been denied.

ATTORNEY SEARS: Thank you.

B. LAKE FEDERAL --- 10865 PARRISH AVENUE --- MESSAGE CENTER --- DEVELOPMENTAL TECHNICAL VARIANCE --- CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING --- JERRY SKRABALA --- STEVE DAVENPORT --- NANCY WILLIAM.

Mr. Maciejewski noted the next item for the Board’s consideration was a message center at Lake Federal, located at 10865 Parrish Avenue, seeking a developmental technical variance and with a continued public hearing.

Mr. Skrabala appeared before the Board of Zoning Appeals seeking a developmental technical variance for a message center located at Lake Federal Bank, 10865 Parrish Avenue, St. John, Indiana. He thanked the Board for their consideration and recommendations last month.

Mr. Skrabala stated that Lake Federal has been serving Lake County, Indiana for 58 years, and in the Town of St. John since 2008. He stated that Lake Federal is the only mutually chartered bank in Lake County, Indiana. The bank offers services in the following areas: savings accounts, Christmas Club, certificates and safety deposit boxes.

Mr. Skrabala stated cited a survey from the American Banking Association that stated that message signs enhance businesses and help increase business from 15-100% from potential customers just seeing the messages.

Mr. Skrabala introduced Mr. Steve Davenport, CFO, Lake Federal Bank, and Ms. Nancy Williams, manager of the St. John branch of Lake Federal Bank.

Mr. Skrabala stated ten banks in St. John were surveyed for the information to be presented by Mr. Davenport.

Mr. Davenport presented a chart with data gathered from the aforementioned ten financial institutions for the Board’s review. Mr. Davenport noted that Lake Federal’s deposits are the lowest in St. John.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Davenport noted the amounts that the institutions spend on advertising. He informed the Board that in terms of marketing hours, percent-wise (other than BMO Harris) Lake Federal is spending more net income on advertising than any other institution indicated on the chart.

Mr. Davenport presented and explained additional data for the Board’s review and consideration. When he finished presenting, he stated he would be happy to answer any questions the Board may have.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski referred to BZA minutes from July, 2008.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Skrabala stated that the representatives for Lake Federal took special consideration of what was talked about at the June, 2015, meeting. He said that Lake Federal Bank as decided that they would install only a monochromatic (amber) sign only. He stated that the Petitioner is willing to abide by the Town’s ordinance related to message centers.

Mr. Skrabala stated that the Petitioner would like to place community-related messages on the sign, as Lake Federal would like to be a part of the community. He stated when Lake Federal was built, there was no much in the way of businesses or residences. Mr. Skrabala stated that Lake Federal believes that the proposed message center would give the bank more presence and acknowledgement. He reiterated that the Petitioner would comply with a monochromatic sign, if need be.

Mr. Panczuk stated there was previous discussion about making the sign a little smaller. Mr. Skrabala stated the sign representative was out of Town.

Ms. Williams stated part of the problem the Petitioner has on the corner is that there is a ditch between the Petitioner and Subway and another ditch near Route 231 and Parrish. She stated that the vegetation in the ditches used to be cut back. Ms. Williams stated that the ditch between the bank and Subway now consists of vegetation and actual trees. She stated that from certain vantage points, the bank’s sign is obscured by the vegetation. Ms. Williams stated she has been unable to contact anyone “in charge” to get the vegetation cut back.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk stated that the monochromatic sign was his primary concern. He stated that the Board is attempting to avoid the “Vegas look” with the LED signs in Town.

Mr. Schneider commented that there was discussion about modifying the size and height of the sign. He stated it would have been nice to see another sketch.

(General discussion ensued.)

Attorney Kuiper noted that since 2008, four banks have petitioned for variances of this type and all of them were denied. He stated he understands the plight of Lake Federal. Attorney Kuiper cautioned the Board that whatever action they take tonight may set a precedent.

Mr. Maciejewski one consideration before the Board is is the Board willing to grant an LED message center knowing that there will be a parade of Petitioners behind Lake Federal who want the same thing.

Mr. Schneider stated he was sitting on the Board when all of the previous exceptions were granted.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that what was approved “way back” was the ground sign excluding the supports or the peak was not to exceed 55 square feet.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated he does appreciate the fact that the bank considered using a monochromatic sign, but it would open up a flood gate.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the sign color was just one of the hurdles for Petitioner. He stated that the size is still an issue. Mr. Panczuk stated that the Kolling sign, with a reader board that comprises approximately 25-30% of the sign, is proportionate and appropriate.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Schneider stated “We gave up a lot the first time.” Mr. Maciejewski concurred.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Petitioner if they could make a correlation between “This is going to benefit the business and therefore, benefit the Town because of increased business.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked Mr. Skrabala what his position on every bank having a message board would be in the in the event the Board made a favorable decision for Lake Federal. Mr. Skrabala stated he could not speak for every bank; he stated other banks probably utilize other advertising methods besides a message sign.

Mr. Skrabala stated it is harder for small banks to compete in the market place now especially in light of new banking regulations. He stated that Lake Federal wants to be able to compete. Mr. Skrabala stated one of the reasons Lake Federal opened a bank in St. John is because it is a fast growing community.

Ms. Williams stated that Lake Federal will not use “Las Vegas type” colors or garish colors to draw attention to their bank. She stated the bank would present a very professional look for St. John.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the continued public hearing for Lake Federal Bank. He called for public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion on the developmental variance, for or against, with contingencies, if necessary.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if a 1x8 sign would be worth pursuing.

(General discussion ensued.)

Attorney Kuiper recommended that the Petitioner consult with their sign representative to see if eight square feet of reader board could be incorporated inside of the 55 square foot area.

Mr. Skrabala asked if the matter could be deferred until next month so this matter (eight square feet) could be investigated with the sign company representative.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to defer the Lake Federal Bank developmental variance with the continued public hearing.

Mr. Schneider made a motion to defer developmental variance for the message center sign for Lake Federal Bank. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Maciejewski stated there was no New Business.

ADJOURN:

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn.

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

(The meeting was adjourned at 8:37 p.m.)

TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

08-24-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals

August 24, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, President Paul Panczuk Attorney Tim Kuiper
Ken Schneider, Vice-President   Steve Kil
Steve Hastings, Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Maciejewski called to order the meeting of the Town of St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for August 24, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary, with the following members present: Jim Maciejewski, Ken Schneider and Paul Panczuk. Steve Hastings was absent. Steve Kil was absent. Attorney Tim Kuiper was present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: June 22, 2015 and July 27, 2015.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that he had just received the minutes from the July 27, 2015, meeting, and the minutes from June 22, 2015, BZA meeting had not yet been submitted. Mr. Maciejewski that the Board could defer the minutes until the next regular meeting.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated the minutes of June 22, 2015, and July 27, 2015, would be deferred to the next regular meeting in order to give the Board an opportunity to thoroughly review them.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. LAKE FEDERAL, 10865 PARRISH AVENUE --- MESSAGE CENTER --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE (CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING FROM JUNE 22, 2015, MEETING.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated that the first item under Old Business was Lake Federal Bank, petitioning for a developmental variance for a message center at 10865 Parrish Avenue, with a continued public hearing from the June 22, 2015, meeting.

Mr. Maciejewski noted that the Petitioner was present. Mr. Stephen Davenport, Ms. Nancy Williams and Mr. Jerry Skrabala appeared on behalf of Lake Federal. He invited the Petitioner to step forward and update the Board on the proposed message center.

Mr. Davenport thanked the Board for the opportunity to revise the message center. He submitted a revised drawing to the Board. Mr. Davenport noted the Board’s recommendation to use a 1x8 or 2x4 or 1.5x6. He stated that the sign designer felt the optimum size was a 1x8. He explained that that was the reason for only one rendering.

Mr. Maciejewski stated it was appreciated that the Petitioner took the Board’s comments into consideration. He stated this time (between meetings) allowed the Petitioner to determine with the sign representative, the best configuration for the message center.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Petitioner if he was aware of the conditions for operation of the message center, no side to side scrolling, no flashing, utilizing the auto-dimming function, hours of operation and messages appearing for a minimum of six seconds. Mr. Davenport acknowledged the guidelines for the message center’s operation and agreed to comply with the guidelines.

The hours of operation for the message center were discussed. Mr. Panczuk stated that the Board’s concerns are the homes that are “somewhat nearby.” Mr. Panczuk stated that these signs seem to really project light.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski reiterated the guidelines for operation of the message center: hours of operation, no side to side motion, no flashing, use of the auto dimming function and messages appearing for a minimum of six seconds.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski opened the continued public hearing. He called for public comment.

PUBLIC HEARING

Mr. Jerald Skrabala 320 Persimmon, Schererville, IN
Mr. Skrabala stated he is not an employee of Lake Federal any longer; he retired on August 1, 2015.

Mr. Skrabala thanked the Board for their consideration. He stated the bank will abide by all of the rules set forth by the Board. He noted that there are no homes directly in the path, but there are homes kind of set to the north and further to the east.

Mr. Maciejewski called for additional public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would consider a motion for or against the petition for a developmental variance, considering the findings of fact and the contingencies as discussed.

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to approve Lake Federal’s petition for a developmental variance, at 10865 Parrish Avenue, for a message center per the current revised plan submitted by Petitioner tonight, incorporating the findings of fact by reference and including the contingencies related to the operation of the message center as set forth by the Board. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion.

Mr. Maciejewski requested a roll call vote. Mr. Panczuk – yes. Mr. Schneider --- yes. Mr. Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote (3/0) Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Maciejewski announced there was no New Business.

ADJOURN:

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn.

Mr. Schneider made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (3/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

(The meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.)

TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

09-28-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals

September 28, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, President Paul Panczuk Timothy Kuiper, Board Attorney
Ken Schneider, Vice-President Stephen Hastings  
Tom Ryan    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Maciejewski called to order the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for September 28, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance (recited and all took their seats).

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Susan Wright, recording secretary. Members present: James Maciejewski, Ken Schneider, Stephen Hastings, Paul Panczuk, and Tom Ryan. Staff present: Mr. Timothy Kuiper, Board Attorney.

MINUTES:

Mr. Maciejewski stated the next order of business is the approval of minutes, and that we have three (3) meetings. First is the June 22, 2015 wherein three members were present, and he entertained a motion. Motion made by Mr. Panczuk to approve the minutes, seconded by Mr. Schneider. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 abstentions (Mr. Ryan and Mr. Hastings).

Mr. Maciejewski advised second is the July 27, 2015 meeting, same situation. Motion to approve the July 27, 2015 minutes by Mr. Schneider, seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 abstentions (Mr. Ryan and Mr. Hastings).

Mr. Maciejewski advised the third meeting is August 24, 2015 meeting, and again the same situation. Motion to approve the August 24, 2017 made by Mr. Panczuk, seconded by Mr. Schneider. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 abstentions (Mr. Ryan and Mr. Hastings).

NEW BUSINESS:

A. NELLEMANN’S DRIVE WHOLESALE (9119 WICKER AVENUE) – Special Exception For a Used Car Lot
Mr. Maciejewski advised under new business before us, we have Nellemann’s Drive Wholesale at 9119 Wicker Avenue, Special Exception for a used car lot. Mr. Maciejewski asked the petitioner to come forward to the podium and state your name and address for the record, and then explain the nature of your petition.

Mr. Jason Nellemann (8882 Winding Trail, St. John, Indiana). Mr. Nellemann advised the reason for him appearing before the board is asking for approval for a variance at 9119 Wicker Avenue for a Used Car License from the Town.

Mr. Nellemann advised that he was attracted to that piece of property, and would explain why.

He advised that the State of Indiana has a Wholesale and a Retail Dealer’s License. Mr. Nellemann advised that he had a wholesale license for the past eight (8) years, and the State of Indiana got rid of all wholesale licenses in the State of Indiana, beginning July 1st.

Mr. Nellemann explained that you have to transition over to a “Retail Used Car License”, which means you have to have a place of business. I am a wholesale dealer, I do 99.9% of my business, dealer to dealer transactions. I do not need frontage to put cars out for sale, that is not my business, that is not what I attract. Everything that I do. And I have done 99% of my business with Dyer Auto Auction in Dyer on U.S. 30.

But, as of July 1st, I have to have a location to do business and have a “Retail License”, however I plan on continuing my wholesale business. Hopefully out of that location. And, I do plan,., I am trying to purchase that property and not rent it.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if he did not have a physical address before, for his business. Mr. Nellemann stated that the State of Indiana “Wholesale License”, you do not need a physical place of business. Mr. Maciejewski asked where Mr. Nellemann operated his business out of. Mr. Nellemann advised that he leased a part of the property at Dyer Auto Auction, from the owner, which I still currently do.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if he could use that address for your “wholesale”. Mr. Nellemann advised that he could not, because you cannot run a business out of another business piece of property. The Town of Dyer actually did approve “retail licenses”, off Buzz Cotton’s property, but the State did not approve it, because it did not meet their requirements of what they needed. Mr. Nellemann stated that the State of Indiana for the “wholesale licenses”; you need a 10’ x 10’ office suite, that you never step foot in, that was one of the reasons why they got rid of wholesale licenses. The “bad guys always ruin it for the good guys”.

Mr. Nellemann advised that he does this for a living, and this is how I put food on my table for my family. Mr. Nellemann stated he understands that it is not the Board’s problem, that the State of Indiana took that away; however that is why he is asking for approval from the Town before the State will allow him to get a dealer’s license.

Mr. Maciejewski asked Mr. Nellemann to explain the wholesale; which he understands is the dealer-to-dealer transactions, where you are acting as an “intermediary”, how does that work? Mr. Nellemann advised that he is the “middle man”, I supply cars to dealers that sell to the public. I buy vehicles from new car stores, stuff that they take in on trade that they do not keep. If it is something, that is not their merchandise or if it is a vehicle that they feel they do not want to keep and retail, that is where I come in. Mr. Nellemann advised that his reconditioning costs are way cheaper than a new car dealership is, because most of the time it is a Union Shop, so I am the “middle man” that supplies the cars to other dealers. Small dealers and new car dealers.

Mr. Schneider asked what he considers reconditioning and would you do that out of this building. Mr. Nellemann advised that all he would be doing is minor, if it was brakes or clean-up to a vehicle. I contract all that work out. Anything of major repair, I have repair shops that I deal with locally that I send things to. Body work I send to body shops. And mostly details, I send to out to local detail shops to have cleaned.

Mr. Panczuk asked if he heard that he does brakes. Mr. Nellemann stated that if a vehicle needs,., he explained that he would not be doing “retail work”, or “repair work” on other vehicles, just my own vehicles that I sell.

Mr. Nellemann stated that another reason that attracts me to that property is because of the square footage that is on the main level, that I would really like to have a small in-door showroom, to put cars inside.

Mr. Panczuk asked if that would be for retail purposes then, because I do not imagine the dealers coming to you. Mr. Nellemann advised that no, I would like to do some retail. Mr. Panczuk stated: so a combination of both? Mr. Nelleman stated that is correct, anything anymore is 99% of the people I am sure, the first they do when they look for a car, they pull out their phone, and they look on the internet. Or they go on the internet and they look for cars. That is why I do not want frontage property, because I don’t want that drive-by traffic and people walking in coming to look at cars. Mr. Nellemann stated that is not his business that is not what I do. If I could retail a vehicle to somebody I know, a family member, etc., I would plan to do that. However, that would mostly be internet sales.

Mr. Ryan asked how many cars do you have in your possession at any one time. Mr. Nellemann advised that always varies the time of year. Outside there on the East side of that property, which is up against the railroad tracks, there is probably only parking for twenty (20) cars, in that smaller parking lot. But I do not hold inventory for a long period of time. I turn it; I do a lot of volume, so there is at any given time I could sell five (5) cars on a Friday at the auction, or I could sell twenty-five (25) cars at the auction on Friday.

Mr. Panczuk asked so you are then holding, you buy them, you bring them there or have them brought there, clean them up and bring them back to the auction. Mr. Nelleman advised correct. He advised the majority of the clean-up, majority of the work will be done at contractor’s place of business, that I do business with.

Mr. Ryan asked again, so depending on the time of year, that is approximately twenty (20) cars are in your possession, or would be over at this place. Mr. Nellemann advised that is correct. Mr. Ryan stated that Mr. Nellemann has mentioned that you send out cars for body work; you don’t do salvage? Mr. Nellemann stated no. He stated that if it was up to him he would never have another vehicle painted, that is nothing but a pain in the butt, but there are vehicles that I do get that do need some body work, that I send out to local body shops to get repaired.

Mr. Ryan asked if they are generally drivable? Mr. Nellemann advised yes. Mr. Ryan asked if they have to be towed in and towed out. Mr. Nellemann advised no, that is not the case. If it is on a flatbed it is only because it got transported there.

Mr. Nellemann reiterated that he is looking to purchase this property, and he is not looking to rent it. He advised that he is not looking to come in and possibly not be there in a year or two. Mr. Nellemann advised that he has paid rent for eight years, and he doesn’t want to pay rent anymore, he wants to own something. Mr. Nellemann stated that he wants that building and the property to look the best that it can, in my possession.

Mr. Panczuk asked what are the prospects that you will be able to purchase this. Mr. Nellemann advised depending; it is 100% contingent on this approval. That was the only stipulation in the contract. Mr. John Collett owns the property of St. John Sports. Mr. Collet and myself already have a written contract to purchase that property, contingent on St. John approval.

Mr. Schneider advised that he is sorry, but they got this information a little late. Like today, and we didn’t have a chance to go out, is that lot that you are planning on storing cars is that fenced? Mr. Nellemann advised that it is not. Mr. Schneider asked if he would fence it? Mr. Nellemann advised that he would love to.

Mr. Maciejewski advised that he thinks twenty (20) cars fit on the East side; the paving is about 70’ long, even if you are putting them 8’ spots, you are only going to get nine (9) one side; and the side against the building is a door and a condenser unit, so you could only get six or seven on that side. So, I do not think twenty cars fit on that site. Mr. Nellemann explained that was a number that he kind of threw out there. Teri from the Town, wanted at least something written down there. I would personally like to keep stuff inside that building, and that is another reason why I really like that piece of property, because of the size of it, and the previous use of it years ago, with it being a truck wash or whatever it was that the Schilling’s used it for.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that you recognize now though that it will have to be brought up to current building code to sustain a service shop, show room, and so forth, and there may be a good deal of expense in order to obtain that occupancy. Mr. Maciejewski then stated that he is not sure if that is what they are talking about tonight, but the building probably as it sits would not meet code for that right now.

Mr. Maciejewski advised the board that when he looked up the “Special Exception” on Schedule of Uses in the Zoning Ordinance; it came to us listed as C-2 Commercial 2, that is how it is on the map; but Special Exception for Used Car Lot does not fall here under C-2, it falls under what’s called a “Overlay District for U.S. Highway 41”, and that, when you go into the ordinance, it talks about some other development standards; which, parking is one, landscaping requirements, lighting requirements, signage design requirements, all this sort of thing that comes into play. Mr. Maciejewski continued: pedestrian access, which may or may not be appropriate to this, but these are not part of, what I guess, what was presented. There is not a developed road back to this, it is a gravel lot.

Mr. Nellemann advised that he has an ingress and egress easement and he actually has a copy of that with him here tonight. Mr. Maciejewski again noted that it is not paved, so for it to be used for retail for the public coming back there, do you foresee paving it all the way back.

Mr. Nellemann asked for clarification. Mr. Maciejewski asked if he would anticipate paving a drive for the public back to that area. Mr. Nellemann advised not if that was not on my property, that is not something that I considered.

Mr. Maciejewski asked what is the boundary of what he is purchasing, or considering to purchase. Mr. Nellemann advised just the property in which St. John Sports building is on.

General discussion ensued amongst the board member as to the actual dimensions of the parcel in question. Mr. Schneider asked if that is a road that goes between the buildings or is that just still parking. Mr. Nelleman stated that there is a road that does go between two of those buildings, at the North edge.

Mr. Maciejewski advised that it is possible that the site requirements that show up under that Overlay District, would be more under the purview of the Plan Commission, than this board, and we could consider this in the context that it would have to pass the Plan Commission’s approval for whatever Site Development requirement, subject to that overlay district.

Mr. Nellemann stated that he understands that Towns frown upon car dealers. Mr. Kil made that very clear to me the first time I approached him. And it is not just St. John, it is a lot of towns. Mr. Nellemann advised that another main reason that attracts me to this building is because it is not there with the frontage. I so not want the frontage like a “Triple M Motors” on U.S. 41. I don’t want the exposure. Mr. Maciejewski commented that it seems that your business is different from that for sure. Mr. Nellemann reiterated that is not the business he is in.

Mr. Schneider inquired if he would be seeking any signage on U.S. 41 or anything. Mr. Nelleman advised absolutely not, the only thing he would need is a sign on my building of course from the State for my dealer’s license.

General discussion ensued again amongst the board members, with Mr. Maciejewski showing pictures taken of the site where paving and gravel only exist.

Mr. Hastings asked what the estimate would be for about how many cars you could put in that building. Mr. Nellemann stated he would have approximately 3,500 square feet. The building is 6,000 square feet, and there is four (4) big offices on the East side of that building. Two downstairs and two upstairs, and the rest could be wide open space. So, his estimate is that there are maybe fifteen (15) that could fit inside, ten or twelve; he is not sure at this time, it would depend on what is usable space without a “pole” or a “post” that would be blocking me, but that is my goal and what I would really like to do.

Mr. Schneider asked, when you said 6,000 square feet is that both floors. Mr. Nellemann advised, no, that is just the main level. It does have an upstairs in that they term a mezzanine, and that is approximately 5,600 square feet. Mr. Ryan asked what do you plan on doing with that. Mr. Nellemann advised that he will be leasing that back to Mr. John Collett for storage for the first year.

Mr. Ryan asked if there were any bedrooms or run-down apartments, nothing like that. Mr. Nellemann advised that no, just the two offices upstairs. There is a kitchen area up there that Mr. Collett had built years ago for his employees.

Mr. Ryan said he would like to rephrase his questions, that you are not planning now or in the future of ever trying to rent any portion of it out to an individual to live there. Mr. Nellemann stated absolutely not. Mr. Nellemann advised that Mr. John Collett has upstairs all kinds of storage for uniforms, football helmets, shoulder pads, baseball, hockey, soccer and the like. He offered to lease that back from me for the first year, so they can make a transition to the new store in Schererville.

Mr. Ryan stated that one of his biggest concerns is the amount of cars you have and how they are stored, and I know that is how you make your money. He further stated that he can’t imagine who would complain, but if it becomes an issue, the horse is already out of the barn and how then do we correct it.

Mr. Nellemann also stated that someone said something about fencing that East parking lot in that is something that I was going to ask, and I would love to fence it in or put posts up with a gate.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that okay, while we are all pondering; he asked Mr. Kuiper if the publications were in order for a public hearing tonight.

Mr. Maciejewski advised at this time he will open the floor to public comment, anyone who is present who wishes to address the board relative to this petitioner can step forward; please state your name and address for the record.

Hearing none, Mr. Maciejewski brought the matter back to the board. Mr. Maciejewski asked for the basic feelings of the board thus far.

Mr. Panczuk addressed the Chairman; I guess we should pick this apart by line item. First and foremost is the U.S. 41 Overlay District, and I believe I understand the intent and design of that. In addition, it is a great plan, and I think its purpose is for when this parcel would probably be in future re-developed entirely from back to front. The designed standards and everything applied are I think with the intent of businesses fronting U.S. 41. So what we have now is all these “grandfathered in” small piece meal businesses that have been there for years. This one being the furthest one back, and he is almost in a position where it is of no use from a retail standpoint, it’s so far back and tucked away. I think of it as almost a piece of light industrial property, it is just buried. So, me personally, trust me I am a believer in re-doing U.S. 41 and the corridor, perfectly at some point, but I cannot see applying it at this point. Now, if he were to sell the property at some point to a developer, then obviously all bets are on with the Overlay District.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that outside of the Overlay District this is not even allowed as a Special Exception. Mr. Panczuk reiterated that we have a very usually piece of property that is not very usable for allowed practical purposes, so I am trying to make it work in my mind. It doesn’t get exposure, assuming it would be fenced in, and brought up to a safe operating standard, so it is not going to be a visual eye-sore in the town. I am just trying to get some gernalities.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that he understands, that as a wholesale operation, I think it lends more to what you are saying that it is sort of a unique entity that sits off by itself. But when we start to say it is going to become a vehicle showroom, and we are going to bring the public back, and we have no paved road between any point on from either the diner or from the other mall, we have no paved access point. Are we okay with that development as a gravel road, whole thing coming back there. That is the retail operation of it, I am not sure that I am comfortable with that as a retail development, that we are saying that is appropriate for development of a retail showroom.

Mr. Nellemann asked if he could speak. Mr. Nellemann advised that he would retail some cars; yes, I feel that I would. I would not come here and say that if I did not think that I would not. In the past eight years, I can tell you I have probably retailed ten (10) cars, and that was probably to my family members. That is not the business I am looking for, where I understand where you are coming from.

Mr. Panczuk stated that you would not be developing a showroom if you would not be looking to increase that. I would not think you would put the effort into developing a showroom if you were not going to retail cars.

Mr. Nellemann stated that the only reason why I am standing here is that if Indiana never got rid of their “wholesale licenses”, I would not have to get a retail license at all. Therefore, that is where I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, where before my overhead was minimal, and now my overhead is going to sky-rocket.

Mr. Panczuk asked if Mr. Nellemann knows who owns the triangular property to the North, the gravel lot. Mr. Nellemann advised it is a Mr. Mike Geletka; he owns the whole corner, and that little triangle lot directly to the North that property. I do not know him personally, I just know the name. From the records and everything that I found, when sending out the letters and everything, it is “Wicker Avenue Investments”. But through the grapevine I was told it was a gentleman by the name of Mike Geletka. It is kind of odd how he owns that whole triangle there, and that one little piece of parcel, just to the North of that building, because I don’t think anything can be built there because if that ingress-egress easement on that property that was filed by the Schillings back in 1990.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that he agreed with Mr. Panczuk as a wholesale operation it is kind of tucked away and not really an issue, my hang up is again the public access, and for that reason, access, lighting, all that comes into play when you’re now going to encourage people to drive back there a shop in a showroom.

Mr. Schneider asked if Mr. Nellemann if he met with Town Manager Steve Kil. Mr. Nellemann advised yes he did, several times. Mr. Schneider asked if he brought up any of these items that we are discussing here now.

Mr. Kil did not, it was my banker that brought up the issue of the ingress-egress, and at the time I didn’t realize it, but my banker’s father-in-law actually was the one that built that building, back in 1985, and owned that property.

Mr. Panczuk said he was thinking about the wholesale versus retail, and the traffic amount. Along with fencing on the property, what if we were to allow an outside display, whatsoever, and a very small signage. In other words, it is by appointment only showroom, and I think that is the intent of what he is doing my appointment only, so, I don’t know how many cars would be going back and forth from that road if it was defined to that extent. So, it would be building and a fenced lot, with a little placard on it.

Mr. Hastings asked if the petitioner has been in the building. Mr. Nellemann advised numerous times. Mr. Hastings asked if they have fire protection and adequate lighting. Mr. Nellemann said there is adequate lighting, and as far as a sprinkler system I would have to say it does not. Mr. Hastings advised that would be something that the building commissioner should look at, and it can be taken to the Plan Commission, a lot of times we will order the lighting be put up in the property, and we have a “Dark Sky Ordinance” in this town, which means all the lights have to have full cut-off, so you don’t draw the light all over the entire property; just for on your property only. Mr. Hastings said that you may want to have the Building Commissioner or Electrical Inspector go through there, so they can kind of give you an idea about things like that. Mr. Hastings also discussed the parking space sizes and said that at the Farmers Market where he currently works is 16’ by the time you have the two spaces, so you can pretty much judge about there, and you may have a smaller car, that would fit a little better, or something like that too. So, it is kinda nice to have a Building Commissioner come in and tell you how to do it right. And the Planning Commission could probably help you as well with that. We just happen to be losing Tom Redar, was a very-very good Building Commissioner, but Steve Kozel, who is on the Planning Commission as well, he is very good as well. And he could probably give you some insight into that to.

Mr. Schneider advised that he agrees that the building, for his operation, is a semi-retail building, but I still have access issues, as one of my thoughts. No pave, nothing paved to your building that it should, and I am sure there is something in the ordinance that says all lots have to be paved, you have to have a certain amount of paving for this.

Mr. Hastings asked if the Post Office parking lot in back paved or is it stoned. Mr. Nellemann said it is paved.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if he had a projected hours of operation. Mr. Nellemann advised to be open, I think by State law, I thinks I have to be open thirty (30) hours a week, and if I had to guess, you could probably make your own hours, a lot of dealers just do Saturdays by appointment only. I am more “out” buying cars, that’s the way my business is run. So, I personally, probably won’t be there that often. Mr. Maciejewski asked, well then how would the retail part of that work then. Mr. Nellemann advised that his father has been in the car business since 1970, and he is retired and needs something to do, and he’s bored.

Mr. Maciejewski asked so it would be 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mr. Nellemann advised it would be around 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., when I pick my son up at day care. Mr. Maciejewski asked if they would have evening hours. Mr. Nellemann stated no. Mr. Maciejewski stated great, so we got rid of the lighting requirement then.

Mr. Nellemann commented that he does not know how serious Mr. Kil was with some plans that he showed for that corner, or that triangle that is some proposed construction of a strip-mall, that may possibly be going in there. Of course, if I was to own the property, I would love for that to go in there, but in my eyes it would just help the property value, but I understand what you are saying with the paved road, but that is not my property to pave.

General discussion ensued in detail of the existing condition of unpaved lot, lighting standards, fencing around the back.

Mr. Kuiper reminded that the matter still has to go before the Town Council for approval and that this is only a recommendation from this board.

Mr. Nelleman advised that the State would require lights; no if its lights on the building just shining to the parking lot, or just lights to the signage, I have no problem putting a sign up to where not many people would see it, that would not bother me one bit.

Mr. Panczuk commented that St. John Sports had a lot of traffic in and out, and in compared to this, even if it was full-blown retail, you would not see that amount.

Mr. Kuiper made a point that the un-paved area has been maintained and that it could be considered adequate access. Mr. Kuiper also noted that the safety concerns that have been brought up will be inspected at the time that they request an occupancy permit. At that time the Fire Chief will have to look at the inside due to storage of gas or whatever inside.

General discussion ensued about the plat of survey and an easement on the East side of the building in which there could be paving; however it is a utility easement.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the board if anyone felt they were in a position to made a motion to make a favorable or unfavorable recommendation on the Special Use to the Town Council, taking into account the findings of fact and any conditions or contingencies that you wish to place upon your motion.

Mr. Schneider stated that he would like to make a Favorable Recommendation the wholesale Special Use at 9119 Wicker Avenue, including the findings of fact, and that the building shall be used for only minor repairs, no major repairs or bodywork to be included. The outside storage will be in a fenced-in lot. No sales of cars outside of fenced area, and limit evening hours, let’s say 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Schneider to amend that motion make the fence a “privacy fence” on the southern boundary, the south side facing the Post Office. Discussion ensued as to the fence condition. It was decided that the North side could have a post fence with a sliding gate that would look better aesthetically.

Mr. Ryan commented that he would like no storage of disabled vehicles outside.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if he needed to summarize, or are they clear on the motion and the conditions. Noted: (1) Building to be used for only minor vehicle repairs. (2) No painting or bodywork. (3) Parking lot on the East side of building will be fenced on three (4) sides, with the South side being a privacy fence (5) No outside display or sales of vehicles on the North side. (6) Hours of operation from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (7) No storage of disabled vehicles outside of the fenced area.

Mr. Maciejewski after reading the amended motion from Mr. Schneider, asked for a second to the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Kuiper advised Mr. Nellemann to contact the Town Manager’s Office to find out when the next Town Council meeting is, and the staff will see that it is placed on the agenda.

With no other business before the Board, Mr. Maciejewski adjourned the meeting.

(The meeting was adjourned at 8:07 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary pro-tem
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

10-26-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
11-23-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
12-28-2015 Board of Zoning Appeals

December 28, 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, President Paul Panczuk Attorney Tim Kuiper
Ken Schneider, Vice-President Tom Ryan Steve Kil
Steve Hastings, Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Maciejewski called to order the meeting of the Town of St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for December 28, 2015, at 7:02 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary, with the following members present: Jim Maciejewski, Steve Hastings and Paul Panczuk. Ken Schneider and Tom Ryan were absent. Steve Kil was absent. Attorney Tim Kuiper was present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: September 28, 2015.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he had received word from the Town that the minutes of September 28, 2015 were not available at the present time. Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to defer the September 28, 2015 minutes.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. VFW, POST 717, 10040 WEST 93RD AVENUE --- PUBLIC HEARING --- DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE FOR A READER BOARD SIGN.

Mr. Maciejewski noted the first item under New Business was VFW Post 717, 10040 West 93rd Avenue seeking a developmental variance for a reader board sign. Mr. Rick Murrial, Petitioner and life-time member of the Post, appeared before the Board seeking a variance for the reader board sign.

Mr. Maciejewski asked Mr. Murrial to briefly explain to the Board the objective for the proposed reader board sign at the VFW. Mr. Murrial stated the proposed reader board will be able to be changed from the inside. He stated the sign would fit right underneath their existing sign, and there is an existing electrical outlet for the sign. Mr. Murrial stated members aren’t getting any younger, and the proposed sign would eliminate any ladder climbing as is done now to change the marquee sign. Mr. Murrial stated that the existing VFW logo will be enlarged.

The color of the sign was discussed. Mr. Murrial stated the sign will have a black background with amber colored letters. He stated the VFW does not intend to use any other colors.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Panczuk stated that the Board is trying to eliminate the Vegas look for reader board signs in Town. He stated that the Board has certain requirements for a reader board sign: no side to side scrolling, a six-second delay between the messages being changed, monochromatic text and no cartoons. Mr. Murrial acknowledged the stipulations that Mr. Panczuk cited. Mr. Panczuk stated he had done some calculations and the sign is under the total sign size of 30 square feet.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked Attorney Kuiper if the notices and publications were in order. Attorney Kuiper stated that the notices and publications were in order so that the public hearing could be properly conducted tonight.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing, requesting anyone who wished to speak on this matter to give their name and address.

PUBLIC HEARING

Gary Kugland:
Mr. Kugland stated he lives by the VFW. He stated he is very much in favor of the VFW’s proposed sign. He stated that he has lived at his residence for 40-plus years and the VFW has always been a good neighbor. Mr. Kugland submitted a letter to the Board signed by him and his wife indicating they were in favor of the VFW’s proposed reader board sign.

Mr. Maciejewski called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion on the developmental variance for the reader board sign. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to approve the developmental variance for the reader board sign for VFW, Post 717, with the following contingencies, monochromatic, (amber only) no scrolling side to side, messages to appear for at least six seconds and no flashing. Mr. Hastings seconded the motion. Mr. Maciejewski requested a roll call vote. Mr. Panczuk –-- yes. Mr. Hastings --- yes. Mr. Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote (3/0).

ADJOURN:

Mr. Maciejewski adjourned the meeting.

(The meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.)

TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

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