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Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes 2017

Meeting Minutes

01-23-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

January 23, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, President Paul Panczuk David Austgen, Town Attorney
Tom Ryan Jason Williams Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called to order the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for January 23, 2017 at 7:01 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 Michelle L. Haluska, recording secretary. Members present: Ken Schneider, Tom Ryan, Paul Panczuk, John Kennedy and Jason Williams. Staff present: Mr. David Austgen, Town Attorney and Mr. Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director.

MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised that they have just seen the minutes this evening and entertained a motion to defer them to the next meeting in order for the board members to have a chance to review. Motion made by Mr. Panczuk and seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Schneider entertained a nomination for Chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals for 2017. Mr. Kennedy nominated Mr. Ken Schneider as Chairman. Motion seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Williams nominated Mr. Paul Panczuk for Vice Chairman. Motion seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Kennedy nominated Jason William for Executive Secretary. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Kennedy nominated Ms. Michelle Haluska for Recording Secretary. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. CIRCLE K (9300 Wicker Avenue) - Developmental / Technical and Special Exception Variances (Mr. Jim Wieser)

Mr. Schneider advised that those of you in attendance for the Circle K portion of this meeting; we received a facsimile from their attorney, asking that they would like the Board to remove from the agenda for tonight. It stated that they would come back at another time.

Mr. Schneider stated that there were some things that have to be worked out. I am sure you are aware that it is a very complicated situation on the corner. They will have to get that squared away and have another meeting.

Mr. Austgen stated that as a supplement to your record, substantial discussion was had today in preparation for this meeting and public hearing item. And there is some incompleteness to the application for purposes of your consideration of a Special Exception, with the variances and items that are required under our Zoning Ordinance. So, rather than go through this several times, they acknowledged the incompleteness, and requested this deferral.

Mr. Austgen advised Mr. Schneider that he would want to solicit a motion to do so, and make a record of this please.

Mr. Schneider advised he would like to entertain a motion to defer the Circle K variances and parts of the agenda for tonight, to a future meeting. Motion made by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Austgen further advised Mr. Schneider and the board members that their record should reflect that re-advertising will be required, based upon the nature of this request and the incompleteness identified.

B. LEVIN TIRE (8575 Wicker Avenue) Developmental / Technical Variances - Automobile Service Station – Continued Public Hearing (Mr. Jeff Ban and Mr. Barry Levin)

Mr. Jeff Ban, President of DVG at 11065 Broadway Street, in Crown Point. Mr. Ban advised that the board may recall in October 2016, we were before you and had a public hearing on a Special Exception on an Automobile Repair Facility at the northeast corner of 85th Avenue and U.S. 41. We also had three (3) petitions for Developmental Standard Variances before you.

Mr. Ban advised the Special Exception was approved by this Board and the Town Council; and we had requested to defer action on the other variances, so that we could do some additional homework as you had requested.

Mr. Ban advised that the Developmental Standards Variances that we are asking to (1) allow parking between the U.S. 41 right-of-way and the front building line of the parcel (2) a rear yard setback variance (3) and allow outside parking spaces to be located in other than the rear and side yards.

Mr. Ban reminded that the site is located at the northeast corner of what is known as Bingo Lake and U.S. 41, just north of 85th Avenue. It is a very odd, irregular shaped parcel that is 3.5 acres, and on the northern half, this property we have a 50’ wide Trans Canada oil pipeline; which makes development of this site even more difficult.

With many meetings that we have had with the Town in terms of circulation and connecting neighborhoods, we have been asked to account for a future road that would run along the West side of Bingo Lake, between our development site and have that go from 85th Avenue North to Mr. Meyers development that is north of us. Which again, make more hardships for the development of this parcel, as it would narrow it even further.

On the site plan, we proposed to you, on the North property line of the lot, which was the southerly lot that we are thinking of developing, you will see the distance between U.S. 41 and that roadway that I am referencing; that is only 155’ in depth. If you were to go to the South property line, there we’re at about 260’ in depth. So, you have an angular shaped lot on the East side that causes a real problem in terms of trying to fit “any building”, no less Mr. Levin’s Tire Store building.

Mr. Ban advised that our hardship is that it does not meet any of the developmental standards, because of its shape; configuration and anything that would go on this site would need these variances. If you are to impose on this parcel, the strict adherence to your developmental standards, nothing could be developed on this site. Mr. Ban advised that is why we are back before you again tonight. The last time we were before this Board, you had asked us to take a look at maybe pushing the building as far as close to U.S. 41, and putting the main entryway and the parking on the East side.

Mr. Ban advised that they did that; and it was circulated through the Goodyear system, and the franchise said that would not work for us, it has never worked that way before and we don’t have another one of our stores like that in the country, and they will not let Mr. Levin to build the site like that here. They said that it is very important to have the front door visible throughout U.S. 41 to run through the economics of his business. To put the door on the back side of the building would be problematic, and he would most likely fail is the opinion of Goodyear.

Mr. Ban stated that they talked to staff, and they suggested we come back to you to explain the exercise that we have gone through in terms of developing an alternative to what you’ve requested and report back to the findings, and particular to Mr. Levin who is taking all the risk here in developing this site.

Mr. Ban advised so, we are here asking for the variances as it was originally presented. If you have any questions for myself, or Mr. Levin who is here on my right, to answer any questions that you might have concerning his operation. Mr. Ban advised they have provided some visuals of the Valparaiso store; which is right in the heart of the shopping districts near Silavy Road and Route 2. Mr. Ban stated that it fits well in the environment and the architecture to the neighborhood. Like the Valparaiso store, it was done with a lot of brick, masonry and done very tastefully.

Mr. Eberly asked if he could interrupt for just one second, he is trying to figure out why the projector is not working, so I can show your plans. They are used to being able to see what it is that we are discussing here, and for some reason the projector just went blank. Maybe Mickey knows the answer to what it is. (Project system was rebooted and started up again)

Mr. Eberly advised the board members that they can continue with their questions as the system is re-booted.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there were any overhead doors on the East side of the building, he thought there were doors in both East and West. Mr. Ban advised that they are not drive-through, only drive in and back out; in the center of the building where mechanics will have their diagnostics equipment for analyzing vehicle and using tools. He advised all these are shared in the center, they go from work station to the next.

Mr. Kennedy further asked about landscaping around the building. Mr. Ban advised that they are not asking for a variance on the landscaping, as they will be supplying same to the Plan Commission to comply with the U.S. 41 Overlay Plan.

(Screen back down and operating)

Mr. Schneider asked about the parking spaces. Mr. Eberly answered that it more than meets our ordinance, and noted that the parking on the South side is more than enough to satisfy the ordinance, but it may not be enough to serve your client’s needs. Mr. Ban advised that is correct.

Mr. Ban showed on the screen, that there is a driveway coming out to U.S. 41, maybe we can make this a little more green space, removing 3 to 4 parking spaces, and then relocated them for the employees. Mr. Schneider advised that he would like a little more green space.

Mr. Kennedy advised for the dimensions of the parking spaces. Mr. Ban advised they are 10’ x 20’.

Mr. Williams asked Mr. Austgen to help him with what are the schedule of uses for an Automobile Service Station per Chapter 3 (E). Mr. Williams then read from the petitioner’s application of the specific variance request, and then noted that it was approved by the BZA and the Town Council, so we don’t have to do anything on that matter. Mr. Austgen and Mr. Eberly reminded Mr. Williams that was done. Mr. Eberly reminded that they are just dealing with the three (3) developmental standards this evening.

Mr. Kennedy asked how many parking spaces they have in Valparaiso, as a comparison to the one proposed. Mr. Ban and Mr. Levin advised they do not have that information, however; that is something they can check. Mr. Kennedy asked if the parking in Valparaiso is ample for their business. Mr. Levin advised for the most part it is.

Mr. Panczuk addressed the petitioner and stated that they know that he voted no on the Special Exception, and stated he almost voted yes, but he was reluctant due to traffic factors. He further commented that he is looking at a picture of your Valparaiso store, and the blueprint is of the Highland store with the parking in front. Mr. Panczuk advised that he does not see anything that attempts to meet the U.S. 41 Overlay Standards. Mr. Panczuk further stated that he asked if they could flip the building, reconfigure, have a mirror image to the plans. Mr. Panczuk stated he is also concerned about the neighbors that they will have; and right across the street you have a funeral home, so he felt there would be a noise issue.

Mr. Williams commented that he feels that you are missing a real opportunity to give your customers who are in your waiting room a view of beautiful Bingo Lake, as opposed to U.S. 41.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Levin both stated that activity breeds activity; that is why they left it turned toward the U.S. 41 corridor. If they see a lot of traffic to a business, they will want to go to that business, the activity is the incentive. Mr. Ban reiterated that Mr. Panczuk’s request of flipping the building was not well received by Goodyear Corporate.

Mr. Panczuk commented on the noise issue of the business. Mr. Ban stated that measuring the decibel levels of shop noise are lower than the vehicle decibel noise that is generated from U.S. 41 traffic. Mr. Levin advised that his stores in Crown Point and Valparaiso are in residential areas, and in the five (5) years of their operation, there has not been one complaint about noise at either facility. Mr. Levin advised the noise is not a factor and feels that the noise from U.S. 41 itself is louder than the levels that they generate, and he feels it is not an issue.

Mr. Schneider reminded that they need overhead door access from each side of the building. Mr. Ban said that is correct; it is six (6) and four (4).

General discussion ensued with the board members and the petitioner on an East-West direction of the building to a North-South.

Mr. Eberly advised that he read the minutes of the last meeting, and asked Mr. Levin how critical it is to have a U.S. 41 “address” as opposed to a U.S. 41 “location”. Mr. Eberly advised that if they have an 85th Avenue address; which would change West-East issues to “side yards”, thus allowing more parking spaces on those side and North, possibly shifting it further to 85th Avenue. Mr. Ban commented that they have only 260’ from property line to property line.

Mr. Ban stated that regardless of how they position the building on the site, they will need variances, and most likely the same ones, whether the building runs North-South or East-West.

Mr. Austgen commented that this is a question of degree (of variances). Mr. Ban advised that is exactly right.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Levin discussed a sketch that Mr. Panczuk drew at the dais. General discussion ensued; and after lengthy interaction between the board members and the Petitioner it was decided by Mr. Levin and Mr. Ban to take the issue, with a new configuration to Goodyear Corporate.

Mr. Eberly advised that he has had discussion with Mr. Austgen about the “intent” of the Overlay District is to bring the buildings up to the front property line, and in the very same paragraph is says “but, you shall defer to the set-backs in the underlying Zoning District”; which is C-2, and that is what forces the sixty foot (60’) front yard set-back. In reiterating that portion of the Overlay District, Mr. Eberly stated that it contradicts itself.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he disagrees that it contradicts itself, that it only does it in an unusually small lot like this. Mr. Austgen stated that it seems that every petition you have before the Board, is a unique piece of property.

Mr. Ban wanted to remind the Board that anything that goes on this site, whether it is Mr. Levin’s building, or something else, they will be asking for the same things, because of the uniqueness.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the building was shifted, would it even need some of the variances. Mr. Eberly advised that Chapter C (3) (m), that is for specialty regulations, and that is specific to an Automotive Service Center; it says that “parking shall not be in other than a side or rear yard”, so again it depends on where he “addresses” the building. If he turns it East-West, and addresses it on 85th Avenue, then U.S. 41 becomes a side yard, where you can park. The frontage road becomes a side yard, where you can have parking. In addition, the North side of the building becomes a rear yard, where you are encouraged to put your parking. Mr. Eberly advised the board that the “address” determines where your setbacks are.

(General discussion ensued amongst the board members simultaneously)

Mr. Ban advised again that they would like to look into great detail what has been sketched out and see how it fits; and we will present to you an alternative once he have taken back to Goodyear Corporate. This will also give us a chance to see if the variances in our petition are intact.

Mr. Ban stated that something that we have yet to address is the minimum building size, which is 15,000 square feet, and this building will be in the 8,000 to 9,000 square foot range. Therefore, we will most likely have to file another petition and have another public hearing, and possible get done before the next meeting date. The minimum tract size according to your ordinance is two (2) acres; and our tract in its totality is 3.5 acres.

Mr. Williams asked about the bicycle/pedestrian path. Mr. Ban advised that there is a huge ditch that runs underneath U.S. 41, then to our site, runs along the front yard and then along 85th to get to Bingo Lake. Mr. Eberly advised that was already addressed at the previous meeting of not wanting bicycle / pedestrian paths along U.S. 41.

Mr. Austgen advised that this is a deferred public hearing and you can solicit public comment. Mr. Schneider advised that he would prefer to wait. Mr. Austgen re-stated that they are going to have to re-advertise, because there are items here that have not been advertised; it would be an incomplete progress. Mr. Austgen stated that you will have a public hearing, and the public will have their right, and they should have their right, but at this point you do not have a project that is “The Project”, if you will.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to defer the application of Levin Tire to a future meeting. Motion made by Mr. Williams. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

C. ALSIP NURSERY (10255 Wicker Avenue) Developmental / Technical Variances for Greenhouse Addition (Mr. Rich Christakes)

Mr. Schneider advised the next item is Alsip Nursery for a Greenhouse Addition, and called the Petitioner to the podium and directed him to please state your name and address for the record.

Mr. Rich Christakes, Co-Owner of Alsip Home and Nursery, 14967 West 145th, Cedar Lake, Indiana. The business address is 10255 Wicker Avenue in St. John, Indiana. Mr. Christakes advised if Mr. Eberly received his e-mail from this afternoon. Mr. Eberly advised no.

Mr. Eberly reminded the members that there was concern that we did not have a complete property owners list from the St. John Township Assessor’s Office, half of the list was cut off. Mr. Austgen was unable to determine whether there was proper notification. Mr. Christakes provided the corrected notice form and I was able to check that, but there are still four to five property owners for which I have not received a green card back, and I do not have any of the “white receipt cards”. If memory serves it is Nipsco, the Railroad, Hunters Run Homeowners Association, M & M Development, and Ravenswood Development Lot 7. Not at all unusual for Nipsco and the Railroad not to sign the green cards and get them back.

Mr. Austgen advised that from this listing, however, although I agree with Mr. Eberly that the substantial compliance has been met; “technical compliance” has not been met, and we will know if the mailings have occurred when we get the “white mailing slips”, and perhaps the green cards if they have gone unclaimed and they are sitting at the Post Office or wherever. Any action you take tonight should be expressly contingent upon the receipt of verification, and all actions should be subject to that by your Staff. If you do not receive the white mailing certification of at least the mailing action; then this action would be moot.

Mr. Christakes stated that he did mail to everyone on that list and he thought he turned those slips in. Mr. Williams and Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Austgen to repeat his comment on the mailing. Mr. Austgen advised that the white mailing slips; with the Post marking, verifying that mailing was made, and the green card return receipts that acknowledge receipt by the intended addressee. Mr. Eberly advised that the white slips verify that the effort was made on the part of the Petitioner to get the mailing to party. If the party never signs the green cards, it is beyond their control, but they would have returned the envelope to the Petitioner. Mr. Christakes stated that he may have some of this at his office. Mr. Austgen stated that if you do not have the white mailing slips, then this meeting and public hearing should probably not be held.

Mr. Christakes asked, if I have those can I bring them tomorrow and still be heard tonight. Mr. Austgen advised it is up the Board members. Mr. Austgen repeated that any action you take should be subject to, and expressly contingent upon, receipt of the white mailing slips from the Post Office mailing action and the green card return receipts, either claimed or unclaimed.

Mr. Eberly asked if this original petition was in November 2016 to appear before the BZA. Mr. Christakes said yes.

Mr. Eberly asked the board members if they received the summary that he prepared. He wanted to direct their attention to Item # 6, because he has seen it on other BZA petitions, and that is that we have fallen into the habit of considering in the U.S. 41 Overlay District, Public Art submittal variance. Mr. Eberly read the restrictions and in his opinion we do not require Public Art. We have one sentence that addresses Public Art in all three (3) Overlay Districts and it just says “If a development plan includes Public Art, must make sure that the public art is visually accessible from U.S. 41”, that is all it says. It does not say that it is required, but if you have it, if it is part of your plan, then it must be visually accessible from U.S. 41, so in my opinion it is not a requirement in the district in any case.

Mr. Schneider asked for Mr. Eberly and Austgen to back up and reiterate that we do not.,.,. Mr. Austgen advised no, you can conduct the public hearing, expressly contingent upon the items that we talked about. Proof that there was proper notice given. If there wasn’t, then this is an exercise in a practice.

Mr. Christakes stated that in October when he did the mailing, that he brought the white copies back to the Town Hall, I thought I might have given them to Michelle or um. I think I tried to give them to you (Michelle Haluska), and you sent me to Sue (Sue Zerante, Building & Planning Department). Mr. Christakes requested to go forward, and figure out the rest from here if that is okay with the board.

Mr. Christakes advised that there are two different plans that they are seeking approval for: the first one is the Greenhouse Expansion and the other a Landscape Supply Sales Office. Mr. Christakes reminded the board members of items discussed back in November 2015 and had a staff member distribute hard copies of computer generated drawings on possible proposals.

[Numerous discussions ensued to as the distribution of eight (8) options for the Board of Zoning Appeals to look at, ask questions and Mr. Christakes asking for the members to recommendation an Option that they prefer. It should be noted for the record that what followed was internal discussions of the Board members and Mr. Christakes with none of the “exhibits” marked or identifiable from one another].

Mr. Austgen commented that the Petitioners has put you in the position of all the different ways of how he presented his application tonight. It is not your fault (the BZA) of how he presented it.

At this time Mr. Schneider opened the floor to public comment, advising those coming to the podium to please state your name and address for the record.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I’ve watched three (3) issues here tonight. The first one was the gas station, (Mr. Williams asked if this was about Alsip Nursery) I know it was, this is a public hearing and you can’t control by speech. I am going to make my comment and my argument. You listen, that’s you job. You let these guys off the hook, because they weren’t ready, twice. Then we went to the next one and you left them off the hook, because they weren’t ready. And what they are doing is prejudicing you to do it this way or that way. Now we have a presentation of like six or eight possibilities, and the public, all of this stuff should be done ahead of time. The legal notices should be on the table. Yeah, they are there or no, they are not there. You got the green cards, yes you do or no you don’t. Okay, you can not do the engineering for these people. I have nothing against Alsip, it’s a nice place. But as I listen as a member of the public, how can you intelligently comment when there are six or eight things. Nothing is shown on the screen, everybody’s got little pieces of paper, that you are handling around. You cannot intelligently have a public hearing. You need to get this thing organized better. So that when somebody comes in, the paperwork is on public record, in the Town, where people who see the legal notice, can come and look at it ahead of the meeting. You cannot negotiate every little increment, “let’s move it here”, “let’s move it there”. So, I am not objecting to anything that Alsip’s got. I am objecting to the way you are conducting this meeting. Its not a fair hearing, if it’s a public hearing, if you haven’t done your homework. If the legal notices haven’t been certified as proper and that sort of thing. So I am not objecting to these guys; I am objecting to the way you are conducting these meetings. I think you gotta take a step back, and get organized and do it the right way. Because it is not a true public hearing when you say it is a contingent, you bring these cards in. Well, if I wanted to remonstrate against these guys. How would I ever know if they brought the cards in. You got to get your act together. That’s my comment. Thank you.

Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): In listening to the Board and their actions this evening, I would just like to say that I have been disappointed with the same thing that Mr. Hero brought up. But I have also been encouraged by your desire to follow the plans and the guidelines in the ordinances that are written up in the Town, and I appreciate that. I think it is important that we keep the 41 corridor looking, based on the research and study and the decisions that were made in the Comprehensive Plan and in the Overlay District, in order to keep businesses looking nice. I like the idea of keeping the brick look, like you were talking about on this one. Those are the things that I am looking for gentlemen; outta you guy, because it is your job to make sure all the expansion gets done in a beautiful manner, and in an orderly manner to keep this Town moving forward and keep this Town looking good. So for that I want to say thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): I’d like to echo what Gerry said and that’s basically that you guys are starting to put it together and you are starting to think about the Town. And that is what we’re here for. We are not here to criticize. We are just here to try and do what’s best for this Town. And basically you are the line of first and last defense. If you don’t cover our citizens tails, then the Town goes to hell, and nobody is responsible but you. So basically that. I’d like to ask a question of the Board. And that is simply this. Levin Tire is going to put a very large building on that property at Bingo Lake. If gentlemen have lived here for any number of years like I have. You have watched the property owner, before Levin Tire bought it per se. Filling in that property in for years and years. They have been pushing dirt in there, pushing dirt in there, pushing dirt in there. Now, are there going to be engineering samples done, to see if they are going to have to drive pilings in to put that building on. They are going to be sitting on dirt that has been there for five years, ten years, twelve or fifteen years. Is that solid enough to put a building on. And, I didn’t hear that questions come up. Now is that the engineer’s job; when it goes to the Plan Commission.

Rita Berg (10351 Joliet Street): I’ve been listening to you gentlemen and I have to agree with the speakers before me. The only thing I am concerned about is like, Bingo Lake, if there’s a heck of a good rain, is this building gonna go floating away. And, I have no objections to Levin Tire being around, because it is a different type of business than what we have. But there are other areas on the 41 corridor, like the Schilling spot right over the bridge, which would be a perfect spot for them, and they are trying to sell it. And that would be a good spot to put the Levin Tire building. So, I would like to hear some other suggestions to these people, where it is a little sounder for them to put their buildings, and make it more comfortable for the rest of us too. And keep the corridor safe, and um, well when we get around to the Circle K, I’ve got some suggestions about that too, but it’s not ready yet, so, okay thank you, that’s all.

With no further comments, Mr. Schneider closed the floor to public comment and bring it back to the board.

Mr. Christakes said he had a question for Attorney Austgen, are you saying that you got some of the white cards or none of the white cards. Mr. Eberly and Mr. Austgen stated “no white cards”. Mr. Eberly advised that the folders that he inherited had no white cards, just green cards. Mr. Christakes again stated that he was pretty sure he brought them into Mickey (Michelle Haluska), and she sent me down to Sue (Sue Zerante, Building & Planning Department). And I know I mailed them to the entire list that the Assessor provided to me.

Mr. Austgen asked to address the Chairman: We are working on the Rules of Procedure for this Board. You won’t have a draft tonight, it is nearly ready for you. We are going to address all this. You are not going to be coming to meetings and have your Staff not be able to tell you the things that we have talked about here tonight. That has gone on way too long. And the comments made by your citizens are “spot on” about this. We should not be wondering where these green cards are or where the white mailing slips are, or whether the publication is come back from the newspaper; much less with you having a Staff Report and a recommendation. It is all changing, that that is coming. Mr. Schneider thanked Mr. Austgen.

Mr. Williams stated in recognition of that fact, he would like to make a motion to defer. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion.

Mr. Austgen stated that I the white slips may be lost and you (Mr. Christakes) will be in trouble if they are. Mr. Christakes asked if he would have to do the mailing again. Mr. Austgen advised that you will have to start over, because this would have been a defective public hearing, and folks that were supposed to have been noticed would not have been, it is how it work. It is a law procedure. You can’t do anything about it to change it. That is how it works. So people have notice.

Mr. Austgen: “May I suggest that you direct the Petitioner to bring in and visit with your Staff, and bring in “exactly”; what it is that they are applying for. And identify specifically the Overlay District, variances and exceptions being sought, and the reason for same. You got a lot of nice pictures here tonight. Renderings. But you are thumbing through them up there, as it goes; it is like a card game almost”.

Mr. Schneider told Mr. Christakes that the Board is going to defer this, for him to come with “a plan”, for the building, with the elevation that we requested. And to meet with Staff and to get these variances squared away.

Mr. Eberly advised that would require further review and a meeting with the Petitioner, and it will be outlined and noted for the board members before they appear again before the board.

(Discussion ensued in regards to frontage roads, access to other tracts). Mr. Austgen commented that this is an un-subdivided parcel, when it initially developed it was not required to go through a subdivision process, for either a one or two lot. There are various parcels here that have not been combined into a unified platted development.

Mr. Austgen reiterated that if they had the application before them, they would understand why this needs to go back for a Staff meeting and more discussion.

Mr. Christakes advised that in numerous discussions with the Town Manager, Steve Kil, that they have contacted their attorney as to looking to subdivide the property and dedicate that portion that would extend Earl Drive.

Again, Mr. Williams advises that he is making a motion to defer. Mr. Panczuk again seconded the motion. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Schneider opened the floor to public comment. Hearing none, he closed the floor to public comment.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Mr. Williams made a motion to adjourn. Motion seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 9:11 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

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

02-27-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

February 27, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, President Paul Panczuk David Austgen, Town Attorney
Tom Ryan Jason Williams Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
John Kennedy    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called to order the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for February 27, 2017 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 Michelle L. Haluska, recording secretary. Members present: Ken Schneider, Tom Ryan, Paul Panczuk, John Kennedy and Jason Williams. Staff present: Mr. David Austgen, Town Attorney and Mr. Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director.

MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised that the minutes from September 28, 2015; February 22, 2016; March 28, 2016; November 28, 2016 and January 23, 2017 before the board for approval. Mr. Williams advised that he had not received these minutes and wanted time to go through some of them.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion from the Board to approve the minutes from September 28, 2015. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 abstentions.

Mr. Schneider noted that Mr. Williams advised that he has not had a chance to review these minutes for the February 22, 2016; March 28, 2016 and November 28, 2016 meeting minutes, and last month’s meeting of January 23, 2017. Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to defer the minutes until next month so that all the members have had the chance to review these.

Mr. Austgen requested that it be made in a motion so that it can go on the record as such. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to defer the aforementioned minutes. Motion seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

NEW / OLD BUSINESS:

A. SUNCREST CHRISTIAN CHURCH – Variance for Reduction in Parking Space Size (Petitioner: Mr. Ryan Marovich of DVG / Land Technologies)

Mr. Schneider advised that the first order of business is Suncrest Christian Church for reduction of parking size from 10’ x 20’ to 9’ x 20’, and asked the Petitioner to step to the podium and state your name for the record.

Mr. Ryan Marovich of DVG / Land Technologies introduced himself, and advised that he is here tonight representing Suncrest Christian Church. Mr. Marovich advised that Suncrest is asking for a variance from the standard parking size from 20’ x 10’ to 20’ x 9’. They are adding a building addition on the Northwest face of the building, and a parking addition near the East side of the existing parking lot. Mr. Marovich noted that the current parking space sizes in the existing parking lot are 9’ x 20’, so they are merely asking for a variance to match those parking spaces that currently exist. Mr. Marovich stated this way they will line up and are uniform with the existing parking spaces.

Mr. Schneider inquired if the petitioner knew why the existing spaces are 9’ x 20’. Mr. Marovich advised that he discovered this during his research and discovered their sizes and reviewed the ordinance, and as such does not know if this pre-dates a previous ordinance.

Mr. Eberly wanted to state for the record that the petitioner has met all the conditions of conducting the Public Hearing and all documents are proper and in order.

Mr. Williams asked Mr. Schneider as to the language in the “findings of fact” for this petition. Mr. Eberly gave a Findings of Fact outline for Mr. Williams review the three (3) criteria for the variance. Mr. Eberly reminded Mr. Williams that it is the Petitioner’s responsibility to convince you that their request meets those criteria.

Mr. Williams read the criteria and commented that he has been attending Suncrest Church for the last six weeks and stated in his personal opinion that those lots are extremely narrow, and felt with the type of vehicles that are being driven today that they make an unsafe situation. Mr. Williams asked if they (Suncrest Christian Church) has looked into re-painting the existing lot to slanted parking spaces that would allow for the same number of parking spaces and make the 10’ x 20’ standard.

Mr. Marovich advised that for the sake of cost that they have not looked at painting that; and that maybe at some future date, when they look at resurfacing the parking lot that may be a consideration. At this time it is requested to seek the variance and get as much parking as possible.

Mr. Williams stated that for the board members information that the church expansion is going to add an additional 250 seats to the main worship center. Mr. Williams then asked how many parking spots are being added in total. Mr. Marovich advised it is forty-seven (47).

Mr. Eberly commented that he spoke with Ryan Marovich at the staff level, and advised that if they were to have angled parking from 30˚-53˚ angled parking, they are allowed to have to 9’ x 20’ sized spaces.

Mr. Schneider asked if with the addition to the main facility, is it under, over or equal to the requirement for parking spaces. Mr. Eberly advised that they calculated that they are under-parked at this time, only by today’s standard. Mr. Eberly then stated that the forty-seven (47) spaces in and of themselves will bring the church closer to meeting today’s standards.

He further advised that he cannot speak to when the church was built or whether a variance was granted at that time for not.

Mr. Williams stated that he is not saying “no”, he just thinks they need to look at alternatives and see if there are possibilities.

Mr. Eberly referred to the ordinances in regards to the number of spaces in relation to the length of pews, which is usually the formulation. Mr. Eberly advised that it is one (1) for every two (2) seats or four feet (4’) of pews in the main worship room. Mr. Marovich advised that they are individual seats in the main worship area, such as with this meeting room here.

Mr. Kennedy inquired how many parking spaces would you lose if they just went with the 10’ x 20’. Mr. Panczuk calculated it to be approximately five (5). Mr. Marovich stated that is correct since they are abutting next to the existing row, which would then be a staggered layout.

Mr. Panczuk commented that with the bullet points that he does not see how having 10’ x 20’ parking spaces makes the property difficult to use and felt there is a safety factor with the tight spaces.

With no further questions from the board, Mr. Schneider opened the floor to Public Comment and reminded them to step to the podium and stated your name and address for the record.

Joe Hero (11723 S. Oakridge Drive): I think if you look at that three conditions, you ask yourself about safety and welfare. Have you had any incidents with the existing situation. I think you have to weigh that, um,., I don’t think any of the adjacent property owners are affected. And uh, I think the strict application of the Zoning Ordinance is going to present a hardship on the church. I, uh, a lot of the situations when you deal with a church, they have, in my opinion, more rights than a normal situation. I think you should consider granting them their variance and maybe put a condition on it. That will allow them to grow their church more, give more money and it will force an expansion. And, when they come in for the expansion, then you can consider re-striping and doing the rest. But if you look up there now, there’s a lot of cars on the sides and it looks like in the grass or something. But I think you should give them the exception and give them the variance, because I don’t think the three conditions to prohibit them are met. Thank you.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): I’ve been a member of Suncrest for seventeen years. And to my knowledge we have never had an accident, and to my knowledge never had a complaint about the size of the parking spaces. So, in that reference I believe that they should,., you should allow the 9’ spaces. Thank you.

With no further public comment, Mr. Schneider closed the floor and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Williams reiterated that he would like to see a different proposal, or see them just use 10’ x 20’ spots.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he understands that the addition is contiguous to the existing lot. I understand that the 10’ x 20’ is a very nice parking sport, but it is not unusual to have a 9’ x 20’ in other communities. So this alignment makes sense to continue the 9’ x 20’. My issue is, as you continue to grow, there’s going to be that contingency where you might have to come back, and we’re going to have to continue the 9’ x 20’. Mr. Kennedy said it was nice to hear on the public comment. I am not a parishioner at that church to hear that the last so-many years it has not been an issue, so that put me at ease a little bit. Right now it makes logical sense to me to approve the variance at this time.

Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Ryan if he had any comment. Mr. Ryan advised no. With no further comment Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to approve, deny or defer the request from Suncrest Christian Church to reduce the parking space size from 10’ x 20’ to 9’ x 20’ and please include the Findings of Facts into the motion.

Mr. Kennedy made a motion to approve the variance to reduce the size of parking from 10’ x 20’ to 9’ x 20’ based on the findings of facts. Seconded by Mr. Schneider. Motion denied 3 nays – 2 ayes.

Mr. Austgen addressed the Chairman, advising that particular motion was defeated. There is no action yet, so you need another motion regarding some action.

Mr. Williams made a motion to defer this matter to the next Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on March 27, 2017; to look at a different configuration of existing and new parking. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly advised Mr. Marovich to consult with his client to decide if they wish to come back next month.

B. SUBLIME HOMES – Variance from Side Yard Setback (Petitioner: Mike Graniczy)

Mr. Schneider advised the next agenda item is Sublime Homes with a request for a side yard variance. The petitioner was called to the podium.

Mr. Eberly advised the Chairman that all legal notifications are in order and proper form for the petitioner to proceed. Mr. Eberly also commented that this is an unusual situation in that this subdivision is zoned R-2, however, the lots are equal to or greater than R-1 zoning standards. Normally an R-2 requires only an 8’ side yard setback, but this subdivision requires a 10’ side yard setback. Mr. Eberly advised that is the reason he is here tonight, and the request concerns the West side of the lot and he is requesting to reduce the setback from 10’ to 8’. There is a second matter in that he has recently learned that St. John’s setbacks are measured to the “eaves” or the projection of the home and not to the foundation. Mr. Eberly advised that is how the Zoning Ordinance is written. One of the reasons for the variance request is a side-load garage, which requires additional room for the turning radius. Mr. Eberly wanted the Board to be aware that the variance is needed because of the “plat” and not because of the zoning of the property.

Mr. Mike Graniczy of Sublime Homes introduced himself to the board. Mr. Graniczy directed the board’s attention to the site plan as placed on the meeting room screen. Mr. Graniczy pointed to the setback locations and the side load garage, noting that it is 12’ to the property line. He noted that it is 12’ on one side and 8’ on the other.

Mr. Kennedy inquired if he has built other homes in this subdivision and have you asked for variances on those previous homes. Mr. Graniczy advised that he has built several homes, but has only asked for a variance on this one. Mr. Graniczy advised that then they found the side yard difference from the R-1 / R-2, he then approached the Homeowners Association back in March of last year and has received written approval from that board. He is now just taking it to the next step to get approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Kennedy asked about the square footage of the home. Mr. Graniczy advised it is 4,700 square feet of living space.

Mr. Graniczy asked if the board was given the HOA approval letter that he submitted to the staff through e-mail. Mr. Eberly advised that he does not have it in the file. Mr. Graniczy asked Mr. Schneider if he could vouch for the approval letter from the HOA, since he was a member of the HOA. Mr. Schneider advised that he was on that HOA board and they did vote and grant the variance, at least through the HOA for the two feet. [from audience: who voted on it?]. Mr. Schneider advised that the HOA members did. Mr. Williams stated that HOA does not apply to Town Code. Mr. Eberly advised that is correct, and that is not needed to render your decision.

With no further questions from the board, Mr. Schneider opened the floor to public comment.

Jeff Kost (9400 West 90th Lane): I have a brief statement to read please. After reviewing the details regarding the variance that’s been requested for the planned construction at 9375 West 90th Lane, my wife and I have concluded that this variance will directly and negatively affect our quality of life as residents of Willow Ridge, Phase Two. The restriction of a ten-foot side setback was purposely written into the plan of Phase Two, with the intention of providing all of its residents with the benefit of generously spaced lots, with attractive site lines. Since the builder has built other houses in the subdivision in the last twelve months, it is highly unlikely that he was unaware of the 10’ side yard setback. If the builder was not aware of the restrictions, the design was for this property was flawed from the start. If however the builder was aware of the 10’ restriction, it indicates that the builder intentionally designed a house that was too big for the lot at 9375. Regardless, it is unreasonable for the builder to expect “us” to agree to variance, which is not in our best interest. Some controversies have developed over liberties taken by the builder, with two recently completed houses built on lots in Phase Two. Unfortunately, the fallout from Sublime’s actions is unlikely to be resolved. Therefore, for the good of the current residents and I the interests of the value, appearance and character of the neighborhood, the builder should now follow the standards set for all of the homeowners. Which brings us back to the two foot variance and how it will affect us personally. The variance will reduce and limit the view of a pond, which is a common area. We and other homeowners on our side of 90th Lane contribute to its insurance and upkeep costs. But unlike the homeowners directly sided on the pond, we are denied access and use. Despite this fact, we much continue to pay for this common area. All because it is considered an esthetic, from which we benefit from virtue of its view. In addition, the utility boxes that are between the properties in this variance. If this variance is allowed. Our view of this common area, for which we will pay a yearly fee, and rightfully expect to benefit, will be substantially reduced, if not completely eliminated. The ten foot side setback was included to protect all of our homes values. Consequently allowing the variance will negatively effect home values on the North side of 90th Lane, but causing their overall appeal to be somewhat less when compared to other homes in Phase Two. We believe that asking for this variance is unnecessary and unfair. It should be incumbent on the builder to enhance the appearance and character of our neighborhood, and to build a house that fits this generously sized 100’ wide lot. We deserve to have the elements of the original 2004 plat of survey respected and preserved. So in the interest of maintaining the appearance of Willow Ridge, as well as for our continued good-will among its neighbors, we oppose this variance and ask the Board to reject it. Thank you for allowing me this time, and if the board would like a copy of this,., my statement I will be happy to provide to them.

Mr. Austgen advised the board that they should accept it, and make it part of the record.

Steve Blessing (representing Guy and Denise Blessing of 9345 West 90th Lane): Unfortunately, Guy was out of the country on business this evening, so he asked me to step in and address any questions that you might have had on the detailed document that he submitted to Board, earlier last week, outlining some of his concerns related to the variance proposed next to his property. In summary, and I thought that was an excellent presentation by the way; but, in summary the primary objection that we have relates to the fact that the variance as it is requested does not meet all the requirements documented in the current development zoning ordinance. Specifically, as noted in the document that Guy presented, in Chapter 18 Section B Subsection C, quote: “ the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. That is simply not the case here, as pointed out, there are a lot of homeowners in this room that have built properties,., homes on those property sizes, all across the subdivision. Knowing full well that the ten-foot setback was in place. They are beautiful homes. There is absolutely no contingency there why you would have to build a bigger home for that lot. There’s also a concern, I think that is an open-ended question, as we did the research related to the side-load garage that runs adjacent to his property. That the drop-off that really doesn’t show in this plat of survey, but the drop off going into the lake is significant. So that, that is actually retaining wall required for that, is most likely going to require footings that are attached to the home. And if you look at, I believe it is um,., “Exhibit H” of his document, there is a reference to what an attachment is in the zoning. I couldn’t find it in St. John’s documentation, but isn’t an attachment, footing tied to the home considered an attachment. If so, the setback would revert back to ten feet and not the three feet that they are proposing. At any rate, in terms of the valuation side of the equation, you know, in Subsection B, which could adversely affect the value of the property. Obviously when you’re three feet off of the property line and your four feet up in the air, in terms of the retaining wall, snow removal, drainage, all becomes a major issue for that property.

So there are some open-ended questions there, but I believe the bottom line is, Subsection C of the ordinance kind of flatly states that, you know, find a home that’s gonna fit on the lot, unless you can’t do that, then we’ll provide the variance. That’s why the variance objection is in place. So, that being said, I think, those are our objections to it and if you have any questions, I hope everyone had a chance to review the documentation. If you have questions I am open to take them.

Mr. Austgen suggested that Mr. Schneider make the remonstrance made by Mr. and Mrs. Blessing part of the record, that it seems to be a logical time for it in terms of sequence. Mr. Schneider stated yes, that the Board received a remonstrance from Guy and Denise Blessing. Basically stating a bunch of facts that even surprised some of us on some side yard setbacks, and brought up many other concerns. Some there, are part of the Board’s duty to address tonight, and others are, I think, need further examination. It depends on how this variance goes in regards to this retaining wall and some things like that. I think that elevations and things like that are beyond this board’s responsibilities, but it probably should be looked at. Otherwise, I would like to take Guy and Denise Blessing’s remonstrance and make it part of the record of the meeting.

Mr. Austgen requested that the Recording Secretary incorporate verbatim the remonstrance made.

Joan Mcinerney (9405 West 90th Lane): So, I am to the West side of this property. When I moved into Willow Ridge a year and a half ago, I moved in because of the way the neighborhood looked. Lots of spacing between the homes and very esthetically pleasing. I invested in this neighborhood because of what it looks like. And to have a house, you know, coming closer to me than the variance, is disconcerting and I think it degrades the value of home as you have heard other residents talk about. I think that the builder is well aware of what the allowances are in the subdivision. And, they need to find a house that fits appropriately on that lot. So this is not the first issue that we have had with Sublime, and wanting to do various variances within the other variances within the subdivision. So, um, I think we have rules and guidelines within the subdivision to keep it looking nice and that is what I think is appropriate in this case.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I have been a resident over forty years in St. John. We have always, to my knowledge, had the ten foot side yard restriction. If you, the guy on the right has got ten, the guy on the left has got ten, that’s twenty. If you grant one variance, then you have to treat everybody else the same. So you lose four feet of space between houses. That is something I’m sure the developers would love, can then they can reduce the size of their lots. I disagree with our talented building and planning guy. Just because other communities choose to allow houses to be closer together, that is not a reason to change our ordinance that’s been that way, for my knowledge, forty years. What it does is it creates a wider side lot. And if you look,., you don’t know which way the eaves are gonna go. If, if there’s drainage or overflow in the gutters, there’s less land to absorb any rain water. So, if you set a precedent, you will set a precedent for every person in this town that wants to cut the side lots. You cannot let one guy ruin the ordinance for this while town. You have to have backbone and stand behind out ordinance.

It’s there for a purpose to spread the houses apart further, to allow more drainage and a better quality of life. I think the items for the variance would not be met. It affects the health, safety and welfare of the community. It affects everybody’s property value in the community. Because once you set a precedent for one guy, you gotta treat everybody the same. And that will destroy the character of this whole community and upset everybody’s property values in this community. This is not about one guy. This is about all the houses in St. John. Thank you very much, I ask you to reject and deny the variance for the three specified reasons can’t be met.

Mark Trivunovic (9430 West 90th Lane): A little bit across the street from where the lot we’re talking about. And I agree with what the gentleman said right before me said, perfectly. If I could reiterate everything he said I would. But no need for it, you have heard it all. So, basically I would also implore you all to reject it, because there is a lot of reasons that have been set forth before me, so I’ll leave it at that and hope you guys vote in the right direction.

David Lessentine (9470 West 90th Lane): I am opposed to it. Same issue, I live in the subdivision, I was one of the first people to in there. It’s kinda getting ridiculous with what’s going on. I mean he has already been allowed to put a house on an angle, which shouldn’t had been allowed by anyone. It didn’t look good. It doesn’t look appealing. I bought this lot because of the size of the lot. I want to enjoy my lot. I want to enjoy the view. And that’s it, thanks.

Mr. Eberly advised he appreciates Mr. Hero’s comments, because it made me think about the way I said and what I said; and I am certainly not opposed to the ten-foot side yard setbacks. I think it makes more sense to measure to the “foundation”, so if you want to keep that ten-foot distance, then let’s make the side yard setbacks twelve feet (12’), so that the overhangs. So, that it is ten-foot from the overhangs to the property line. Mr. Eberly clarified that this would be a more consistent way to measure is to the foundation, so if we need to make an adjustment in what the side yard setbacks are in order to maintain at least a ten-foot setback, from whatever projection of the home to the property line, no problem with that. St. John has had this standard when I was here in 1989, so I can tell you that 28 years ago that was the standard. St. John has always been known as a large lot community. That has always been it character, and I have no problem with that distance, I just think it is more consistent to measure to the foundation and I would like to find a way to do that.

Mr. Kennedy had a question concerning one of the public comments in regards to side yards. Mr. Kennedy was looking at an aerial view on his tablet and it appeared that there were some houses that were closer together than the overall subdivision development. Discussion ensued as to spacing and specific widths of the lots in the area.

[Discussion ensued amongst the audience members – and Mr. Schneider advised that it was not open to public discussion].

Mr. Panczuk stated that he did not know if it is relevant in this case; however, if you look at Indiana Code 36-7-4-928.5, line three, the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties and the use of the property “the one that the petitioner has”, this is our measuring stick, and I don’t know if we should be using other properties as a measuring stick, just as the legal definition of what we are supposed to be doing, and that’s not part of it.

Steve Blessing (again): Just want to add one additional point, and Paul, I fully support that, I think that was really the base justification of the document that my brother wrote in regards to the variance. The other piece of note I think it was brought up earlier in the meeting, in terms of uniformity, and I think that has been a common denominator. A lot of the commentary is that everybody has been uniform in that subdivision. And including, in this document, our plans for this home had to be re-drawn because of the eaves issue. So, we actually at our own cost, had to go back and re-draw the plans to push that setback, back to ten feet. So, when we talk about uniformity, and I’m not in disagreement, believe me that maybe you should rethink the way that’s done in the future. But, for this particular setback issue, and for this particular subdivision, everything is already built. And all we are really all we are looking for is uniformity coming out of it.

Mr. Schneider made it official that the public comment portion of the agenda item is closed, and asked the petitioner to come back to the podium.

Mr. Graniczy pointed out to the board that the side with the twelve-foot side yard setback, no matter what happens, that meets the requirements, so we are just talking about the side with the eight-foot.

Mr. Williams asked Mr. Eberly if he found anything in regards to the retaining wall. Mr. Eberly responded that Mr. Graniczy does not show a dimension there for a retaining wall. The retaining wall is part of the driveway and that has to be at least 3’ off of that property line to the East. Mr. Eberly advised that he would be held to that standard minimum to the retaining wall. Mr. Graniczy advised that would only be a landscape wall, landscaper built.

Mr. Graniczy further stated that it may not be necessary to even have a retaining wall as there are other side load garages on the water. The one home is a couple of houses West of this being proposed. Mr. Graniczy also commented that as far as home values, that the price on this one is one million dollars, so I don’t see a factor of it hurting anyone’s home value.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion a motion to approve, deny or defer the side yard setback variance requested by Sublime Homes, and please incorporate the findings of facts. Mr. Eberly clarified that due to the one-foot eave, this would be for a seven-foot setback if you were to approve it.

Mr. Ryan mad a motion to deny the variance request at 9375 West 90th Lane, referencing the findings of facts into the motion, and note that the conditions to grant the variance were not met. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion to deny passed 4 ayes – 1 nay (K. Schneider).

C. ALSIP NURSERY (10255 Wicker Avenue) Developmental / Technical Variances for Greenhouse Addition (Mr. Rich Christakes)

Mr. Schneider advised the next item is Alsip Nursery for a Greenhouse Addition, and called the Petitioner to the podium and directed him to please state your name and address for the record.

Mr. Rich Christakes, Co-Owner of Alsip Home and Nursery, 14967 West 145th Avenue, Cedar Lake, Indiana. The business address is 10255 Wicker Avenue in St. John, Indiana.

Mr. Eberly addressed the Chairman and advised that all items are in order for this petitioner to proceed with the public hearing.

Mr. Eberly advised that there are a number of variances before you to consider.

Mr. Christakes advised that they are here for the third time and he is aware that they have discussed the two issues with the Greenhouse Addition that is the same look, style and manufacturer of the existing greenhouses. Mr. Eberly was asked to place that rendition on the meeting room screen.

Mr. Austgen asked Chairman Schneider if there is a list of exactly what has been applied for. Mr. Eberly advised that a summary has been prepared for the Board and is distributed.

Mr. Christakes advised they would start with the Landscape Supply Center, since that was already being shown on the screen. Mr. Christakes advised that this is the proposed landscape supply center; a pole-barn style building which is 40’ x 88’. At the initial meeting we had it at across the drive that is on the North side of the property. There is an existing ‘check-out”, we call it the bulk shed landscape supply, it is literally like a green shed that you would purchase at Menards.

Mr. Christakes advised that they are looking to upgrade to a nicer building with a Design and Sales Office, along with some storage area. The variance that we are seeking is to do this because of the zoning that we are in currently. To meet the requirements we have moved it to a location that is behind an 8’ tall PVC fence with extensive landscaping. We have also prepared a lighting plan, as requested by the BZA at an earlier meeting.

Mr. Christakes advised they have some with specific options as proposed to last month when they threw approximately eight options out to the Board members.

Mr. Christakes advised that they are now proposing a brick veneer on the West facing side and a wainscot on the South facing side of this building. Mr. Christakes advised that this is meeting the recommendations from the BZA at the January meeting.

Mr. Panczuk asked on which side the propane tank is located. Mr. Christakes advised that is on the West side of the building, and is existing currently. Mr. Christakes pointed point to the members for clarification that the locations on the development plat has not changed.

Mr. Eberly advised that it would be a good time to focus on this building because there are six (6) variance requests in front of you. Mr. Eberly stated that Item 1 does not apply to this building, as this building meets the minimum three materials that are required, and Item 1 will only apply to the greenhouses. Mr. Eberly further advised that the remainder of the variances apply to the entire property.

Mr. Schneider asked about Item 4 regarding the frontage road setback. Mr. Eberly advised that although it was advertised for this petition, that that only applies to principal buildings and therefore does not have to be considered at all for this petition as what they are proposing are “accessory buildings”.

Mr. Christakes advised that he might defer to Mr. Travis Mayham, also with Alsip Nursery, as he prepared all of the images. Mr. Schneider questioned the area above the first roof-line on the West side of the structure for the material. Mr. Christakes advised that is siding. Mr. Eberly advised that is why there is a variance request in order to meet the requirement in the Overlay District that it should be entirely brick, and it was discussed at the previous meeting about some relief of that requirement.

General discussion ensued in regards to several proposals that were submitted at the prior meeting. Mr. Panczuk commented that he believed that was the problem previously with the Petitioner submitting too many options that ended as being a convoluted mess, and now he is presenting the one (1) layout as requested. Mr. Williams agreed.

Mr. Panczuk asked about the siding material that is shown. Mr. Christakes advised that it is tin. Mr. Panczuk advised that he did recall that he prefers that the West and South of this structure being brick.

Mr. Williams inquired as to the issue with providing access to individual tracts. Mr. Eberly advised that any property owner, when developing property is supposed to provide access from their parcel to an adjacent parcel. Mr. Eberly reminded them that Earl Drive to the point of their property is a private drive, in order to extend that to the South would have to go right through their building. Mr. Eberly pointed out that Earl Drive is a connecting component to numerous properties and business to the North.

General discussion ensued about the previous meeting in regards to all brick or partial brick. Mr. Eberly pointed out that as members of the Board of Zoning Appeals; you have the ability to attach conditions to any approval that you may grant. If you choose to grant this variance, you can make a condition upon a certain percentage of brick, or wainscoting of brick across the front, which is your decision to apply that condition.

Mr. Schneider commented that he would prefer to see brick on the West and South portion that would be the office, and then wainscoting to three to four feet between the bay doors. Mr. Eberly asked that if that is the direction that the board desires that they are specific in their conditions, as it will need to be reflected before issuing a building permit.

With no further questions from the board, Mr. Schneider opened the floor to public comment. Mr. Schneider reminded the audience that they must come to the podium, state your name, and address clearly for the record.

Eric Schneider (9190 West 106th): I am here on behalf of myself and also due to the fact that I am the Town Liaison for the St. John Chamber of Commerce. The fact that I have been sitting there thinking, and I can’t really think of too many other businesses in the Town of St. John that generates more tax revenue for everything in this Town, from areas outside of this town. I mean obviously Strack’s does a great job, Aldi does a great job, but most of that is “in town” business. Where Alsip draws from everywhere in Northwest Indiana and in Illinois. The fact that you guys are nitpicking and Jason, I understand that you are right, this isn’t Lake Central. But at the same time, you set a precedent with Lake Central by allowing them to have a variance. And to do what they wanted with an ugly pole barn building. So, why are you going to nitpick a business that is actually making money for the town, to support infrastructure and everything else, then nothing else is going to do. These are the things that need to be taken into consideration when you guys are looking at these variances, and what has to be taken. I understand we want to keep a,., keep it looking nice. There is nothing that Alsip has ever done that is,., half-way done. And you guys aren’t going to allow it. So,.,., busting his chops over,., brick fifteen feet in the air which is obviously a safety concern because you would basically have to build the whole exterior wall out of brick and then build on to that. And then basically make it an addition and almost two separate buildings to do it safely. It’s just not cost effective, nor does it need to be. It’s set off the road so far back. It might as well be in the industrial complex, which is where you guys are allowing for a lot less brick and a lot less everything, for,., um,., Bill Keith’s building, and for all the buildings that are back there where my warehouse is. Just something to think about when takeng these petitions on and lookin’ at ‘em, because it does make a difference, and, and, these are the businesses that are bringing money to the town. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I would ask this question, and ,., maybe our professional engineer here can answer the question. Uh, once you’re building commercial here, do you need a certified professional engineer to approve all the drawings for this, since the public has access to this parking lot. My other concern is simply this, I see,., I don’t know if that’s a ,., and I’ll ask this question, I think Alsip’s a terrific business, so I am not criticizing them in any way. I only look at the safety issue of having the propane tank next to the building. Uh, there must be some regulations on where you put a big propane tank like that. And the other question is this; there is a little cubicle thing there that,., is that like a transformer. In that box. And I looked at whatever the retaining wall is around the propane tank,., um,., I know that drawing may not show it, but I think you have to separate that propane tank away from a building where you have people like that. Uh, I think that,., that you know,., I got no problem with Alsip and them trying to improve things. But I think the standards, you know, it’s a commercial building, you got a propane tank there,., next to a building, I think you have to address the safety issues for that. Uh, then,., I have no objections to the building itself. You guys decide that. That your purview. But I raise the safety issue of the propane thank being next to a building like that. And if that is in fact a transformer there, that thing gets hit and pushed into the propane tank, that could be an ignition point. I just raise that issue.

Karl Madsen (11347 Valley Drive): Just actually a couple of questions, uh, thank you Mr. Eberly for the site plan. And I think it was instructive tonight, is the only change from last month, the uh,., the movement,., the proposed movement of the pole barn from the South end of the lot, just rotated a few feet over onto the North side.

Mr. Eberly advised that at the last month’s meeting, that building was where it is shown now. I believe Mr. Christakes was referring to a previous exhibit that might have been from back in November of last year.

Karl Madsen (continued): Got it, okay, so that plan, even though it’s a little different from the site plan. Alright, that’s good. And no other building movement since then, right?,., the plans are as I received it. And then, I think one question that I was asked to propose,., present to the Board, is um, the question about lighting. I know we spent some time talking about lighting at another issue, another time, but uh,., some of the people have asked me whether or not that lighting variance that was in the original notice,., if that’s been satisfied, changed, granted, because we don’t have that lighting variance notice as part of the current one.

Mr. Eberly advised that there is no lighting variance being requested with this submittal. Mr. Schneider stated he believed that lighting is approved by the Plan Commission, regarding photo metrics and other issues. Mr. Eberly advised that would be done under the Site Plan review of a development, and if there was a need for a variance it would come back to the BZA, however at this point I have no information that there is a need for a variance.

Karl Madsen (continued): General parking lot lighting then Mr. Chairman is,.,

Mr. Schneider and Mr. Eberly advised that the lighting involved is just on the building and is what they call “wall pack” that shines directly down and not out. Mr. Eberly advised that there is no new parking lot lighting proposed.

Gerry Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I agree with all the things that Mr. Schneider said about Alsip Nursery, and how wonderful they are for this town. But I am going to um,., ask you to require this addition to meet the standards required in the Overlay for 41 when it comes to exterior. Whether its stone or brick, or whatever, this is a retail location, and I would like to see that the guidelines that have been laid out for the town are maintained. Um, I know this could be an additional expense, um,., and I’m unfortunate for that, but I believe we do need to stay with,., with the ordinances as much as possible. Thank you.

With no further comment from the public, Mr. Schneider closed the floor and brought the matter back to the board, and asked the petitioner to please step back up to the podium.

Mr. Christakes commented that in response to Mr. Hero’s question as to whether it is a transformer; it is not. It is a housing for a scale to weigh the propane tanks as they are filled, and it keeps the connections and is the way to actually fill the tanks so that it keeps it out of the elements.

Mr. Panczuk passed a drawing around to the other board members showing the building with full brick on the South and West exposure, so just visualize brick around the door and above that roof. I brought that drawing in from last month because we were talking about it. Mr. Williams asked the petitioner of they can have the lower building complete brick, and then 4’ wainscot on the garage.

General discussion ensued amongst the board members and the petitioner on the brick issue. Mr. Christakes stated they came back with one (1) plan, which they believe is consistent with what the board members stated they wanted to see. Mr. Schneider commented that they have two (2) separate matter before them with numerous variances; one being called the “Contractor Building” and the other being the greenhouses. Mr. Eberly advised he has outlined in his handout the various variance items that have to be addressed, and suggested that they do one structure at a time to clarify for the record what is being voted on. Discussion noted that the Greenhouse Addition is East, and a continuation of the existing seven (7) 40’ wide, and this would be one more 40’ wide and again going eastward. Mr. Eberly clarified that variance Item 2 – 5 and 6 really only apply to the property and nothing to do with the buildings, or the way the building are built.

Mr. Schneider asked about the propane tank that was brought up in public comment. Mr. Christakes advised that it that is not up to code, they are willing to relocate the propane tank and stated that is not that difficult to accomplish, only needing an electrician to move a line. Mr. Eberly advised that it will be looked at the State Plan Review, as well as our Building Commissioner at the time when the permit request is submitted.

Mr. Eberly suggested that they address the Contractor Building first, as if he understands the board in their discussions of what they want. What will be called the “office portion” of the building, the entire West side and South side will be bricked; wainscoting to a height of four feet (4’) along the garage doors and the remainder can be the steel siding that is being proposed. Mr. Austgen advised that wording would be a good motion; therefore the board would be looking for a motion to that effect or similar.

Mr. Eberly advised that variances Item 2 and 3 apply to both buildings. They are not going to meet the requirement of eight (8) building corners on either buildings. Variances Item 5 and 6 apply to the property in general.

Mr. Schneider advised that they are going to go on the Greenhouse Addition first, and entertained motions in the following order:

· Variance Item 1: Three Exterior Building Materials, per Chapter 8 K.2.

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to grant the variance from Three Exterior Building Materials on the Greenhouses; and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Kennedy seconded motion. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

· Variance Item 2: Minimum Building Corners, per Chapter 8 K.3.

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to grant the variance from Minimum Building Corners on the Greenhouses; and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Kennedy seconded motion. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

· Variance Item 3: Exterior Building Materials, per Chapter 10 Section A & B

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to grant the variance from Exterior Building Materials on the Greenhouses; and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Kennedy seconded motion. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

· Variance Item 5: Bicycle and Pedestrian Access, per Chapter 8.4 M

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to grant the variance from Bicycle and Pedestrian Access on the Greenhouses and Contractor Building; and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Ryan seconded motion. Motion carried 4 ayes – 1 nay (J. Kennedy)

· Variance Item 6: Access to Individual Tracts, per Chapter 8.4 N

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to grant the variance from Access to Individual Tracts on the Greenhouses and Contractor Building; and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Kennedy seconded motion. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider advised that they are going to go on the Contractor Building, and entertained motions in the following order:

· Variance Item 2: Minimum Building Corners, per Chapter 8 K.3.

Mr. Williams made a motion to grant the variance from Minimum Building Corners on the Landscape Contractor Building; and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Panczuk seconded motion. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

· Variance Item 3: Exterior Building Materials, per Chapter 10 Section A & B.

Mr. Williams made a motion to grant the variance from Exterior Building Materials on the Landscape Contractor Building, with the conditions of:

• Full Brick on the West and South facing sections of Landscape Contractor Building;
• Four feet (4’) high wainscoting of the South side the “garage” portion of Landscape Contractor Building;
• In addition, the West-facing portion of the roof line to roof line of the Landscape Contractor Building does not have to be brick; and referencing the Findings of Fact into the motion. Mr. Panczuk seconded motion. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Christakes thanked the board members for their patience.

[Mr. Schneider declared a short break in the meeting, advising they will reconvene in five or ten minutes].

D. CIRCLE K (9300 Wicker Avenue) - Developmental / Technical and Special Exception Variances (Mr. Jim Wieser)

Mr. Schneider advised the next item of business is Circle K Convenience Store with Fuel / Oil. Mr. Schneider wanted everyone in attendance to be aware that the Board is looking at nine (9) variances on this item this evening. Mr. Schneider asked the petitioner to come forward to the podium.

Mr. Eberly wanted Mr. Schneider to be aware, first, that the legal notices and the proofs of publication are in order for the public hearing to proceed this evening. Mr. Eberly further advised that the outline that was distributed to the board members, wherein there are a couple of the variances that were applied for, advertised and noticed, that he does not feel that the Petitioner actually needs. Mr. Eberly pointed to the “Electronic Message Board” variance, is not a flashing or scrolling message board and is only an electronic lit sign showing gas prices, and therefore his interpretation is that variance is not applicable.

Further, Mr. Eberly stated that the “Canopy Setback” variance, they were advised to apply for that in the beginning as well, and that is not applicable, as it already meets or exceeds the requirement.

Next, and he will be looking to Mr. Austgen to counsel on this matter, and that would be the “Lot Size” variance. Mr. Austgen, Mr. Muenich and myself had a chance to discuss this, however in my opinion it is a very confusing section of our Overlay District, where we require a lot size to be initially two (2) acres. However, if a lot legally existed as a platted parcel prior to the adoption of this Overlay District, and it is a legal non-conforming lot, it then acquires land around it to get closer to the two (2) acres minimum than it started out as. In this case, it is 4/10ths of an acre parcel that was originally platted. Then from that time it bought property from the bank and is winding up at around 1.4 acres (+/-), so the dilemma is to determine whether that satisfies getting closer to the two (2) acres and, as a result, would not require a “Lot Size” variance. Mr. Eberly then deferred to Town Attorney David Austgen for more specifics on the matter.

Mr. Austgen stated that it was a very good explanation, but you need to look at Section 8.4 – E.3(c). Mr. Austgen advised that is the “catch all phrase” that the undersized parcel or lot may be used for any purpose, or any use permitted in the U.S. 41 District, provided that, and then the subsection (c); portion of that section is, all other requirements applicable to the U.S. 41 District can be met. Well that is what all the other items are, that are before you and have been advertised and are subject to petition review, by you, in this public hearing. I have also just explained them to Jim (Weiser), cause this to be in our opinion, necessary for consideration as an application item.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Austgen to clarify, that if all the other items that they are requesting were approved, then would “Lot Size” be a variance they would have to seek. Mr. Austgen stated it would not, if they meet their requirements as they make their submission tonight, and you determine, or they are granted variances that cause them to be permitted, for those aspects of the project development, then they do not need a variance for the undersized lot.

Mr. Eberly stated that to summarize again, Items 3 and 4, they don’t need variances for. Item 5, will depend on whether they are granted the other variances that they are seeking. However, Item 1 is the Special Exception; they must request a special exception to be able to conduct this use in your Overlay District. In addition, they would have to seek that same Special Exception if it were just the C-2 Zoning District, which is the underlying zoning district. The “Special Exception” I know that you understand as something you make a recommendation to the Town Council about. And your options are, under the law for Favorable, Unfavorable or No Recommendation, and with conditions if you deem appropriate. The Town Council would then take that up at some subsequent meeting and decide that matter within ninety (90) days.

Mr. Kennedy asked Attorney Austgen, what happened to the variances, do they stay with the lot, if the Council does not agree with the “Special Exception”, or is the variances contingent on this project specifically. Mr. Austgen advised it would be subject to this project specifically and my recommendation would be for you is to make any approvals; variances, developmental variances, subject to the approval of the “Special Exception”, so that is not a blanket approval for someone other than Mr. Weiser’s client.

Mr. Weiser introduced himself to the board members. Mr. Weiser advised that he is an attorney with offices in Schererville, Indiana and he represents the applicant here. Although the proposed fuel station is Circle K, and the parent company is Circle K, there is a LLC that was formed and that’s whose name the petition is made and the notices. That is Mac’s Convenience Store, LLC., but you will hear me referring to Circle K. If I might, we just have some drawings that Mr. Don Silver, who is assisting me, whereas you and the public can see them.

Mr. Schneider directed the petitioner to the dais ledge and advised that they could be flipped over, once reviewed by the board, they can then be viewed by the public in attendance.

Mr. Weiser stated for the purposes of the public right now, there are six (6) renderings in all. Three (3) show the proposed exterior of the building and three (3) show the proposed interior of the building, as it will be operated.

Mr. Weiser stated he wished to begin with a quick broad overview so that you are aware of what we are talking about since this is our first opportunity to make a formal presentation. Circle K is a corporation that owns and operates in the United States, about 8,000 different units and locations throughout the United States. They are a very strong company financially. And they discovered within the last year or so that Northwest Indiana and the Midwest is an area where they would like to, if possible move into. They would provide a quality service here that they provide elsewhere in the country. So, they have selected at this time, the Southeast corner of the intersection of 93rd and U.S. 41. Let me say just a few things in general so that you have the scope and the magnitude of this project. The investment in the project, not including the land acquisition, will be approximately four million dollars. It will employ approximately 12 to 15 full-time people. And although we cannot be completely accurate about the tabulations, I did take time to go the Lake County Auditor’s Office, and based upon the information that I provided them regarding the nature and scope of the construction, they did a rough calculation that the annual real estate tax to be generate from that site will be about $66,000.00. So, in a nutshell that is just the overview.

Mr. Weiser stated that one of the reasons that we wanted to provide those renderings that you see now, was to give you a good example of the type of facility that is operated by Circle K. It is a facility that really lends itself and puts itself out to the public as being customer-friendly, providing them a convenience, but also a “specialized convenience”. They make specialized food and is a very clean operation. In terms of this particular project, Circle K does not generate traffic, it is the beneficiary of traffic, and that is why this location seemed so appropriate.

We started out by telling you about the variances that we needed and we will go into those in detail shortly. However, if you consider that fact that there are a number of variances; but just in the Landscape Ordinance, we will need fifteen (15) variances from that ordinance, so we are actually looking for you to approve over twenty (20) variances in all. Maybe the community can look into that for the future in regards to its Overlay District and ordinance, and its requirements of landscape in a Commercial area along a U.S. highway. However, it is the ordinance and we need to comply or we need to obtain the variance, so that is why we are here.

Mr. Weiser advised that in discussions with Mr. Austgen, we agreed or understood that the information that I will present to you relative to the Special Exception and our compliance, what we believe to be our compliance with the statutory requirements, will be the last item I present to you. However, it is my understanding that we can do this all at one (1) time, is that correct. Mr. Austgen advised that is his recommendation.

Mr. Weiser advised that the first variance that we need is the “Off Site Sign” requirements. We have provided to you, that simply is just a directional sign, and the only reason we are seeking this variance is that it is not located on our property. It is located on an “easement” in our favor with the Bank.

Technically, it is located on the bank’s property, but they have provided and we have entered into a recorded easement agreement, where they permit that sign. Were our property extend, we would not even be seeking this variance.

[Mr. Eberly apologized to the board members and public for the orientation of the meeting room screen, display of renderings].

Mr. Weiser advised the display is Option 3, located to the southern part of our property, and North of the Bank, just to direct folks into station and that is the appropriate and proper place to go. In all other respects, it meets your requirements of the ordinance; it is just simply needs the variance because it is technically off-site, even though we have an easement for the purpose of placing it there.

Mr. Weiser commented that as Mr. Eberly stated earlier we do not need that variance for the “Electronic Messaging Board” or the “Canopy Setback” variance; and so we go to the “Lot Size” variance. Mr. Austgen and I were speaking before we started our public hearing about that issue. The parcel of property that is available there for development is 1.4 acres, and your Overlay Ordinance requires a minimum of two (2) acres, unless it is a previously recorded lot and it meets three requirements. Well, we have a previously recorded lot, that meets two of the three requirements, but it does not meet the third, which is the overall “catch all phrase”, which states in all other respects we have to comply. Therefore, if you make the determination that in all of the other respects that we comply, then we do not need this. Due to this, that is why we have submitted our request for that this evening. The size of the land, and the size of the property is sufficient for our purposes, and meets from our perspective, all of the requirements that we feel that we need to satisfy in all safety and traffic requirements. Mr. Weiser advised that he will be providing a packet from INDOT regarding the specific topic.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Weiser about the owner of the undersized lot, either owning or having some sort of future ownership at the effective date of the variance, and asked if they have the agreement with the bank. Mr. Weiser advised that they do have that agreement with the Bank to purchase the property, subject to certain contingencies and due diligence requirements in which we are now engaged.

Mr. Weiser advised the next variance request is the “Building Size” requirement. This is kind of an interesting one in terms of an attorney that does a lot of planning and zoning. Your Overlay District requires that no building, and that is no building from 85th Avenue to Route 231, can be constructed on U.S. 41 that is less than 15,000 square feet. I am assuming there is a reason for that, however that would preclude about 90% of most small business and businesses that would tend to locate in an area like that, including us, however that is your requirement. Our building is 4,970 square feet, and therefore needs that variance. Mr. Weiser advised that he knows that the Overlay District Ordinance has only been in existence since 2009, and can only assume that all businesses were developed and constructed prior to that time, because only with an exception or two, they certainly do not meet that requirement.

We feel that when you offer a business that provides the kind of service and convenience to the residents of the community that we can provide, and notes he has yet to see a Fuel Center anywhere around here that is 15,000 square feet or remotely close. All seem to be on an average of 4,000 to 5,000 square feet. The fact of the matter is that requirement alone would preclude literally the development of that corner forever. Whoever develops that corner, unless that Overlay District is amended or repealed, however given the dictates of the Overlay District Ordinance “any” use there would have to meet that requirement, and as you can see there is no way that you can put a 15,000 square foot building and ever hope to meet all of the setback, parking and all the other requirements, it is absolutely an impossibility.

We believe that the business that we want to locate there should be granted that variance, because it is a logical granting of a variance because it is a requirement that creates a hardship. The ordinance itself creates that hardship, for anybody to meet that 15,000 minimum square feet.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the 4,900 square feet is in relation to a typical prototype of a Circle K. Mr. Don Silver advised that they have three (3) standards that they go by. We have a 5,881 square foot building; a 4,900 square foot building; and a 3,818 square foot building. Mr. Kennedy then confirmed that this is the middle size of these buildings.

Mr. Weiser then stated, as you also heard with Alsip, we have the “Bicycle and Pedestrian Access’ variance. It is not that we would not cooperate and want to try to do something; it would just be a bicycle/pedestrian access to nowhere.

Mr. Weiser then commented on the “Landscaping” variances, just so you are aware, the landscape variances he wants to identify. This is Section F of the Landscaping Ordinance. We would need a variance from: F.4, F.5, Section 1, 1.2, Section O, under the Overlay District, landscaping requirements, Section O.1, and some subsections, each individual subsection (a) and (c), Section O.2, subsection (a), (b) and (e); O.3, subsection (a) and (b); O.7 and under the Parking Lot requirements for landscaping, under P.1, we have subsection (a), (b); and then under P.2, the parking lot interior requirements for the landscaping, and it’s not that we don’t want provide it.

Mr. Weiser asked Mr. Eberly to display the Landscape Plan rendering on the meeting room screen. Mr. Eberly said that he does, but it is at such a small scale that he does not know if anyone would be able to see. Mr. Eberly advised that he has been provided with a two-page list on the landscaping variance from Mr. Weiser.

Mr. Weiser handed out hard copy materials to the board members for review. Mr. Austgen and Mr. Weiser clarified that it is the same document provided to Mr. Eberly but enlarged for better viewing.

Mr. Weiser advised that finally, as is noted they are providing in the front of building parking spaces, thus they will be seeking a variance from the “Front Yard Parking” of Chapter 11 C.3(m).

Mr. Weiser noted that it is usually standard for parking in the front and it would be a disservice for the parking to only to allowed in the rear and on the side, and that you cannot really park in the rear because that is used for the traffic flow.

As you know there are certain ordinance and statutory requirements that we need to satisfy regarding these variances, as they appear before you. Mr. Weiser handed additional hard copy material to the board members.

Mr. Eberly advised that for the edification of the board members, “Special Exception” criteria are developed by the community. The criteria for the “Developmental Standards” variances and for “Use” variance are developed in State law, but State law provides that special exception criteria can be developed by the community and we have developed our own seven (7) criteria that you and the Town Council judge the petitioner’s request.

Mr. Eberly wanted it noted that concerning the “bicycle / pedestrian” variance is concerned, there is a public sidewalk along both sides of the property. That particular requirement though would require them putting a pathway “through” a development, and as you know the public sidewalk is not specifically on the property, it is in the public right-of-way, so I believe it is a technicality.

Mr. Weiser directed the board members attention to the materials provided is in regards to the Special Exception, and that the law in Indiana is clear that if we meet those requirements, then the special exception should be granted, and that is “if we meet the requirements”, it is not a discretionary act, it is a mandatory act and an act of compliance. What I have provided to you for identification purposes is an opinion from Vale Appraisal Group (Jeff Vale, MAI – one of the few MAI’s in Northwest Indiana), and we contracted with him to analyze the site and to provide an opinion to you. The property is in a C-2 District, the property to the North is C-2, East is C-2, South is C-2 and the West property where the church is located appears to be a R-2 District. If you look at the opinion of Mr. Vale, and this is evidence that we are submitting. The summary states that our development does not in any way present any issue that would be detrimental to the public health, safety or morals.

In conjunction with that, I direct your attention to an e-mail that came from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) because we met with them, due to the significance of activity that we have undertook. We met with INDOT because they have control and jurisdiction over U.S. 41 and presented our plan to them in a meeting in Laporte District, wherein they reviewed the plan. It was determined from a safety and soundness perspective, and a traffic flow perspective, that they requested that we have a median placed in U.S. 41 that would extend down South of our property to equally protect those business as well. Circle K has agreed, at their expense of approximately $150,000.00 to have that median placed in U.S. 41 for safety purposes and for the better flow of traffic, and in compliance with INDOT requirements.

Further, when we came before the Plan Commission at study sessions, initially we had two (2) entrances off of 93rd Avenue, and we eliminated the entrance that was closest to U.S. 41 and we moved the East entrance to the farthest as would be appropriate, but still protecting the right-of-way to Nina’s Salon, so that it would not cause a difficulty for that business as well. This would provide for a much smoother flow of traffic.

Those were the off-site improvements, and of course we will provide an “excel / decel” lane on 93rd as well, to assist with the traffic movement and the traffic flow.

As far as the interior goes; I want to point out that we are in compliance with the canopy and the structure that supports the canopy will be in brick and decorative. My client advises that they receive two (2) deliveries of fuel per week. There are two fuel tanks that are placed inside the ground, one is a 20,000 gallon tank that holds regular fuel and gets filled to 90% of capacity. The other tank is holds a combination of 6,000 gallons of premium gas and 12,000 gallons of diesel gas. Those tanks are properly encapsulated and placed in accordance to the requirements of the appropriate regulating agencies. The maximum number of deliveries of fuel would be two (2) in one week, and there may only be a rare occasion where it would require three (3), but unlikely, and sometimes only requiring one (1) depending on sales and sales volumes. So now, we are talking about the movement of a semi-truck loaded with fuel at the most twice a week. We have made a wider access point off of U.S. 41, it is 40’ wide to accommodate the trucks that would primarily come from the South. Then we have provided for an interior traffic flow that would allow those trucks the appropriate radius for them to maneuver around without safety hazard to traffic or the public.

Mr. Weiser advised that they feel they have satisfied the first requirement and for purposes of the record and identify the remainder of the packet that was submitted. I submitted several letters of support from businesses in the community. My recollection is from G & K Development, Schoop’s Hamburgers, Alkon Consulting, saying that in their opinion as business members of this community that they have no objection, nor do they see this as a problem and welcome this business into the community.

Mr. Weiser went through the individual criteria of the “Special Exception”, and noted as previously stated that they have satisfied all of the local criteria in documentation. Mr. Weiser stated that the last criteria, in the event that there was some time limitation that would be imposed, to be clear the operation of Circle K is a twenty-four (24) hour operation, and that is consistent with all of the operations that they have all over the country for which they have had no reported difficulties or problems. We wish to point out that it will be a business which is within 120’ of your Public Safety Facility that is very visible from the road and business, and thus would act as a deterrent.

Mr. Weiser noted personally, that all that this community has of this nature that is available is all the way down to 133rd Avenue, South in Cedar Lake; so it is our belief that it is a service that needed by this community, beneficial, and also complies with those requirements that would permit and direct you to approve the special exception. Mr. Weiser directed the board attention to the renderings that were supplied and noted that they are accurate in that is what the facility will look like and the quality services that they will provide. Circle K has internally, inspectors that come in to check for cleanliness and “mystery shoppers” that come in as part of the program to check if there is compliance with their standards, in regards to food quality and overall cleanliness of the facility. Mr. Weiser advised there is a protocol for that. Mr. Weiser advised that they are ready to answer any questions of the board and the public.

Mr. Schneider asked the board members if they have any questions for the petitioner. Mr. Kennedy asked about the raised curbing, for which Mr. Eberly advised that they have a layout that shows the dimensions where they have addressed that.

Mr. Weiser addressed Mr. Schneider with one final point, as there seems to be some consternation in regards to 93rd Avenue. Because of the requirement of INDOT that the median be put in, it will be physically impossible for a truck to come out on 93rd and go South, and INDOT’s thinking in that regard is that they want them to use the traffic signal. From their perspective, the only non-typical car or SUV traffic that would be generate would be one to a maximum of two trucks a week, so in a seven day span having to pull out onto 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Schneider advised that he is going to open the floor to public comment. Mr. Schneider advised that there is a lot of confusion and stated that he would like the comments directed to what is in front of this board, and not items that are part of the Plan Commission process. Mr. Austgen and Mr. Schneider discussed the bleed-over of comments, and the relevancy of factors that the board has to consider.

With that being said, Mr. Schneider opened the floor to public comment and reminded those wishing to speak to come to the podium and please state your name and address for the record.

Erik Schneider (11130 West 93rd Avenue): He is from Hometown Appliance, also going to be speaking on behalf of a being part of the Chamber of Commerce, a former board member and the Town Liaison appointed by our current President. Um, just gonna jump around here a little bit because, uh, obviously there’s so much that is on this. Um, you know, obviously we’re all concerned, um, Mr. Weiser, from what I also understand is uh,., at the January Chamber meeting you kinda presented this to the Chamber and I am going to “assume” that that is where a lot of your information, or your support from local businesses came from. Uh, however after talking to people and actually explaining what I have witnessed in the Plan Commission meetings and everything else. Um, it seems as though there’s a, uh there’s two sides to every story, uh, the rainbows and butterflies that were presented at the ,., at the chamber meeting isn’t, isn’t the whole truth. Um, you know, and if you think that this business will not generate more traffic to an already over, over populated area, then Mr. Weiser, I don’t ,., I don’t know what you and your client are thinking. Uh,., the fact that you’ve kinda insulted, uh, not only the Town, but this board, uh, because of saying that it’s inconvenient for you and your client to have to get so many variances, is a perfect example why maybe you should look for a new location. The Overlay District in this Town is set for a reason, to , to protect us, who live here. And to protect the integrity of what is, what is asked and what the look. Obviously there’s, every month, there’s people coming up looking for variances for, for little things here and there. But when, from what I understand, your business is, for the most part prohibited from being in the Overlay District,., it just seems that,., I don’t even understand why this has gone this far. Um, in reference to Mr. Kennedy’s question when he asked you about if the potential land purchase is already in place,., um, first thing that came to my mind was,., you know,., that’s great that you guys have talked about it, but is there anything documented especially since Standard Bank who was,., the owner, is now been bought by First Midwest,., have those conversations been opened up to the new owners of the bank and the building and everything that, that takes part in that. As far as your safety,.,uh,., you made reference that a,., you know,., you guys will have no impact on our safety. Uh, the added traffic in fact does propose a safety health issue, for not only the public, as well as it does the Town of St. John first responders. And if anyone has any questions about that, please come see me at my store any Friday between 3 and 6, and watch how the police and the fire department try to get through, 93rd and 41 safely without,., injuring themselves or the public because of the congestion that is at that corner. I mean this is just the stuff that, you know,., we have to take into consideration and I’m hoping that the BZA takes into consideration, I know a lot of this also has to do with the Plan Commission and everybody else. And the Town Council, but,., you guys are the ones who inevitably protect the Overlay District,., and uh,., you know,., I think that’s the most important part of this. You have so many criteria set in that, and, they’re not even coming close to being able to fulfill even half of the requirements. Thank you.

Mr. Schneider commented that he should have mentioned earlier that there is a Town Ordinance, where there is a three minute limit on your comment. Mr. Austgen noted that you should allow the public hearing to continue, and that is a public comment at the commencement of public meetings, so that it does not apply for a public hearing of this nature. Mr. Williams thanked Mr. Austgen for the clarification.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): Gentlemen, I’ve handed you a poll that was placed online, on a website called the “Nextdoor”. (Mr. Schneider asked him to state his name and address for the record). Um, the St. John residents were registered on this website by home address, meaning one residence, um,., one sign in. It’s 2,503 residents of St. John, that’s over a third of the population. Uh, these households get one address per one vote, and what you’re seeing in front of you is a vote that they have put in, 267 votes of which 82% or 219 are a negative for putting Circle K on the corner of 93rd and 41. The people,., if you look below you see, it says there’s over 101 comments. Basically,., these comments take into consideration traffic, taking peoples concern about safety. Take in peoples concern about a lot of issues. And as you can see,., if we had the time we could read the comments made by the residents on the poll expressing their opinions,., about the proposed gas station on this site. Please let me highlight a few of important points of concern. Number 1, traffic in and out and around the station. Traffic in and out and around 93rd and 41 is currently a nightmare, especially during rush hours in the morning and evening. People normally fuel up on their way to work and on their way home from work. We’re looking at what it is like to have traffic coming in and out of the station onto 93rd and 41 that will cause drivers to take risks to get back into the traffic flow, especially coming out to onto 93rd and trying to turn left to go and get on 41 at the traffic light. You put in a left turn lane, the Town put in a “no left turn” lane on Patterson, by Walgreens to go North, so you can’t go East on 93rd. And I’ll bet you that I see at least 1 if not 2 people every week without fail, turning left there, and jamming their cars into traffic across lanes just so they can short check the corner. Now you can imagine what they’re gonna do when the traffic’s lined up the way back to Town Hall, trying to come out of that gas station and go back to 41, they’re gonna try and turn left and they’re gonna block traffic right in front of,., of, of the, the store that’s there now. So therefore they’re gonna have people causing dangerous situations and its gonna be dangerous for everybody whose is driving in and around that area. Um, the concrete divide required by the Indiana DOT southbound on Route 41 will also be a safety concern, especially in inclimate weather, for snow and rain. You’re also gonna have people trying to figure out if it’s not the kind of divide that we think of as just a bump in the road, you’re gonna have people trying to drive over that as well. We all know from seeing people drive every day that it’s gonna be a problem. Um, 93rd and 41 is the busiest corner in St. John. The soon to be proposed ten-year Comprehensive Plan shows the Town Center is going to be constructed one to two blocks south of this proposed gas station. We do not believe that a gas station should be the central focus of our busiest corner and an anchor for what is going to be our future Town Center. We have a Go-Lo station on the adjacent corner, so a Circle K is not going to add any new concept of business to the corner. Just add a second gas station. We do not feel this corner is the appropriate site for this station, but we welcome Circle K to consider any site further south down Route 41 before 231, closer to 109th. We could talk more about the reasons why this site for Circle K is not a good idea, but I believe we’ve made our points. Seriously traffic and safety concerns, increased accidents, congestion; not to mention the gas tankers that will be coming and going out of that station. We do not feel a gas station should be on the busiest main corner in St. John. It will be a block from our very attractive Town Hall and police and fire department. And, as was raised a few minutes ago, the emergency equipment getting out of there during rush hour, between 3 and 6 o’clock at night, is gonna be unbelievably bad,., bad idea. The soon to be proposed Town Center in the ten-year Comprehensive Plan being a couple blocks south, we don’t think we need that as the central hub in our,., uh district, in our Overlay District. It’s not an attractive addition to the plan. We welcome Checker to build anywhere else south on Route 41 in St. John, but not on this specific corner on 93rd and 41. Thank you.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): Gentlemen, I also have petitions. I’ve got 37 signatures on a petition. Um, I also have a statement from Gretchen Sutherland that asked me if I would turn this in so I will pass along to the Chairman when I’m completed here. Gentlemen, we depend on you and this board, I’m gonna try to keep my comments as brief as possible. Um,., but, but you’re in charge of the zoning ordinances, and I understand that you can make exceptions and authorizations to change things. But, I’m here to remonstrate against the request of Circle K. I have nothing against Circle K. I’ve nothing against their fine business, I use them as I travel around the country. But, I don’t believe it is the proper location for this business. I don’t think the need for this gas station is sufficient to make the exceptions for this prime location of this property. Um,., if we look at, I don’t think Circle K has met the three main requirements of Indiana Code 36- so on and so forth,., that was stated earlier as well, as the requirements for,., for St. John. As I look at the 2006 Thoroughfare Plan, that intersection grew from 5,000 vehicles a day in 2004, to 9,700 vehicles in 2015. And is anticipated to double in the next ten years. Then you add the quick stop traffic at this service station “quickie mart”, and this is a disaster in the making. Um, this building project will also likely effect any widening of 93rd in the future. I look at the Indiana citizen’s planner guide for the BZA. You’re allowed to make some variances, but they can also permanently or potentially detail the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan and this location and this business and in this location is not part of the Town’s plan. I don’t think the petitioner has shown, to meet the developmental standards required. Number 1, I think every vehicle wishing to go south on 90..um,., south on 41 is going to have a challenge. This is already a busy intersection. It’s backed up and trying to cross traffic in that busy tr,.,and while it is already busy, will back up traffic even further. That, that will affect the Public Safety Building. Which would affect the ability for our emergency vehicles, police and fire, to get past that bottleneck to 41, this is not safe. This will also affect the accessibility in to other businesses that need 93rd. Um, east 93rd for entrance to their businesses, and the difficulties with deliveries to the station by trucks other than tankers will,., will probably duplicate those issues as well, there’s not sufficient space, um,., for maneuverability,., actually I’m sorry,., I re,., re,., I pull that back. It does not matter if it is a hair salon or if it is a rental income from property. If the traffic in or out of that business is affected, so is that property will be affected and so will that property owner. And as traffic backs up on 93rd, there will be businesses that are going to be affected. And as I look for practical difficulties I believe there are many other types of business that could use that corner. So that corner property will remain the prime corner in the Town of St. John. And since it is not currently owned by Circle K they won’t sss,., suffer any significant financial hardships. Does not fit in the Town’s overlay plan, and I don’t think that,., and I don’t believe that Circle K has shown that they meet all the requirements. So I ask you to um,., vote against this application. Thank you.

Mr. Austgen asked Chairman Schneider to read the name and address of the written remonstrance submitted by Mr. Swets for another person, into the record. Mr. Schneider read: Ms. Gretchen Sutherland, 10075 Spring Lake Road, St. John. Mr. Austgen asked that it be put in the record verbatim please.

Gretchen Sutherland (10075 Springlake Road): January 23, 2017. Dear BZA Members, I am unable to attend the BZA meeting this evening due to a work obligation. I am writing to express my opposition to the building of a Circle K Gas Station at the corner of 93rd and Wicker Avenue. I am not opposed to a Circle K being built in the town of St. John; I am simply opposed to the location. My concern is based primarily on safety. The section of Wicker Avenue running south through to Alsip Nursery has many safety issues. There is a high volume of traffic, including many semi-trucks with inadequate center turn lanes. There is also a number of places where cars are turn across traffic creating many accidents and near misses. This is largely a concern at Wicker Avenue and Joliet but continues down passed Dairy Queen to Rascal’s and again at the shopping area south of Target and toward Alsip Nursery. My other safety concern stems from the inadequate distance to exit the proposed gas station to drive North or South on Wicker Avenue. I believe that cars attempting to access Wicker Avenue from 93rd will cause a delay in Emergency Services coming from the Police and Fire Station located to the East of the proposed gas station. Others will go south of the proposed station and attempt to exit North or South onto Wicker from the bank or Dunkin Donuts. Cars that attempt to exit south from those location only increase the safety concern at the intersection of Joliet and Wicker Avenue. Please keep the residents of St. John and all who visit safe by not allowing a variance and preventing the gas station from being built at the corner of 93rd and Wicker Avenue. Thank you for your consideration! Respectfully //s// Gretchen Sutherland, Resident, Town of St. John

Nina Dimer (11123 West 93rd Avenue): Hi, I’m Nina of Nina’s Salon. And I am just coming out of my skin. I am very concerned about the traffic as everybody else is. I watch the fire trucks trying to get through that intersection, and it’s a nightmare. And I wish we had a solution to make it better. I’m sorry that, you know, this is a beautiful building, the plans are great. But my little business is not going to survive. I am not going to make it with the in and out, my parking and um,., I’m really concerned. So,., thank you for listening to me, and I just hope we can work something out to where they can maybe be in another location. There’s plenty of places in St. John. Um,.,, south of our corner that maybe it could benefit us, so, thank you.

Vince Casboni (9679 White Oak Avenue): Former firefighter for the Town of St. John with 29 years of service. As a firefighter you people don’t know what I had to do, plus my two other brothers, and the firefighters of this Town of St. John to try and get across 93rd and 41. Today I came back from Chicago, down Indianapolis Boulevard. And I counted all the gas stations we have. There is quite a few of ‘em. Those nobody that has two gas stations on the corner, believe it or not. The first one coming in off of 80/94. You have one here which is, um, a Pilot which is in Hammond. Highland has one which is uh,., Family Express. Highland has Meier’s. Uh, you have Schererville, uh, which is at 30 and 41. 77th and 41,.um,., 77th and Indianapolis, you have a Speedway. I forgot the Shell that’s in Schererville. You have Speedway, which is by Bingo Lake. You have Lo-Go which is at 93rd and 41 and the last one’s at 133rd and Indianapolis Boulevard in Cedar Lake. Those are just one gas station on one corner. Why does St. John have to have two. I’m not arguing about the company. We just don’t need the gas station, two of ‘em right across from each other. Talking about, um, parking, if I recall a month ago, you people turned down Levin Tire because they had parking in the front of their store. I’m lookin’ at that building, is there going in the front of that store? Yes or no. Okay. You have two entrances, one coming in off of 41 and one either coming in or going out on 93rd. Last week I came in from Crown Point. The back up was at the railroad tracks at 93rd and 41. As a firefighter what’s gonna happen when they have to come out. The other issue I have is you people just ordered an $8,000 engine. It gonna have a thousand gallons of water. You better make sure you could have that engine plus an ambulance sitting at that corner at 93rd and 41. Thank you.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): Um, as we all know, 93rd and 41 is our main intersection of the Town. It’s the main East – West thoroughfare. You have to go down to 231 to go east and west. Uh, you have to go up to 77th to go east and west. Um, I think that we should have uh, that main intersection, as large as possible, as, uh,., with uh,., 30’ uh,., lanes on each side of the intersection for turn lanes. Um, you could put a median on 41 for a gas station, but for the residents that are in, uh,., for the residents in the, the uh, traffic on Joliet, we’ve asked and asked for a stop light there, and to no avail. But yet you can put a,., in for a filling station you can put a median in the,., and a turn lane. Um,.,I,., again you were concerned about cars parked on 41 for the tire store, this,., that you’re having uh,., cars parked and gas pumps. So, what’s the uh,., and you know, with Suncrest Christian Church, you wouldn’t give a little variance on one foot for a parking space but you’re giving these people 8 variances. Is it because they pay,., that there’s more property taxes involved than a church? Um, I’m gonna go back to my 1,500 member church and tell them what has gone on here, and uh,., you know, if you vote for this you voted for the gas station but you voted against every resident of St. John. Thank you.

Robert Godoy (9575 Renaissance Lane): Specific to the 3 exemptions, the building size variance,., I think it’s real cut and dry their really asking for a lot even though the nature of the business is a smaller business, uh, to cut that size down by a third is asking a lot of the variance. As goes for the parking as was previously stated, Levin was denied the same type of request due to the nature of their business, for the same thing. Um, a third and most important, I believe is a landscaping, pushing that landscaping that far out’s gonna cause a problem on 93rd traffic. Exiting, there’s currently,., there’s a turn on red, you can turn and go northbound on 41 from 93rd. That type of a variance and landscaping is gonna cause you to not be able see oncoming traffic going at the speed that their going and its gonna cause more accidents. And that’s all I have.

Mr. Eberly announced for clarification that it has been said several times that Levin Tire has been turned down for something. Levin Tire hasn’t been turned down for anything yet, they are revising a site plan and coming back before the BZA. There has not been a decision rendered on Levin.

Marilyn Peto (9430 Hilltop Drive): I’m against it and I’ll tell you why. Traffic on 93rd is horrendous. I live one block from 93rd. I can’t make a left hand turn. During work hours it’s impossible. It takes me five – ten minutes to make a right hand turn. You wanna put a gas station with the exit on 93rd. When I come home down 93rd heading West, there are always 5 or 6 cars, sometimes 7. How is a big truck gonna come out. And if he does, he’s gonna cross 93rd on both lanes. This is an accident waiting to happen. I’m against it. Thank you.

Bill Merna (9361 Hilltop Drive): You look at it southbound goin’ into that gas station. What is stopping cars and trucks from exiting that same route. Coming back out onto 41. Nothin’. Same way, when you send a,., a truck driver, if he said I’ll come from the south, I’ve been in truckin’ all my life. Half these guys don’t know where the hell their goin’. When they come down 41 comin’ from Whiting, hit 93rd they make that left turn, now their gonna try to swing in that gas station from 93rd, here you gotta car comin’ out that gas station. Bang!, there you go. You’re gonna have a hell ov’a wreck. So. We don’t need this gas station there. He needs to go down the street somewhere, where that old K-Mart is, knock that damn thing down. Put ‘em ov’a there, all kinds a room. Thank you very much.

Joan Parducci (9278 Patterson Street): I do recall when Walgreen wanted to put a 24 hour store there, how much fighting there was. Because we don’t want anything 24 hours. Your shopping centers are not 24 hours, so why should we have a gas station in our sweet little town supposedly, that’s going to be open 24 hours a day. We don’t need it. Another thing is, that turn off of Patterson,., the number of trucks,., I mean anybody’s truck, that turns to the right instead of the left, is,., I mean, I so more every day, all day long. And theres,., it’s happening all the time. And it gonna happen there too. And they, they don’t follow the rules. And when they cross that somebody is gonna get hurt. Thank you.

Rita Berg (10351 Joliet Street): I have just one other thing to bring to your attention. We do have a school across the street from where they are talking about putting this gas station in, and that concerns me because of the school buses trying to get in and out now, have to round around several blocks to cap the proper ways to get into the school and get back out the back end. And we should take into consideration the amount of children that we have in that area too, because we’ve had enough kids hurt in St. John. Thank you.

Bob Huizinga (11050 West 93rd Avenue): I could walk there. Um, I just,., I agree with what’s been spoken. The gas station, uh,., Circle K, should be moved south. Um, it’s a parking lot. At rush hour. Tryin’ to get in and out of that house and uh,., probably most of yous are aware of the traffic situation we got goin’ here. And uh,., I don’t,., I wouldn’t appreciate to have a lit-up business, 24-7, where I could see it out my front window. Ya know,., I bought into this cause, it was a quaint community. You know, I don’t want this thing turned into a New York City. They need ta,. ta move the businesses. Cause there’s several houses that are close. You know,., that’s all I’m asking that you consider. The people that have these houses here, are close to the businesses, and just don’t throw us to the curb. Cause it’s already brutal with the traffic trying to get in and out of here. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): First of all, I would like to ask if Mr. Weiser presented into evidence this contract with the bank where he has control over that property. You all know that you cannot change the zoning of somebody else’s property, or change those restrictions. I didn’t see him place that into evidence. Do you have that contract in your file? [Mr. Eberly: I do not]. Okay. Do you have in your file a power of attorney for Mr. Weiser to represent the bank, Schoop’s and the other people that were mention? [Mr. Eberly: No sir.]. Okay. Right now where is,., the biggest traffic congestion is 93rd and 41, the second biggest one is Joliet Street. Like Mr. Casboni, I was a fireman many years ago, and if you’re coming through the intersection of 93rd and 41, it’s a nightmare. With the expansion in this town, 93rd is not wide enough to handle the flow now. With this station here, it’s gonna less able to handle that flow. So what you’re gonna do is injure those people that need an ambulance,., they need a fire truck,., need an emergency vehicle,., who are on the other side of town, coming from the fire station down 93rd. So that goes against the health, safety and welfare of the people in town. You heard Rita Berg, who lost a child on 41, about the school busses, okay. My daughter get hit at Joliet when she was a teenager because of the traffic. You are increasing the hazards to the children town. Any school busses and the public safety and welfare. You do not need a paid consultant to say that property values will be diminished. People will not want to come to a town that you can’t drive through, and you can’t get the emergency services you need. You know when you need an ambulance, if you have a heart attack, or somethin’,., you got 4 to 6 minutes,., to get resuscitated, if you’re still alive. And, what that will do if you can’t get through that intersection, you can’t get the emergency service,., you’re gonna kill people. That’s what’s gonna happen,., if you allow the congestion to increase. Now, let’s talk about the,., first item on the list,., depend on what list you got,., special exceptions. There is no way you should grant a special exception. You look at the 1.39 acres, that this thing has,., it is almost a half an acre short of the requirement. Once you tear down that old bank building, all of the pre-existing, non-conforming conditions lapse. You’ve now created a new piece of property. Once the bank gives rights to the other property, you got a brand new lot. All those old non-conforming uses that may be grand-fathered, they lapse. So you have to then, go back,., and,., and get a 2 acre site for that. Your ordinance requires 15,000 square foot building on a 2 acre site. Now, that is conceivable if you have some low traffic business there, maybe some law offices or something like that. But right now, you put a gas station there,., you,., there’s no reason to give the special exception. You look at the Indiana Code, those 7 points,., okay. The first one is endangers the public health, safety and welfare and comfort and morals of the community. These types of gas stations,., how much crime do you have in the middle of the night? How many stickups? Is there somebody in the audience that’s worked at one of these gas stations? They become targets. We don’t need targets. This is gonna impede the normal traffic,., and orderly development of the town. Whose gonna want to come to a town where your fire services, your emergency services,., are not available to ‘em when they need ‘em, in time,., instantly, or within a few minutes. So that’s gonna effect the development of the town. We talk about adequate utilities. We talk about storm water drainage. You heard Mr. Weiser say it’s gonna migrate down to some pond near the park. What is the storm water,., from a filling station,., is it pure rainwater,., is it oil spills from drippings from cars,., is it gasoline drippings imbedded in the concrete,., when activated by water that flows. Do you want that in the pond by the park. No, that’s,., that’s a nuisance creator in my mine. And you look at the exit and entrance on 41. There is no way that you can go south out of there and,.,over,., because of the blockage of Joliet. If you come,., go south, in the evening,., the cars are lined up all the way from 93rd to Joliet, sometimes. That blocks that 93rd intersection and 41. But because people are waiting to make a turn, do you think you can,., put more traffic into that frontage road,., in front of the bank,., and Schoop’s,., and get on to 41 without causing more accidents. No, you can’t. This is not,., rocket scientist stuff. There’s an old saying “you can put lipstick on a pig,., but it’s still a pig”. Now, these are reputable businessmen, reputable attorneys,., so I’m not criticizing them. But the project,., you can paint all the lipstick you want on this project, but it’s still a bad project. That’s my point. So, the special exception should not be granted. The lot size issue. I disagree, with how that’s represented. Different people can disagree and still respect the other person. My point is simply this. They way you read that, lot size thing,., if you use the word close or closer,., that would mean that if you add a tenth,., a one-hundredth of an acre to the 1.39,., that would read 1.40. It would be ridiculous to interpret that wording to mean that you’re getting closer to the 2 acres. If you look at the last sentence in there, it is not conflicting, it tells you the way it is. You need to,., same setback as all the other businesses on 41. You need all the same setback of what’s on 93rd. And if you do that,., this thing won’t fit. So you need the 2 acres,., you can’t read that,., to say differently. I’d also like to reiterate everything that was said here tonight in my remonstrance against this thing. I haven’t heard anybody come up here tonight and say they love this. And what does it take,., common sense. What common sense be the judge in this case. You drive down 93rd. You drive down 41. I want you to imagine,., what this is gonna do to the traffic congestion,., what its gonna do fire services,., what its gonna do to increase hazardous,., conditions for the school busses,., and more than that,., consider you own homes. When you need those emergency services, and if you live on the west side of town, west of the fire station,., you’re family, yourself, and everybody else has a less expectation of getting those emergency services. So for all of those reasons, I ask that you reject the petitioner’s,., request here tonight. Thank you.

Judith Naylon (9904 Hickory Lane): I am absolutely amazed that we’re even having this discussion here tonight. Because this is such a colossally bad idea. Any business that comes in and has to request 20 variances to qualify to build is certainly in opposition to the design of the Town of St. John. I agree with all of the comments that have been made today against this project. And I resent Mr. W’s comments that the Town of St. John needs and wants this service station. That absolutely do not. Thank you.

Nick Georgiou (9412 Jack Drive): I was one of those people who wrote a letter in support of this project. I have my business at the corner of Joliet and 41. I’ve been witness to all the comments that are made, and uh,., relative to also seen the growth in this town that should be promoted. Uh,., it should also be noted that I was personally involved,., the Overlay District creates some significant restrictions on any development, uh, unless you have a very large parcel, which there are very few of ‘em along Route 41. I was personally involved with McDonald’s and the Eenigenburg projects, which all required multiple,., multiple exemptions from BZA in order to make those projects happen. Uh, Levin Tire is also one of the other, which I believe is a favorable project, which also is seeking multiple exemptions. I guess the town would have to ask itself, does the Overlay District benefit what they are trying to achieve. And in the zoning plan and the Comp Plan, Route 41 is the commercial district. So I think people have to embrace that, look at what’s going to do to bring new business to the town, and particularly all up and down 41. I’ve heard significant comments about traffic, believe me I know what it is trying to get out of 41 and Joliet, and cut through the side streets, and avoid that. Those are issues for the Town, not necessarily to the developer whose proposing to do this project. I think some of the comments made are valid, but they are not applicable to the variances, or the exceptions, that are being requested for the Circle K gas station. I think in order to promote growth in this town, I think Circle K should be looked at, and should be looked at very hard, but I think it could also promoted and it would be a welcome addition to the town. Thanks.

Sue Furtek (10015 Springlake Road): Um,., I’m not closed to the idea of having a nice gas station like this. But it needs to be further to the south, it really does. But no one has brought up, and I noticed this last Friday,., I ran a quick errand to Go-Lo, and it was,., there was a train. No one’s brought up the trains. That train was backed up half-way through the old dental building. And I mean from where that entrance is,., I mean,., no one would be moving in and out of that gas station, period. And I just wanted to bring up the fact that ,., no one has mentioned the trains. And it is a nightmare between 3 and 6. You can’t even get through there. So, I ,.,uh,., I like the idea. I think it looks great. But it just,., I think the area is just too small for something of this size. And that’s it.

Mr. Eberly asked the Chairman to make a point, because a couple of people have made the point about why we are even hearing this tonight. I just want folks to know that the Town cannot prevent someone from coming to the town and seeking a variance, or seeking a re-zoning, or whatever it is. We can’t say “we don’t want you here” don’t come before us, the law provides they have the right the ask. So, I would hope that you don’t assume that just because we’re having this meeting, this is a forgone conclusion, and the petitioner’s is going to get what their asking for. This body “has to hear” the petitions that come before it. We can not say “you can’t come here”. We couldn’t say this if you wanted it. The side yard variance that was before us early in the evening. I can’t tell that gentleman he can’t come before us and seek that variance. He has the right to seek the variance or to seek a re-zoning. So please, there has been some anger I think taken out on this board, and it is unfair, because they “have to hear it”, they have no choice. I would hope that you understand that.

Mr. Schneider stated that there were comments made on lights at Joliet Street, and things of that nature. That isn’t even in the Town’s jurisdiction. That is in the Indiana Department of Transportation, and they have numerous times that they have rejected that light there. It may be a problem, however, it is not in our authority to resolve.

Ronna Reznick (9971 Wisteria Lane): And I just agree with pretty much what everyone said tonight, um,., I tried to make a left out of um,., that particular spot tonight, on just a normal,., a normal day, and had a hard time doin’ it, so I can’t imagine doin’ it with all the extra,., added by the gas station, so,., I just agreed with everyone else. Thank you

Bill Merna (9361 Hilltop Drive): You know, it ain’t that the people are fightin’, you know,, Circle K,., its just where its gonna be located. If there’s a bigger area where they,., you’d move ‘em into. People would be glad to use ‘em and everything else. It’s just where that location is. So hopefully, you know,., they could stay in the town,., and maybe move further south. And everybody would be glad to use ‘em. Thank you very much.

With no further comment from the floor, Mr. Schneider closed the floor to public comment and brought the matter back to the board. Mr. Schneider offered the petitioner to come back to the podium.

Mr. Weiser wanted to make a personal comment. Mr. Snyder got up first and said that I had insulted the Board, and if I did that I certainly apologize. That is not my style and that is not what I do. What I said, and he clearly misunderstood what I said. What I said was “not that the Overlay District was a joke, or was not appropriate”. What I said was “as it related to the 15,000 square foot minimum building, it was really a stretch”, I was speaking specifically to that one issue of the Overlay District. I would not want that someone would say that I insulted a Board that I have to appear before, any more than if I were in Court and someone told me I insulted a judge. Because that is how you act and that is how I act, and we always do it respectfully.

Mr. Weiser stated that obviously the comments made, and he respects the opinions of those in attendance. They are legitimate opinions, every one of them. There was not one that in his opinion was mean-spirited, they have legitimate concerns, and I appreciate that. But their concerns and their opinions are just that, concerns and opinions. They are not evidence. They’re not facts. They are their opinions and they are entitled to them. Still, it is our opinion that the traffic at 93rd and 41 is there. It is there whether Circle K is there or whether Circle K is not there. People have spoken to, they have all talked about how it backs up, the trains, how it backs up, the potential impact it may have on emergency vehicles. Mr. Weiser pointed out that the traffic exists now. It is not something that they will exacerbate; again, we are the beneficiaries of traffic and not the creators of traffic.

Mr. Weiser stated that the last thing is his client thinks that this is a great community to be in. It is a great community for their business to be in, and it a great community because of the kind of folks that live here and the kind of community that you have.

Mr. Weiser pointed that the challenge is if they were to go anywhere else, between 85th and Route 231, all the same rules apply. All the same rules that they cannot meet. In addition, maybe someone would look at it differently if it were at a different location. But the same overlay rules apply. The Overlay District applies, you cannot deny that. There was an interesting issue brought up by someone in regards to the landscape requirements. I just want to point out that we’re actually asking for less than the town requires, and that is what we’re asking for in many instances. In the town, the town requires many more plantings and many more screenings, and larger trees, and larger bushes along 41 and 93rd. It just doesn’t make any sense, in regards to that landscaping portion.

Mr. Schneider asked if there were any further questions from the board.

Mr. Williams asked that if they gave an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council, they could still disagree or agree, however, we would still have to address the remainder of the variances being sought. Mr. Schneider advised that is correct.

Mr. Austgen advised that it is probable that your recommendation on the Special Exception will be contingent upon, or conditioned upon what you decide on all the other items. Mr. Austgen advised it is all tied together.

Mr. Schneider requested that they put the Special Exception aside and address Item 2: Off Site Signage. Mr. Panczuk stated that he did not think that there was a particular hardship. Mr. Panczuk felt that the regular travelers of U.S. 41 would see it at their first pass and get to know right away where to turn. Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Williams if he knew what the thoughts were on this sign issue with the Plan Commission, since he sits on that board also. Mr. Williams advised it has been some time and he did not recall. Mr. Eberly advised that it pre-dates his employment, and cannot speak on the sign issue.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Panczuk agreed on the sign issue, noting that the intersection would be well known to the area, and also that the canopy would also be a form of sign. Mr. Kennedy advised that since they have an agreement with the bank to have a sign there, he thinks it is an appropriate place for a sign.

Mr. Schneider advised that since they will take them one at a time, he will entertain a motion for:
Item 2:

· Variance Item 2: Off-Site Sign Variance, per Chapter 15 C.9.

Mr. Kennedy made a motion to approve the Off-Site Sign variance per Chapter 15 C.9, and incorporating the findings of facts into the motion. Mr. Schneider seconded the motion. Motion defeated 3 nays – 2 ayes.

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to deny the Off-Site variance per Chapter 15 C.9, incorporating the findings of fact into the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried by 3 ayes – 2 nays.

· Variance Item 6: Building Size Variance

Mr. Schneider advised this is in regards to the Overlay District requiring a 15,000 square foot building, and felt that it should not apply here, and would only comply if it were a multi-story building. Mr. Williams also stated that he could not see a 15,000 square foot building existing on this parcel, it does not make sense. Mr. Panczuk also commented that on the building size that the practical use of the property would require a smaller building, but any motion he would make would be contingent only to this particular proposal.

Mr. Williams made a motion to approve the Building Size Variance, and referencing the findings of facts into the motion, and contingent on this specific project for Circle K. Motion seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carried 4 ayes – 1 nays.

· Variance Item 7: Bicycle / Pedestrian Access Variance

Mr. Eberly clarified that the Bicycle / Pedestrian Pathway would have to go “through” the development that is the language of the ordinance and this would be around the perimeter. Discussion ensued amongst the board members as to the specifics that the ordinance mandates.

Mr. Williams made a motion to approve the Bicycle / Pedestrian Access Variance, and referencing the findings of facts into the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 nays.

Mr. Eberly advised that with speaking here with Mr. Austgen, since you denied the first variance that you will have to address Item 5: the Lot Size variance.

· Variance Item 8: Front Yard Parking Variance – Per Chapter 11 C.3 (M).

Mr. Panczuk believes that it does not attempt to even to attempt the spirit of the Overlay District, and it gives you very little to work with. Mr. Panczuk advised that he has been paying attention for four months on Circle K’s in the area, and their curb appeal and landscaping. Mr. Panczuk stated that the spirit of the ordinance is to not make 41 look like a parking lot, and he feels that nothing creative has been done here. Discussion ensued amongst the board on the topic.

Mr. Williams made a motion to deny the Front Yard Parking Variance, and referencing the findings of facts into the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk, and add that this is contingent on this particular proposal. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 nays.

· Variance Item 9: Landscape Variances – Numerous – Based on Entirety

Mr. Schneider advised that in regards to the Landscape variance that they do not have what each one is. Mr. Eberly advised that it would be his recommendation that you either approve the list as provided or deny the list as provided by the petitioner. Rather than try to take each one of those eighteen or twenty items individually. Mr. Eberly advised that they do have the list, and they could do it one at a time, but his recommendation is take it as a whole. Mr. Austgen asked if there is a list succinctly enough so it can be read and then an action can be taken on the entirety of that list. Mr. Austgen advised that would be his recommendation for record purposes. Mr. Eberly advised that he is placing the listing on the meeting room screen for those in the audience.

Mr. Austgen suggested to the Chairman that the list be read into the record for the motion maker.

Mr. Panczuk advised that he was going to start reading first before any motion is made, and then can we make a motion referencing what has been read. Mr. Austgen advised that would be appropriate.

Mr. Panczuk read list:

Section F Screening Requirements

F.4 – All tree and shrubs be planted a minimum of 5’ behind the right-of-way.

Insufficient area on portion of US 41 and entire length of 93rd Street. Variance required.

F.5 – Landscaping and Screening
a) In all Zoning District, all developed uses shall provide a green or landscaped yard along all streets. Such yard shall be kept clear of all structures and storage. Such yard shall be at least eight (8) feet in depth along all streets measured from the street right-of-way. Except for driveways, the yard shall extend the entire footage of the lot and along both streets in the case of a corner lot.

Portion of yard along US 41 is less than 3’ in width; Entire yard along 93rd Street is less than 8’ in width. Variance required.

Section I Buffer Yard Landscape Requirements

I.2 – Side and Rear Landscaped Yards
A landscaped and maintained yard area shall be provided, including a solid visual buffer or screen of at least five (5) feet in height. The width shall be as follows:
c) Next to Commercial zoning districts or Developments: Fifteen (15) feet.

Portion of rear yard if only 4’ in width. No side yard on south end of property as driveway is shared. Variance required.

Section O Highway 41 Overlay District Landscaping Standards

O-1 – Greenbelt
a) The greenbelt along U.S. Highway 41 shall be a minimum of thirty (30) feet in width and landscaped per the requirements of this Section O.

Greenbelt along U.S. 41 is 10’ in width at widest point. Variance required.

c) A Base-planting unit for each one hundred (100) linear foot increment of the Greenbelt shall be required as follows:
i). Five (5) shade trees;
ii). Three (3) ornamental trees; and
iii). Fifteen (15) shrubs or three (3) evergreen trees

2 shade trees, 0 ornamental trees, and 37 shrubs provided. Variance required.

O-2 – Planting Strip
a) A planting strip with a minimum width of ten (10) feet shall be provided adjacent to any Collector or Arterial Street or Parkway right-of-way within the U.S. 41 Highway Overlay District.

Insufficient area. Variance required.

b) Adjacent to an Entry Drive: Minimum width ten (10) feet.

Insufficient area. Variance required.

d) The base planting unit for planting strips shall be as follows:
i) Adjacent to Parallel Collector, Arterial Roadways, and
Adjacent to entry drives: For each one hundred (100) linear foot increment:
(1) Three (3) shade trees;
(2) Two (2) ornamental trees, and
(3) Ten (10) shrubs.

3 shade trees, 0 ornamental trees, and 36 shrubs provided. Variance required.

O-3 – Planting Adjacent to Buildings along U.S. 41 Highway
a) A planting area equal to an area measuring twenty-five (25) feet in depth by the width of the front of the building plus twenty (20) feet (to extend ten (10) feet out on both sides) shall be installed along building facades that face U.S. 41 Highway.

Insufficient area to fulfill requirements. Variance required.

b) A planting area equal to an area then (10) feet in depth by the remaining sides of the building shall be installed on all other sides of the building(s).

Planting area provided on south and east sides of the building are only 2.5’ in width. Plantings totally 51 shrubs and 8 small evergreen trees are provided in this area. Variance required.

O-7 – Total Landscaping Required
Inclusive of the Greenbelt, the planting adjacent to the buildings, the Greenbelt Buffers, planting strip, and the planting within parking lots, a minimum of fifteen percent (15%) of the project shall be landscaped.

15% of the project area is 9,101.25 sq. ft. Total landscaped area is 7,162 sq. ft. Variance required.

Section P Parking Lot Requirements

P-1 – Parking Lot Perimeter
All parking lots, including parking spaces, interior drives, and loading/unloading areas, shall be separated from all Thoroughfare Plan recommended street rights-of-way by a landscaping area that is a minimum of ten feet (10’) in width. The landscape area shall be planted either of the following options or a combination of both:
a) Trees and shrubs: A minimum of one (1) tree shall be provided for every 250 square feet of landscaped area. The trees may be a combination of deciduous, evergreen, and ornamental trees. In addition, a minimum of one (1) shrub shall be provided every 100 square feet of landscaped area.

Insufficient area to fulfill code. Variance required.

b) Landscape berm: A landscaped berm that is a minimum of three (3) feet in height shall be provided along the length of the landscaped area. A minimum of one (1) shrub shall be provided for every five (5) linear feet of berm.

Insufficient area to fulfill code. Variance required.

P-2 – Parking Lot Interior requirements

No interior parking lot landscaping is provided due to insufficient area on site. Variance required.

Mr. Panczuk wanted to voice his opinion that the lot size is not nearly big enough to provide anything close to our ordinance, some of these he could agree with, but a lot of those are important.

Mr. Williams made a motion to deny the Landscaping Variances, and referencing the findings of facts into the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Mr. Austgen requested that the findings of fact be read out entirely for this motion. Mr. Williams stated in referencing the findings of facts: Approval will be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. Use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will be affected in a substantially adverse manner. That strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Motion carried 3 ayes – 2 nays.

Mr. Schneider advised that the last developmental/technical item would be the Lot Size Variance. Since we have a denial of several of the developmental items, this now becomes an item of contention.

· Variance Item 5: Lot Size Variance Section 8.4 E (3)

Mr. Williams stated that he felt that Mr. Panczuk’s concerns go directly into this item. General discussion ensued in regards to the Overlay District, lot sizes and conformance with same. Mr. Panczuk also questioned the role of the bank who owns the parcel. Mr. Austgen explained that they are not part of the petitioner’s request in this particular matter, and stated that there is no legal definition of what Mr. Panczuk was relating to.

Mr. Williams made a motion to deny the Lot Size Variance, Section 8.4 E (3). Mr. Williams stated in referencing the findings of facts: Approval will be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. Use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will be affected in a substantially adverse manner. That strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Motion seconded by Mr. Ryan. Motion carried 5 ayes.

· Variance Item 1: Special Exception Chapter 3.E Schedule of Uses

Mr. Austgen stated that this should make the special exception recommendation pretty easy.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for a Favorable, Unfavorable, or No Recommendation to the Town Council for the exception to operate an Automobile Service Station per Chapter 3.E Schedule of Uses. Mr. Austgen requested that the findings of fact be read in their entirety as listed in Section 18 B (6) (b).

Mr. Williams make an Unfavorable Recommendation to the Town Council for Special Exception to Operate an Automobile Service Station per Chapter 3.E Schedule of Uses. Again, specific to what has been presented this evening, and referencing the following findings of fact:

That the establishment, maintenance, or operation of the Special Exception will be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare;
That the Special Exception will be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, and substantially diminish and impair property value within the neighborhood;
That the establishment of the Special Exception will impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district;
That adequate utilities, access road, drainage and/or necessary facilities will be provided;
That adequate measure will not be taken to provide ingress and egress so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets;
That the Special Exception will not, in all other respects, conform to the applicable regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located;

Mr. Panczuk seconded the Unfavorable Recommendation to the Town Council. Motion carried by 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider noted that this will go to the Town Council for their final action at their March 23, meeting.

E. BZA – RULES AND REGULATIONS (Mr. David Austgen and Mr. Rick Eberly)

Mr. Austgen advised that the board members have been given a draft of amended Rules and Regulations of the Board of Zoning Appeals for their review and comments.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Mr. Williams made a motion to adjourn. Motion seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 12:04 a.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

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

03-27-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

March 27, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Jason Williams David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Paul Panczuk, Vice-Chairman John Kennedy Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Tom Ryan    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called to order the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for March 27, 2017 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 Michelle L. Haluska, recording secretary. Members present: Ken Schneider, Tom Ryan, Paul Panczuk and Jason Williams. Staff present: Mr. David Austgen, Town Attorney and Mr. Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director. Absent: John Kennedy.

Mr. Eberly noted for the record that Mr. Kennedy had given notice that he would be unable to attend tonight’s meeting.

MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider asked if there were any questions or comments on the minutes presented for approval. Mr. Williams asked for a small correction of one line in the January 23, 2017 minutes, noted. Mr. Schneider pointed out a typo on page 4 of the February 27, 2017, noted.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the February 22, 2016 minutes. Motion made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the March 28, 2016 minutes. Motion made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the November 28, 2016 minutes. Motion made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the January 23, 2017 minutes, as amended. Motion made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the February 27, 2017 minutes, as amended. Motion made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. SUNCREST CHRISTIAN CHURCH – Continued Public Hearing
Mr. Schneider advised the first agenda item is Suncrest Christian Church and stated that they have withdrawn their petition for variance on the parking spaces for their addition and parking lot expansion.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to accept their letter of withdrawal. Mr. Williams made a motion to accept the withdrawal. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

B. LEVIN TIRE (8575 Wicker Avenue) Developmental / Technical Variances - Automobile Service Station – Continued Public Hearing (Mr. Jeff Ban)
Mr. Schneider advised the next item under old business is Levin Tire. Mr. Schneider noted that they are not present and they have not received a letter.

Mr. Eberly stated that he has reminded the Petitioner on several occasions, with no response as to withdrawal of their current petition. Mr. Eberly suggested that the board entertain a motion to “deny” the current petition. Mr. Eberly further stated that they are revising their petition to come back with a new petition.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Austgen discussed the option of “deferring” the agenda item, as opposed to denying the petition. For clarification, Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioner has to re-advertise because they did not originally advertise all the of variances, or the proper variances, that they needed to apply for. Mr. Panczuk and Mr. Williams discussed the punitive aspect of denying the petition as opposed to deferring.

Mr. Schneider noted that they would be coming in with a completely new plan. Mr. Eberly advised that he spoke with Mr. Jeff Ban of DVG, who is one of the principals and he indicated that he is developing a site plan. Mr. Eberly further advised that he advised Mr. Ban that if he did not receive a letter seeking the withdrawal, that he would be advising the board to deny.

Mr. Williams made a motion to deny the current petition of Levin Tire. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. PROVIDENCE BANK – Developmental Standards Variance for Signage
Mr. Schneider advised that he needs to recuse himself from the next agenda item, as he does have a relationship with the petitioner, and handed the gavel to Vice-Chairman Paul Panczuk. At this time Mr. Schneider left the dais and sat in the audience.

Mr. Panczuk advised the next agenda item is Providence Bank, seeking Developmental Standards Variance for Signage.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for the petitioner to proceed. That all posted notices and mailings have been completed. Mr. Eberly further directed their attention to a summary sheet that details the petition request, which is they are asking for two (2) wall signs and then a total of six (6) directional signs on the property whereas the ordinance allows two (2). Their directional signs are six square feet whereas the ordinance mandates two square feet.

Mr. Phil Mulder of Lagestee-Mulder introduced himself to the board. Mr. Mulder advised that when they went through the Site Plan approval, which they just discussed the monument sign; and they did not get into the walls signs of the project. Mr. Mulder advised that Providence Bank typically have two (2) or more wall signs, and they are requesting that they be allowed to place a wall sign on the Northwest facing, angled corner, facing the main entrance off of 101st Avenue. Then an East facing sign off Calumet Avenue. Mr. Mulder advised that the monument sign is at a diagonal placement on the corner of 101st and Calumet Avenue, which has already been approved.

Mr. Mulder advised that concerning the directional signs that it may be overkill, and that is not the intent, however, there was a lot of concern discussed at some of the meetings about persons understanding where to go after they pulled in off 101st Avenue, and where they should not enter. Mr. Mulder advised that they have placed a “pork-chop” barrier off 101st Avenue, and extending the curb to the South end of the site further to keep vehicles from cutting across over to the ATM.

Mr. Mulder directed the board members attention to the meeting room screen showing the locations of the directional signs, and the pertinent messages on each sign as denoted. Mr. Mulder advised that the size of these signs was dictated by the verbiage on the sign in a legible manner. At this time, Mr. Mulder asked for any questions or comments from the board members.

Mr. Williams stated that he felt some of the signs were redundant. Mr. Ryan inquired if they could just paint directional arrows on the asphalt, as he agreed that it appeared the signage to be “overkill”. Mr. Mulder agreed and stated that he heard many comments at various meetings that there was concern about people knowing where to go when entering the property, so it was an attempt to address those concerns.

Mr. Williams stated he applauds the appreciation for safety; however, he did think that some of the signs were redundant and definitely overkill.

Mr. Panczuk commented that he would like the signs denoted as 1A, 2B and 2A, be omitted from the plan. Mr. Williams stated he agreed that the “ATM” directional sign could be painted on the pavement.

Discussion ensued on the two (2) signs denoting “Do Not Enter”, and possible placement on the extended “pork-chop”; however, it was noted that it would probably be destroyed rather early on.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he does not see a need for sign denoted as 1B at all, because there is a nice corner facing sign already in place.

Mr. Williams inquired if the “Do Not Enter” is a Police Department matter. Mr. Austgen advised that it is a Plan Commission matter.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Panczuk agreed that the signs 1D and 1C are necessary, given the way the site is situated.

Mr. Ryan stated that he would agree on just those two (2) signs; 1D and 1C. Discussion ensued that the petitioner is now within the two (2) sign limit, and the only matter to be addressed now is the size.

Mr. Eberly concurred that with the elimination of several signs, it is just a matter of the size of the remaining signs, and the second proposed wall sign.

Mr. Mulder explained the wall signs, advising they are on the North and East sides of the building and are backlit in a “reverse amber - LED”.

Mr. Eberly advised that the signs are well within the ordinance as far as size; it is just the matter of having a second sign. Mr. Eberly advised that it is not unusual to allow more signage on a corner lot, however the sign ordinance does not allow this right now, and is something that is being reviewed by Mr. Austgen and myself for the future. Mr. Eberly further stated that he agreed with Mr. Panczuk that the 1’ x 2’ directional signs are too restrictive and that a six (6) square feet is an absolute norm for the area.

With no further comment from the board, Mr. Panczuk opened the floor to Public Comment.

Marilyn Peto (9430 Hilltop Drive): When putting up the signs, do you absolutely need the name? You’re on their property, you know it’s the bank.

Mr. Mulder advised that is typical for the banks.

Marilyn Peto continued: If you take off your name, you can make the signs a little larger. We are taking about 1C and 1D. I mean, you’re on your property, you know where you’re at,., why do you need their name? That’s the only thing I was,.,

With no further comment from the floor, Mr. Panczuk closed the floor and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Eberly advised that his review of the sign ordinance, that it actually requires them to place their name on the sign, whether prominent or not, on signs in general. Mr. Eberly noted that in the sign ordinance, Chapter 15 E(6) content required: “identification. The name and/or identification logo/trademark of a business shall be placed on all permanent signs”.

Mr. Panczuk reiterated that we have reduced it to two (2) signs, and the “Exit Only – Do Not Enter” does not carry the name.

Mr. Williams asked Mr. Mulder if he knew when the Grand Opening of the bank. Mr. Mulder advised that they are anticipating the first of June.

With no further discussion from the board members, Mr. Williams made a motion to approve the two (2) directional signs and the second wall sign, and incorporated the Findings of Fact into the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Ryan. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays (1 abstention).

B. RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS (DRAFT 5)
Mr. Schneider returned to the dais and Mr. Panczuk turned over the gavel to the Chairman.

Mr. Schneider advised the next item on the agenda is the draft of amended Rules and Regulations for the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Eberly advised that he has been researching and working with Attorney David Austgen and Attorney Michael Muenich in regards to changes as presented in Draft No. 5.

Mr. Austgen wanted to credit the board’s former colleague, Mr. James Maciejewski, who brought this into review mode. Mr. Austgen advised that was a consequence of discovering some serious deficiencies and weaknesses in the current Zoning Ordinance, about a year ago. Mr. Austgen further advised that this is a result of separating Plan Commission and non-jurisdictional items to the Board of Zoning Appeals, and focusing on organization, process for conduct of public meetings and public business; and requirements for being before you by petitioners and applicants, including the public hearing requirements.

Mr. Austgen further stated that ultimately when you consider, fine-tune, and deal with these regulations for replacement they will be compatible with the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Eberly commented that to the extent possible that the Rules and Regulations for the Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals “mirror” each other as well, there are many of the same kinds of requirements. For example of the public notice requirement of 300’ notice radius from the subject property.

Currently you have to publish the legal notice in two (2) newspapers, ten days in advance, and then put up a sign and those are the kind of things that are the same for both boards. Further, we want to make sure that any changes to the BZA Rules and Regulations are also reflected in the Plan Commission rules.

Mr. Eberly stated that he believes that they should change the ten (10) day notification to fifteen (15) days, and the reason for that is that the petitioners are coming to the meeting and have not received their “green cards” back from the certified mailing. Mr. Austgen advised this would allow for a more prepared applicant, as well as a more prepared staff. Mr. Austgen noted that since Mr. Eberly has joined the Building and Planning Department that you have staff summaries on what is before you on an agenda item.

Mr. Austgen stated that the board will note in the authority of the BZA Rules and Regulations, the 900 Series of the Indiana Planning Code, 36-7-4-900, and that is specific to this board, as your statutory authority. Mr. Austgen stated that on the other hand, the Plan Commission has authority under each of the 600 and 700 Series, and for purposes of the work of the Plan Commission, the correct citation of authority will be referenced. Mr. Austgen stated that the two members of the BZA that are on the Plan Commission will see a similarity in content, but with citation to authority to the 600 and 700 Series specifically.

Mr. Eberly clarified that if the Plan Commission does not go with the 15 day notification, then he would not want the BZA to make the change either. He prefers that they be uniform.

Mr. Eberly went through some of the items that they would like changed from the old regulations to the new regulations:

  • For cost efficiency – it was a thought to a notice publication in one (1) newspaper, instead of two (2) newspapers. The consensus of the board was to keep the requirement of notice in two newspapers.
  • On Site Sign – Mr. Austgen and Mr. Eberly feel that it is not normally seen and not effective in the notification process. Mr. Schneider, Mr. Williams and Mr. Panczuk disagreed with this point, other than to change the colors on the sign to make it more visible from passing traffic, possibly with an orange or yellow background. They also would like the sign increased in size, giving more transparency to government actions. Mr. Eberly stated that he is noting the thoughts of this consensus.
  • Noting that in the Draft copies that there was elimination of some items as they are redundant in other areas of the regulations. Mr. Eberly advised that they hope to clear up and made them easy to understand, and thus not to make them unnecessarily redundant.
  • To Mr. Williams’s questions, Mr. Austgen gave a brief explanation of Public Meeting versus Public Hearing, and the aspects of just public business.
Noting that the board members were reviewing Draft No. 4 in their possession, Mr. Eberly handed out Draft No. 5, and noted for Mr. Schneider that changes suggested in Draft No. 4 are also “incorporated” in Draft No 5.
  • Mr. Williams inquired about calling a Special Meeting of the BZA. Mr. Eberly and Mr. Austgen explained the necessary steps that would need to take place. The Chairman can call a Special Meeting or a majority of the board members can call a special meeting. Notice would still have to be made in specific manner in order to be compliant with the statutory requirements.
  • Mr. Austgen noted that the 15-day notice would give Mr. Eberly and Staff more time to compile and disseminate the agenda, so members would know sooner what it would comprise. Thus, the volume, complexity and circumstances as this Town has growing, is going to be important for your decision-making.
  • Mr. Eberly noted in Draft No. 5, Article II, Meetings, it says that special meetings may be called in accordance with the terms of the Indiana Open Meeting Law, and Mr. Austgen referenced that earlier, and that is I.C. 5-14-1.5 as amended, and the call of the Chairman or the majority of the entire board. Mr. Eberly stated that his knowing who wants to appear at a given meeting and then they are given the instructions on what they need to do in order to be ready for that meeting. Mr. Eberly stated that by the time the agenda set, the petitioner has already done their notifications.
  • Mr. Eberly brought it to the board members’ attention that the Petitioner has to notify you twenty (20) days in advance of their meeting by regular mail. Mr. Austgen pointed out that this procedure is “post” Mr. Eberly, just like the summary sheets that are provided for the members. So now, unless you take that out of the rules, he will be overseeing that the requirement occurs. This is stated in Chapter 18 Section D of the Zoning Ordinance. It was agreed that this particular requirement can be removed.
  • Mr. Panczuk and Mr. Williams both stated that many of the past few meetings have been examples of “perfect storms”, and that they are happy that the new organization of the Building and Planning Department with Mr. Eberly will streamline and better prepare them for these meetings and what is before them.
  • Mr. Schneider discussed a suggestion of having two (2) meetings per month. Mr. Austgen and Mr. Eberly discussed the legalities and the form in which they would have to advertise in order to hold said public meeting.
  • Next topic of change is the hand delivery of the public notice requirement for person(s) in the 300’ radius of the subject property. For better accountability and record keeping purposes, it is preferred that all public hearing mailings be by certified mail with return receipt requested.
  • Mr. Panczuk requested that the order of the Rules and Regulations, it appears that Article II and Article III be switched.
  • The board members would like to see an Index or Table of Contents at the front of the Rules and Regulations, once they are approved.
  • Article V of the Rules and Regulations needs a “title”.

It was discussed that Mr. Eberly and the attorneys are reviewing all twenty-two (22) chapters of the Zoning Ordinance in order to present a revised Zoning Ordinance to the Plan Commission for consideration later this year.

Mr. Schneider inquired about the sizes of monument signs for developments and asked if there were restrictions in place for restrictions of type, size and location. Mr. Eberly advised that is part of the Plan Commission Site Plan process. Mr. Eberly advised that he is working on having hard and fast development sign standards for any subdivision; however, at this time it is part of the Plan Commission Site Plan process.

Mr. Panczuk wanted to discuss the specifics of the Sign Ordinance in regards to “reader boards”, and the verbiage that the Zoning Ordinance has as it pertains to that issue.

Mr. Austgen asked the board members for their assessment of the U.S. 41 Overlay District, as it is also a topic of review by the Town Staff. Mr. Schneider stated that his position is that it undermines the underlying zoning. Mr. Panczuk does not want to change this if it will keep St. John from being another Schererville or Highland. Mr. Schneider noted the off-street parking in the front of the building. In his experience, a developer/builder would look at that restriction and walk away that does not attract commercial, high-end or otherwise. It was also noted that the requirement of “Public Art” should be removed.

Mr. Austgen inquired if they would be more comfortable with a set of guidelines and that a Development Agreement be made and entered into with the Town, as part of that process. Mr. Austgen advised this would be an enforceable instrument that would be a condition of approval.

Mr. Panczuk commented that some parts of the Overlay District are good, while others are not. Mr. Austgen stated that as the community develops on the highway, there will be less and less developable area, there will be more and more pressure on what will be allowed on those shrinking available parcels.

Mr. Eberly noted that Dyer has a similar ordinance adopted in 2005, as the Overlay District in St. John, and well-known developers have walked away due to the Calumet Avenue Corridor ordinance, and the ones that still wanted to develop required eight (8) to ten (10) variances in order to develop the property. Mr. Eberly stated that the ones that did develop were ones that the Town really wanted in the community, however, still had many hoops to jump through.

Mr. Williams stated that he would like to see “creativity, flexibility, and quality of the proposed plan”. General discussion noted that they would like development to build here – only better, as opposed to what they are building in other communities. Mr. Schneider brought the topic of Architectural Review that would address those issues.

Mr. Austgen noted that there is always the underlying zoning district that is objective so that the foundation is mandatory, and on top of the foundation would be the “Picasso” on that development. Mr. Austgen stated that while watching the board review in detail the petitions before them in the past couple of years, and the massive amount of exceptions, and when the exception becomes the rule then the rule is the problem. This discussion needs to occur in order to refresh the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wants to maintain or increase the landscape or green space portion of the Zoning Ordinance.

The topic of Special Exceptions was discussed. Mr. Austgen advised that he is going to advocate that they do not have “special exceptions” in the ordinance, and propose using the legal tool of a “Variance of Use” which is universal. The “Use Variance” is the hardest for a petitioner to acquire, in as it is very similar to re-zoning. Mr. Eberly pointed out that there are five (5) statutory criteria for a Use Variance and three (3) statutory conditions for a Developmental Standard Variance; however the Special Exception criteria is specifically set by the community and the law allows the Town to come up with its own list of criteria of which it judges.

With no further discussion from the board, Mr. Williams made a motion to adjourn. Motion seconded by Mr. Ryan. Motion carried 4 ayes – o nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 9:01 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

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

04-24-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

April 24, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the April 24, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following Board Members present: John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, Tom Ryan, Jason Williams, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and David Austgen, Town Attorney.

Absent: None

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the Approval of Minutes and asked if there were any questions or comments on the March 27, 2017 Minutes. Hearing none, he entertained a motion for the same.

Motion to approve March 27, 2017 Minutes by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0004 RON and REGINA MELIA, 9577 GRASSELLI AVENUE – Developmental Standards Variance for a 6-foot Privacy Fence
Mr. Schneider advised the next item on the agenda is Ron and Regina Melia. The petitioners are seeking a Development Standards Variance for a 6-foot privacy fence.

Ron and Regina Melia introduced themselves to the board and stated that they are closing on the purchase of the property at 9577 Grasselli Avenue tomorrow (April 25, 2017).

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner to have their Public Hearing. They do have a Power of Attorney from the existing owner regarding this matter. They would like to construct a 6-foot privacy fence from the corner of the house to the side yard, back into the backyard, and enclose it.

Mr. Eberly advised that our ordinance states that a 6-foot privacy fence cannot be built across a side-yard setback line that is adjacent to a street. A 4-foot open fence is permitted, which means 50 percent of the fence has to be open. The petitioner is requesting the fence for the purposes of keeping their two dogs safely in their yard, which cannot be done with an open fence. Their property is the northeast corner lot of Grasselli Avenue and Maginot Circle.

Mr. Schneider asked what type of fence is being proposed. Mrs. Melia responded that they are proposing a 6-foot PVC panel fence. Mr. Eberly advised that it is very similar to many of the fences in that area.

Mr. Eberly advised that when fence variances have been awarded to petitioners, the setback from the sidewalk is generally 2 to 3 feet minimum.

Mr. Eberly advised that by our Zoning Ordinance definitions and how we define “front” and “side” yards, the verbiage is written that you cannot cross the side yard, and we define the “side yard” as being between the two points of the front-yard setback line and the rear-yard setback line. So from the rear 40’ of their property is considered their rear yard, and there is no side yard by our definition. Mr. Eberly added that when we revise the Zoning Ordinance, that is one of the areas needing clarification.

Mr. Williams asked how far they have to be from the sidewalk. Mr. Eberly responded that the decision is entirely up to the board; there is not a minimum requirement or any guidance as to how far a fence must be from the sidewalk in the ordinance when a variance is granted.

Mr. Schneider advised that when they have granted this type of variance, they have typically required a distance of 3-feet from the sidewalk to the fence. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing:

Don Tally (9597 Maginot Circle): I do own Lot 37. What I’m concerned about, it’s – it’s not that they’re coming off the side – the back of their house like the other Lot 47. The guy has, like, about on 47, he has, like, about 18 inches between the sidewalk and his fence, which, you know, it – it doesn’t really bother me, cause I don’t walk that side – walk that side of the street. The only thing that I’m concerned about is the back of the fence backing up to mine, cause I do have a fence that runs the whole length of my property. Not the whole length, it’s cut off a little bit for the utilities on the other side and the electric box way in the back cause it comes to a point.

Is – I have – I – I go down there with a lawn mower now. It’s about 18 inches and not quite 24, and we come up to a drain that would be right about at the very corner. It’s a run-off drain. So I had my fence put in about 18 inches so I wouldn’t be going over the run-off. I’m right at the edge of it. I’m just seeing if they can at least move their fence in towards the street, like Grasselli, just a little bit more, so instead of having to just go in there with a weed whacker all the time or just kill the grass, I can get through there with a lawn mower, a push mower.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is an easement there. Mr. Eberly advised there is an easement of both properties.

Yeah, it’s, like, about 5 feet on each side. But the – the person that’s on the other side of them, like they said they wanted their fence to be, like, equal with theirs, he left, like, about 5 foot of his easement where he put his fence in – what was it about 2 foot from your side that runs to the street?

I was just concerned, just I – that you can get there through it with the lawn mower to make it look manicured instead of just letting it get just weeds and – cause that’ll be, pretty much, my responsibility cause it is my property. But, you know, with them having the – coming up to the – both sides even with the front of the house and coming back, since the other guy done it. So I mean I don’t see, in my own opinion, nothing really, that bad about that.

Mr. Panczuk asked if Mr. Tally wants space so he could get in there and mow.

Correct, so I can – I can run a lawn mower through there cause the guy with the white fence, the one on the left, he has about 5 foot to – to the easement. And then, there’s a little box, you could see, like, the utility box right about there. Right in that area, there’s a drain. So if I could leave that open, you know, I’m thinking maybe if they’d leave a foot or something, it should be a nice clean run with a lawn mower.

I know they have sprinkler heads. It looks like it’s right on the property line that –probably would have to move those. I don’t know. That shouldn’t be that big of a cost cause I’ve done – I lived in Florida, and I moved my sprinklers – lines a lot.

Mr. Tally and the Melias had a discussion between themselves regarding the sprinklers. Discussion ensued between the board, Mr. Tally and the Melias regarding the sprinkler lines and Mr. Tally’s request for the extra room for the rear setback for mowing purposes wherein the Melias agreed to give up the extra 18 inches at the rear of the fence.

Mr. Schneider asked if there was anyone else wishing to speak. Hearing none, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Williams asked what the conditions are that are to be included in a motion. Mr. Schneider responded 3 feet from the sidewalk and that the fence will be 18 inches off the rear yard setback.

Mr. Austgen advised the board add a condition that, before the fence is erected, the property be staked and inspected by Mr. Eberly or the inspection team.

Mr. Eberly advised that when the fence company comes for the permit they should contact our office to verify the location.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion.

Motion by Mr. Williams to approve the Developmental Standards Variance for relief from the corner, side-yard setback requirements related to a 6-foot privacy fence including the Findings of Fact:
1. Approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and comfort, or general welfare of the community;
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner;
3. The strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property
The following conditions are attached to the variance:
1. There shall be a 3-foot space off of the sidewalk to the south of the property;
2. There fence shall be 18 inches off of the rear property line;
3. The property should be validated by the Town prior to the installation of the fence to verify the location;
4. And the rear corner of the house will be where the fence starts on the south side.

Seconded by Mr. Kennedy.

Vote by roll call:
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Ryan Aye
Mr. Williams Aye
Mr. Schneider Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. 2017-0005 FRANK NEDBAL, 8202 Osage Drive – Developmental Standards Variance to Construct a Garage Greater than 10 Feet in Height
Mr. Schneider advised the next item is a developmental standards variance request from Mr. Frank Nedbal, for relief from the garage ceiling height requirement.

Mr. Nedbal advised that he has a 30-foot recreational vehicle (RV). Mr. Nedbal stated that he is building a new house and would like to have a garage door tall enough to pull his RV into the garage.

Mr. Nedbal stated that another house in the neighborhood has a garage with RV storage that was approved in either 2007 or 2008. He further stated that it has approximately an 11-foot door with a 12-foot ceiling.

Mr. Eberly advised that pictures were sent ahead to the board members for review.

Mr. Nedbal advised that it would be set back about 13 feet on the side.

Mr. Schneider asked if the square footage is within that which is required in the ordinance. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same. Mr. Nedbal stated that the garage is about 1,050 square feet. Mr. Eberly advised that he is not going for the size of the garage; his variance is just for the height of the finished ceiling.

Mr. Eberly stated that the lot he would be building on is Lot 47.

Mr. Nedbal stated that he wanted to comply with being allowed to park an RV in the driveway.

M

r. Eberly advised that the ordinance with the Town would allow it, as it is permissible by our standards; however, the HOA prohibits it, so he needs to find a way to store the RV.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor to Public Hearing. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is a maximum door height. Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Kil had said that there is a maximum height in the Zoning Ordinance; however, he has read it and cannot find it.

Discussion ensued as to the specific height as Mr. Nedbal did not have that information yet and advised that it may be over 12 feet. Mr. Eberly advised that the board could specify a height not to exceed a certain number.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the Developmental Standards Variance for relief from the garage ceiling height restriction in Chapter 11, B3 with the condition that the garage height is not to exceed 13 feet including the following Findings of Fact:
1. Approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and comfort, or general welfare of the community;
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner;
3. The strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk.

Vote by roll call:
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Ryan Aye
Mr. Williams Aye
Mr. Schneider Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

DRAFT RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE BZA:

Mr. Schneider advised the next agenda item is the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Eberly advised that the drafts were distributed via e-mail and in hard packets. He noted two minor corrections after sending them out. On page 17, the Appendix, it is shown here as Appendix 7, and it should be Article 7 or Appendix 1.

The consensus of the board is to call it just “Appendix” since there is only the one...

Mr. Eberly stated that on page 15, regarding the current rules for reconsideration reads, “The BZA shall not further consider any petition that is denied for one year after it is denied.” Mr. Eberly stated that he thought we had the caveat that “unless conditions change substantially,” which is missing from this version. Mr. Eberly stated that it is up to you, as board members, to decide if you want that in there.

Mr. Williams asked who decides if the submission is substantially different than a prior submission within one year. Mr. Austgen responded that it is a gate-keeping determination in most instances with your permitting staff, who is Mr. Eberly. Mr. Austgen added that it could be a combination where there is some gate keeping and, if it appears similar or too similar, can come to the board for a definitive determination.

Mr. Eberly advised that in Draft 5, it was worded the same way as it is in this version. In the current rules, there is a condition that if it changes substantially, it could be considered a new petition anyway.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like the wording to stay the same.

The members discussed the wording of the signatory board members and their requirements of their positions.

Mr. Austgen advised that in Article II, Paragraph 3 it states that the Chairman can preside over the meeting, exercise general supervision over the affairs of the board, including appointment and signing of documents and that some of those duties are statutorily designated.

Mr. Kennedy asked if a situation arises where they only had three board members at a meeting, if there is an exception for it to be simple majority vote at that time. Mr. Austgen advised that State statutes require a majority of all board members to render a decision, regardless of how many members are absent or present.

Mr. Williams expressed concern that it would require three yes votes if only three members are present.

Mr. Austgen advised that if there were a two to one vote with a three-member board at a meeting, there would be no action. Mr. Eberly advised that it would automatically be deferred to the next meeting.

Mr. Austgen advised that should it occur that you have a skinny board, only three members, the Chairman should advise the petitioner(s) of the necessary circumstances of acquiring all the votes for any action and offer the petitioner(s) the opportunity to elect to defer the matter to the next meeting.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is any consideration or thought by the staff to increase the requirement of the 300-foot radius when making the petitioner send out certified letters, with 100-foot lots, it may be too limiting. Mr. Eberly advised that a street does not count as a barrier, so you get the parcels across the street and anything that touches the back of the property as well. He added that a 300-foot radius is commonly used in our surrounding communities.

Mr. Schneider asked when the Town Council was going to contact him in regards to compensation for the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Austgen and Mr. Eberly noted it for record.

Mr. Eberly brought up the requirement of a newspaper publication notice and that he had suggested in the past we only use one newspaper, The Times. The Melia’s advertisement in the Post Tribune cost them $972.00, and he does not know the explanation for that since Mr. Nedbal paid $119.00 to The Post and $174.08 to The Times.

Mr. Austgen advised that he has thought greatly about this since it was brought up in earlier discussions. The Times and The Post Tribune have a different rate for a municipality versus a private entity. One way to keep the cost down for that publication notice would be to give notice through the Town and have the petitioner pay a direct-cost reimbursement.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is any way to differentiate residential petitions from commercial petitions and waive publication notice for a residential petitioner, thereby only requiring them to send the certified mailings and post the sign.

Mr. Eberly advised that the statute requires a publication in a local newspaper. It only requires one; it does not require two. St. John requires two. Mr. Austgen advised that everywhere he works it is two publications, which must be a general circulation that is published daily.

Mr. Eberly stated that petitioners should not publish the legal descriptions, stating that, unless you are a surveyor or an engineer, you cannot read those things and it just runs up the cost of publications. Mr. Eberly thought the State law changed where the reference of property “commonly known as” allows the use of only the address.

Mr. Austgen advised that it would be helpful to know exactly what the petition is regarding and include the code, article, and chapter reference(s); and he believes that would be helpful to know, more specifically, what relief the petitioner is seeking.

Mr. Eberly asked the board members if they wish to leave it as the two publications requirement. The board concurred.

Mr. Eberly advised he will keep track over the next year what kind of fees are being charged by the publications to see if this was an isolated incident, then the board can change the requirement if they have a mind to do so.

Mr. Austgen advised that there is work to do in regards to the Zoning Ordinance text amendment, which is ready. The Plan Commission will receive that shortly for Public Hearing. Right behind that will be the Plan Commission Rules and Regulations Title 36-7-4-900 Series will be swapped over to the 600 and 700 Series.

Mr. Panczuk stated he has an unrelated general question in regards to the large signs that are posted at subdivisions. Mr. Williams advised that they are working on that exact issue at the Plan Commission.

Mr. Eberly reiterated that they are to be acted on at the Plan Commission level at Primary Plat Approval. Mr. Eberly agreed that they have no standards in our Sign Ordinance in regards to development signs, none. Mr. Williams advised that they are asking for it to be part of the review now.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Schneider if they are comfortable adopting a resolution in relation to the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Zoning Appeals, which Mr. Austgen has prepared. Mr. Schneider responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adopt Resolution No. 2017-04-24 BZA.

Motion by Mr. Williams to adopt Resolution No. 2017-04-24 BZA, a resolution approving replacement “Rules and Regulations of the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals” for the conduct of business and all other matters related thereto; subject to the following changes: add Jason Williams, Executive Secretary on page 18; change “Appendix 7” to “Appendix 1” on page 17; change the appendix reference on page 2; change the date of the cover to April 24, 2017; and adding “executive” to “secretary” when referring to the BZA Executive Secretary.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk.

Vote by roll call:
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Ryan Aye
Mr. Williams Aye
Mr. Schneider Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 8:06 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

05-22-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

May 22, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the May 22, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Schneider. The following Board Members were present: John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, Jason Williams, Tom Ryan, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and David Austgen, Town Attorney.

Absent: None

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and stated that the April 24, 2017 minutes are not available at this time and entertained a motion to defer the same.

Motion to defer the approval of minutes by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0006 LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL – Development Standards Variance for Monument Sign, Wall Sign and Directional Signs on School Campus, as well as, Use Variance for Telecommunications Tower.
Mr. Schneider advised the first agenda item is Lake Central School Corporation requesting multiple variances.

Mr. Eberly advised that Dr. Larry Veracco with Lake Central School Corporation is here. Mr. Eberly further stated that all items are in order for this petitioner to have their Public Hearing.

Mr. Eberly advised that the variances being sought are listed on the agenda for the evening. There are six Developmental Standards Variances; the Chapter 3E variance is a Use Variance, which is a recommendation from the BZA to the Town Council wherein they make the final decision. Mr. Eberly advised the board to take action on the variance requests one at a time and act on them independently.

Mr. Austgen advised that handling multiple variance requests independently as instructed by Mr. Eberly is the correct legal way to handle it.

Dr. Larry Veracco with Lake Central School Corporation introduced himself to the board. He handed the members an additional document based upon a question submitted to him by Mr. Eberly regarding the sight lines for bus drivers.

Mr. Eberly stated that the question was asked if the bus driver would be able to see above or below the level of the elevated sign if they were exiting the main entrance/exit of the high school and have adequate line of sight. Mr. Eberly advised that he had a conversation with Mr. Ledyard and that Mr. Ledyard indicated that the bus drivers would have line of sight.

Dr. Veracco stated that they are here to seek approval for their monument sign. He further stated that they would address concerns the members have expressed based on the packet sent to them. It is the petitioners’ belief that none of the petitions they seek will be injurious to their neighbors, public safety, or general welfare of the community. The benefits to the students will be significant, and they ask the board to consider that their facility is rather unique in the community.

Mr. Eberly advised that the first four items are specifically connected with the monument sign. They are allowed to have a 30 square-foot sign, and their sign is roughly 127 square feet and is a combination of two signs. A variance will need to allow for 130 square feet, as it could be slightly more than 127 square feet.

Dr. Veracco stated that the bottom sign in 5 feet by 9 feet with a message board in the middle.

Mr. Eberly advised that the height of the sign is 21 feet 4 inches, and it has an electronic component allowing flashing and flowing messages. Mr. Eberly advised that the ordinance states that flashing or flowing signs are not allowed, so that particular attribute of the LED sign would have to be specifically addressed.

Dr. Veracco stated that there would be self-imposed restrictions on the flashing/flowing element of the message center, which will have all messages maintained for a minimum of six seconds and an auto-dimming feature. Dr. Veracco agreed to have the message center dark between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Mr. Williams asked if it would be monochromatic. Dr. Veracco responded that it would be a color message center.

Mr. Panczuk asked what material the top signage would be made of. Dr. Veracco responded that it would be made of a heavy plastic that will be backlit.

Mr. Kennedy asked for clarification of what is acceptable with flashing-type signage. Mr. Eberly deferred to Mr. Panczuk. Mr. Panczuk explained what the board has generally required when allowing such variances. Mr. Panczuk then requested the following tweaks: transitions at no less than six seconds apart and only with a fade in/fade out feature, no animation and no scrolling as they are all distractive to drivers, especially when it is dark.

Mr. Schneider asked how the sign is different from the prior signage that was presented to the BZA. Dr. Veracco responded that the original sign was a horizontal design, and this one is vertical on two pillars. Mr. Schneider expressed concern about the height. Mr. Veracco responded that the sign engineers felt that going vertical would avoid the “wall” effect the board was concerned with on the original signage.

Mr. Ryan asked why the sign is so large. Dr. Veracco stated that, based upon the architects’ opinions, it is what best matches the proportion of the building and the property. Discussion ensued comparing the heights of other signs in town.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the Lake Central High School sign on top will be lit continuously or only in the evening. Dr. Veracco responded that it would remain lit when it needs to be because it is their primary entrance.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the distance is from the curb to the sign pillars. Dr. Veracco responded that it would be approximately 11 feet 2.75 inches from the shoulder.

Mr. Kennedy asked if landscaping is required around the monument sign. Mr. Eberly responded that we do require it, but they are not seeking a variance from that.

Mr. Schneider advised that the variances are being addressed one at a time, so any comments made should be specific to the monument sign. Mr. Schneider opened the floor to Public Hearing.

Don Farris (8524 Kelly Court): My backyard backs up to the freshman parking lot. I personally feel that the sign of that size, 100 square foot beyond what is in the ordinance, would be a drastic distraction to drivers up and down the Highway 41, also, for the students. The students are, for the most part, young drivers. They don’t need anything distracting them. There’s no need for this sign to be that large. It just – it’s a safety hazard in my mind for it to be that large. The – and –and I don’t know if I’m getting off in the wrong thing or not, but the signs, lighted signs on fences, I think was one of the things they were asking for. That’s also a distraction. The school is lit up. It’s a beautiful school, you know. It – it’s a great school. I’ve been – been here 25 years. But they are putting too much flashing or – or lights out there that will distract drivers and the students. And the students don’t need – like I said – they don’t need anything to distract them. A couple of years ago, one was distracted and drove through their, Lake Central, fence into my backyard. If my kids had been in that backyard – my grandkids, not my kids, my grandkids, we could have had some tragic happenings. Okay. Those kids don’t need any distractions. Keep it to the small sign. The one that Kolling has is a nice sign. They don’t need anything larger. They have one over on the school that says Lake Central. They do not need this huge sign. Again, I could be wrong here. The tower they want to put up a communications, can I address that now or later?

Mr. Schneider asked him to address that later.

Okay. Again, I don't think they need it. It’s uncalled for. Thank you.

Carolyn Nowacki (8535 Kelly Court): Let’ talk – let’s call it what it is; it’s a monument sign. That’s the words he used. It’s a monument. Lake Central already has a sign on the building, Lake Central High School. We don’t need, again, something a hundred square feet over a variance. It’s ridiculous. Okay. I agree, it’s a distraction. There are teenage drivers that are going in and out. I know there’s accidents, and I’m sure my neighbor will agree with me, almost weekly there. Okay. We don’t need any more for our little kids, for teenage drivers going in and out. It is on the building. It is backlit, no animation. I agree with all that. It shouldn’t be. I’m sorry. It shouldn’t – none of that should be there. Okay. And the local schools, Merrillville High School’s huge like Lake Central. Some of the other ones in the area, they do have small signs entrancing into their – into those areas. They’re just the same kind of sings that you’re going to see on major universities, major sporting events, and those kind of things.

You’re not going to see a big old 127 square feet sign, seriously, to say Lake Central High School when you have it already on the building. What is the monument to, the high school? The high school in itself is a monument. We don’t need to add a sign up there. A small directional sign saying entrance to Lake Central, like all major sporting events in the area, down in Chicago, they don’t have signs like this. There’s no other sign up and down 41 over here that is that big. And I think we have ordinances and laws in the state of Indiana and in this town, in St. John that need to be followed. And the reason they’re coming back a second time is because, oh, okay, there were people here opposing the first time. There’s people here opposing again. Okay. And they’re saying, you know, “No.” And we are the people that live in this neighborhood. We are the people that live directly behind, within inches, literally inches of this building. Thank you.

Ronna Reznik (9971 Wisteria Lane): And I am on the other side of the fence on this issue. As a member of the PAC that worked tirelessly to get the referendum and the school expanded, I feel like it's time to finally put up the missing piece to the school. There's several signs up and down 41 already mentioned: DQ, St. John Evangelist, the car wash, etc., very similar in size to the LED portion. I feel like the sign would not only be beneficial to the St. John community, but as well as the school. And it's my opinion that it should finally be approved.

John DeVries (9794 North Hickory Lane): I'm sorry I didn't sign up beforehand; but if it's okay, I'd like to speak. As far as the need for a sign at Lake Central, a week, again, or so ago, I counted 13 events at that high school that nobody in this community knew anything about. And I think that's a crime. Those kids need to have publicity for their events so that people like yourselves know that there’s a baseball game, a choir presentation, a band presentation, a flower sale, any number of things going on at that high school. This community needs that sign. And may I remind you that that high school is a St. John Township high school. It is not a St. John town high school. The people in the township have rights to that school as well. And I think it's time this is addressed in a proper manner and that sign is put in place. We've complied with all of your requests as far as safety engineers, etc., only to have postponements for no apparent good reason. And I think it's time that this issue is put to bed and that sign is put up. Thank you.

Gretchen Sutherland (10075 Springlake Road): I come to support the sign at Lake Central High School. I believe that Lake Central High School has addressed the safety considerations. Each morning, I drop my daughter off at Lake Central. It is safe. It's orderly. It's seamless. There is nothing about the coming and going of a huge volume of traffic that seems to be distracted, nor do I believe a sign at that location would provide additional distraction, because the safety considerations have been addressed. The sign on the building is wonderful, but it does not have the ability to communicate community or student events or promote other celebrations of the students at Lake Central High School. I do know that there are several other signs up and down 41 that are of, not necessarily the size, but lit up. Each day I pull out onto 41 across from St. John the Evangelist, and that has quite a bit of a light and size, and I've never found myself distracted while I'm driving. Thank you.

Tom Parada (9535 Joliet Street): I have to be honest; I was, kind of, a fence rider on this issue. I really wasn't sure one way or another which way this should go. And I'm still a little bit that way. But one thing, that's my alma mater, only a long, long time ago. Lake Central is the jewel of Lake County, as far as high schools go. Okay. I think it deserves a sign that calls attention to it.

As far as today's kids, believe me when I tell you, there's a lot more distractions than just a sign on the road. Okay. They seem to have come up with a really good way to balance this. You both have agreed on rules and how to do this. Paul, I think your idea's good too. I truly do. But there's one question that I have that I would really like to know, this is gone down now – gone on now for how long, two years? Okay. What was the communication that it even got this far that where it's – who – who dropped the ball as far as either getting this passed or not allowing it to even get this far. That's a rhetorical question, but that's one thing that I would be critical of more than anything else. Because you've either – they either get a favorable – somewhere – somewhere down the line they should have either gotten a favorable recommendation or not. And two years is a long time. From what I understand, the sign is bought and paid for. Am I right?

Mr. Eberly explained that the BZA couldn’t answer his question. He also explained the timeline and that the school chose to wait two years before coming back when they were only required to wait one year.

Got it. Good explanation. I appreciate it. Thanks for answering my question. But I still have to say, being it's the school I went to, many, many years ago, it is the jewel of this – certainly the township if not anything else, and I think they deserve the sign. I'm done.

Cheryl Malsch (9745 Julia Drive): I have been – I have lived in St. John over 45 years. My husband has been here 70. We've had four generations of Malsches through Lake Central School system, including Dyer and on up. I have nothing but good things to say about Lake Central High School. My feeling for the sign is that I want to be informed. There is so much going on at that high school between sports, music, theater, science. Recently we had a student who won a design for Google event for the state of Indiana. Wouldn't that have been nice to have her name out there on that sign?

I think that it's not distracting. There's a flashing, well, there's a stoplight right there in front. So hopefully people are paying attention to that stop light too when they stop. If that sign is going on, they can catch what's going on around there. I think the Town of St. John is growing and – and continues to grow. And we grow for the good. And I think right now, we need to look at our youth, and we need to look at how we're going to help these students realize that it's important to be good at something. It's important to be good in Science Olympiad. It's important to be good in the theater. Recently, we had a cultural event there for all of the school corporation. It included the grade schools, the junior highs, and the high school, art, music, theater; and we were unable to announce it to the community. It was free to come to. But it was a wonderful program, and those people who did come, I think, realized how talented students that we have here at the high school. And I am for the sign.

Rob Sues (9485 Calumet Avenue): The question that came up that really is, that festers in my head is, “Why does the sign need to be so big?” And I am pro-sign. And the reason I'm pro-sign is for the pure fact as is 41, as we all know, is a very dangerous street. Anything we can do to have all the guests that come into our Lake Central School know to be in that right lane and not be cutting over, letting them know ahead of time that their GPS is saying it's here. And everybody is scared is there GPS right? Is it on the right, or is it on the left? And if we can direct traffic when, with a sign being of that height, getting people into the turning lane as quick as possible, making sure that we have a safe place for people coming to visit us.

Because every time we think it's just for people in the community to say, “Hey, that's Lake Central High School,” every sporting event brings people here. That swimming pool has conferences that bring people from the universities to us from all directions. Not everybody who goes to Lake Central has been there the day before. Not everybody who goes there knows how dangerous that Route 41 is. I know we're doing everything that the state will allow us to do, but that road is dangerous. And if we can see Lake Central sooner, I think we can make this place a safer place for us to live. I think making that sign smaller, letting people creep up there, is not a safety issue. Let's make that sign appropriate for the amount of use that that building gets.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oak Ridge Drive): It's pretty simple. The Town has an ordinance. You are the backstop for the ordinances. If somebody who didn't follow our ordinance can round up all his employees and have them come down here and tell you what a great job this is, my – my question is this, the next guy that comes from a sign, you've opened the door up. You have to either repeal your sign ordinance and change it to make this the new standard. It has nothing to do about the kids, the events, and what a wonderful school it is. It has to do with what the law is about.

Your ordinances are the law. You either have to change your law, or you have to follow it. I'm not going to be pro-sign or anti-sign. I'm going to talk to you about your responsibility as citizens of this community, as people who have taken an oath to support the Indiana Constitution, the State laws of Indiana, and the ordinances of St. John. Once you let one guy have a sign, no matter how nice it is, whether it's Sister Theresa's campaign fund or whoever you think it might be, you're – you're faced with either changing the ordinance or conforming to it. That's your duty here. Thank you.

Christian Jorgensen (10157 Wellington Court): Also a councilman here. I’d have to say that I completely disagree with Mr. Hero. You actually have the ability to grant variances because of institutions like Lake Central that are like a unicorn in our town. They provide so much good to our fire and our police. They’re generous to us. They – they provide a tremendous amount of – of good to – to everybody here in the town, all their institutions do. They deserve and should be looked at differently than any other institution, and that’s why they come here and seek a variance. And that’s the law to be followed. So it’s up to you, gentlemen, to look at that and grant them what they need based upon their uniqueness here in the community, and I hope you approve it.

Ronna Reznik (9971 Wisteria Lane): I was already up here. I just want to state for the record and for everyone in this room that I was not asked to come and speak on behalf of the sign. This is a personal issue for me, and no one asked me to come here and do this.

Mary Tanis (2610 Lakewood Drive, Dyer): Lake Central High School belongs to all of St. John Township, including Dyer. And when I look at some of the schools that we have in other parts of the state, we need to stand out. Governor Holcomb said it very clearly the other day: We have such potential up here. Let’s advertise this potential by telling everyone how great our students are and how great our – how great our school is at Lake Central. Please support the sign. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oak Ridge Drive): I would just like to rebut what Mr. Jorgensen said. Mr. Jorgensen is on the Town Council. He’s one of the appointing authorities that put you people on this board. I consider it a conflict of interest if the person that appoints you tries to sway you from doing what you took an oath to support. Thank you.

The board duly noted that Mr. Jorgensen is a citizen of St. John and has a right to speak as a citizen of the town even though he is an acting councilman.

John DeVries (9794 North Hickory Lane): Well, I would like to rebut Mr. Hero. If there’s no appeal for these zoning laws, why are you people here? What’s the purpose of this meeting? Anybody can answer that for me. Thank you.

Having no one else come forward to speak, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Schneider asked if there is a difference in the sign sizes. Dr. Veracco stated that the message center is 5 feet by 9 feet, and the digital portion of the Kolling sign is 6 feet by 6 feet, so it is 45 square feet as opposed to the 36 square feet that the board has approved for them in the past. The difference in the square footage comes from the backlit sign on top.

Mr. Eberly advised that the total height of the structure is 21 feet 4 inches by 14 feet 11 inches, which includes outside of supporting posts and from ground to the top of those supporting posts. The actual signage is closer to 105 square feet, the dimension given earlier was the gross square feet.

Mr. Williams asked if the written remonstrances should be made a part of the record. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

(Letters of remonstrance are attached hereto and made a part thereof as Exhibit Nos. 2017-05-22 BZA 1 and 2017-05-22 BZA 2.)

Mr. Schneider asked if the brick would match the materials used on the building. Dr. Veracco responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk expressed concern about the signage and withstanding an impact. Dr. Veracco stated that he believes it will withstand an impact but will verify the same with the engineers.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to approve, deny, or defer the Lake Central monument sign’s area variance to include the Findings of Fact.

A motion was made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Before a vote could take place, more discussion amongst the board members as to whether to include multiple variances into one motion and/or what conditions should be applied to said motion(s).

Mr. Panczuk wanted it noted, for the record, that Dairy Queen’s sign was not approved and allowed by the BZA.

Mr. Schneider entertained a new motion.

Motion by Mr. Williams to approve the area and height variances for the Lake Central High School monument sign:
1. Approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and comfort, or general welfare of the community;
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner;
3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.
The following conditions are hereby included:
The lighted LED sign will have no flashing or no flowing, will have a minimum of a six-second duration including a fade-in/fade-out with no movement.

Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider advised that wall signage would be addressed next.

Mr. Eberly advised that wall signage is allowed to be up to 100 square feet. The wall signage was on the Site Plan approved by the Plan Commission when the plans were presented to expand the building, as was the directional sign, which has yet to be discussed.

Mr. Eberly further advised that he wall sign was specifically shown at Site Plan approval four years prior to this, and he believes that school is under the impression that the sign was approved because it was part of the original submittal.

Dr. Veracco stated that when the voters approved the project in 2011, they contacted Mr. Kil and had several meetings. They didn’t realize until they heard from Mr. Eberly five weeks ago that they did not have approval for this signage.

Mr. Eberly advised that the wall sign is 130 square feet. Mr. Eberly recommended that the board consider this item and take action as requested by the school.

Mr. Schneider asked if the directional sign is included in the request. Mr. Eberly advised that the directional sign would be handled separately.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing on the wall sign request.

Carolyn Nowacki (8535 Kelly Court): I don’t know, even know why we’re approving this, because, let’s look at it; it’s already there. It’s already up. Just like other things, they just – what do they care? They don’t live next to the school. I do. It’s already there, so. They didn’t care what we said before. They don’t care what we say now. They put it up outside the ordinances and said, “Eh, slap my wrist.” But you know what, they got their signs. So that’s my – that’s my point. It’s already there.

Don Farris (8524 Kelly Court): The tower is there. You know, it – it’s – why come and ask for it now after they put it up? Should have put it up at the bus barn where it wouldn’t be near any residents.

Mr. Williams advised Mr. Farris to stick to the topic of the wall signs. (Mr. Farris agreed to wait.)

Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board. Mr. Wiliams commented that he does not like it that the sign is already up.

Hearing nothing further from the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to include the Findings of Fact.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the total sign area including the following Findings of Fact:
1. Approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and comfort, or general welfare of the community;
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner;
3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.

Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Ryan.

Mr. Schneider advised that the directional signage would be addressed next.

Dr. Veracco stated that the purpose of the sign is to help people find their way around the facility.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the directional sign was an LED sign. Dr. Veracco responded that it is a backlit sign. Mr. Williams commented that he finds the sign hard to read at night. Mr. Panczuk commented that Lake Central is a unique property that is quite large with one building; and due to its size, it needs extra signage.

Mr. Eberly advised that the directional signs are 5 feet by 6 feet or 30 square feet per side.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing regarding the directional signage only. Hearing none, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Ryan asked if the directional signs are already up. Mr. Schneider responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding the directional signage to include the Findings of Fact.

Mr. Williams commented that he does not like it that the directional signage is also already up.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the directional signage variance including the Findings of Fact:
1. Approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and comfort, or general welfare of the community;
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner;
3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider advised that the telecommunications tower would be addressed next.

Mr. Eberly advised that the school corporation used to be on the tower here at Town Hall. They had a contract to be on the tower for 16 years; approximately two years ago, the Town informed Lake Central that they needed to remove themselves from our tower; and as a result, they needed to find a new tower, which is a radio tower for their school buses.

Dr. Veracco stated that they have used a tower for a long time to provide communications to ensure safety for students, staff, and the transportation department and gave a brief background about the installation of the tower by Miner Electric, who handled the tower installation.

Mr. Eberly stated that the tower is on the south side of the building. Dr. Veracco stated it is there behind the strip mall, so it is straight west of the NIPSCO power substation.

Mr. Eberly advised the board that there is no maximum height restriction in the public district that the school resides in, and the only issue is a Use Variance. The board will need to act on the five conditions that are statutory conditions and those Findings of Fact will need to be referenced with either a favorable or an unfavorable recommendation.

Multiple members expressed dissatisfaction that the Use Variance is being sought after the tower was built because if their Use Variance was not approved, they could not have built the tower. Dr. Veracco explained the need for the tower and apologized for coming for permission after the fact.

Mr. Eberly advised that it was not on the building plan for the expansion, there was no permit issued, and no inspections were made. Mr. Eberly stated that if the Use Variance would be granted, there would likely be after-the-fact inspections done.

Mr. Austgen advised that had there been due diligence on this matter, which would have happened if the Town Staff had known about it, our Town engineers would have consulted with their engineers. Lake Central is a large property with many moving parts happening when the expansion was being done. There was a gap somewhere; however, they are here before us tonight. Mr. Austgen further stated that it is not an excuse, only an explanation; and we need to catch the use up to the approval, the review, and the internal matters.

Mr. Ryan asked how thorough an inspection could be after the fact. Mr. Eberly advised that he would have to leave it to the expertise of the inspectors.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn’t care for the way this has been done out of process. The tower is quite large and needs to be looked at closer. There are homes in close proximity. Mr. Schneider asked how he would like it to be reviewed. Mr. Panczuk stated that he is just opening up discussion.

Discussion ensued about what should or could be reviewed. Mr. Austgen advised that they could send a no recommendation to the Town Council requesting that due diligence is done before the rendering of a decision would be made and leave it to the legislative body.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Don Farris (8524 Kelly Court): That tower is very near the back of my home. It shouldn’t have been there. It should be over by the bus barn where it would not be near any residence. All right. They talk about building that school, and it’s a great school. But what they did forget is putting that gate in the back that they said they were going to put in, but they didn’t. And now we have traffic through that parking lot all night, all night. They want things approved for their benefit, but what would help residents, they – they overlook. And nobody thinks about it. That tower needs to go. Thank you.

Rich Nowacki (8535 Kelly Court): There’s a couple concerns I have. One is for the health and safety of the children there from the radiation that is “omitted” from those towers, and also, I live right next door, too. I mean, did – was that even taken into consideration? I don’t think so. The other concern was the fact of the home value of that – with that tower in my backyard, is that going to affect the value of my home? Nobody even considered that. They put that tower in without any – any – asking anybody to do anything, and it’s right there in my backyard. I – I could literally go out my back door and – and touch the tower. Again, you got possibility of radiation poisoning from – from that tower. And it’s just going to be something that’s going to be pushed underneath the rug. Thank you.

Christian Jorgensen (10157 Wellington Court): I realize we have an issue with the tower and when it was placed and approving it now. What I don’t understand is how Lake Central will conduct itself and ensure the safety of its bus drivers and everyone else without a communication tower, like the one it has. So are we looking at placing it somewhere else? I mean, my understanding is that the Town, before my time, wanted Lake Central off of that – their own tower. So we couldn’t – or they couldn’t use it along with the – with the Town. I have no idea. I don’t know if that’s correct or it’s not correct. Dave, maybe you can fill us in on that one. I don’t know. But for whatever reason, they don’t get to use the Town’s tower any longer, so they need a tower. I mean, anybody disagree with that? I mean, they need some kind of communication device that is going to resemble a tower. Right, Rick?

Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Okay. So they’re going to need, basically, what they have now. So we’re talking about a placement issue, is my understanding.

Mr. Eberly stated that is correct, and they would need the same variance wherever they propose it.

Wherever they go. So are we looking at having to move it around the property at Lake Central? I mean, that’s it; right?

Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Farris suggested it go over to the bus barn across the street, which may not be the proper location either.

Okay. I mean, I don’t either. It just seems to me like there’s – I mean, we have one property there. Okay, there’s the bus barn property as well, and we have one other property where it’s – it’s likely to go. I don’t’ want to spend taxpayer money or, you know, take money away from the school to relocate it to, perhaps, a different area on the property that’s – I mean, I don’t even know if it could be more esthetically pleasing. I mean, it’s a tower. Anyway, I mean, this is just, I mean, something to consider; but it seems to me the Town didn’t want to – to share its – its own tower, so now they need their own tower. They’ve got one. What are we going to do with it? Let’s be practical.

(Outbursts from the audience were quashed by the board.)

Joe Hero (11723 South Oak Ridge Drive): You heard residents talk about a tower in their backyard. If the tower falls a certain way, is it going to hit this guy’s house, property, endanger them? Something falls off the tower, is it going to go through their roof? If you look at what’s going on here tonight, we know how they won their referendum. Okay. We recognize some of the names that are here tonight. I don’t’ think it was done fairly, but now what you see is mismanagement showing up in multiple locations.

They buy a $100,000 sign. Now they got to convince you that it’s okay to use it. They build this tower without going through the proper legal procedures in town, and if it endangers these households here, it has to be moved. You heard somebody complain about radiation. What about falling parts off that tower? What this shows is the mismanagement, in my opinion, of the previous school board, the superintendent of the schools at the time. And all they’re asking you is a – for a cover up of that mismanagement. Let’s just – we – you – and you hear Mr. Jorgensen pandering to the voters, “Oh, we got a tower, what are we going to do now? Just, you know we need a tower.” Well, that – that’s kind of bologna. See that – that’s political pandering for votes.

They don’t’ even live in this district, half of them. Okay. He lives in Hanover School District. He doesn’t even live in Lake Central School District. He helps hire that attorney over there who gives you advice. He helps appoint you guys to this council. What I say is this, get some backbone. Everybody can see that, that tower is a hazard to the residents. It was put up illegally. So what do you do? Are you Solomon up there?

What you should ask the Town to do is fine these people for the number of days that tower has been up there and to go personally to the people responsible on the school board at the time, or the superintendent and make them pay the fine. You should institute legal procedure to collect the fine money. That’s the only way to curb this kind of mismanagement and total disregard for the ordinances of St. John. If you take the – if you, “Oh, well, let’s just pass this problem onto the Town Council,” it’ll just be more political pandering

Get some backbone. Tell them to tear their tower down, go put it in a safe place, do the proper review. You’ve got homeowners here who say that that tower can injure them. You need to take action, because if you don’t, I think you’re personally liable for any damage to those people. Thank you.

Mr. Austgen advised the board members that they are not personally liable.

Carolyn Nowacki (8535 Kelly Court): I’m going to read a letter. I think it needs to be read. I live in Ventura Estates. I personally live inches, literally inches from that tower. Okay.

As an owner of the property living within 300 feet of an unapproved constructed, already, radio tower, I am very concerned about the health and safety of my neighborhood and children of Lake Central High School. In addition, the property value of my home and surrounding neighbors and their health has been compromised without any consideration of the people living within close proximity to the said tower. These towers are known to give off radiation. There have been studies conducted by the American Cancer Society warning people about cancer being received from living close to these towers. Studies have been conducted showing that radiation is being emitted in the air to families and homes living close to these towers.

Again, 300 feet is very close. In fact, it’s basically in my backyard – basically, we’re talking steps from my back property line. Easily, this tower could have been constructed in an area where it does not affect people. For example, I agree, the tower should have been located near the bus barn where there is at least no families living within 300 feet.

It is my concern, based on research: a tower emits radiation signals from tower to tower and so forth. So this tower must be able to be in line of sight to submit signals. So has the Lake Central School Corporation constructed another radio tower within the town without your approval? It has to be in a line of sight to go from radio to tower to tower. They did this one. Who’s to stop them from constructing others? What company constructed this tower knowing that the Lake Central School Corporation did not get prior, proper approval of this tower?

This company – is this company licensed to work in the town of Saint John or anywhere for that fact? Did the construction company ask Lake Central for the building permit? Perhaps the town of Saint John should not allow this construction company to do business because of the violating of building permits and proper inspections.

Members of the Town of Saint John Board of Zoning Appeal, vote no to this radio tower, and ask the Town Council to have it taken down. This is a major health risk to the surrounding people who live in close proximity to this tower. This tower will also compromise the value of the homes constructed within close proximity to the radio tower.

The Lake Central School Corporation must follow all proper procedures in this government of this town. A slap on the wrist does not excuse the fact that people's health are at risk and laws were ignored tonight. Thank you.

Gretchen Sutherland (10075 Spring Lake Road): I just have a couple of questions about some of the comments that were made. If the tower is constructed on the LC property but previously a tower was being used that belongs to the Town of St. John, I’m assuming that that tower is located somewhere in our town in proximity to residents and employees of our town. And so I’m not sure if that health risk is a viable point or not. Moving a tower somewhere else in the town, if that is a health risk, only exposes people at Kolling and the employees at the bus barn and any other nearby residents or businesses, so I don’t know if the health concern is a viable concern or not. But the location of the tower, if that is the fact, would be putting people in a health risk anyway, wherever it is located.

I’m not sure if there is an understanding of the magnitude of the construction project at Lake Central and all of the different pieces that had to go into the building of that campus, all of the different building permits and construction contractors, and the oversight of that. It seems that the school corporation was in the Planning Commission multiple times, and also in contact with the town president, so if there was things that were not supposed to happen on that site, I think there was an opportunity for that to be communicated. Thank you.

Tom Parada (9535 Joliet Street): I just have a couple questions. Am I correct in saying that this has to go before three agencies before it’s completely okay? Does it go before the Plan Commission, or does it go from here to the Town Council?

Mr. Eberly responded that it goes from here to the Town Council.

Okay. Here’s my question about all of this. This may not have been right what they did, but you guys are kind of responsible for this too. Number one, you, Mr. Kil, basically, evicted them from the tower they were on in the first place. Did you not think that they were going to build a tower? Was, I mean, you got –

Mr. Schneider advised Mr. Parada that what he is saying has nothing to do with the Board of Zoning Appeals.

You don’t understand what I’m saying. What I’m trying to say is you, you have –

Mr. Schneider stated that Mr. Parada had said that the board was wrong.

No. This is what I’m trying – let me – let me put it in common terms. Okay. You have a code enforcement person; am I right? They go around and they look for, for things that are wrong with people’s property. Now, at this point in time, somebody must have been aware that there was going to be another tower built somewhere. Am I right in assuming this tower didn’t go all – didn’t go up all in one day? Probably took a while to build. That’s my point.

Somebody’s asleep at the wheel. If I – I’m not – and on this one, I honestly am not taking one side or the other. But for me to think that a tower just went up, if these folks made it, uh, called it to your attention or the Town Council’s attention and it just went unnoticed, shame on you. Because the truth is, they have rights; but so do they. And my point about this whole thing, again, is it didn’t jump up overnight. There had to be an amount of time for the – for it to be built. Somebody’s asleep at the wheel.

Kathryn Wilson (9621 East Oak Ridge Drive): Just one quick comment. With all the new construction that’s going on in St. John, maybe – I’m sure there’s going to be more situations like this; but maybe some of this open property can be set aside for situations where homeowners are going to need certain space and protection from situations like this. I mean, that seems to be one of the primary concerns is because it’s so close to homes. And where you put it by the school or the bus barn, you’re still going to be exposing, so just a general comment.

Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Ryan stated that he is pained because the conversation is taking place after the project is already done, and he would like there to be a better and closer working relationship between the Town and the school.

Mr. Schneider stated that at this point, he would like a no recommendation to be sent to the Town Council with the condition that this be reviewed through the proper channels. Mr. Schneider also stated that he is concerned about the health risk from radiation.

Discussion ensued regarding inspections of the tower for safety and board options insofar as actions available for this project. Mr. Eberly advised the board of their action options.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he cannot approve this based on the conditions in the Findings of Fact.

Mr. Kennedy asked what made them choose this site versus another site. Mr. Veracco responded that they wanted to have it where they could have surveillance on it and have it in a more secure location.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the responsibility to obtain the permit was Miner Electric’s responsibility. Mr. Veracco responded that Miner Electric handled the entire project for them.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to defer the project or to send a favorable recommendation, an unfavorable recommendation, or a no recommendation to the Town Council for the Use Variance request for the Lake Central telecommunication tower.

Motion by Mr. Ryan to send an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council for the Use Variance for the Lake Central communication tower. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk referencing the Special Uses Findings of Fact:
1. Approval will be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community;
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will be affected in a substantially adverse manner;
3. The need for the Variance will not arise from some condition peculiar to the property, which is as follows: N/A
4. The Applicant did not establish that the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will constitute an unnecessary hardship if applied to the property for which the variance is sought;
5. The Petitioner has not established that approval does not interfere substantially with the Comprehensive Plan of the Town of St. John.

Vote by roll call:

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Williams Nay
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Ryan Aye
Mr. Schneider Nay

Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays.

Mr. Austgen advised that the Town Council has ninety days to render a decision on this matter.

(A brief recess was had.)

A. 2017-0007 LAKE CENTRAL PLAZA LLC – Developmental Standards Variance to Construct LED Sign at 8237 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is Lake Central Plaza for a Developmental Standards Variance at 8237 Wicker Avenue. The petitioner is requesting variances for flashing signage, the total square footage, and height.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner to proceed. Their existing sign predates our sign ordinance of 2009. The existing sign is taller and larger than what they are proposing. The message board will make the two reader boards obsolete.

Mr. Eberly advised that the sign will be moved from its existing location; however, the placement of the sign is not subject to any variance requests.

Mr. Eberly noted that the dimensions of the proposed sign are 16 feet by 12 feet.

Mr. Schneider asked where the new sign will go. Mr. Eberly showed that it would be relocated to the entryway with the stoplight.

Mr. Walter Swets from Economy Signs stated that they would like to relocate the sign. They would like to utilize the same sign, which is why it will be oversized. The height will be cut down substantially. They are seeking to eliminate the two 4-foot by 8-foot reader board signs, and replace it with one 4-foot by 8-foot LED message center.

Mr. Schneider asked what the height of the existing sign is. Mr. Swets responded that it is about 22 feet.

Mr. Swets stated that it wouldn’t be a problem to have the same restrictions as were imposed on Lake Central School Corporation.

Mr. Ryan asked if it would be on 24/7 or shut down at night. Mr. Swets responded that it can be either way and can be programmed however the board sees fit.

Mr. Dennis Meyer asked what hours the board would like the sign shut down between. Mr. Williams responded that Lake Central School Corporation shuts theirs off from 10:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Mr. Meyer stated that they would need a bit later than that. There are a couple of restaurants that are open until midnight. They are not sure about all the tenants as they are adding a new building, so to say who will be there and what their hours are is not possible at this time.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like the message center to be no more than a 1-foot by 8-foot LED message center; and he feels that is readable and visible.

Mr. Meyer stated that the size Mr. Panczuk proposed is not large enough with the number of tenants they have and they are giving up two large reader boards.

Mr. Schneider asked how many lines that size message center would display. Mr. Swets responded that it has the capability to go up to six or seven lines depending on how it is programmed.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they could do a 2-foot by 8-foot message center and be at the one-third ration of the sign.

Mr. Meyer requested a deferral to come back with a new design.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oak Ridge Drive): I think that’s – that there should be two signs there; where the existing one is and where this other intersection now is at Lake Central. Because right now people drive right through the parking lot, through Livio’s, and come out the other way. In order to avoid confusion, I think you’re going to have some people want to come from one way and some from the other way. And if the ultimate plan is to have Fransiscan or somebody else in there, I – I think, even though it’s not what he’s asking for here today, I would just ask Mr. Meyer to improve the lighting at that intersection – what is that called, Lake Central Drive – because as you come out of Livio’s, you got to make this really sharp turn. And the lighting is so bad there that it’s easy to go into the oncoming lane. So I would just ask that, just because he’s here. I think you should give him two signs, both sides, to avoid confusion because a lot of people are using that now as a drive through to get to the light to avoid going right on 41. I think you need to make that whole thing better. And I think two signs would – would improve that if you would also throw in some better lighting there the way that road is it – it’s – it’s like more than a 90-degree turn. So I would just ask that the lighting be improved there since he’s here. Thank you.

Having no one further wishing to speak, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Meyer is entitled to a sign on this property as it is a separately platted property from where Livio’s is located, so he could come in for a 30 square-foot sign with nothing more than a permit. It can’t be flashing or flowing without a variance, but he is entitled to a 30 square-foot sign in addition to what is already there.

Mr. Meyer addressed the comment about the lighting. He stated that once the building is up, they will have more than adequate lighting that will light that whole section up.

Mr. Meyer stated that if the board will allow the 4-foot by 8-foot message center, they would make the overall sign smaller.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they would rather keep the one-third proportion for the message center.

Mr. Meyer requested to defer the matter at this time.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to defer the Lake Central Plaza sign.

Motion to defer by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Schneider asked if there was anyone wishing to speak for Public Comment.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oak Ridge Drive): Since this is the Public Comment part of the real meeting and then the other was the Public Hearings, I think the tower thing that you guys voted on, I think you should ask the Town Attorney, who’s sitting here, to see if he can pursue a legal action against Lake Central to remove that tower. Uh, I know you didn’t approve it, which was good. But I think in order for those people who are the homeowners here, that there should be some positive action taken. And it is clear, in my mind, that the people that are responsible for this is the superintendent of schools or the previous school board. And I think, to set an example, that you should ask your attorney, who’s also the Town Attorney, to see if they can pursue legal action to get that tower done so this thing doesn’t hang forever back and forth and then they come again and don’t come again and express what you think should be done by rejecting it. But I – I think you should ask that – that some action be taken by the Town to hold those people accountable. Thank you.

Mr. Schneider asked if there was anyone else wishing to speak. Hearing none, he closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 10:32 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

06-26-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

June 26, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the June 26, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Schneider. The following Board Members were present: John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, Jason Williams, Tom Ryan, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and Mike Muenich, Town Attorney.

Absent: None

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and stated that the April 24, 2017 and May 22, 2017 minutes are not available at this time and entertained a motion to defer the same.

Motion to defer the approval of minutes by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Williams asked, as a matter of public record, if we could ask the Town Council how the public is supposed to get their information about what happens at these meetings if the minutes are not available to approve.

Mr. Eberly stated that he would pass that on to the Town Council.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2017-008 ASHLEY KENNEDY – Developmental Standards Variance for a Rear Yard Setback for Constructing a Concrete Patio Addition
Mr. Schneider advised the first agenda item is Ms. Ashley Kennedy for a Developmental Standards Variance for a rear-yard setback for constructing a patio.

Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioner hired a contractor to put an addition on her patio. The contractor was under the impression that the patio met the 40-foot rear-yard setback. When the building commissioner checked, he found it to be 25 feet and some inches from the rear property line. The mistake is due to no fault of the petitioner but was an error on the part of the contractor.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner this evening. The job has been on hold since the issue was found. It does not encroach on any side-yard setbacks.

Mr. Eberly informed the public present that the Internet connection is not working this evening; therefore, he will not be able to show anything on the viewing screen in the room as it relies on an Internet connection for transmission from the computer to the projector.

Mrs. Kennedy stated that she has spoken with the neighbor to the rear of her property, and they are fine with the patio being less than the 40-foot setback.

Mr. Eberly stated that the neighbor across the street came in to see what the variance request was. After hearing what it was for, the neighbor stated that he has no problems with it.

Mr. Eberly advised that he has not received any remonstrances regarding this petition.

Mr. Schneider asked if there was a permit pulled for the work. Mr. Eberly advised that the contractor applied for the permit; however, he started the work before the permit was issued, which is another indication of the contractor making a mistake. The permit is on file and ready to be issued if the variance is granted.

Mr. Williams asked who the contractor is. Mrs. Kennedy responded that it is Hoosier Concrete. She added that the contractor has never had any issues in St. John before.

Discussion ensued regarding contractors not having the permit before starting work.

Mr. Schneider asked if any of the neighbors have said anything to her. Mrs. Kennedy responded that the only neighbor who said anything to her lives directly behind her home to the south, and he said he has no issues with the variance request.

Mr. Kennedy of the BZA asked, for clarification, if the purpose of the patio is so her husband, who is in a wheelchair, has easier and better accessibility for enjoyment of their yard. Mrs. Kennedy responded in the affirmative.

When asked if there would be any structure, such as a fence or a wall, added to the patio extension, Mrs. Kennedy responded in the negative.

Mrs. Kennedy stated that they may add a ramp and asked if that would be a problem. Multiple board members responded that it would not be a problem.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing and asked if there is anyone wishing to speak.

Hearing none, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Schneider asked for clarification regarding the measurement from the bump-out section of the house and the added patio section. Mr. Eberly responded that it would be an additional 9 feet beyond the bump out.

Mr. Schneider asked if there were any further questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion to include the Findings of Fact.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the Developmental Standards Variance for a rear-yard setback for the purpose of constructing a concrete patio including the Findings of Fact: Approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and comfort, or general welfare of the community; the use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner; the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk raised the issue of folks and contractors building without permits and asked if, possibly, a fine or penalty could be assessed. Mr. Eberly responded that he would have to look into that. Mr. Eberly stated that he is not aware of a penalty in St. John; and if there isn’t one, he would be recommending one. Dyer has a penalty of $350.

Mr. Eberly stated that there is a Contractors Board. He has never had a meeting with them, and he believes it is to review complaints against contractors.

Mr. Muenich advised that the Contractors Board issues exams; and if there is a violation of the building code, it can be cause for proceedings through the Contractors Board. There is nothing within the framework of the Contractors Board that allows people to bring in complaints and get monetary damages or anything else.

Mr. Muenich stated that rather than creating another enforcement arm and going through that, it would be better if the Town Council amended the building permit ordinance for violation of starting construction without a permit and leaving the enforcement with the Code Enforcement Officer.

Mr. Eberly stated that if there is a penalty or fine, it is likely to be in Ordinance No. 985. He will check into it; and if it is not there, he will look into creating such a fine.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 7:16 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

07-24-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

July 24, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the July 24, 2017, Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Schneider. The following Board Members were present: Paul Panczuk, Jason Williams, Tom Ryan, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

Absent: John Kennedy and David M. Austgen, Town Attorney.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and stated that the April 24, 2017; May 22, 2017; and June 26, 2017 minutes are not available at this time and entertained a motion to defer the same.

Motion to defer the approval of minutes by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2017-009 COYNE VETERINARY SERVICES – Use Variance, Special Exception Variance, and Development Technical Variances (Petitioner: Mike Matthys with Linden Group Architects)
Mr. Schneider advised the first agenda item is Coyne Veterinary Services for a few variances.

Mr. Mike Matthys with Linden Group Architects introduced himself to the board.

Mr. Eberly advised that everything is in order for this petitioner, and they have posted the public notice in a timely fashion. However, the physical location sign that is meant to be posted 15 days in advance was posted 13 days in advance due to a miscommunication. Mr. Eberly asked the board to consider waiving the 15-day rule and allow the petitioner to proceed with only 13 days on the sign posting.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to allow the exception to the 15-day requirement to 13 days.

Motion to approve waiving the 15-day requirement by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioner is seeking all three types of variances that the BZA hears. The Use Variance is required because the use is not allowed in the US 41 Overlay District. The Special Exception is required for the kennel because it is not allowed the US 41 Overlay District. There are two Developmental Technical Variances, one for a building of 11,200 square feet, where the Overlay District requires a minimum of 15,000 square feet, and the other for a 36-foot buffer variance, where a 40-foot buffer is required in the Overlay District between commercial property and residential property. Most of the property does meet the minimum of 40 feet; however, there are some areas where it does not quite meet that minimum.

Mr. Matthys passed out a handout of the PowerPoint Presentation to the board members and gave a presentation about Dr. Coyne and Coyne Veterinary Services and the variances they are requesting.

Mr. Matthys stated that they are here for a Use Variance for an animal hospital, Special Exception for animal boarding, and variances for relief from the minimum building size and a reduction of the buffer yard.

Mr. Matthys explained that the purpose of Coyne Veterinary Services is to pull veterinary services under one umbrella to provide the convenience of multiple services in one place. Coyne does not require appointments and has extended hours including Saturdays and Sundays.

Mr. Matthys noted that Dr. Coyne has a facility in Alsip Nursery here in St. John.

Mr. Matthys stated that Jason Sanderson, President of RWE Management, is here with him. Mr. Sanderson is the developer of the project and has designed over 150 animal hospitals in the Chicagoland and Midwest areas.

Mr. Matthys stated that the current clinic, known as the Animal Care Center of St. John, in Alsip opened in 2012 and has existing partnerships with local rescue groups and animal control. When the new facility is open, they plan to close the location in Alsip. The proposed location is on the northeast side of US 231 and US 41. While the zoning is C-2, they fall under the US 41 Overlay District. Under typical C-2, animal hospitals are allowed, but the US 41 Overlay District does not allow for that. The kennels also require a variance due to the US 41 Overlay District.

Mr. Eberly advised that kennels are an allowed use in C-2 zoning.

Mr. Matthys described the layout of the surrounding properties in relation to their property to the board members and walked through the plat of survey.

Mr. Matthys stated that they have 46 parking spots and are only required to have 36. Mr. Matthys then referenced locations on their plat and discussed proposed additional parking that utilizes part of the buffer and requested an allowance for those optional parking spots as well as an additional 8 spots. If all the parking spots were allowed, it would reduce the buffer to 20 feet. The parking will be blocked from view to the residents by a retaining wall that will be between 3 to 4 feet in height.

Mr. Matthys stated that the building will face US 41 and be made of brick, glass, and metal with a more modern appearance. The southern elevation of the building will have wood, glass, metal and stone. The closest the building will be to any residential property is 160 feet. The boarding facility is at the backside of the building and will be all masonry.

Mr. Matthys advised that the outside areas do not have any runs and will be fully supervised whenever animals are in the contained, outdoor area. It will be shielded from the residential areas.

Mr. Matthys described the kennel/boarding area which will have special, inoperable, laminate-coated, noise-reducing windows and a mechanical fresh air system. Sound-absorbing materials and sound panels will also be used in those areas. The Sound Transmission Class, STC, rating is 50-55, so the noise emission is quite low.

Mr. Matthys stated that if the BZA requests it, they can put sound-absorbing panels in the outdoor area as well, but it isn’t something they automatically install. The outdoor area will only be in use when the facility is open, which is 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Mr. Matthys showed several of the other animal clinics/hospitals that they have built and discussed the quality of the work they do in conjunction with RWE Management and closed his presentation with an offer to answer any questions.

Mr. Schneider brought the matter back to the board and asked for any questions or comments.

Mr. Ryan asked if there were any letters of complaint from residents living near other facilities they’ve built. Mr. Matthys responded in the negative.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the outdoor area would be visible from the residential side of the property. Mr. Matthys responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the height of the wall step-up to the east will be. Mr. Matthys responded there is approximately 8 feet of change from the front of the property to the rear of the property. They will split the difference and have a 3 to 4-foot wall on the US 41 side and 3 to 4-foot wall on the residential side.

Mr. Eberly advised that he had a call from Mr. Rick Newell who owns a pet crematory, and Mr. Newell spoke highly of Dr. Coyne and is in support of this business. He further advised that Mr. Joe Kubiak, owner of Kubiak Auto Repair, located just to the north of the property, came in and asked a few questions, but he did not remonstrate in any way.

Mr. Schneider asked if the outside area will be fenced. Mr. Matthys responded that they will install an 8-foot PVC fence. Mr. Eberly advised that 8 feet is the maximum fence height allowed in the US 41 Overlay District.

Mr. Williams asked where the special buffering fence would be. Mr. Matthys replied that they would use sound-absorbing panels on the building which provides a more secure mounting surface for the panels.

Mr. Williams stated that if the building were to be moved 10 feet to the west, they wouldn’t need the encroachment for the extra parking and asked if they had considered doing the same. Mr. Matthys responded that there is a drainage easement that runs through that area that keeps them from being able to move the building any further west.

Mr. Schneider opened Public Hearing.

Barbara Neary (11025 West 108th Avenue): It’s an empty lot there. My concern is the noise level of the boarded dogs that are outside playing, because that area seems very close to those homes. You know, dogs bark when – I mean – yeah. So that’s my big concern. Another concern is, um, odor control of the waste, trash bins, uh, surgery. Um, uh, patrons, customers, when they walk their dogs, will they possibly come up and walk through the neighborhood? Uh, where will the dogs that are coming to the clinic, when they’re being walked, where will they – cause they usually have to do something before they go in. Where will that be done? So I guess three questions I had. Okay.

Hearing none further, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Matthys stated that the way they address waste is to bag it, tie it, put it in the dumpster, and have regularly scheduled removal so it doesn’t become a nuisance. Green areas are provided along the parking lot so the dogs can relieve themselves in those areas. The site is graded such that there is very little possibility of any of the traffic going into the neighborhood to walk dogs.

Mr. Williams asked how often the waste is picked up. Mr. Matthys responded that it is picked up at their Orland Park facility three times a week.

Mr. Sanderson stated that, depending on how busy the clinic is, they’ll schedule additional waste removal pickups. Mr. Sanderson further stated that they could move the dumpster location closer to US 41 and farther away from the residences.

Mr. Sanderson advised that surgical waste is federally governed and picked up by a special biohazardous waste removal company.

When asked if the building will be locked up and have an alarm due to the medications, Mr. Sanderson responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he thinks the sound barriers need to be required. He further stated that Mr. Kubiak owns the property to the north at this time; however, he may not always own that, and this project could impact his value; therefore, we need to do everything we can now so that whatever is there can coexist without noise interference from the play area.

Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Panczuk makes a good point and that Mr. Kubiak had asked about the landscape buffer area. A fifteen-foot buffer is required between commercial entities, and that is going to be provided. Mr. Eberly further stated that Mr. Kubiak was glad to learn there is a landscape buffer planned on the north side of the building.

Mr. Panczuk commented that he is in favor of keeping the buffer at or as close to the 40 feet as possible and leave the extra parking spaces out. Mr. Matthys responded that they are fine with that and will work around it.

Mr. Eberly advised that they exceed the parking requirement as is, which is calculated on total square footage. We require parking based on net square footage, so they should have ample spaces even if they do future expansion.

Mr. Ryan asked if Mr. Eberly could contact a couple of the other communities and see if there are any complaints. Mr. Eberly agreed to do so.

Discussion ensued regarding possible contingencies or a deferral of the matter until the next meeting so the members could hear the replies from the other communities.

Mr. Panczuk stated that instead of putting something very specific, we can ask Mr. Eberly to report his findings to the Town Council and let them handle it. Other members concurred. Mr. Eberly agreed to check with Countryside, Geneva, and Crown Point as well and report his findings.

Mr. Matthys stated that Crown Point has outside kennels and no residences in close proximity, so it is different than the setup that is proposed for St. John.

Mr. Schneider asked if the site plan is set in stone. Mr. Matthys responded that they are still working on it, but they try to stay within the basic footprint as most municipalities don’t like the outside changed much from what is depicted at this point. They will make a couple modifications based on feedback tonight to benefit the folks who live east of the property.

Mr. Panczuk requested that they look into installing a bike path/sidewalk on their property to connect to the properties to the north and south.

Mr. Schneider asked if it would be the State’s responsibility if a sidewalk were to go in there. Mr. Eberly stated that a public walk cannot be put on private property; however, they could dedicate an easement for it.

Mr. Eberly advised that there is a problem with the size of the detention pond between them and US 41, so any public sidewalk, if there were to be one, would be in the right-of-way of US 41.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to send a recommendation to the Town Council for the Use Variance to allow an animal hospital in the US 41 Overlay District.

Motion by Mr. Williams to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to grant a Use Variance to allow Coyne Veterinary Services to build an animal hospital, referencing the Findings of Fact:

  1. Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community;
  2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner;
  3. The need for the Variance will arise from some condition peculiar to the property, which is as follows:
  4. The Applicant did establish that the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will constitute an unnecessary hardship if applied to the property for which the variance is sought;
  5. The Petitioner has established that approval does not interfere substantially with the Comprehensive Plan of the Town of St. John.
The following Conditions / Contingencies are hereby made part of the record:
  1. No doors on the east side of the building
  2. The north fence line extends to the west from the northern end of the building.
  3. Sound deadening materials shall be added to the exterior façade.
Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to send a recommendation to the Town Council for the Special Exception Variance to allow the Kennel portion of Coyne Veterinary Services in the US 41 Overlay District.

Motion by Mr. Williams to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council to grant a Special Exception Variance to allow Coyne Veterinary Services to have the Kennel portion of their facility in the US 41 Overlay District, referencing the Findings of Fact:

  1. That the establishment, maintenance, or operation of the Special Exception will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare;
  2. That the Special Exception will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property value within the neighborhood.
  3. That the establishment of the Special Exception will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district;
  4. Adequate measures will be taken to provide Ingress and Egress, so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets; and
  5. That adequate utilities, access road, drainage and/or necessary facilities will be provided;
  6. That adequate measure will in all other respects. Conform to the applicable regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located; and
  7. That the Special Exception shall be required to comply with reasonable time limitations on the commencement and duration of Special Exception as well as holder of rights to same.
Seconded by Mr. Ryan. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the Developmental Technical Variance.

Motion by Mr. Williams to grant a building-size variance of less than 15,000 square feet to allow an 11,200 square-foot building, and allow a reduced landscape buffer to 36 feet, referencing the Findings of Fact:

  1. Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community.
  2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner.
  3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.
Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 8:16 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

08-28-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
09-25-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

September 25, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the September 25, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Schneider. The following Board Members were present: John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, Jason Williams, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

Absent: Tom Ryan and David Austgen, Town Attorney.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and stated that the April 24, 2017; May 22, 2017; June 26, 2017; and July 24, 2017 minutes are not available at this time and entertained a motion to defer the same.

Mr. Williams asked if it is the Town Council call to provide a recording secretary for these sessions and to fund it. Mr. Eberly responded that it is funded through the budget and through the Salary Ordinance. Mr. Williams asked to whom he needs to make a comment, publicly. Mr. Eberly advised that it would be to the Town Council.

Motion to defer the approval of minutes by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0011 RYAN and MELANIE MEYERS 11927 WEST 90TH AVENUE – Developmental Standards Variance for a Deck and Screened Porch
Mr. Schneider advised the first agenda item is Ryan and Malanie Meyers, 11927 West 90th Avenue. The petitioners are seeking a Developmental Standards Variance for the construction of a deck and screened porch. This would be for relief from Section 5.2E.3d of the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Curt Hildebrand of Radiance Homes, the contractor on the job representing the Meyers, and Mr. Myers are present this evening. Mr. Eberly further advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed.

Mr. Hildebrand stated that he would construct a composite deck on the rear of the structure. The back yard has a significant grade change and grass does not grow well, so the owners would like to have a deck with a screened porch. The existing screened porch is rickety.

Mr. Eberly advised the property is an R-1 lot that is 100 feet by 200 feet. The property was platted in 1973; and at that time, the required rear-yard setback was 30 feet, which the house does meet. It is a very long ranch that faces and is addressed on West 90th Avenue. The rear yard is to the south, and anything attached to the south side of the house will require a variance because the house is approximately 30 feet to 32 feet off the rear property line as it sits.

Mr. Eberly advised that the two decks that Mr. Hildebrand mentioned were built at the time when the house was built and precedes the Meyers’ ownership of the property. The garage addition was built in 2013 with a permit. Mr. Eberly stated that he is not sure how it was issued a permit without a variance; however, it is due to no fault of the petitioner.

Mr. Eberly stated that he has heard from two of the neighbors. The one who will be affected the most lives directly to the south of the Meyers, and he will allow Mr. Meyers will relay his conversation with that neighbor. There was another neighbor, who lived north of the Meyers, who had no interest in the matter once she heard where it was because it doesn’t affect her.

Mr. Eberly advised that the person to the south is the only person directly affected. That gentleman expressed that he hopes the deck would be at least 10 feet off the common property line. Mr. Eberly stated that it is closer to 12 feet to 14 feet off the property line. The foliage that is currently on the property will remain.

Mr. Hildebrand stated that the deck would extend about 2 feet farther than the garage does.

Mr. Schneider asked why they want to build it. Mr. Meyers responded that what they have is falling apart, and they would like something nice to replace it.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the dashed line on the drawing is the composite deck. Mr. Hildebrand responded that it is the proposed composite deck.

Mr. Kennedy asked for clarification of the area for the screened-in porch. Mr. Hildebrand stated that screened porch would be about a foot larger in both directions from the existing screened porch.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is an A-frame roof on the screened porch. Mr. Hildebrand stated that it would be a gable roof that will tie into the existing structure, and there will be gutters on both sides going back to the house.

Mr. Kennedy asked the distance from the property line. Mr. Hildebrand responded that it is 13 feet from the property line.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there would be steps attached. Mr. Hildebrand responded that there is a landing that goes around the entire perimeter. It is a two-level deck with the first level being the same level as the screened porch. Then there is a 3-foot perimeter landing that goes to a deck on the right and to two steps down to grade on the left.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Robert Trulley (9082 Knickerbocker): I came mainly because I was curious: I’d never heard of a floating property line. Can you explain that?

Mr. Eberly explained that the advertisement was not worded properly. The floating building line refers to the front building line, not the side or rear property lines. In our Zoning Ordinance, we allow a front yard setback line to be anywhere from 25 feet to 40 feet in depth, which is why it is called a “floating” line.

Okay. Okay, I was just, kind of, curious what that was about, and it’s pretty tight there to me, putting that more and more. I could see why he wants to get rid of the old porch, but possibly keep it at the same width and/or – I drive by there all the time, so I know what it looks like there. And I hardly notice those porches back there. But now, if they’re going to extend past that garage and be just that much – and it’s tight. It’s – I mean everybody else’s, you can see at all the other lots, how they’re really spaced apart on there, and the esthetics of the subdivision have always been big lots spaced apart like that. And it’s not your fault that when you got that the previous – the builder – the original builder that built that was building for his mother and, you know, a mother-in-law dwelling. She died, but they had completed the building. But irregardless, there was this long house with hardly any side yard or back yard. And be as it is.

Mr. Meyers: I think you’ll find the structure that we’re proposing looks a lot nicer than what was there.

Mr. Trulley: Oh, I agree, yeah, I mean.

Mr. Meyers: You’ve seen what we did with the front porch.

Mr. Trulley: Yeah.

Mr. Meyers: It’s going to match. I’m just trying to make an improvement on the property that’s functional and that looks nice.

Mr. Trulley: Oh, no, no – I don’t know. It up to you people to vote. It’s just that I, you know, when you change – now if you make this change, does that apply to anybody else that ever wants to come and – (Mr. Schneider said, “No.”)

Each person is by their own, stand on their own judgment? (Mr. Schneider said, “It’s a single variance.”) Oh, okay.

Okay. Thank you.

Bryan Krueger (11711 West 90th Avenue): Four houses to the east of Mr. Meyers. And I’ve known Mr. Meyers for about seven years now, since the time he moved in. And I’ve seen him make a lot of improvements to the house over time. Obviously, he added the side garage, just put in a very nice porch in front that he referenced with, you know, the rear one would match. The property now is far, far better than it was seven years ago. It was really rundown, dilapidated. I know, um, you know, the gentleman referenced maybe being able to see, kind of, kitty-corner into the backyard. It’s hard to imagine getting a good viewpoint there. I mean I go up and down the same street every day just, just, just as you do. But I – I’m very happy to see the improvements on the street.

Directly across from Mr. Meyers, a gentleman just, kind of, improve – improved his property at a house that sold about two years ago. So, you know, as a – I’ve been in my house since 2010. Um, I’m very glad to see these improvements going on so I fully support, you know, um, the variance and improvements he’s performing. That’s all I had.

Mr. Schneider asked if there was anyone else who wished to speak. Hearing none, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Williams asked how to think through this as a hardship. Mr. Panczuk stated that it is a corner lot. If the property had a Knickerbocker address, it would have a 10-foot side yard setback and the project would be within the setback line requirement. It is an unusual house on that lot as it sits. And the proposed deck and screened porch are in alignment with the neighbor’s side yard, who is most affected if we approve the variance. If the neighbor directly to the south is okay with that, then he is fine with it.

Mr. Meyers stated that the neighbor to the south was concerned that there would be a full foundation poured. Once Mr. Myers explained that it will only be pillars and that all the foliage is staying, the neighbor stated that he has no issues with it. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

A discussion ensued regarding corner lots and addressing for those lots.

Mr. Eberly advised that the lot creates the hardship and that it was not a hardship created by the petitioner.

Hearing no further questions or comments from the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to include the Findings of Fact.

Motion by Mr. Panczuk to approve item 2017-0011, Ryan and Melanie Meyers at 11927 West 90th Avenue, Developmental Standards Variance for a deck and screened porch including the following Findings of Fact: Approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and comfort, or general welfare of the community; the use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner; the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 7:26 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

10-23-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

October 23, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the October 23, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Schneider. The following Board Members were present: John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, Jason Williams, Tom Ryan, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and David Austgen, Town Attorney.

Absent: None

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and stated that the April 24, 2017; May 22, 2017; June 26, 2017; July 24, 2017; and September 25, 2017 minutes are not available at this time and entertained a motion to defer the same.

Motion to defer the approval of minutes by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0014 – Scott and Kerri Lovell 9690 Acorn Drive – Detached Garage Variance and Height Variance
Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is Scott and Kerri Lovell, 9690 Acorn Drive, for a detached garage variance as well a height variance for said garage.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner.

Mr. Scott Lovell introduced himself to the board.

Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioner is here seeking the variances for a detached garage with a 16-foot ceiling. Our ordinance requires a variance for a detached garage and only allows a maximum detached-garage height of 14 feet.

Mr. Eberly showed the property on the viewing screen in the meeting room and explained where the detached garage is proposed to be situated on the lot. The overall garage size is proposed to be 30 feet by 24 feet. Mr. Lovell’s lot size is over 40,000 square feet, which means he is entitled to 1640 square feet of garage space, and the combined square footage of the existing garage and the proposed garage is less than 1640.

Mr. Lovell stated that he will use the existing garage for storage of his wife’s and his daily use vehicles. The new garage, which will be of like style and material of their home, including a concrete driveway, is for the storage of a hotrod Mustang and open car trailer with a lift for future storage of a second Mustang.

Mr. Schneider asked him how he will back the trailer up the driveway with a car on it. Mr. Lovell responded that he would unload the Mustang at the end of the driveway and drive the car and trailer separately into the garage.

Mr. Williams asked him if the garage is just for his personal vehicles. Mr. Lovell responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the garage door will match what is on the attached garage. Mr. Lovell responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing. Hearing none, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would support the requested variances because it is an existing structure; if he were to add on to the existing structure, he would have building setback issues; and the size of the lot is ample enough to support a detached garage.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Lovell could reduce the pitch of the roof to meet the 14 foot maximum requirement. Mr. Lovell responded that the roofline is set at that height to try and match the pitch of the existing home and garage rooflines for aesthetics. Mr. Lovell noted that the ridgeline of the garage is still lower than the ridgeline of the other side of the house which is only one story.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the 14-foot maximum comes up often, and the homes that people are building now have greater pitch. He would like the ordinance to be changed in the future to allow a greater height if a certain pitch is used. Mr. Panczuk further stated that he agrees with the pitch and likes what Mr. Lovell is doing for this garage.

Mr. Austgen asked the members of the board if they are comfortable with Mr. Lovell’s statement that only storage will take place in the detached garage. Mr. Eberly advised that the ordinance prohibits business to be conducted in an accessory structure and added that they could add a condition of approval that no business shall be allowed; however, a condition that there be no business conducted in the garage could be included in the motion if his petition is approved.

Discussion ensued wherein Mr. Lovell was asked if he is a mechanic to which he responded that he is not, that he is a software analyst, and that this is just a passion of his. Mr. Lovell stated that there is no intention of doing any business in the proposed structure.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding the Developmental Standards Variance for a detached garage including Findings of Fact, a condition of no commercial business to be conducted, the structure is for storage and recreational use.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to grant approval for a detached garage for Scott and Kerri Lovell at 9690 Acorn Drive, contingent that no commercial activities occur within the detached garage, referencing the Findings of Fact:

  1. Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community.
  2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner.
  3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.
Seconded by Mr. Ryan.

Roll Call Vote:

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Williams Aye
Mr. Ryan Aye
Mr. Schneider Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding the Developmental Standards Variance for garage height.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to grant approval for a garage height variance of 16 feet for Scott and Kerri Lovell, 9690 Acorn Drive, referencing the Findings of Fact:

  1. Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community.
  2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner.
  3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.
Seconded by Mr. Panczuk.

Roll Call Vote:

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Williams Aye
Mr. Ryan Aye
Mr. Schneider Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. 2017-0012 Dollar Tree 10010 Ravenwood Drive – Multiple Developmental Standards Variances
Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is Dollar Tree, 10010 Ravenwood Drive for multiple Developmental Standards Variances.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner. He noted that Mr. Ryan Marovich prepared a detailed list for them including the Findings of Fact from the petitioner’s viewpoint. All the variances being sought are Developmental Standards Variances, and most of them are landscape variances. Mr. Eberly further advised that when the board members see the layout and size of the lot, they will understand the variances being requested.

Mr. Ryan Marovich with DVG stated that there are 19 or 20 variances being requested.

Mr. Eberly advised that Chapter 8.4, § E.1, which pertains to lots less than 2 acres, and Chapter 8.4, § F.4, which pertains to minimum parcel width, only need to be considered for a variance if any of the other variances are not granted. If any one of the other variances are denied, then they will have to seek those two variances.

Mr. Eberly informed the board that he does have one written remonstrance that was received via email.

Mr. Cory Bronenkamp with Elcan and Associates, Inc., and Mr. Ryan Marovich with DVG introduced themselves to the board.

Mr. Marovich stated that they are requesting a number of variances, due to the nature of the lots, for placement of a proposed Dollar Tree retail store and to meet the minimum parking requirements. Most of the land on the two lots has to be utilized for building and parking area which leaves very little room for landscaping. There is an encroachment into the yard setbacks. All the variance requests relate to that condition of the site. It is two lots previously platted of Brooks Park subdivision. Mr. Marovich further stated the conditions that Mr. Eberly spoke of refers to the platted size of the lots at the time, which does not conform to the current Overlay District ordinance.

Mr. Eberly stated that, when combined, it is almost 2 acres.

Mr. Marovich stated that it is 1.98 acres. The width to depth ratio is wide and thin.

Mr. Eberly advised that our ordinance requires that the width be at least one-half of the depth of the parcel. The width of the parcel is 100 feet and the depth is 210 feet. Mr. Eberly advised that if the other variances are granted, the lot width variance will not be required.

Mr. Schneider asked if both lots are 210 feet. Mr. Eberly responded that one is 208 feet and the other is 212 feet.

Mr. Ryan asked if this was the only lot they could find. Mr. Marovich responded that the lot was chosen due to the retail synergy in the area.

Mr. Schneider asked if what appears to be a drive at the north is a dedicated road. Mr. Eberly responded that it is a private drive and the subject of the letter of remonstrance he spoke of. Mr. Eberly believes it was put there due to the Town requirement for connectivity between parcels. However, the entire apron is on private property.

Mr. Bronenkamp stated that when they initially laid the property out to create flow among the three parcels, they put that drive there knowing that there isn’t a legal right as it stands right now; however, it is proposed. The north property owner representative is here, Chip. Mr. Bronenkamp further stated that they had spoken earlier, and they will work that out as potential neighbors by an easement document. If for some reason they are unable to come to agreeable terms, they will not have the driveway since they don’t own the property and it is up to northern property owner to grant them that right for cross access.

Mr. Schneider asked why the drive lanes are so large going east and west. Mr. Marovich stated that it is for delivery truck access and unloading.

Mr. Schneider stated that he feels 30 feet is a bit larger than needed, which curtails some of the landscaping.

Mr. Eberly advised that the building will face west towards US 41 and that the east area of the building is the loading zone.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the width is for the truck-turning radius.

Mr. Marovich stated that the east-west drive lanes are 24 feet wide, which is the minimum.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there are any parking issues. Mr. Eberly responded that they meet the parking requirements.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the difference is from the building to the property line to the north and the south. Mr. Marovich responded that the north building line encroaches by 5.5 feet, so that is 9.5 feet from the north building line. The south encroaches into the side-yard setback 6.5 feet, so there is 13.5 feet from the south property line.

Mr. Eberly stated that in the zoning district, there is a 15-foot side and rear-yard setback requirement by ordinance; however, this is previously platted with a 20-foot side-yard setback on the south property line; there is no platted side-yard setback on the north. The front-yard setbacks are platted at 30 feet, and the ordinance requires 50 feet. Mr. Eberly advised that you go with the platted setbacks; however, if the setbacks are not platted, they default to the ordinance requirements.

Mr. Eberly reviewed the setbacks: On the north side, it is a 15-foot setback; on the south side, it is a 20-foot setback; and east and west sides are 30-foot setbacks.

Mr. Schneider stated that if they were to put the HVAC units on the roof, they could gain approximately 10 to 15 feet. Mr. Marovich noted that they have found it is better to put HVAC units on the ground as when the units are installed on the roof and are serviced, it causes damage to the building.

Mr. Schneider asked if there is a loading dock. Mr. Marovich stated that there is not a loading dock.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the access point can be shifted as it seems as if it is not aligned. Mr. Marovich asked if he is requesting that the southeast drive run straight through. Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see the north drive align.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the building could be pushed back a bit more. Mr. Marovich responded that there is a ridge and a slope that they are dealing with and, if the building were shifted, it could create issues with the slope of the parking lot.

Mr. Bronenkamp stated that they are trying to minimize the amount of concreate that is used. He further stated that they would look at it to see if it could be trimmed a bit; however, the difficulty with the property is the ingress and egress of a full-sized truck. The four parking spaces aren’t going to be used by customers. The spots are there to help fulfill the requirement and can be used by employees.

The question about using access to the north for trucks to enter and exit was raised and discussed; however, Mr. Marovich explained that the property to the north is private property that is not owned by the petitioner.

Mr. Schneider asked if the Landscape Plan that was submitted is accurate. Mr. Marovich stated that it is done using the Site Plan dimensions. There are trees on the north side that would require coordination and approval by the north property owner.

Mr. Schneider stated that if they are not on the property, they wouldn’t count for anything.

Mr. Marovich stated that they are deficient in the landscaping; however, they are putting on as much as they can.

Mr. Eberly advised that there are a number of confusing regulations in our Landscape Ordinance. We have a requirement that one must have a 5-foot planting strip, an 8-foot planting strip, and a 15-foot planting strip. It is a confusing set of regulations. Mr. Eberly explained why the petitioner could not meet many of the regulations. Mr. Eberly stated that we require a minimum of a 5-foot screen between like commercial properties, other screens are required to be a minimum of 6-foot tall.

Mr. Eberly stated that they are proposing a 10,000 square-foot building. On this parcel of land, there couldn’t be a 15,000 square-foot building, landscaping, and parking. In order to meet the landscaping requirements, the building would have to be shrunk. The lots were viable lots at the time they were platted. The ordinance came into effect after the platting of the lots.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Marovich to review any encroachment there is for the parking. Mr. Marovich complied, demonstrating various areas and the amount on the viewing screen in the room using demonstratives such as “this here” and stated the affiliated encroachment measurements which ranged from 5 feet to 16 feet.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the plantings, with the exception of the trees to the north of the property, are contained on the lot. Mr. Marovich stated that the trees along the north and south side of the building are on the property line. On the west side and east side, the shrubs and trees will be in the property line.

Mr. Eberly advised that the drawing that is displayed on the screen was just received that day, and the earlier drawing was not done to scale.

Mr. Marovich advised that the drawing on the screen shows the true property lines.

Mr. Schneider asked if there is 20 feet between the curb and the edge of the parking lot. Mr. Marovich responded that it would be approximately 15 feet.

Mr. Schneider asked if they were going to have plantings to the north. Mr. Bronenkamp stated that they had just started conversations with the property owner to the north, so he cannot answer that at this time. If an agreement is reached, they would likely do plantings in that area.

Mr. Eberly advised that in the Landscape Ordinance, H-3, it says that “shade trees shall be planted along all streets within the rights-of-way.” Mr. Eberly added that he believes that is a mistake; however, they can take credit for the trees that are shown on their Landscape Plan that are in the right-of-way because the ordinance requires it.

Mr. Kennedy asked where the site drainage goes to. Mr. Marovich responded that the drainage will be addressed in more detail during engineering. Mr. Marovich referenced inlets on the drawing shown on the viewing screen and stated that there are three potential access sites that they will drain to, which may be only one or possibly all three.

Mr. Schneider asked if the property is part of Ravenwood. Mr. Eberly responded that the property is in Brooks Park; however, Ravenwood surrounds the property.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Chip Sanders (222 East Roosevelt Road, Wheaton, Illinois): We are the property manager. Aldi and TSC are part of an association that shares the cost for that parking field on all four sides of that – of their buildings; and we manage that on their behalf. See, I’m just here to represent them in as much as that proposed north curb cut is, um, concerned. Um, this has all come fairly quickly, so I’ve not specifically spoken with Aldi and TSC. I have spoken with the board president. Um, at this point, you know, we filed the remonstrance just to say, you know what – essentially to say we’ve not had conversation or discussion negotiation or to allow that; but I wouldn’t say that we’re fundamentally opposed to it. Um, just need to have further conversation. So I’m happy to answer any questions. I don’t know that I have anything particular to add other than what’s already been said.

(Mr. Williams stated that the remonstrance is not a strict opposition to the proposal.)

Correct.

(Mr. Williams read in the letter of remonstrance into the record as follows:

“To date, we have not yet spoken with Dollar Tree (I spoke with Justin Jordan with the engineering firm, who provided me with a contact with the developer, and I have a message into the developer). So we would like for you to enter this remonstrance. We object to the creation of an entrance onto our property due to the material impact that it will have on the maintenance of our property. I also hope to attend the meeting tonight to observe the discussion, and to elaborate on our position if needed.”

Mr. Williams asked Mr. Sanders if he would like to expand on the part about the objection to the creation of an entrance onto their property due to the material impact it will have.)

Sure. Happy to. Um, as you would imagine, there are costs, um, in terms of parking lot maintenance, snow removal, etc., that we would most likely look to share, um, at least that’s the position right now not having had further conversation. Um, I – I would hope that we could come to some agreement with Dollar Tree about that. But, yeah, that – that’s all –

(Mr. Williams asked, if Dollar Tree is amenable with terms that they agree with, if Mr. Sanders thinks he could.)

I think the board that I represent would be open to that.

(Mr. Williams asked if he would agree to the trees.)

If I understand right, correctly, what – the direction we’re headed is an REA, or some similar, um, structure, that would allow them to meet their landscaping requirements by planting trees on our property or near the property line; correct?

(Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative and explained by way of demonstration on the screen what could be placed on or near their property.)

Right. Yeah, it’s close. I’m happy to get feedback on that.

(Mr. Williams stated that he wants to get a feel if that is something that is totally off the table.)

Yeah. No, I can’t think of why we would object to trees. No.

(Mr. Williams stated that that is all he wanted to know and thanked Mr. Sanders for his response.) Yeah, sure.

Dan Randolph (1498 North 1/2 Main Street, Crown Point): I’m actually the property owner. Um, just to clear a couple things up on the drainage, if you go to the site that shows the Oil Exchange in the front, there’s a retention pond, and there was stuff on the south side that was designed by the city back in 2002 to tie in and drain to the big retention pond in front of Alsip; so that’s how that was designed and approved back in 2002.

Um, another suggestion that I may have to these guys would be, um – if you go back to the property – there’s a 30-foot cut already, and approved, at the very front of those two lots and at the very rear of those two lots. So that would be right here directly across from the entrance to Oil Exchanges; and there’s also one back here (indicating on the drawing on the viewing screen). Um, my thinking was this discussion is you wouldn’t need this, and you could enter right here, kick this back. I think there’s a lot of space here for semis that what they’re concerned about may not be necessary.

This is just the side yard of TSC. There’s not hardly any traffic here, and a semi could easily pull in here, back up, and not take up this space, and move this building back and get some parking there, parking there, and enter to the front. And those entrances and exits are already there, and the curb cuts are already there. So that’s just a suggestion.

Mr. Schneider asked if there was anyone else wishing to speak.

Mr. Eberly advised that the only remonstrance received was the one that Mr. Williams read into the record from Chip Sanders.

Having no one else come forward to speak, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Schneider asked if the parking lot layout is the best they were able to come to.

Mr. Marovich stated that this is the most economical use. It may be able to be tweaked here and there, but he believes they would still require the same variances that they are asking for tonight.

Mr. Schneider stated that he would like to see them off of the property line somehow.

Mr. Ryan stated that he is not a fan of the encroachment and doesn’t like this plan at all; it’s shoehorned in and doesn’t look right.

Mr. Panczuk concurred with Mr. Ryan and stated that it is too dense and needs more green space. Mr. Panczuk further stated that, insofar as the landscaping and the development density are concerned, they are not even close and that he isn’t sure how to make that work.

Mr. Eberly advised that they are asking for a lot coverage variance. We allow 65 percent, and they are at 85.1 percent. One of the landscape requirements is that at least 15 percent of the property must be landscaped; and at 85.1 percent covered with impervious surface, 15 percent cannot be met.

Mr. Panczuk stated that, if they add more green and make it look as though it belongs there and not like one large parking lot, he would be more inclined to consider their proposal.

Mr. Williams asked if they would like the board to make a decision or if they would like to come back with a modified plan.

Mr. Marovich stated that they would like to consider the feedback and incorporate that into the site plan and see if they could come up with something better.

Motion to defer the multiple variances requested by Dollar Tree at 10010 Ravenwood Drive by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 8:23 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

11-27-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

November 27, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the November 27, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Schneider. The following Board Members were present: John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, Jason Williams, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and David Austgen, Town Attorney.

Absent: Tom Ryan

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and stated that the April 24, 2017; May 22, 2017; June 26, 2017; July 24, 2017; September 25, 2017; and October 23, 2017 minutes are not available at this time and entertained a motion to defer the same.

Motion to defer the approval of minutes by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0012 DOLLAR TREE 10010 RAVENWOOD DRIVE -- Multiple Developmental Standards Variances – continued Public Hearing (Petitioner Ryan Marovich, DVG Team)
Mr. Schneider advised the next item on the agenda is Dollar Tree.

Mr. Eberly stated that this is a continuation of their Public Hearing from October.

Mr. Ryan Marovich, DVG, and Mr. Cory Bronenkamp, Elcan and Associates, Inc., introduced themselves to the board.

Mr. Marovich stated that they are here with an updated Site Plan for the Dollar Tree. They have reduced the parking area to come off the north and south property boundary lines and now have 17.5 feet on each side from the north and south boundary to the edge of the parking area. They have eliminated the HVAC units off the ground and are placing them on the roof as requested. These changes have allowed approximately a 13 percent increase in greenspace bringing the impervious surface from 85.1 percent down to 71.8 percent.

Mr. Williams asked how many parking spaces were in the prior submission. Mr. Marovich stated that both plans have 40 parking spaces.

Mr. Schneider asked if all the required plantings are now on their property. Mr. Marovich responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Marovich stated that they have eliminated the connection to Tractor Supply’s parking lot on the north and shifted it to the west side on Earl Drive.

Mr. Eberly advised that the all the variance requests still apply. Mr. Eberly stated that in St. John it is a common practice to convert two lots to a 1-lot subdivision. If it were a 1-lot subdivision, the rear-yard setback variances wouldn’t be necessary; however, since it is still two lots, they will be seeking a variance.

Mr. Eberly stated that the property currently has a Ravenwood address; however, the building faces west; so when it is platted it will likely be given an Earl Drive address. Mr. Marovich confirmed the same.

Mr. Eberly advised that Chapter 8.4, § E.1, which pertains to lots less than 2 acres, and Chapter 8.4, § F.4 only need to be considered for a variance if they don’t receive all the other variances they are requesting.

Mr. Kennedy asked why there are no shade trees in the landscape islands in the parking lot. Mr. Marovich responded that they are just shy of the minimum landscape island square footage and they wanted a better line of sight to the entrance so they put them at the back edge of the parking. The two islands total 400 square feet and 5 percent of the parking area is 576 square feet, so they fall short of the required minimum.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing. Having no one come forward, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Williams stated that they are still short on greenspace and plantings and is unsure how they could rectify that. Mr. Eberly explained that the property was platted before the US 41 Overlay District was implemented. In order to comply with it, they would need to reduce the building size, which is already smaller than the 15,000 square-foot minimum. Mr. Eberly stated that almost anything that would be developed there would need a greenspace variance and a building size variance.

Mr. Austgen advised the members to address each variance individually.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for a variance regarding Chapter 8.4 § F.2 that the building will encroach into the side-yard setbacks.

Motion to approve the variance for Chapter 8.4 § F.2, allowing the building to encroach into the side-yard setbacks, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for a variance regarding Chapter 8.4 § F.2 that the building will encroach into the rear-yard setbacks.

Motion to approve the variance for Chapter 8.4 § F.2, allowing the building to encroach into the rear-yard setbacks, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Austgen if the Findings of Fact needs to be fully read for each variance. Mr. Austgen responded that they do.

(All Findings of Fact are included in the Minutes by reference only; however, all applicable Findings of Fact were fully read with each motion.)

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for a variance regarding Chapter 8.4 § F.5 that the gross floor area is less than 15,000 square feet.

Motion to approve the variance for Chapter 8.4 § F.5, minimum gross floor area less than 15,000 square feet, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for a variance regarding Chapter 8.4 § F.6.a that the coverage of the proposed lot exceeds the impervious surface area.

Motion to approve the variance for Chapter 8.4 § F.6.a, maximum 65 percent coverage area shall be exceeded by impervious area at 71.8 percent, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Panczuk. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Austgen advised that if they would like to combine some of the variances, they may.

Mr. Eberly stated that the next variance is the last variance from Chapter 8.4 and that the rest of the variances are landscape variances and asked Mr. Austgen if he would suggest that they consolidate the landscape variances under Chapter 13. Mr. Austgen responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly advised that the next variance is affected by the platting. Right now, the five spaces on the east side of the parcel are in the front yard of this parcel; however, when it is replatted, it will be in the rear yard and be fine.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for a variance regarding Chapter 8.4 § G.2 that parking is planned for the front yard of both parcels.

Motion to approve the variance for Chapter 8.4 § G.2, parking is planned for the front yard of both parcels, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there will be an irrigation system in place for the greenspace. Mr. Bronenkamp confirmed the same.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they would consider putting some trees on the interior. Mr. Bronenkamp responded in the affirmative and stated that he was looking at that earlier this week where it could possibly free up some space as they move forward with designing the detention.

Mr. Williams asked where the detention will be. Mr. Marovich stated that they haven’t completed that design yet; however, it will be north and south of the parking area and likely in the small greenspace in the southeast corner. They will likely do an aggregate void-ration system as they don’t have the slopes.

Mr. Schneider asked if it drains into Ravenwood. Mr. Marovich responded that it actually drains into three different detention ponds.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the various Chapter 13 variances.

Motion by Mr. Panczuk to approve the following variances, Chapter 13:
§ F.4, trees and shrubs will be planted less than 5 feet behind right-of-way;
§ F.5.a, side yard shall be less than 8 feet;
§ F.5.a, rear yard shall be less than 8 feet;
§ I.2.c, side and rear landscaped yard shall be less than 15 feet;
§ K.4, greenspace does not allow enough room for 1 tree per 750 square feet of yard area;
§ O.2.a, 10-foot planting strip along collector street is not possible in all places on proposed Site Plan;
§ O.2.c.i, minimum 5-foot planting strip not possible at adjacent commercial properties;
§ O.4, a minimum of one shade tree and five shrubs shall be planted within each parking lot for every nine parking spaces;
§ O.5, planting on 15 percent of side and rear yard not possible with proposed Site Plan;
§ O.7, a minimum of 15 percent of project area cannot be landscaped with proposed Site Plan;
§ P.1, parking lot perimeter minimum landscaping requirements will not be met with proposed Site Plan;
§ P.2, parking lot interior minimum landscaping requirements will not be met with proposed Site Plan; including the Findings of Fact.
Seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Motion carries 3 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Williams.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0016 AMANDA BARDOCZI 9501 WICKER AVENUE – Special Exception for a Daycare Center
Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is 2017-0016, Amanda Bardoczi, 9501 Wicker Avenue. The petitioner is seeking a Special Exception for a daycare center.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner’s Public Hearing to proceed. The US 41 Overlay District requires a Special Exception Variance to operate a daycare center. She is proposing to use a commercial building and parking lot that already exist that have been vacant for some time.

Ms. Amanda Bardoczi stated that she is here to seek variance for a childcare center at 9501 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Williams asked if the business will have a fence. Mr. Bardoczi responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly asked if she is planning any changes to the exterior of the building or the parking lot. Ms. Bardoczi responded that she is mainly looking at updating the interior. The only thing she is looking at doing to the outside is adding a fence for the playground area, which will be behind the building.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the hours of operation will be. Ms. Bardoczi responded that the hours will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mr. Kennedy asked what kind of drop-off is being proposed. Ms. Bardoczi stated that there is a two-lane drive where parents will pull in, pull to the back parking lot, walk their child in, and pull back out.

Mr. Schneider asked how many children she is expecting to care for. Ms. Bardoczi stated that she is looking at having 28 children to care for.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the parking spots don’t appear to be 10 feet by 20 feet. Ms. Bardoczi stated that they had measured Dairy Queen’s parking spaces, and they feel they have enough parking.

Mr. Williams asked if there isn’t parking variance requested. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kennedy asked how many employees there would be. Ms. Bardoczi responded that there would be about 6 employees.

Mr. Williams read the Special Exception Findings of Fact for the edification of all present.

Mr. Kennedy asked about the egress of the lot. Mr. Eberly stated that it is an existing business; if it were a new lot being developed and were a higher volume business than a daycare, he would be in favor of asking for a decel lane. It could be made a condition of the recommendation; but ultimately, INDOT would be the one to grant her permission to do that.

Mr. Kennedy asked if a contingency for the playground fence be made a part of any motion. Mr. Austgen stated that they may ask for that, ask for the parking plan to be brought up to current standards, and ask for a Site Plan for the entire parcel.

Mr. Eberly asked if the parents will bring the children in through the back door or side door. Ms. Bardoczi stated that they will come in through the door in the back, and she added that they will be striping the parking lot.

Mr. Schneider asked where the playground will be. Ms. Bardoczi stated that it will be right behind the building where they will come out the door and right into the fenced in area.

Mr. Schneider asked what the age range will be. Ms. Bardoczi responded that the children accepted will be from infant to 5 years old.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they will be accessing the entrance through the playground. Ms. Bardoczi stated that the fenced area will be to the left in the grassy area with a fenced in walkway connecting the parking lot to the back door.

Mr. Williams stated that he would like to have the petitioner come back with the parking lot striped and with a drawing of where the children will be picked up and dropped off and where they will play. Right now, there are a lot of things that they are not seeing.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see this matter deferred and have the petitioner come back where it will be public record where the entrance/exit is on the building on the east side, the walkway outlined, and the parking lot drawn out.

Mr. Austgen advised that some of these things are already going to exist based on the standards required for a daycare center by the State of Indiana. He further advised that the same has not been demonstrated here at this meeting.

Discussion ensued about what the board would like to see before putting this matter to a vote.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing. Having no one come forward, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion.

Motion to defer item No. 2017-0016, Amanda Bardoczi, 9501 Wicker Avenue, for a Special Exception Variance to operate a daycare by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly advised that December 18, 2017 will be the date of the next meeting and verified with the members who would be present to assure there is a quorum. Mr. Schneider, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Panczuk confirmed they will be present.

B. 2017-0013 COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE CENTER 9660 WICKER AVENUE – Multiple Sign Variances
Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is 2017-0013, Community Healthcare Center, 9660 Wicker Avenue, for multiple sign variances.

Mr. Schneider asked if the board needs to vote to defer this matter.

Mr. Eberly advised that this petitioner failed to get their notices in the two newspapers, so they will have to start over.

C. 2017-0015 LEVIN TIRE AND AUTO US 41 and 85TH Avenue – Multiple Variance Requests
Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is 2017-0015 Levin Tire and Auto, US 41 and 85th Avenue. The petitioner is seeking multiple variance requests.

Mr. Eberly advised that in order to proceed this petitioner would need the board to suspend the rules relative to public notice. They provided notifications to both the newspapers on the same day: The Post Tribune published on time; however, the Times did not publish it in time giving only 12 days advance notice instead of the required 15 days. In all other respects, they are ready to proceed with Public Hearing this evening.

Mr. Eberly and Mr. Austgen advised that it requires a unanimous vote by the BZA to suspend the notification rule and rule that substantial compliance has been met in the notice requirements.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to suspend the rules for notice of variance in the publications and allow the matter to proceed as the petitioner did meet the compliance.

Motion to approve suspending the rules regarding notification of the variances and allow the petitioner to proceed by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Jeff Ban, DVG, introduced himself and Carmen Arvia along with Barry Levin of Levin Tire. Mr. Ban stated that the architects for the project are here with them as well and introduced Mark Babcock and Pete Brannen with Chester, Inc.

Mr. Ban stated that they were before the BZA about a year ago seeking a Special Exception as well as a number of Developmental Standards Variances. The Special Exception was approved by the board and the Town Council; however, the BZA had some issues with the Site Plan that was presented at the time the presentation was made.

Mr. Ban stated that Mr. Levin and the team have spent a lot of time looking into a new Site Plan and working with the staff on the same. Mr. Ban stated that they are appearing before the BZA with a new Site Plan that works for Levin Tire and that has received positive comments from the staff.

Mr. Ban advised that the site is located in the northeast corner of 85th Avenue and US 41. It is bounded on the west by US 41, on the south by 85th Avenue, and the east side by Bingo Lake. The total acreage of the parcel being discussed is 3.48 acres.

Mr. Ban stated that there are a number of constraints that they have had to work with on this project: Bingo Lake on the east constricts the width and depth of the property; the north half of the site has a 50-foot pipeline easement that runs through the middle of a second lot that they would like to develop; and they are being asked to construct an access road at the rear of the property tying 85th Avenue into the residential development to the north side of the site.

Mr. Ban commented that any businesses coming before the board with these constraints would have similar Developmental Standards Variances that they are seeking.

Mr. Ban stated that the plan they have has two faces of the building, the north face has eight bays and the east face has two bays for a total of ten bays for service. The main entrance will be off US 41 for customers and the south side of the building would be where the parking would be. Lot 1, which is where Levin Tire will be, is 1.65 acres. Lot 2 is 1.83 acres, of which about of quarter of that lot is pipeline easement.

Mr. Ban stated that the list of variances contains five site and building related variances, four landscape variances, and three sign variances that they are seeking this evening.

Mr. Williams and Mr. Schneider stated that they do not have the sign variances that were requested in their packets. Mr. Ban stated that they submitted a bullet list of the requested variances and the last three are related to Chapter 15, which are the sign variances. They have also included a Findings of Fact stating the reasons why they believe they are appropriate requests.

Mr. Ban reviewed the site and building variances: They have two lots that are less than two acres, which is the minimum required lot size. The building orientation long access needs to be parallel to US 41; to maximize the use and accommodate the concern of having the garages along US 41, they turned the building 90 degrees where the long access runs perpendicular to US 41. The building size is 10, 275 square feet where the minimum required is 15,000 square feet. The lot coverage is at 81 percent where the maximum allowable is 65 percent, which is due to the roadway that needs to be put in behind the building. Parking is planned for both the front and side yards of the parcel where parking is not allowed in the front and side yards.

Mr. Ban stated that they have minimal frontage along US 41 and a very large ditch that compromise their landscaping ability. Mr. Ban advised that adjacent building landscaping isn’t possible in all places on the Site Plan, that they are requesting relief from the minimum one shade tree and five shrubs to be planted in each parking lot per every nine parking spaces, and that the parking lot minimum perimeter requirements will not be met. Mr. Ban further stated that they have provided a Landscape Plan which attempts to meet the intent of the ordinance with the exception of numerically meeting the ordinance.

Mr. Ban reviewed the three sign variances they are seeking: The combined signage is 120 square feet where the maximum allowed is 100 square feet; they have a corner lot with two building signs proposed, one on the west side that says “Levin Tire” and one on the south side that says “Goodyear” with the Goodyear wing logo, and one pylon sign on the corner. The ground monument sign, which is to have a reader board, is 38 square feet where the maximum allowed is 30 square feet. They have two wall signs and a ground sign. The ordinance states that if there are two wall signs, a ground sign is not permitted; and again, they are on a corner lot, which is why they are asking for the number and placement of the signs they are requesting.

Mr. Williams asked how many parking spaces they have and how many are required. Mr. Ban responded that they have 39 parking spaces; 37 regular and 2 handicap; and 32 spaces are what is required.

Mr. Williams asked how many variances they would require if they were not located in the US 41 Overlay District. Mr. Eberly advised that they wouldn’t need variances for the lot size, building size, longest access along US 41, maximum lot coverage, and parking plan for front and side yards if they were not located in the US 41 Overlay District. Mr. Eberly stated that he can’t say specifically which of the landscape variances would not be required if they were not in the US 41 Overlay District; however, they would still need all three of the sign variances.

Mr. Panczuk stated that one of the main concerns the year prior was the arrangement of the garage doors, and it looks as if they have taken the ideas that we gave them into consideration.

Mr. Ban stated that the building itself will be masonry and brick with cast stone accents at the base.

Mr. Schneider stated that he would like a condition be placed that no overnight outside parking be allowed. Mr. Levin stated that it normally is not an issue; however, there may be an occasion that it might occur where there would be more cars left than there are bays.

Mr. Williams asked if there is a number that he would request if there were such a condition added. Mr. Levin responded four or five.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Ban if they will be using the sign with or without the pedestal. Mr. Ban stated that it depends on what the board’s decisions are. The sign with the archway is the 38 square-foot sign and is the more attractive one. Mr. Kennedy asked how far off the road the sign will be. Mr. Ban responded that it will be 25 feet off the road.

Mr. Kennedy asked if any landscaping could be added on the north side where the garage doors are. Mr. Ban responded that they can put some shrubs in between the trees that are there.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the parking spaces are over what is needed and the greenspace is under what is required, and he would like to see a tradeoff if possible. Mr. Ban stated that the ordinance calls for 32; however, the business itself calls for more parking. He further stated that they may be able to get a different type of tree that is narrower and taller.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the north side of the building is deficient and is the least attractive part of the building.

Mr. Williams stated that he would like to echo the need for more greenspace as 82 percent of lot coverage is high. Mr. Ban concurred that it is high, but it is due to the road they were asked to put in. If the road were not there, they would be very near the requirement. The road is a Town requirement, which isn’t a bad thing, but that is what created the hardship and the need for the greenspace variance.

Mr. Williams asked what the lot coverage would be if they didn’t have the road there. Mr. Ban responded that they were just short of the 65 percent.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the monument sign is included in the total square footage. Mr. Ban responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Schneider stated that his drawing shows the monument sign to be greater than 38 square feet.

Mr. Eberly advised that the one monument sign is 48 square feet, the south wall sign is just over 41.375 square feet, and the west wall is 31.25 square feet for a total of 125.625 square feet.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the board desires that there not be an electronic portion of the sign, and a reader board should be very basic for delivery of information. In the past, the board has allowed 8 square feet of a monochromatic amber reader sign with strict usage limitations, and that is the most he would be willing to allow there. Mr. Panczuk further stated that the sign is definitely too big.

Mr. Ban asked Mr. Panczuk to clarify what “too big” means. Mr. Panczuk responded that it is in terms of square footage; and he would like to see the arch design with a smaller sign with no electronic reader board except that which is allowed.

Mr. Ban stated that they are not intending to have scrolling messages on the sign; it will show one special and then change a couple minutes later to another special.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is completely opposed to the size and the full-color ability of the reader-board sign.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I hesitate to do this cause I know you guys take your job very seriously, and I appreciate that. Um, I – I also think that Mr. Levin has been coming back and – and his representatives have been working with the Town quite a bit trying to get these details done. Um I – I agree with your, um, sign size requirements, Paul. I – I agree with that, but I think for us to allow a multiple-color sign, I don't have an issue with that. Um, I think we've got one – you just put one up at Lake Central; I believe Schilling has one as well. And I think when they change, occasionally as opposed to regularly, I think that's, uh, something that we can, um, we can put up with this in this town.

Just my opinion, but I – I just don't think that we need to keep dragging a businessman back and forth, um, to a lot of different meetings just to get an approval done. And, again, I appreciate your guys’ time, I appreciate your concern, but we also need to appreciate everybody else's time as well. Thank you.

Having no one else wishing to speak, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Ban reported that he and Mr. Levin have spoken, and if the board is opposed to full-color signs, they would use just a black background and yellow lettering that would match the yellow Levin Tire. He will defer to the sign folks as to what color will work for readability in varying light conditions. They are okay with changing the sign only occasionally, but they are not sure what the constraints are. They will redesign the sign to be only about one-third larger than the 30-square-foot limit.

Mr. Panczuk clarified that the reader board would be one-third the size of the 30-foot monument sign at 1 foot by 8 feet. Mr. Panczuk stated that amber on the black background is quite readable. Mr. Panczuk noted that the reader-board message is allowed to change every six seconds.

Mr. Panczuk advised that animated boards are not allowed because they can be a distraction to drivers. Mr. Ban responded that they do not intend to have an animated sign.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the size of the monument sign was based on. Mr. Ban responded that the sign experts recommended that size to the Goodyear dealers throughout the United States.

Mr. Ban stated that from an aesthetics perspective and readability perspective, they would like to keep the sign in balance with Levin Tire.

Mr. Schneider asked if the board wanted to defer the sign variances.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the variances being sought for Lot 1 will be applicable to Lot 2. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Ban stated that they could make the sign variance approval, if any, a condition that it be applicable only to Lot 1.

Mr. Williams stated that with Lot 2 being nothing but a vacant lot, he does not like voting on something without a specific plan and knowing what is going to go there.

Mr. Austgen stated that it sounds like the north lot is the subject of a blank check request in sense of no site, no end user, and no end building. Some aspects of the petition might be applicable in terms of percentages and that nature; but in terms of the specifics for the site and your individual review of that site, you’re probably missing some things.

Mr. Williams stated that he doesn’t want to address landscaping, building specifics, and signage for Lot 2 as he would like specific information and a Site Plan to look at.

Mr. Ban stated that they were not trying to slip something through; however, when they looked at Lot 2, it appears that they would have some of the same issues. They are here for the Levin Tire site, and if the board is uncomfortable with the variances on Lot 2, they are okay with that.

Mr. Ban stated that if the board makes any approvals here, it would be appropriate to say these approvals are for the south 1.65 acres of the published 3.48 acres and asked Mr. Austgen if that is accurate. Mr. Austgen stated that it is accurate, or they could be referenced by lots as presented on the Site Plan.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to work on Levin Tire’s lot only tonight. Mr. Williams concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is okay with the number of signs, but he would like the monument sign to be 30 square feet including the reader board.

Discussion ensued about whether or not to defer the signage requests.

Mr. Ban stated that they will stay within the 30 square-foot maximum for the monument sign and withdrew the request for Chapter 15 § E.5.a.ii; however, they would still request the total gross signage not to exceed 120 square feet.

Mr. Eberly advised that they would be roughly at 102 square feet with a 30 square-foot monument sign, the 41 square-foot wall sign, and the 31 square-foot wall sign.

Mr. Panczuk asked if a variance for the reader board needs to be considered. Mr. Eberly stated that it needs to be considered because he didn’t realize that an electronic message board was part of the sign.

Discussion was had as to how to address the various variances and/or any conditions. Mr. Eberly asked that when they address Chapter 8.4 § E.1 for minimum lot size, that they include both lots; otherwise, the property won’t be able to be platted with that north lot until they go for a separate lot-size variance.

Mr. Ban stated that he would like to have that included so they can continue with their subdivision process.

Mr. Panczuk commented on the deficiency of the landscaping and wanted to revisit it before moving on.

Mr. Ban stated that they could make it a condition to add a fourth tree and shrubs on the north planting area and add a second tree in the northwest corner.

Mr. Kennedy stated that his condition on the north side was just to shade or block the garage doors.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn’t feel they need an overnight parking condition. Mr. Schneider mentioned a couple of places that have cars that just sit there for weeks on end. Mr. Williams stated that those are full-service auto centers, which is a different service line.

Mr. Ban stated that the cases that were just described are accessory to the function of the operations of the building. There are ordinances in place that allows the Town to remove cars parked for days from Levin’s parking lot, McDonald’s parking lot, or Target’s parking lot.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for Chapter 8.4 § E.1, minimum lot size does not meet 2 acres, which is applicable to proposed Lots 1 and 2.

Motion to approve a variance for relief from Chapter 8.4 § E.1, minimum lot size does not meet 2 acres for both Lot 1 and Lot 2 of this development, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the variances listed in Chapter 8 § F.1, F.5, F.6.a and F and G.2 related to building orientation, minimum gross square footage, lot coverage, and front and side-yard parking for Lot 1.

Motion to approve variances for Chapter 8.4 § F.1, building orientation longest access not parallel with Route 41; § F.5, minimum gross floor area not meeting 15,000 square feet; § F.6.a, maximum of 65 percent lot coverage shall be exceeded by impervious area; and §§ F and G.2, parking for front and side yards for Lot 1 only, including Findings of Fact, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays, excepting therefrom Chapter 8.4 § F.6.a which carried 3 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Williams.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for Chapter 13 § I.2.c, side and rear landscape yard less than 15 feet; §§ O.1, O.2.a, and O.2.c, regarding greenbelt landscaping; § O.3, for adjacent building landscaping; and § P.1, parking lot perimeter landscaping requirements with the associated condition to add a fourth tree on the north planting area, add shrubs along the north planting area, and add a second shade tree at the northwest corner of this site.

Motion to approve the variances for Chapter 13 § I.2.c, side and rear landscape yard less than 15 feet; §§ O.1, O.2.a, and O.2.c, US 41 greenbelt landscaping; § O.3, adjacent building landscaping not possible in all places on proposed Site Plan; and § P.1, parking lot perimeter minimum landscaping requirements will not be met with proposed Site Plan with the following contingencies: To add a fourth tree on the north planting area, add shrubs along the north planting area, and add a second shade tree at the northwest corner of this site, including the Findings of Fact, for Lot 1 only by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for Chapter 15 § E.5.a.i, for total gross area not to exceed 102 total square feet, and § E.5.b.iii, for total number of signs.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they were going to allow any wiggle room. Mr. Williams responded that the 102 square feet gives them wiggle room.

Motion to approve variances for Chapter 15 § E.5.a.i., total gross combined sign area not to exceed 102 square feet, and § E.5.b.iii, total number signs, including the Findings of Fact, for Lot 1 only, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(A short recess was had.)

D. 2017-0017 CROSSROADS MOTORPLEX US 41 and WALL STREET – Front Yard Setback, Use Variance, and Building Size Variances (Petitioner: Mike Gelatka)
Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is 2017-0017, Crossroads Motorplex, US 41 and Wall Street. The petitioner is seeking a front-yard setback variance, Use Variance, and building size variance.

Mr. Michael Gelatka stated that he is here to request variances to move forward with a project that they are contemplating on the property just north of Aspen Café.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petition to proceed.

Mr. Torrenga, Torrenga Engineering, stated that they have met with Mr. Eberly and went over all the items in the US 41 Overlay District that might require variances for this project, and they are here to ask for approval for four variances.

Mr. Torrenga stated that the first variance they are seeking is from the 60-foot building line along US 41; they are requesting to be allowed a 30-foot building line. The second request is from the minimum building size of 15,000 square feet to a varying building size between 7,500 and 13,500 square feet. The third request is for relief from the variance to provide a bike path. The fourth is for a Use Variance to allow a carpark or an auto park, which doesn’t fall within the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Schneider asked what the intended purpose of the area is and what the buildings would house. Mr. Gelatka stated that it is a place for storage and gatherings for automotive and/or motor enthusiasts. When done properly, it becomes like a country club for people who like cars, a gated type of community where folks spend evenings and weekends there with people who have like interests.

Mr. Gelatka stated that he hopes that it will add some cultural events to the town and bring in outsiders to invest in this property and in other businesses in the community. It potentially could bring in businesses related to high-end, exotic sports cars.

Mr. Gelatka offered to share a presentation with the board that he had created for the EDC or to provide them with a PDF copy of the same. There is a like project in Naperville called Iron Gate. Mr. Williams asked him to please bring a copy to the dais.

Mr. Schneider asked if the buildings will be individual units or do individuals request how much space they want. Mr. Gelatka stated that there are currently 37 units between all of the buildings.

Mr. Gelatka stated that he would like to have the concept approved and then go out and find the market and the interest and presell units; so if someone wants two units, it would be easy to customize the buildings. They have a mezzanine level like a living space above where the cars are laid out in the garage.

Mr. Eberly advised that there will be no residential occupancy allowed if this goes forward; it will be primarily a private, gated community that will have some public events from time to time.

Mr. Gelatka stated that part of the culture is sharing the experience with others. The car condo association may open the gates and sponsor a car show, and if that were to become too large for the space to host it, they can work with the Town to find an appropriate space.

Mr. Schneider asked if there is a specific building or buildings that he would start with if this project were approved. Mr. Gelatka stated that they will build it all at the same time.

Mr. Schneider asked if there will be any retail sales. Mr. Gelatka stated that he has not contemplated that as of this time.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the carpark variance is for cars parked outside the facility. Mr. Eberly responded that the variance is for inside the gated facility.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Gelatka if there is any plan to allow parking in the area by Aspen Café. Mr. Gelatka responded that the design is such that they can be used by visitors to their facility as well as the Aspen Café.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there would need to be a condition that no business be conducted in the facility, meaning detail shops and/or repair facilities should not be part of the concept, and the area needs to be defined as car condo use. Mr. Gelatka stated that he doesn’t believe that type of activity is allowed in other car condo facilities either, and the intent on this facility is for storing and displaying cars, and it would be in the bylaws that such activities would not be allowed.

Mr. Panczuk asked how guests who will visit are being provided for in the parking plan. Mr. Torrenga stated that there are 51 spaces currently drawn in with room for more.

Mr. Panczuk asked how many condos are proposed. Mr. Gelatka stated that there are 37 units currently proposed. Mr. Panczuk stated that on the weekends that may not be enough parking.

Mr. Schneider opened Public Hearing. Having no one come forward, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding Chapter 8.4 § F, reduction of building setback line from 60 feet to 30 feet along US 41.

Motion to approve the variance for reduction from a 60-foot building line to 30-foot building line along US 41, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding Chapter 8.4 § F.5 for the reduction in square footage from 15,000 square feet to allow for a range of square footage from 7500 to 13,500 square feet for various buildings.

Motion to approve a variance for reduction in building size from 15,000 square feet to a range of 7500 square feet to 13,500 square feet per ordinance 8.4 § F.5, including Findings of Fact, by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding Chapter 8.4 § M.

Motion to approve the variance from the requirement to provide a bike path per ordinance 8.4 § M, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Kennedy.

Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Torrenga if there is a lot number associated with this property. Mr. Torrenga responded that it will be Lot 1 when subdivided.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding Chapter 3 for a Use Variance to allow a carpark

Motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for a Use Variance to allow a carpark per Chapter 3, Schedule of Uses, with the condition that there be no commercial activities within the carpark, including the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

E. 2017-0018 INDIANA LBM, LLC 8900 WICKER AVENUE – Multiple Variances to Replace Two Pole Barns with One New Steel Building (Petitioner: Jack Slager)
Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is 2017-0018, Indiana LBM, LLC, 8900 Wicker Avenue. The petitioner is seeking multiple variances to replace two pole barns with one new steel building.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petition to proceed.

Mr. Jack Slager, representing Indiana LBM, LLC, a.k.a. Schilling Lumber, stated that they have met with Mr. Kil and Mr. Eberly a couple weeks earlier regarding this project. This time of year is when inventory is typically at its lowest. As the barns empty out, they assess the barns and make repairs as needed. During the assessment, it was determined that one of the oldest barns on the lot requires excessive repairs and needs to be replaced.

Mr. Slager advised that the property is a legal, non-conforming property as the lumber yard was in place before the ordinance book was written and prior to the implementation of the US 41 Overlay District. As a result, they cannot tear down and rebuild their building where it stands based on the ordinances. They feel it is unsafe and may not last the winter; so they are here asking to remove the two oldest structures on their property and replace them with one new barn, a steel structure that would be more durable over time.

Mr. Williams asked how the construction will be done in such a tight footprint. Mr. Slager stated that they want to demolish the barns while the inventory is low so there is room to move the inventory to the other barns; then the steel structure can be brought on site and be built quickly.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the Fire Chief reviews the plans. Mr. Slager responded that the proposed building would have to be issued a State building permit before a Town building permit could be issued, and it is reviewed for fire safety at that level.

Mr. Slager stated that the proposed building would increase safety to the lumber yard by adding more room in between it and the other buildings.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the height difference is between the existing building and the proposed building. Mr. Slager responded that the height of the existing building is roughly 30 feet and the proposed building will be roughly 32 feet in height.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the exterior materials being used is similar to the other building. Mr. Slager responded in the affirmative and stated that it will be all steel.

Mr. Slager stated that the five variances requested all fall in the US 41 Overlay District.

Mr. Eberly advised that the variances being sought are Chapter 8.4 §§ K.1, K.2, K.3, K.4, and K.5.

Mr. Williams asked what § K.1 is. Mr. Eberly responded that this may not apply; however, it requires the buildings to be like surrounding buildings in character, which it does because it is in the middle of the lumber yard. Mr. Eberly added that it is bounded by the railroad and US 41 and that the only building to the north of it is Nelson’s excavation company. Mr. Slager stated that they have a metal pole barn.

Mr. Eberly stated that he did put § K.1 on the agenda, but it doesn’t really apply.

Mr. Slager stated that § K.2 is the stone exterior, § K.3 is the eight corners, § K.4 is penthouse is required on the roof, and § K.5 is multiple sloped roofs.

Mr. Schneider opened Public Hearing. Having no one come forward, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for the variances requesting regarding Chapter 8.4 §§ K.2, K.3, K.4, and K.5.

Motion to approve the variances for § K.2, building exterior will be one material, which will be metal; § K.3, the exterior will have four corners instead of eight; § K.4, the building will not have a penthouse; and § K.5, the building will have one roof plane over 100 feet long, including Findings of Fact, by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

12-18-2017 Board of Zoning Appeals

December 18, 2017 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, Chairman Tom Ryan Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Paul Panczuk, Vice Chairman John Kennedy David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Jason Williams, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Schneider called the December 18, 2017, Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Schneider. The following Board Members were present: Paul Panczuk, Jason Williams, and Ken Schneider. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and David Austgen, Town Attorney.

Absent: John Kennedy and Tom Ryan.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes and stated that he would like to defer the minutes from April to the present.

Motion to defer the approval of minutes by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0016 AMANDA BARDOCZI 9501 WICKER AVENUE – Continued Public Hearing
Mr. Schneider called Amanda Bardoczi to the podium and asked her to give an overview of what she is proposing, focusing on what they were concerned about at the November meeting.

Ms. Bardoczi referenced the image on the viewing screen of the room and explained where parking would be in the rear, the entrance for dropping off and picking up children, the fenced playground area off the side entrance of the house, and the fenced-in walkway to the parking lot. The driveway to the parking lot is two-lane, so there won’t be any traffic issues.

Mr. Schneider asked if the parents will pick up and drop off their children directly from their vehicle. Ms. Bardoczi responded that there is not a curb-side pick up and drop off and that the parents will have to bring them in and come back in to pick them up.

Mr. Williams asked her to think about that because when it is 20 degrees outside, parents may not follow the rules or they may queue up at the walkway and walk their children in. Ms. Bardoczi stated that she would require them to park in the parking area.

Mr. Schneider asked if it is roughly 120 feet from the fence line to the edge of the property. Ms. Bardoczi responded that they added a little extra space in there.

Mr. Schneider asked if there will be any directional striping or anything in the parking lot. Ms. Bardoczi responded that all the parking spots will be outlined. If it is needed, she will add directional arrows or lane markings.

Mr. Schneider opened Public Hearing. Hearing none, Mr. Schneider closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Williams asked if the playground will be fenced. Ms. Bardoczi responded in the affirmative. Mr. Williams asked if the only entry/exit is through the building itself. Ms. Bardoczi responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Williams advised Ms. Bardoczi that if she can avoid it, to try to have her parking set up so that no one has to back up out of a parking space for safety purposes. He also asked her to keep in mind that parents may not park properly and park directly in front of the walkway when it is inclement weather outside. Ms. Bardoczi stated that she would keep those things in mind.

Mr. Schneider advised that even though there are only three members present, they are still able to vote; however, all three members have to agree for any motion to carry. If they don’t have a consensus vote, the petition would automatically be placed on the following month’s agenda for consideration.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion for a recommendation to the Town Council for the day care center to be located at 9501 Wicker Avenue.

Motion by Mr. Williams to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for a Special Exception to conduct a day care center at 9501 Wicker Avenue including the following Findings of Fact:

1. That the establishment, maintenance, or operation of the Special Exception will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare;
2. That the Special Exception will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property value within the neighborhood.
3. That the establishment of the Special Exception will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district;
4. Adequate measures will be taken to provide Ingress and Egress, so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets; and
5. That adequate utilities, access road, drainage and/or necessary facilities will be provided;
6. That adequate measure will, in all other respects. Conform to the applicable regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located; and
7. That the Special Exception shall be required to comply with reasonable time limitations on the commencement and duration of Special Exception as well as holder of rights to same.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Ms. Bardoczi thanked the board.

Mr. Eberly informed Ms. Bardoczi that the Town Council takes final action on this and that it will likely be addressed at the January 25, 2018 Town Council Regular Meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for both of the petitioners to proceed.

Mr. Eberly also advised that Mickey Haluska is going to fill the recording secretary position again and that she would have been present this evening but fell ill.

A. 2017-0020 ST. JOHN RAVENWOOD LOT LLC 10083 WICKER AVENUE – Developmental Standard Variances – (Sophia Panagakis)
Mr. Schneider advised the next item on the agenda is Item 2017-0020, St. John Ravenwood Lot LLC, 10083 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Schneider asked that the petitioner or her representative come to the podium to present their petition.

Mr. Eberly advised that Michael Stanula is the architect who drafted the drawings and that Robert Bohnak will be representing Sophia Panagakis at this Public Hearing.

Mr. Robert Bohnak with Bohnak Engineering stated that he is the civil engineer on the project. He provided members with a copy of a letter dated December 18, 2017 from Mike Stanula addressing the Town’s comments on the list of variances requested.

Mr. Bohnak stated that in response to “No parking between the building and US 41,” the property to the north of their location has their building to the rear setback and has their parking between the building and US 41. Mr. Bohnak stated that Mr. Eberly stated that it is typically a variance that would be accepted.

Mr. Bohnak stated that in response to the “Pedestrian/Bike path connecting building to the front of the site and bike path,” since there is currently no bike path along US 41, they would prefer to defer and not put in a bike path that leads to nowhere.

Mr. Bohnak stated that in response to the “Maximum Impervious area of lot to be 65 percent,” in order to fit the building and the required parking, they would be above the 65 percent threshold as their proposed impervious area is 82 percent. He added that they are above the 15 percent minimum landscaping requirement.

Mr. Bohnak stated that in response to the “Greenbelt to be 30 feet at the front” along US 41, they are proposing to put a 15-foot greenbelt in, which would meet up to the utility easement that runs along US 41 and allow for an extra row of parking. He added that it would be similar to the property to the north of their lot, which has a 20-foot greenbelt.

Mr. Bohnak stated that in response to the requirement of 25 feet of landscaping in the front and 10 feet on the sides of the building, they would like to develop the property similar to the property to the north, forgo putting in foundation landscaping, and include the landscaping throughout the property. This would allow for doors to swing out and provide ample walkway for people to enter the establishments. On the sides of the building, they would like to pave up to the building, which is also in alignment with the property to the north.

Mr. Bohnak stated that in response to needing five shrubs per parking space, the previous drawing was five shrubs short and the new plan has the additional five shrubs included.

Mr. Bohnak offered to review the scope of the project.

Mr. Schneider stated that he has renderings for two phases and asked Mr. Bohnak to confirm that we are only addressing the first phase at this meeting. Mr. Bohnak responded that they are addressing only Phase 1 this evening but also showing what the full buildout would be.

Mr. Eberly advised that the variance requests are based on the full buildout. Mr. Schneider asked for verification that they would apply to the full buildout. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Bohnak advised that they will seek engineering and site plan approval and build out the first phase, and then at a later time, they will build out the second phase.

The net building area for the first phase is 4592 square feet. Retail is proposed to be 3444 square feet, or 75 percent of the area, and the balance will be for office-space use. It will be placed at the northern portion of the property. They will provide an entry off of 101st Place and have two curb cuts along the backside of the property for deliveries and fire routing.

Mr. Williams asked what the size of each unit would be. Mr. Bohnak responded that each unit will be 20x70 or 1400 square feet per unit.

Mr. Williams asked how many units are in the property to the north. Mr. Bohnak responded that there are 14 units. Mr. Williams asked if it is the same size per unit. Mr. Bohnak responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is concerned about the density and lack of green space. The development that you are mimicking is overly dense and lacks green space. Mr. Williams concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn’t see a hardship developing this property preventing them from meeting or come closer to meeting our ordinance. Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Panczuk if he had additional concerns other than the green space. Mr. Panczuk responded that he is concerned with the property coverage and green space.

Mr. Williams supported the need for greater green space and less impervious area.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he feels the driveways next to the building are a safety concern that creates a hazard for pedestrians walking across from the back of the building.

Mr. Schneider stated that they are approximately 40 percent over in the parking requirement and asked if there is a reason that they have done so. Mr. Bohnak conferred with Ms. Panagakis and then informed the board that they will look at modifying the parking to improve green space and look at getting a bit of separation to the building and the driveways that run alongside the building.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wouldn’t consider approving anything closer to US 41 than what is done on the property to the north. Mr. Bohnak asked for clarification that the board wants them to match the existing setback from US 41 for the greenbelt. Multiple members replied that it should, at the very least, meet that or exceed that setback.

Mr. Williams stated that this appears to be a cookie-cutter layout, and the current board is against that and wants to see structures that are different than what are in other towns and feel the best way to meet that is to creatively change the plans.

Mr. Schneider asked if the drive on the south side of the building is absolutely necessary. Mr. Bohnak stated that they would have to look at that for traffic flow and deliveries to see if any changes can be made.

Mr. Schneider asked if they are looking for a drive-up window on either side of the building. Ms. Panagakis stated that she was not sure.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they looked into unification of the driveways between their development and the development to the north. Mr. Bohnak responded that they were intending to keep them separate to have a bit of a green space.

Mr. Panczuk and Mr. Williams both felt that it would be a better and safer option to have a unified drive where you wouldn’t have two vehicles trying to turn out of the respective developments at the same time in such a close proximity.

Mr. Panczuk stated that this development appears to be isolated and not pedestrian friendly even to the development to the north and would like to see a pedestrian crossing or pavers or something connecting their development to the property to the north.

Mr. Schneider asked if they have had any conversation with the developer of the property to the north about possible connections or crosswalk or the like. Ms. Panagakis responded that he is not in favor of it because it could create a conflict of interest.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Karl Madsen (11347 Valley Drive): Good evening. I have a document; may I approach.

(Permission was granted.)

Our concerns at this time are really limited to the four points that you posses on the document. The first one is just – we’re just asking that the board, in their zoning variance considerations, would consider that the lighting temperature would be specified to a lower lighting temperature for, just, help in avoiding lighting bleed.

The second point is we’re just asking – and I understand we only got brief, a couple of documents, but if somewhere in the lighting specs there could be consideration given to using either full cutoff or fully shielded type fixtures so that the potential for bleed is even further reduced. Also, we’re asking that the lots themselves that the lighting be extinguished by some mechanism. We’re not specifying. We’re just asking that it would be considered that a half an hour after the close of business that the lighting would be extinguished, at least in the lot, if not the wall sconces.

And then, lastly, maybe consideration be taken to ask for some sort of lighting specialist to consult with them. It’s just – it seems like the – the lumens per acre is quite a bit higher, perhaps, than it may be necessary to do so. I think the final plan buildout showed I think about 1.9, just a tick under two acres, with about 192,000 or 199,000 lumens, which is just shy under 100,000 lumens per acre. And, um, some of the recommend lighting levels just seem to be lower than that in our research. Anything that we can do – we understand that you’re in the business of commerce and helping people get there in the right way. And with all the commerce that may end up being along 41, it would just be nice if some light conservation and – and bleed would be limited to residential areas that are already existing. And we just ask that consideration cause we’re right across the street from those folks. So that’s it for us.

(Mr. Williams asked Mr. Madsen if any of his neighbors were experiencing any issues with any of the current developments.)

Well, since you asked, there are some, and – but again, it’s not universal. There are some people that don’t seem to be affected as much as others by, for instance, the very, very bright Alsip sign that’s on – outside of the building, which I suppose, if it were a microwave, you could cook your meals in your driveway some evenings cause it’s pretty bright, especially when all of the vegetation is defoliated, you know, because it’s deciduous, mostly, along 41. But during the summers, it’s reduced. We get some people that are very sensitive to that.

They’re not here today, but we – we talk to them, and we just try to – when we get these notices, we try to talk to them a little bit saying, you know, what are your current issues. One of current – one of the issues was, um, the onsite water drainage, right. Because with the lot increase, I mean¸ I – I don’t know what the drainage plan would be, but that’s not the scope of this. I didn’t have information or anything, but that’s mostly been – it’s been water and lighting almost universally. Thank you.

Mr. Eberly stated that he appreciates Mr. Madsen’s comments and that everything he brought up is addressed in our lighting ordinance. They’re actually proposing 173,863 lumens; they’re allowed 193,000 lumens, so they’re below the lighting levels. The fixtures will be full cutoff fixtures as our ordinance requires that.

Mr. Eberly advised that they have not submitted a photometric plan for this, so they are not seeking a variance and are in compliance with our ordinance. Mr. Eberly has spoken with Mr. Stanula, and he is fully intending to comply with the lighting ordinance.

Mr. Schneider asked if there was anyone else wishing to speak. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to defer at this time to allow the petitioner to make revisions to the plans based on the board’s concerns.

Motion to defer by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly informed the petitioner that this will be set for the January 22, 2018 Meeting and that additional notice is not required as it is a continued Public Hearing.

B. 2017-0013 COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE CENTER 9660 WICKER AVENUE – Multiple Sign Variances – (Shaun O’Brien)

Mr. Schneider advised that the next item on the agenda is Item 2017-0013 Community Healthcare Center, 9660 Wicker Avenue, regarding multiple sign variances.

Mr. Shaun O’Brien from Landmark Sign Group stated that he is here representing Community Healthcare System for their Community Outpatient Center on 9660 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. O’Brien gave an overview of the sign variances they are requesting:

1. They are proposing a wall name sign that will have internally illuminated channel letters facing Wicker Avenue replacing the old block-style sign totaling 224 square feet.
2. They are proposing to replace the existing blue block-style sign with individually lit, white channel letters on the south side of the building totaling 147.5 square feet.
3. They are proposing to replace the existing monument sign at 14 feet in height and totaling 132 square feet. The existing monument sign has an electronic message center, and the proposed sign does not.
4. They are proposing an additional illuminated monument sign for the west side entrance off of Keilman Street that is smaller in size but mimics the primary monument sign.
5. They are proposing to replace the existing directional signage with a total of four signs at 48 square feet per sign.

Mr. Eberly advised that the existing sign had a permit granted for it; however, there was no variance granted for it. It is neither the petitioner’s fault nor the healthcare center’s fault that a permit was issued without a variance. In 2001 and in 2002, the petitioners sought and received variances for signage on the building. In 2002, during the meeting, the petitioner withdrew the request for signage on the east side of the building, yet there is a sign there and a permit was granted. He is unsure as to how or why it happened, but they do have an existing sign there. He stated that, in order to replace the sign, they need a variance.

Mr. Eberly advised that what signs are there for their directional signs were permitted, but not what was granted, through the original variances granted in 2001/2002.

Mr. O’Brien briefly reviewed the signage on the site plan which was shown on the meeting room viewing screen.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the north side signage is remaining as is. Mr. O’Brien responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has no problems with any of the signs based on the size and location of the property; however, he would like to see the primary monument sign be closer to the size required by the ordinance. The other members concurred.

Mr. Schneider stated that he also feels the lettering on the eastern and southern wall signs on the building could be slightly smaller and still be effective.

Mr. O’Brien responded that they could agree to shrink the sign on the south side down a little bit. Mr. Schneider responded that he is aiming for both the south and east-side signs to be a bit smaller. He would be okay with the eastern one being slightly larger than the southern sign.

Mr. O’Brien stated that the drawings may not be to scale and that the artist who did the renderings was not accurate with the scaling.

Mr. Schneider stated one sign is in all caps and the other is in mixed case. He further stated that the sign that is in mixed case appears to be much nicer and more agreeable.

Mr. Panczuk stated that if he were to use the same square footage and just use the lettering, by removing the box, it would appear much larger and would be much more readable.

Mr. Schneider asked if the monument size bases are made out of metal. Mr. O’Brien responded in the affirmative. Mr. Schneider stated that anything over 10 feet high in town is a no-no.

Mr. Williams stated that the Lake Central sign decision was based on a safety need, and he does not see a safety need requiring a larger monument sign at this property.

Mr. Schneider asked if the board had any issues with the directional signage. The board members responded in the negative.

Mr. Eberly advised the board that they could address the variances one at a time and, if they so choose, they could defer individual variance requests if they wanted to see any revisions done.

Mr. Panczuk asked if a variance is required for the directional signs. Mr. Eberly advised that they need a variance tor the two additional directional signs and for the increase in square footage by 3 square feet per sign taking them from 45 square feet to 48 square feet.

The members of the board agreed that the monument sign in front needs to be revised to come closer to the square footage allowed by the ordinance and that it must comply with the 10 feet height requirement. They asked the petitioner to revise that one for consideration at a future meeting.

Mr. Eberly advised that the south sign will be kept at the same square footage that was previously approved; therefore, he won’t require a variance there. Mr. Eberly further advised that the only sign he needs to come back for is the primary monument sign.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Hearing. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding the sign variance request for directional signage to allow for two additional signs and increase the total square footage of each sign to 48 square feet.

Motion by Mr. Williams to approve the variance for Community Healthcare Center directional signs for a total of 4 signs of 48 square feet to include the Findings of Fact:

1. Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community.
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner.
3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding the secondary monument sign located on the west side of the property.

Motion by Mr. Williams to approve a variance for Community Healthcare Center for a secondary monument sign not to exceed ordinance standards to include the Findings of Fact:

1. Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community.
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner.
3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to defer the primary monument sign until the board receives revised drawings.

Motion by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion regarding the eastern wall sign for a size and location variance not to exceed the existing square footage.

Motion by Mr. Williams to approve a variance for Community Healthcare Center for the size on the wall signage on the east side and granting permission for an a wall sign to be located on the east side, subject to the condition that it will not exceed the current wall sign’s square footage to include the Findings of Fact:

1. Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community.
2. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner.
3. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.

Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly advised Mr. O’Brien that they will be on the January 22, 2018 agenda.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for Public Comment. Hearing none, Mr. Schneider closed Public Comment.

Mr. Williams wished to address everyone before adjourning. He stated it was his last Board of Zoning Appeals meeting and wished to say thank you to his fellow board members, Rick, and Attorney Austgen. He is going to school starting in January. He stated that he appreciates all the work that everyone has done, that this experience has been wonderful, and that he hopes to come back some day.

Mr. Schneider stated that it would also be his last BZA meeting. He and his wife are semi-retiring. He thanked everyone as well and gave accolades to the board members, current and past; Mr. Eberly; and Attorney Austgen.

Mr. Eberly and Mr. Panczuk both wished Mr. Williams and Mr. Schneider the best of luck and thanked them for their service.

Mr. Austgen addressed them and said it is a hard and often thankless job. He commended them on their good work thanked both men for their service.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Williams. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk.

(Mr. Schneider adjourned the meeting at 8:35 p.m.)

Respectfully submitted,

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

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