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Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes 2018

Meeting Minutes

01-22-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

January 22, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

JOHN KENNEDY RICK EBERLY, Building & Planning Director
PAUL PANCZUK DAVID AUSTGEN, ATTORNEY

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Austgen began the January 22, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 7:00 p.m. by stating that circumstances have driven us to the following. This is the regular night for the Town’s BZA to meet, and it was scheduled; petitions were accepted, notices were issued, Public Hearings scheduled, and then membership circumstances have arisen. Mr. Austgen stated that at no fault of anybody, we do not have a quorum. We have Mr. Kennedy present who is a carry-over and holdover member of our board. We have nobody else, so we cannot conduct or do the business of the Public Meeting tonight.

Mr. Austgen suggested that we solicit from the folks who are here, why they are here, and if they have anything that they want to say on the record about the Petition, or the matter that they are here for. When that is concluded, Mr. Austgen suggested that the meeting be closed. The next Public Meeting is February 26th, at which time any items on this agenda will carry over along with any matters that accrue during the month before that meeting. No further advertisement will or needs to occur before the Public Meeting is conducted, therein. This is the time of that.

Mr. Austgen recommended to Mr. Eberly and staff that perhaps the monthly newsletter announce it; methods that we have of communicating with our folks be utilized. Other than that, no other legal notices are needed. Mr. Austgen understands that Mr. Eberly has been communicating with folks through the last week that these circumstances were resulting. Hence, we have a few people here, a few folks, but not any petitioners. Mr. Eberly said that is correct.

Mr. Austgen advised Mr. Kennedy to open the floor for the folks present.

ROLL CALL:

The following board member was present: Mr. John Kennedy. Building and Planning Director Mr. Rick Eberly was present. Town Attorney David Austgen was present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 4/24/17, 5/22/17, 6/26/17, 7/24/17 and 9/25/17 (no August meeting), 10/23/17, 11/27/17, 12/18/17

Deferred to the February 26th, 2018 Public Meeting, due to lack of quorum.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

CHAIRMAN
VICE CHAIRMAN
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
APPOINTMENT OF RECORDING SECRETARY

Deferred to the February 26th, 2018 Public Meeting, due to lack of quorum.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0020 ST. JOHN RAVENSWOOD LOT LLC 10083 WICKER AVENUE continued public hearing-Petitioner: Sophia Panagakis-petitioner is seeking several Development Standards Variances per the attached list

Deferred to the February 26th, 2018 Public Meeting, due to lack of quorum.

B. 2017-0013 COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE CENTER 9660 WICKER AVE. continued public hearing-Petitioner: Shaun O’Brien –Petitioner is seeking a variance for a monument sign that is larger than Town code Section 15E5aii allows

Deferred to the February 26th, 2018 Public Meeting, due to lack of quorum.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0001 ALDI-Wall signage variance from Chapter 15 Section E.5 for their store located at 9921 Earl Dr.

Deferred to the February 26th, 2018 Public Meeting, due to lack of quorum.

B. 2018-0002 FAMILY EXPRESS- Petitioner is seeking several Development Standards Variances per the attached list for a gas station/convenience store to be located at the southwest corner of US231 and Parrish Avenue

Deferred to the February 26th, 2018 Public Meeting, due to lack of quorum.

C. RIM CONSTRUCTION-Petitioner: Rim Construction- petitioner is seeking a rear yard setback variance per Chapter 5 section 5.4E.3d for a home they are building at 9427 MacKenzie Ct.

Deferred to the February 26th, 2018 Public Meeting, due to lack of quorum.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Kennedy opened the floor for any Public Comment regarding any of the petitions that are before the board currently. Mr. Kennedy asked that speakers please state their name and address.

Daryl Schweitzer 9705 W. 109th Avenue

Mr. Schweitzer explained that his property is on the west side of NIPSCO. He came tonight to find out what exactly the variances are that are requested, what the Family Express is proposing to put there, where they are going to put it, and how they are going to block the view etc. He overheard a little bit of Mr. Eberly telling his neighbors to the south whose property also runs behind his. Mr. Schweitzer’s understanding is that the variance is to eliminate all or part of the landscaping, or the “privacy fence”.

Mr. Eberly explained that would be to the south. They are not required to do that with the property to the west, because of the use of that property. They do not have to screen themselves from that NIPSCO substation. If Mr. Schweitzer’s residential property were up against the Family Express property then they would have to provide a solid screen of at least five feet along that property line, but because the use immediately adjacent to them is the NIPSCO substation, they do not have to provide a solid screen. They are providing some landscaping there, but it is not a solid screen on that west line. Mr. Eberly noted that one of the variances they are seeking is a variance from the requirement to put in a solid five-foot screen on their south property line. They have landscaping there proposed, but it is not a solid screen as required by the landscape Ordinance.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Schweitzer and Mr. Eberly wanted to go over the variances that they were looking for. Mr. Eberly said yes.

Mr. Eberly pulled the screen down to project the plans.

Mr. Schweitzer said that he knows what our engineers said, but he has lived on that property for 65 years, and he can tell us that the water flows to the south not to the north. His property floods when it rains heavily, and the property behind him floods even worse.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Schweitzer if the NIPSCO substation is just to the west of him. Mr. Eberly said that it is between Mr. Schweitzer’s property and the Family Express property. Mr. Schweitzer explained that the property to the east floods causing water to come and flood the backside of NIPSCO. His parents used to own the property the NIPSCO substation is on, and they raised about two feet of gravel when they built that substation. That had been the lowest property, or the lowest part. So, the water flows from the east and floods there, comes on the back of NIPSCO, with a heavy rain, comes over and floods Mr. Schweitzer’s property, and then it all flows back to the south.

When they sold the property to NIPSCO in 1974, it was in the agreement that they can continue to use the backside of the property until he needed it, because at the time it was a hay field. He keeps it mowed, and where the trees are behind their substation he takes a bush hog and keep mowed to keep the grass down as much as possible, so that the water will evaporate. He still has water coming up his property constantly. The previous owner, Gene, that had owned that property to the east, got NIPSCO to dig a ditch along that property line and put in a wooden fence. When they dug the ditch, the ditch flows to the south. The entire property along 231, including Mr. Schweitzer’s property, all flows to the south. The three adjacent lots, the two Family Express and the NIPSCO, all flow to the south. That is 65 years of experience, so he does not know where the engineers get their information, but they should come out during a downpour.

Mr. Eberly said that the map that is projected shows what they are planning to do. He does see what Mr. Schweitzer is saying. In its natural condition, Mr. Schweitzer is correct. Mr. Eberly pointed out on the projected plans a 719 contour line, 718, and 717. In its natural condition, it flows south. In the built condition, the planned pond would capture all the water from the site, release it through the line, and discharge it up. Mr. Schweitzer asked if 719 is an elevation. Mr. Eberly said that is correct. He reiterated that they would be capturing all of their runoff in that pond and discharging it through a storm sewer outlet.

Mr. Eberly told Mr. Kennedy that this is not part of his purview in this Board. It his part of his purview as the Plan Commission when it comes to the development plan review. For the purpose of the BZA, the storm water plan is irrelevant. Not over all, but it is for the purpose of the BZA.

Mr. Eberly continued to explain that the storm water flows up through the system and goes to the northeast. Mr. Schweitzer asked if that would be by gravity or pump. Mr. Eberly told him by gravity. There is a sanitary lift station proposed as part of this development, but not storm water. Mr. Schweitzer said that is going to have to be an awful deep sewer line. Mr. Schweitzer asked what the measurements of the drop is from the highway, from the north end to the south end. The measurements are not listed on the plan. Mr. Eberly pointed out all of the contour lines, and that there are 716’s and 717’s. The dotted lines are existing conditions. There is a 718 and a 717. There is a 716 up north by 231. There are 718’s and 717’s running through the middle. There is a 717 contour and the dotted line is a 718. There is a 719 over on the east side of the property. 717 is the low contour line that is shown on this map.

Mr. Schweitzer asked if the drawing shows a proposed berm, and if it is running the entire length north and south. Mr. Eberly said it is a proposed berm. It will be the square on the map, which is the berm around the detention pond. Mr. Schweitzer asked how deep the detention pond would be. Mr. Eberly told him 3 ft.

Mr. Kennedy listed to Mr. Schweitzer some of the variances that Family Express is looking for are the size of the building-less than 15,000 square feet. They need to get a variance for that. Building materials that will be used on the building. They are seeking a variance on that. Mr. Schweitzer asked what kind of building materials. Mr. Eberly explained that it is a masonry building, but it is a concrete block product, but it is more like stamp crete. It’s made to look like brick, but it’s a concrete block material. Our Ordinance does not allow concrete block, but our Ordinance presumes a concrete block to be a CMU product; not decorative, not split-faced. We don’t allow that kind of block construction. It’s in the packet what the building is going to look like. The other reason for that variance is that our ordinance says that accessory buildings have to mimic the primary structure. It does, except that they have a standing metal awning on the carwash, as opposed to architectural shingles that they have on the main building. They need a variance for that.

Mr. Kennedy added that they are seeking variances for some signage regulations and landscaping requirements, as well.

Mr. Schweitzer asked if there has been any study on the traffic flow impact. Mr. Eberly told him that is outside the purview of the BZA. If there was, it would have been done at the time of annexation, and he is not sure if it was. There has been a traffic study done for the entire town, not necessarily specific to this development, as Mr. Eberly knows. Mr. Schweitzer asked if the parcels have already been annexed. Mr. Eberly told him that they have been annexed and zoned. Mr. Schweitzer asked when that happened. Mr. Eberly said July or sometime late summer or early fall of last year.

Mr. Eberly projected the drawing of what the building would look like. It’s made to look like brick even though it’s a manufactured concrete product.

Mr. Kennedy opened the floor to anymore Public Comment, and asked that speakers please state their name and address.

Kelly O’Brien 9488 W. Oakridge Drive

Mr. Eberly asked if Ms. O’Brien was here for the same issue. Ms. O’Brien said no, and asked if we were done with that one. Mr. Eberly said that it sounds like we are.

Ms. O’Brien stated that her and her husband, Daniel Kozlowski, are here regarding the RIM Construction petition for that backyard at 9427 MacKenzie Ct. She explained that they own the lot next door to that. They are Lot 49 of that subdivision. They are currently building their new home, at the same time that house is going up. They want some information on the variances, and what RIM Construction is asking for.

Mr. Kennedy asked if he could turn that over to Mr. Eberly.

Mr. Schweitzer asked if we are done with the Family Express thing. Mr. Eberly said, yes sir.

Mr. Eberly told Ms. O’Brien that RIM Construction is seeking a one-foot rear yard setback variance on their property. As he understands, when they began the project the engineer or surveyor for the project set the front property stakes one foot further back than where they were supposed to. So, the whole foundation of the home was moved back a foot further than they were supposed to. Instead of a 40-foot rear yard setback, they would have a 39-foot rear yard setback if they are granted this variance. That wasn’t discovered until the home was well under construction.

Mr. Eberly projected an image of the lot on the screen, and pointed out the breakfast nook at the rear of the house. That was planned to be right at the 40-foot rear yard building line, but the property stakes were moved back a foot further than they were supposed to. They knew they wanted a 30-foot front yard setback, so they came 30 feet off from that original stake, and it took them back a foot further than they anticipated. Now the breakfast nook is one foot further across the line than it is supposed to be. So, they need to seek a variance for that.

Daniel Kozlowski 9488 W. Oakridge Drive

Mr. Kozlowski stated that about a year ago there was a variance that they requested, because they were having a hard time finding the right size house to go on the lot. The lot is a pie shape. Mr. Kozlowski asked if the BZA has any idea what happened to that variance, and if this has anything to do with it. He knows that they wanted to push the house back prior to that because of the weird dimensions of that lot. Mr. Eberly told him that he has been here for a year now, and it hasn’t come before them in that time that he’s been here. Mr. Kennedy said he has been here 15 months and this is the first time he is hearing of that variance.

Mr. Kozlowski said they got a letter for a variance on that. They also heard from Jack over at Schilling’s that when they first bought the land, that lot was kind of weird. They were having a hard time fitting a house on it. They even told Jack that if they can’t sell that lot that they were interested. They would swing their house over to both lots. Jack told them that they are in business to sell lots with houses. So, they were surprised to see that someone bought it, because they were told that there are few houses that would fit on that lot. Mr. Eberly said that has never come up in the year that he’s been here. It didn’t come for a Public Hearing. There is a house a couple houses away that did come for a Public Hearing for a detached garage, which they got in late 2016. Ms. O’Brien knew what house Mr. Eberly was referring to. She said that he’s got a commercial vehicle that he’s got to put in that garage. He’s an electrician. Mr. Eberly said that was a couple of doors away, but not that lot.

Mr. Kozlowski said that he just finds it coincidental or interesting that they got a registered letter in the mail that they wanted to push the house back closer to the easement in the back, and it’s almost like they just went ahead and did it.

Ms. O’Brien asked if this is the board that will decide if that’s ok or not. Mr. Eberly said yes. Ms. O’Brien asked what happens if it gets denied. Mr. Austgen said that the house has to come down. Ms. O’Brien said, right, they would have to tear the foundation down. Mr. Austgen explained that this is an after the fact variance request, a beg for forgiveness.

Mr. Eberly said that this matter will take place at the next meeting on February 26th. That is where the Public Hearing will take place now, because of the lack of quorum.

Ms. O’Brien said they didn’t know if it was about a deck or a fence, but it’s the actual structure of the house. Mr. Eberly confirmed that it is the structure of the house.

Mr. Kozlowski pointed out the small structure on the rear of the house that is the cause of the request for variance. Mr. Eberly noted that it is a one-foot variance.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Kozlowski and Ms. O’Brien could make a comment now for their convenience. Mr. Eberly said yes, their comments would be recorded officially.

Mr. Kennedy asked the speakers if they would like to make a comment now, or they could come back on February 26th for the Public Hearing.

Ms. O’Brien said that what she is looking at she doesn’t see negatively impacting them and they are directly next door. Mr. Kennedy said that he appreciates that comment. Ms. O’Brien said that she was more concerned what it was, and she just wanted some information. If its twelve inches we are talking about and it is in the back, they are not even going to see it. They don’t see it negatively impacting them.

Mr. Kennedy thanked them for coming out and making their comment. It makes the board’s job a lot easier, because they are concerned about neighbors.

Mr. Kozlowski asked what the issue was with no one showing up tonight. He didn’t understand that. Mr. Austgen said that we did not have enough members. Mr. Eberly said we didn’t have enough members of our board. We had one member who was ill, and three members that resigned for various reasons. We have to have at least three board members in order to conduct a meeting, and Mr. Kennedy is our only member here. Mr. Kozlowski said that he would have expected a representative from RIM Construction to be here. Mr. Eberly told him that they were advised that there would be no action taken tonight. All of the petitioners were advised of that. It was their option if they wanted to come or not. It was up to them, but they knew there would be no official action tonight. There were five petitioners on the agenda and none of them are here tonight.

Mr. Austgen explained that we anticipate that the Town Council will make appointments and will fill this board this week, and before the next Public Meeting.

(General Discussion Ensued)

There was no further Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Austgen suggested that the recording secretary prepare the minutes as normal, and the same be made available at the next Public Meeting for the Board. Additionally, that the minutes be placed on the agenda for review and acceptance. Approval may not be appropriate, but acceptance, so that the record can carry over for the folks who were here tonight for the petitions that will be carried over for next month.

(The meeting closed at 7:24 p.m.)

ATTEST:

____________________________________
Alyssa Gallegos
Recording Secretary

02-26-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

February 26, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the February 26, 2018, Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Alyssa Gallegos, Recording Secretary. The following Board Members were present: Libby Popovic, John Kennedy, Paul Panczuk, and Mark Lareau. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

Absent: Michael Aurelio

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes.

Mr. Eberly advised the minutes are not available yet; however, as they are completed, they will be sent to board members for review. Mr. Eberly advised the members that they may approve minutes for meetings they did not attend, even if they were not a member of the board during the actual meeting.

Mr. Eberly further advised that there is a requirement that at least three members must vote in order for it to be valid.

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

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is the election of officers.

Mr. Panczuk entertained nominations for the Chair. Mr. Kennedy nominated Paul Panczuk. Mr. Lareau seconded the nomination.

Vote by roll call:
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Nomination carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk entertained nominations for the Vice-chair. Mr. Kennedy nominated Libby Popovic for Vice-chair. Mr. Lareau seconded the nomination. Nomination carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk entertained nominations for the Executive Secretary. Mr. Lareau nominated John Kennedy as Executive Secretary. Ms. Popovic seconded the nomination. Nomination carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to appoint Alyssa Gallegos to be the Recording Secretary. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS:

A. 2017-0020 ST. JOHN RAVENWOOD LOT LLC 10083 WICKER AVENUE – Continued Public Hearing – (Sophia Panagakis)

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Item 2017-0020, St. John Ravenwood Lot LLC, 10083 Wicker Avenue. This is a continued Public Hearing for the petitioner Sophia Panagakis.

Mr. Eberly advised that this petition came before the BZA back in December and was continued to the January meeting; however, January’s meeting did not have a quorum to be had.

Mr. Eberly stated that there is a sheet that has Michael Stanula at the top of it that identifies the variances and the ordinance sections of the variances that are being sought for this Site Plan. The property is immediately south of the complex where La Quesadilla is located and will be a similar type of development. It will be done in a couple of phases.

Mr. Eberly advised that each petitioner has properly advertised and posted notice for the Public Hearings that they are here for this evening.

Mr. Stanula stated that he was the architect for the Ravenwood plaza project directly to the north of this project, and this project has more landscaping in it than probably any other project on the corridor. The required parking for this size of a building and lot is 52 cars; they are at 64 cars.

Mr. Stanula stated that there were comments made about the ingress/egress and the exit of the property at the December meeting; and they have made corrections to that. In order to fit the amount of landscaping that’s required by the ordinances, they could not achieve the required landscaping directly in front and on the adjacent sides of the building. They need to have a deeper sidewalk in front of the building because the doors open outward. They are requesting a bike path variance as there isn’t a bike path to hook up to along the property.

In reference to the ordinance regarding the no parking between the building and US 41, they have pushed the building back so that it would be in line with the building to the north for uniformity. The building to the north has parking in front of the building, so they just matched that as well.

They are requesting a variance for the impervious area because they are over the maximum requirement for impervious area by 11 percent. However, they are 9 percent over on the landscaping, so it is kind of a tradeoff. He stated they could put some large potted plants on the sidewalk up front to take down the impervious area.

Mr. Eberly stated that BZA requested that the entrance be moved, and it was moved to the center. They reduced the number of parking spaces while still exceeding what is required by ordinance and increased the amount of landscaping. They have more landscaping than the ordinance requires.

Mr. Eberly stated that the Site Plan is largely compliant. Mr. Eberly advised that they do not have the 30-foot required buffer, but they did increase it to line up with the building to the north. They brought that parking lot back to the east in order to make that accommodation.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any questions or comments from the board at this time.

Mr. Kennedy referenced the impervious surface variance and asked how the drainage is being addressed for that site with the increase in pavement. Mr. Stanula stated that the entire developed area has a retention pond that everything goes to, including this lot. There are catch basins that go to the east.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they have looked at the calculations to see if there are any concerns with maxing out that ditch or detention pond. Mr. Stanula stated they have a civil engineer that will deal with the drainage. They will be sure to comply so that nothing gets flooded out.

Mr. Eberly advised that that would be part of the Site Plan review at the Plan Commission.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the drawing with the entrance in the middle looks like it is a one-way out on the south end of the proposed site. Mr. Stanula stated that it is one way out on the south end. Mr. Kennedy asked if there is a reason it wasn’t matched up to the design which is two way, one way in and one way out. Mr. Stanula stated that it is because of the landscaping; they had to get more landscaping on this lot.

Mr. Eberly stated that the hard copy they have in their packets is the current layout.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the southern entrance could be eliminated because it is too close to the road next to it. Mr. Stanula responded that they could do that. However, if someone is going to continue east, it could get bottlenecked because it is only a one-way. With having the southeast access to the site, there would be relief there in case cars start backing up.

Mr. Eberly stated that there is a planned entrance and they will be cutting the island back so that if you are coming off of US 41, you can get into the facility without having to go back around. Mr. Panczuk stated that someone would be able to go left or right out of the southern entrance.

Mr. Panczuk stated there are still two ways in and out, and he would like to see that south entrance eliminated for safety purposes. Mr. Stanula stated that they could do that, and it would increase the landscaping even more.

Mr. Lareau stated that deliveries will be coming into those other businesses on that south end also. Mr. Panczuk asked if the radiuses will be an issue for delivery trucks. Mr. Stanula stated that in order to get to the trash enclosure for the second phase, which is south of the rear entrance, the garbage truck will have to come in from the east entrance, but they should be there before hours in order to empty the dumpsters. Mr. Stanula stated that they can close the southeastern entrance off.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Panczuk if the entrance discussion is one that he would like to leave to the Plan Commission under Site Plan since it is not a variance. Mr. Panczuk stated it is a grey area because the lot is being overdeveloped, which is why some of the variances are needed.

Mr. Panczuk requested that Mr. Stanula take a better look at the plan and when it comes back to Plan Commission to have a plan that would eliminate that driveway as it is a safety concern. Mr. Stanula agreed to do the same.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they would consider putting in a bike rack as an access point on one of the islands. Mr. Stanula asked if the bike path would be in the road or on the right-of-way. Mr. Panczuk stated that the bicyclists would likely use the frontage road. Mr. Stanula asked if he wanted the bike rack in the back of the property. Mr. Panczuk stated that it should be in the front of the building, possibly between the two buildings.

Mr. Kennedy asked how the pedestrian-bike ordinance is different than the sidewalk variance waivers that have been requested. Mr. Eberly stated it is the same: the Plan Commission can consider it at Site Plan or the BZA can address it as a variance.

Mr. Eberly stated that they are over-parked and could use a couple of parking stalls to place the bike racks without taking up any landscape area. Mr. Panczuk stated that they could be right out in front at the edge of the parking lot, perhaps on each side. Mr. Stanula stated that they could do that.

Mr. Panczuk advised the board that they have made a lot of adjustments to the plan because the strip mall concept doesn’t fit well into the US 41 Overlay District. Mr. Panczuk stated that we are trying to steer away from parking in the front, continuous strip malls and concrete; however, what is unique about this and brings it to the BZA is that it is a very small lot that was grandfathered in, and it has an existing building already next to it.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any further comments or questions from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Sophia Panagakis (1116 Perthshire Lane, Dyer): The only comment I’d like to make: I’d like to put a beautiful building there to fit in the area. It’s going to be all-brick building. I do want to have some flower pots in the front because, as Mike said, that we need the – enough space to fit the parking, uh, the parking requirements there. Um, that’s the only comment I have to make that I have to have a beautiful building to attract good tenants.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was anyone who hadn’t signed up to speak that would like to comment. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Eberly stated that all three variance requests are developmental variances. Mr. Eberly also advised the new members of the board that the BZA only has exclusive jurisdiction over developmental variances and that decisions are based on the criteria in the Finding of Facts.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he will be making a motion for all except the pedestrian/bike path connectivity as he would like further discussion on that one.

Motion to approve all variances:
1. No parking between building and US 41;
2. Pedestrian/bike path, there will be a contingency on the bike path that there is accessibility to a bike rack and that bike racks are provided, one on the north side and one on the south side;
3. Approval of the maximum impervious area of lot to be at 65 percent, contingent on drainage calculations meeting standards;
4. Approval of the greenbelt to be 30 feet in front of US 41 and planting adjacent building to 25 feet, landscaping contingent on the additional planters as discussed:
Approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, 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; that the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau.

Vote by roll call:

Ms. Popovic Abstain
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Motion carries 3 ayes to 1 abstention.

B. 2017-0013 COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE CENTER 9660 WICKER AVENUE – Continued Public Hearing – (Shaun O’Brien)

Mr. Panczuk advised that the next item on the agenda is Item 2017-0013 Community Healthcare Center, 9660 Wicker Avenue, regarding a continued Public Hearing.

Mr. Shaun O’Brien from Landmark Sign Group stated that he is here representing Community Healthcare System. This is a continuing meeting from December where some other variances were granted for some additional signage. This is the for the outpatient center for Community Hospital.

They had originally asked for a new monument sign which was over 11 feet. It was requested that they redesign it to maintain an overall height of 10 feet. They are going to use the existing base and put a new sign in there trying to keep with the Community brand.

Mr. Eberly asked what the size of the proposed sign is. Mr. O’Brien stated it is around 70 square feet including the arch on top. Mr. Eberly asked what it is compared to what is existing. Mr. O’Brien stated that the existing sign is 50 square feet.

Mr. Kennedy stated that it is 20 square feet more. Mr. O’Brien stated that it doesn’t look like a lot, but a lot of the height is added because of the arch.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is backlit. Mr. O’Brien responded that it is lit. The copy is all that lights up at night. It is an opaque background, and they are removing the LED message center. It is internally lit with only the lettering lighting up at night.

Mr. Kennedy asked how much property they have along US 41 in linear feet. Mr. O’Brien stated that it is a couple hundred feet.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the brick portion would be changing. Mr. O’Brien responded it would not; they would basically remove the signs that are there and fit the new sign into the existing brick.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is a stickler on the sign ordinance; however, this property is large, generously landscaped, has a good amount of green space, and the building is set back from US 41 so the space is appropriate for larger signage.

Mr. Eberly stated in the original version, the sign was to be 110 square feet, so it has been reduced dramatically per the recommendation of the BZA from earlier meetings.

Ms. Popovic asked if the purpose of increasing the sign was because visibility was poor as people drove past it on US 41. Mr. O’Brien responded that she was correct. It was difficult to see at times, and the LED is getting old.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he opened the floor for Public Hearing.

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

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion. Motion to approve the variance for the monument sign for Community Healthcare Center: 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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Vote by roll call:

Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Motion carries unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0001 ALDI – Wall Signage Variance

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Item 2018-0001, Aldi’s request for a wall signage variance from Chapter 15, E.5 for their store located at 9921 Earl Drive.

Mr. Wayne Koch with IngenAE, Engineers and Architects in South Bend, Indiana, stated he is here with Joe VanderMeer, Construction Manager for Aldi, Inc. They are here to request a sign variance for their store located at 9921 Earl Drive in the C-2 zoning district. The property is approximately 2.3 acres in size.

The current signage is two signs on each the west wall and north wall. There is a logo sign of 76 square feet and a “Food Market” sign of approximately 22 square feet. They are proposing to remove two signs or all four signs and replace it with two logo signs. The new logo signs are a new design for Aldi, Inc. and will be replacing the logo signs on each wall. The logo signs will measure approximately 10x12 and be 121 square feet, plus or minus. There not will be a “Food Market” sign on either wall.

The wall face where the new logo sign will be placed is approximately 10 feet above finished floor, which is 28 feet in height; and the width is approximately 43 lineal feet. The width times the height is approximately 43x18 feet; which is approximately 774 square feet. Each sign will measure about 121 square feet and take up about 16 percent of the wall area.

Aldi’s has been approved by the Plan Commission to put an addition on the facility of approximately 714 square feet, which was done to increase sales and add storage area. They are asking for the increased size in signage due to the distance between US 41 and the building wall. Mr. Koch stated that he would be happy to entertain any questions.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the sign is a custom sign. Mr. Koch responded that it is a standard logo sign for Aldi, so it isn’t custom. Mr. Kennedy asked if it is the standard sign that is going on all Aldi’s buildings. Mr. Koch responded that the sizes vary depending on location.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he was at the March 2014 meeting, and unless it has changed, there are standard sizes that are used. Mr. Koch responded that there are about six different sizes that are used. Mr. Panczuk stated that 10x12 is not the only choice available then. Mr. Koch responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Lareau asked what the current size is. Mr. Koch responded that the current size is 8x9.5 feet, and the “Food Market” sign is 14’3”x1’6”. Mr. Lareau asked if that one is the one that is going away. Mr. Koch responded that the “Food Market” sign is going away.

Mr. Kennedy asked what has changed that they are now coming back and asking for additional signage size when it was considered appropriate for the building and the space of the signage when the BZA granted a size variance in March of 2014. Mr. Koch responded that the landscaping has grown considerably and the site to those back lots is hampered by the landscaping; and the stores in the rear are not as visible as they once were. Although the landscaping is warranted, there is a difficulty in seeing the store signs.

Mr. Eberly stated that the maximum is a 100 square-foot sign regardless of the length of the building. Mr. Lareau asked if it is 100 square feet for all sides. Mr. Eberly stated that it is 100 square feet for all sides combined.

Mr. Panczuk stated that in 2014 the north facing wall, which is the second wall, was allowed so the business could draw business from Strack’s/Target parking lot and give visibility on the frontage road. Mr. Panczuk further stated that he would be opposed to any increase on the north side of the building. Mr. Panczuk stated that the sign on the front of the building is quite readable from US 41, and it was quite a stretch to grant that increased size in 2014.

Ms. Popovic stated that she agrees that it is visible from US 41 and that the signs are sufficient in size. Mr. Koch stated that he disputes with her opinion as he did visit Google Maps and Google Earth, and he has a photograph which was the only position that he could get a straight shot of the signage.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Koch if he has physically driven past the sign on US 41 to look at it. Mr. Koch responded in the affirmative and stated that he has driven past it several times. Ms. Popovic asked if they have done any studies showing that customers are not seeing it or that the visibility is hampering revenue in any way. Mr. Koch responded that there has not been a study.

Mr. Joe VanderMeer, Construction Manager for Aldi, stated that he is new to Aldi. He is from DeMotte, Indiana and has been through St. John many times. The first time he came up here to meet Mr. Koch was to look at the expansion of the back, and he drove past the site three times and never saw it because the lack of visibility in front of the store off of US 41. There isn’t a large monument sign, there are buildings in front of the store, and it is quite a ways from US 41 to the building.

Mr. VanderMeer further stated that the one thing he really likes about changing the signage is removing the “Food Market” sign. He feels it is a tradeoff as they are getting rid of old logo sign and putting up a new Aldi logo sign. The logo has changed, and they are changing out all of their signage to all LED lighting. They are not super-bright; they are very subtle and readable without being overpowering.

Ms. Popovic asked if both signs are a necessity. Mr. VanderMeer stated the two signs are an Aldi standard where you have a dual façade with the same sized sign on both sides.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the next size down is. Mr. Koch stated that it is what already exists there which is 8x9.5 feet. Mr. Panczuk asked what the square footage of the “Food Market” sign is. Mr. Koch stated that the “Food Market” sign measures 14’3”x1’6”, approximately 21.5 square feet.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he has lived in St. John for 15 years and wasn’t aware that they had a monument sign. Mr. Koch stated that it is very diminutive. Mr. Kennedy stated in 2014, it said Aldi was 400 feet from US 41, which Google Map shows it as closer to 600 feet, so he understands the desire for the increase. Mr. Kennedy asked why they just don’t increase the Aldi logo sign by the 22 square feet since they are already granted a variance for 98 square-foot signs. Mr. VanderMeer stated that the next sized sign is the 10x12, and they were only increasing their sign by one size in their standard signs and removing the “Food Market” signs and covering some of the area where those signs are currently.

Mr. Eberly stated that this would be their second request for an increase in building signage as the original increase was made by the developer prior to knowing who the end-user was going to be, and the original 160 square feet request had nothing to do with Aldi. Mr. Eberly advised that the setback in the March 2014 minutes is incorrect; it is not 400 feet.

Mr. Koch stated that he wanted to go on record and apologize because he was not present at the last meeting when the current signage was approved.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the distance is between the bottom of the proposed sign and where the façade ends. Mr. Koch stated that the distance is 2’10”, and there is approximately 2’8” above it.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he opened the floor for Public Hearing on this matter.

Having no one from the public wanting to speak on this matter, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the position of the building is a little difficult to catch one’s attention, and most Aldi shoppers learn that it is there. Mr. Panczuk stated that he thinks they should just replace the old logo sign with a new logo sign of the same size, which only requires a permit.

Mr. Koch stated that they are trying to improve their current facilities and attract more people to those facilities. For that reason, increased signage is important to them to identify the store more quickly for people who have not already been shopping at that facility.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they could possibly create a custom sign that is 98 square feet for the new logo. Mr. Koch stated that he has asked the same question in the past, and it has not been allowed

Mr. VanderMeer explained that they have a company that makes all of their signs and prices are based on quantities purchased and size customization is not a viable option.

Mr. Lareau asked if there is a monument sign in front of the building along US 41. Mr. Eberly stated that there is a multi-tenant monument sign for that property.

Mr. Lareau stated that he doesn’t know that a larger sign will make a difference, because when you are looking east from US 41, you are looking through Starbucks; so you aren’t seeing anything until you get past it.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to deny by the signage variance: 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 not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property by Mr. Lareau. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Vote by roll call:

Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Kennedy Nay
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Motion to deny the variance carries 3 ayes to 1 nay.

B. 2018-0002 FAMILY EXPRESS – Several Development Standards Variances for a Gas Station/Convenience Store at US 231 and Parrish Avenue

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Item 2018-0002, Family Express.

Attorney Randy Wyllie, Wieser & Wyllie, 429 West Lincoln Highway, Schererville, Indiana introduced Mr. Scott Jones, Director of Facilities for Family Express and Ms. Carissa Wendt, Senior Project Architect with WT Group. They are here for the proposed Family Express convenience store, gas station, and car wash to be located at the southeast corner of Route 231 and Parrish Avenue. They are requesting 12 separate variances in three different categories.

Mr. Wyllie stated that the first variance is signage, second is lighting, and the third is general variances. The first six requests are in regards to signage, and they are as follows:

Signage:
1. To allow a monument sign greater than 30 square feet.
2. To allow total signage of greater than 100 square feet.
3. To allow LED signage on the monument sign.
4. To allow car wash menu signage.
5. To allow year-around 16 square-foot banner on the building.
6. To allow an extra canopy sign to allow each to be 21 square feet.

Lighting:
1. To allow greater foot-candle levels as shown on the photometric plan.
2. To allow light bleed over onto the adjacent, unoccupied industrial lot. Immediately adjacent to the west is the NIPSCO substation.

General:
1. To allow brick look concrete, masonry finish.
2. To eliminate the 5-foot high buffer to the western industrial neighbor, which is NIPSCO. They are withdrawing the variance request to the south because they are putting landscaping and arborvitaes or pine trees along the whole southern border, and Bruce and Leslie Givens are satisfied with what is being put in.
3. To allow a building smaller than 15,000 square feet.
4. To allow front yard parking.

Mr. Wyllie stated that their signage is exactly the same size at every location. They are asking for the variances to keep the same brand that they have established over the years.

Mr. Wyllie stated that he has spoken with Darryl Schweitzer, who lives in a house on the west side of the NIPSCO substation. His main issue is drainage, and Mr. Schweitzer seems satisfied with what is being proposed.

Mr. Kennedy asked how similar this facility will be to the one on North Street and Indiana Avenue in Crown Point. Mr. Wyllie stated that they try to do the monument sign wherever they can, but everything else is similar.

Mr. Eberly showed the Crown Point store the Mr. Kennedy referred to on the screen. Mr. Wyllie stated that the ID sign, the price sign, and the message board is the same square footage as what they are seeking at this proposed location.

Ms. Wendt stated that the first three pages of the plan are to familiarize the board with the building and a Family Express site. The Family Express building has a change coming to this site, as it is a little larger. There are two entrances, so it is a corner oriented store, one facing the canopy and one the additional parking on the side.

Ms. Wendt stated that the second page is the Site Plan proposed for St. John. There is an entrance off of US 231 and an entrance off of Parrish Avenue, one monument sign at the corner of the lot, and a parking around the building. There’s also a car wash, a six-island canopy, and a pet wash at the proposed site. The third page is the floor plan to showing lineal footage relative to signage and to show the offerings inside the building.

Ms. Wendt stated that the monument sign is proposed to be an elevated 96 square-foot sign which is a standard Family Express sign. The ID portion of the sign has been in use for about 30 years; there is only one price on the price signage, and there is a digital display component.

Ms. Wendt provided information from the United States Sign Council which showed the information regarding speeds and viewer reaction time: at 30 square feet, a sign that is readable is not allowed for at 50 miles per hour. The Sign Council states that if a sign is too small, people will slow down unnecessarily in traffic or will keep their eyes off the road for too long; therefore, signage at 30 square feet is not practical or safe.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the speed is on US 231 in that area. Mr. Eberly stated that it is 50 miles per hour; however, on an improvement plan, INDOT is proposing to raise it to 55 miles per hour.

Ms. Wendt stated that they are requesting relief from the signage ordinance allowing for only 100 square feet in total signage all together. If we need a sign that is larger at the street in order for motorists to read it safely, then that eliminates any other signage at the site completely, which is a hardship for them.

The Family Express signage above the entry doors and on the canopy is 21 square feet per sign. They get the bulk pricing by utilizing the same sized signs at all their locations. The canopy has three signs: two facing the two streets and one facing south for Parrish Avenue motorists traveling northbound. Ms. Wendt stated that they are requesting two door signs, one over each entrance.

Ms. Wend stated that there is a third sign on the building, which is a 4x4, or a 16 square-foot banner. Mr. Eberly stated that the size of the banner is an allowable size; however, they are going to ask that it be allowed to be up year around where the current ordinance limits that to 30 days. Ms. Wend stated that although it will be up year-around, it does change based on special offerings.

Ms. Wendt stated that they are also asking for LED lighting for the ground sign.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is LED lighting for the gas pricing. Ms. Wendt responded it will be for the gas pricing and for the digital display. Gas prices change daily, and changeable copy requires somebody to go out there and physically change the letters. The LED is a cleaner, more modern look that allows the staff member to stay inside the building instead of having to be out by the road daily to change the sign.

Ms. Wendt added that there is signage at the car wash; however, it is not identification signage. From the street, there is no signage on the car wash. The only signage is on the back of the building and that will have the menu and the safety instructions for the car wash. Both the car wash signage and the banner are non-illuminated signage.

Ms. Wendt stated that the final sign that is being proposed is on the pet wash, which is a small sign to identify it as a pet wash. It isn’t as obvious as a car wash, so it does have a sign on the front. Mr. Eberly asked what direction that will be facing. Ms. Wendt responded that it will be facing Parrish Avenue.

Ms. Wendt stated the total of all signage is at 248 square feet being proposed.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly how far over the total allowable amount of signage they are. Mr. Eberly stated they are 148 square feet over the limit as the ordinance limits a site to a total of 100 square feet of signage. Their 98 square-foot monument sign would eliminate any other signage they would be able to have on the property.

Mr. Eberly advised that they are asking for a variance on directional signage, and that doesn’t strictly apply to this. What they are calling directional signage or instructional signage is the signage that is at the car wash. Our directional signage means signs like “Enter” or “Exit”; so it is probably more appropriate to consider that a request of a variance from the total signage as opposed to directional or instructional signage.

Mr. Kennedy asked for review of the signage square footage again. Mr. Eberly advised that they are asking for two building signs and three canopy signs at 21 square feet each, our ordinance allows two canopy signs of 6 square feet each.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to propose that they take the sign variance separate from everything else due to how much is involved there.

Mr. Eberly advised that he has prepared Findings of Fact for each request independently. They each list the Town Code section being discussed, and the last one addresses the combination of more than 100 square feet in the event it is needed.

Mr. Kennedy asked if all the stores have three canopy signs. Mr. Wyllie stated that the standard is three, but he cannot say definitively that every single store has three signs.

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

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly to review the LED lighting allowance for him. Mr. Eberly advised that the ordinance states you cannot have a flashing or flowing message sign for anything other than time or temperature; however, it is our understanding that all LED signs can have flashing and/or flowing messages and/or graphics; therefore, all requests for LED lighting must come before the BZA to seek a variance.

If a variance is granted for the LED signage, a contingency should be attached that the message not be flashing or flowing.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the board has allowed some monochromatic LED signs as a retrofit to a reader board, similar to what is proposed for the gas price sign. LED screens are different.

Mr. Panczuk stated that a variance on the total is understandable and that he generally doesn’t have a problem with wall signage and prefers it to larger monument signs. He stated that Family Express mentioned the speed analysis; however, he feels they are well known enough that the building is the sign and sees no need for a larger monument. The monument sign needs to be closer to 30 square feet. Everything else is appropriate for their building and a corner site.

Mr. Jones stated that they limit their message signs to no more than one every 30 seconds and that they eliminate the intensity at night. The message board helps to eliminate signage. They actually removed signage when the LED signs were introduced due to the promotion they are able to do on the message board at the main sign.

Ms. Wendt stated that the Family Express ID portion of that sign is needed for someone heading eastbound on US 231 to see that a Family Express is coming up. Eventually as they get past some of the trees and the NIPSCO substation, they will catch more of the canopy sign, but a gas price sign without Family Express’ name on it will affect Family Express.

Mr. Panczuk stated he sees the need for the gas price and the Family Express logo, but it is still pretty large. Ms. Wendt stated that the logo portion is 48 square feet. Mr. Panczuk stated that that alone is larger than the ordinance allows for total monument sign, and adding on the gas price makes it that much larger.

Ms. Popovic asked if there is no option to take out the digital display and minimize the Family Express sign. Mr. Wyllie stated that it is for the consistency at all their stores.

Mr. Lareau stated that the digital display could cause people trying to look at the display at 50 or 55 miles per hour to be distracted drivers. He feels that portion should be removed as there are already too many distracted drivers on the road.

Mr. Wyllie stated that there could be contingencies regarding limiting the intensity at night and the length between message changes, which are things that can be controlled.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the board’s concern isn’t what their corporate standard is; our concern is our ordinance. Our ordinances and Comprehensive Plan are unique to our Town.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there is no hardship that requires the digital display in addition to the gas price. In his opinion, the digital display shouldn’t even be a consideration because they are so far over the 30 square feet that is allowed for a monument sign.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they have done any signage without the display board. Mr. Wyllie stated that they have not. Instead of limiting what signs they have, he asked that they limit the square footage and allow Family Express to work with the square footage for the monument sign.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the digital display alone is almost the size of our entire monument size allowance at 23 square feet. It’s about what is a hardship or makes the property usable or not usable.

Mr. Wyllie asked what an acceptable size would be over the monument size allowed by ordinance.

Ms. Popovic asked if any of the Family Express stores have only the gas prices. Mr. Wyllie states he believes there is one monument that doesn’t have a Family Express sign because of restrictions. But everything else is the same size, the gas prices and the message board.

Ms. Popovic asked if that would accomplish what they are looking for. Mr. Wyllie stated that would be helpful.

Mr. Panczuk stated that what would be acceptable to him is the Family Express sign at 30 square feet and a price board next to it of 30 square feet or less. Mr. Lareau concurred.

Mr. Eberly stated that the gas price sign, as proposed, is 25 square feet.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any other questions or comments on the signage for this petitioner. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Family Express variance relief to allow:
1. LED signage no larger than 25.03 feet, monochrome, static display for gas prices;
2. A car wash menu board;
3. An extra canopy sign, each to be 21 square feet;
4. A monument sign to be greater than 30 square feet and no greater than 75.03 square feet;
5. Year-around use of a 16-square-foot banner sign on the building;
6. and greater than a combined total of 100 square-foot of signage:

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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau.

Vote by roll call.

Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk advised they will address the lighting variance requests next.

Ms. Wendt stated that the first lighting variance they are requesting is to allow greater foot-candle levels as shown on the photometric plan. There are several requirements within the ordinance including a 30-foot-candle maximum on the canopy. There are also limits to what can be near the entrances off of the road. There minimums and maximums for parking and throughout the site.

Ms. Wendt stated that a gas station is high traffic. To maintain a 30-foot-candle maximum means that the lower portions of the canopy are less than that, and can be an unsafe level. Family Express has tried to get the site closer to the ordinance. If they lower the canopy too much, they require more pole lights around the site so they don’t have dark pockets around the site where pedestrians or cars are traveling through. Typically the canopies have a 60-foot-candle maximum, so this is about half of what is typically proposed.

Ms. Wendt stated that lighting at the entrances goes slightly above what the ordinance allows in some places in order to maintain a uniform light level there. The ordinance also requires certain ratios to be held from the minimum to the maximum, which is nearly impossible on this site because it is such a large piece of property. They have zero foot-candles on the south near the residences, so the ratios would be out of whack trying to maintain that balance of the minimum to maximum.

Ms. Wendt stated they are asking for a variance for light to spill over on the neighboring NIPSCO property. In order to have that entrance where it needs to be to meet the requirements for US 231, they don’t have much land to put the pole light on, which is needed for safe entry and exit of the site. They feel the spillage of light on the NIPSCO property is not detrimental due to the usage of that property.

Ms. Wendt stated that Family Express has reduced the number of lights even on the building by about half in order to try and meet the requirements of the ordinances applicable.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly if he was working with Family Express on this project. Mr. Eberly confirmed he was. Mr. Eberly stated that he has seen two versions of the lighting plan. He commented on the original version to them, and they then produced the copy you have.

Mr. Panczuk stated the lighting plan is hard to read. Ms. Wendt agreed that it is hard to read and that there are some areas that the 30-foot-candle maximum is exceeded; for the canopy near the center, they have a 41.7 foot-candle.

Mr. Panczuk asked if that is the highest reading. Mr. Eberly stated that he sees 42.5 feet as the highest candle light on the drawing.

Mr. Eberly stated that the light trespass issue is what’s important, and there is no light trespass to the residential property to the south of the site. The light trespass is on the NIPSCO substation which has two street lights on the property that are always lit that will wash out any impact from the trespass from Family Express.

Mr. Eberly advised that there is no way that they can meet the 15:1 ratio when they have zero readings towards the south end of the property where the detention pond is and/or have readings that are less than 2 on the site. Anything less than 2 throws the minimum to maximum ratio out, even if there are 30-foot-candles under the canopy.

Ms. Wendt stated that at the farthest point of the canopy, there are less than 26-foot-candles in some areas. Mr. Wyllie stated that they will be the flat LED lenses so it casts the light downward.

Mr. Eberly stated that all of the fixtures are full cutoff fixtures as required.

Mr. Kennedy asked if this is their standard lighting. Mr. Wyllie stated it is just over half of their standard. Ms. Wendt stated that it’s a new canopy fixture that they sought out to try and comply with the ordinance, or come close, and still be a safe environment.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly what Dyer’s spec for canopy lighting is. Mr. Eberly stated that it is the same, and that Dyer’s and St. John’s lighting ordinances are very similar.

Mr. Eberly stated that the Dyer Plan Commission had a female member, and her input was very valuable. She made the comment after the first version of the lighting ordinance was passed that she would not visit a site at night that complied with our lighting ordinance because it was far too dim. The first station in Dyer that complied with that ordinance was the Speedway on the north side of Route 30, and the lighting was far too dim in his opinion.

Mr. Eberly stated that the idea should be to not let the light trespass but still make it so people feel safe visiting the site at night. Mr. Panczuk thanked Mr. Eberly for that opinion.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the typical candle light is. Ms. Wendt stated that it is typically a 60-foot-candle under the canopy. Mr. Panczuk asked what the proposed range is right now. Ms. Wendt stated that the lights range from 25 to 42.5 foot-candles.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he prefers a gas station that is a little brighter when he visits it later in the evening. Ms. Wendt stated that they found if they tried to lower the candle lights, they ended up with darkness around the canopy which required more pole lights on the site. Mr. Lareau stated that that would take away from the esthetics of the property as well. Ms. Wendt concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has visited the Speedway Mr. Eberly spoke about, and it is too dim. Perhaps the ordinance may need to be looked at again. Mr. Panczuk stated that there is no spillover to the residents to the south, and he’s not too worried about the spillage to the west since they already have two lights at that NIPSCO substation. Ms. Wendt stated that they have significant landscape buffering which will help with any spillover lighting as well.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing regarding lighting only. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further comments or questions from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Family Express’ variance to allow greater foot-candle levels as shown on the photometric plan reviewed today, and relief to allow light trespass onto adjacent, unoccupied industrial lot to the west:

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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Vote by roll call:

Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk advised that the general developmental variance requests will be addressed next.

Ms. Wendt stated that the last four requests are random and cannot be lumped into one category. The first variance request is to allow a brick-looking concrete masonry for the construction of the building. The ordinance requires brick, which is a clay product, and we are asking to use a concrete product that has an integral color like brick. It is not something that will fade or wash off over time. The products nowadays are virtually undetectable unless you are a trained eye or you are up close.

Ms. Wendt stated that the product would be significant cost-savings to Family Express. For this particular site, the cost difference is over $30,000.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is the same material used at Crown Point. Mr. Wyllie stated that Crown Point is a standard brick and this is a structural block. Ms. Wendt stated that structural brick is the same size as this block.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the 231 Overlay District is the same as US 41 Overlay District where it requires brick. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is any further comments or questions at the time on this request before they move onto the next request. None were had.

Ms. Wendt stated that they are requesting relief from Chapter 8.5 § F.5 to allow a building smaller than 15,000 square feet, which is a requirement due to the US 231 Overlay District. It is not a practical size for a fuel station, and they are proposing a store of just over 5200 square feet. Mr. Panczuk stated that with the NIPSCO substation next to it, it would have to be a really unusual development to achieve that square footage.

Mr. Panczuk asked the board if they had any questions or comments on that item. None were had, and Mr. Panczuk told Ms. Went to proceed with her next request.

Ms. Wendt stated they are requesting relief from Chapter 11 § C.3-m to allow front yard parking. They do not have anything in the required setback, but this ordinance doesn’t allow parking in front of the building. The parking around the building is near where the canopy traffic would be and share the same drive aisles, which is typical for a fuel center.

Mr. Eberly stated that the proposed parking is not in the setback area, but it is within the front yard.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the board has any question or comments on this item. None were had.

Ms. Wendt stated that the last item is landscaping, and that they are requesting relief from the 5-foot high buffer requirement on the west side by the NIPSCO substation. There will be buffers provided along the south and along west near the residences.

Ms. Wendt stated that they are requesting the variance because the 5-foot high buffer closes off the site from view a bit more from the traffic on US 231. There will be landscaping there, just not a 5-foot buffer.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly if there was not a variance required on the awning or roof on the car wash for being a different material on the convenience store. Mr. Eberly stated that a variance is not required.

Mr. Panczuk asked what is planted along the east side of the NIPSCO driveway. Ms. Wendt stated that she isn’t sure, but she believes it was cleared recently.

Mr. Eberly asked what the yellow icons are on the landscape drawing. Ms. Wendt responded that they are tall ornamental grasses.

Mr. Panczuk asked where the back of the building lines up in reference to the NIPSCO site. Ms. Wendt stated that information is not in this packet; however, the civil engineering plans should show the NIPSCO fence location.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was anything in addition to the variance for the buffer. Ms. Wendt stated that that was the last request and reviewed the general variances, they asked for: materials, minimum square footage, landscape buffer, and front-yard parking.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they need an exception for impervious surface coverage. Ms. Wendt stated that they are not asking for an exception for that. Mr. Eberly stated that they do not exceed the 65 percent maximum.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing regarding the general variances only. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the block looks like brick and looks fine to him. Mr. Lareau stated that the esthetics looks good to him as well.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there are any further questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Family Express relief to allow:
1. A brick-look concrete masonry finish exterior;
2. The building size to be less than 15,000 square feet:
3. Front-yard parking;
4. And eliminate the 5-foot buffer requirement on the west property line:

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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Vote by roll call:

Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

C. RIM CONSTRUCTION – Rear Yard Setback Variance at 9427 MacKenzie Court

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Item 2018-0003 Rim Construction.

Mr. Rimas Maurukas, Vice President, Rim Construction Consultants, Inc., stated that in the Crossing Creek subdivision, they have a foundation in the ground, and a mix up caused the foundation to be moved by one foot. They have a dinette bump-out section of the house that is now 1 foot into the rear-yard setback.

Mr. Eberly stated that there is a 40-foot rear-yard setback, and the house extends 1 foot into the 40-foot rear-yard setback. Mr. Eberly showed the survey where the home was to be built and explained that someone missed the measurement from the front property line by a foot, which forced the whole foundation to be shifted to the south by 1 foot.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Rim Construction has had any issues like this in the past. Mr. Eberly stated that they have not had any issues like this in the past.

Mr. Panczuk asked what is behind the house. Mr. Maurukas stated that there are other yards.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing regarding this matter. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Kennedy stated that at the January meeting, the neighbor to the west was at the meeting and wanted to know what the sign in the yard was for. We informed them what it was for, and they have no problem with the variance for the setback.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the setback variance: 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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk thanked everyone for their patience this evening as a new commission needed to be formed, the board has new members, and there are two months worth of work to be addressed.

D. 2018-0004 DEAN SCHILLING – Petitioner is Seeking a Development Standards Variance to Construct a 6’ Fence

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Item 2018-0004. Dean Schilling, petitioner, is here seeking a Development Standards Variance for a fence.

Mr. Scott Zajac is here representing Schilling Development for Dean Schilling. Mr. Schilling is asking for a variance to install privacy screening at 9120 Patterson Street. The ordinance requires solid fence to be in rear yards and side yards. They are requesting to have a screen that does not have a building on it and is also in the front yard.

Mr. Zajac stated that Mr. Schilling’s house is designed such that the front yard is actually going to be the backyard in the future to the west. He plans to develop that so that what is now his backyard will become his front yard, so this is a temporary request.

The fencing material is a high-quality, synthetic wood grain fencing. Mr. Schilling wants the fence for light and sound barrier from Patterson Street. The fence will weave in and out of the landscaping roughly 20 feet to 30 feet back from the edge of the road.

Mr. Panczuk asked what color the fence is. Mr. Zajac stated it is a brown hue.

Mr. Panczuk asked if it will retain the stained appearance. Mr. Zajac stated that it will. Mr. Lareau asked if it will patina as it gets older. Mr. Zajac stated that he does not know the answer to that.

Mr. Lareau asked for clarification of the term temporary. Mr. Zajac stated that it is temporary in the sense that the front yard is going to become the back yard. The variance would ultimately be on the parcel without a structure.

Mr. Eberly stated that a rear-yard fence would not need a variance. The house is set up to face the west; and when the property to the west develops and there is a road there, his driveway and his address will become connected to that new road. When that happens, the only variance needed would be to have the fence on a property that does not have a primary structure on it.

Mr. Panczuk asked if he still needs a variance for a setback. Mr. Eberly stated that he can go right to the property line in a rear yard. Mr. Lareau asked if there will be more landscaping added to the property where they tore down the house that was there so the neighbors across the way are not looking at a fence. Mr. Zajac stated that he doesn’t know definitively; however, it wouldn’t surprise him if Mr. Schilling would beautify the area. Mr. Lareau stated that he would think it will take away from the street to have a fence without landscaping improvements there.

Mr. Panczuk asked how far from the road the fence will be. Mr. Zajac stated that it will be 20 feet to 30 feet because there are trees, and he is not going to remove trees. The fence will meander so that trees don’t have to be taken down. Mr. Zajac stated that Mr. Schilling would be open to enhancing, landscaping.

Mr. Panczuk asked how close the closest portion of the house is to the road. Mr. Eberly stated that it is 223 feet. Mr. Panczuk stated that he feels it should be 30 feet or greater from the edge of the street.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the parcel just to the north of parcel 3 is vacant where the proposed fence would be coming westerly. Mr. Zajac stated that it is Gene Schilling’s old house.

Mr. Panczuk stated that parcel 2 could become someone’s front yard, and a side fence can only go so far up to the front. Mr. Eberly stated that a 6-foot fence can go up to the front of the house. Mr. Zajac stated that all that property there is currently owned by the Schillings, and anything that would be developed on that land would have the front facing to the west.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor to the public for Public Hearing.

Carol Wiersma (9210 Patterson Street): I live a couple doors down from Dean. And I was just concerned about this fence. I’m just a little concerned about this fence. I mean all of us have very old property we’ve been living on for a long time. And we’re concerned, you know, there – those – that’s our front yards.

And coming around, I’m also concerned about the deer. The deer have been forced into our yards now. They’ve really ripped up our yards because of all of the construction. Um, they really don’t have anywhere to go anymore. So I don’t know. They’re running across there constantly. I don't know, just something to think about.

Randy Wiersma (9210 Patterson Street): All of our houses face towards Patterson. I mean, Jenny lives next door to me, and my other friend Scott lives next door to Gene. So there is somebody already whose house is facing that way. You know what I’m saying?

Mr. Panczuk stated that he wasn’t sure what Mr. Wiersma’s statement meant.

Well, like Jenny and me and our other neighbor Scott, who lives right next door to Dean Schilling, we all face Patterson, so our front yards are there, you know. So all we’re going to, you know, see is that fence all the time. We already face Patterson. All the houses on Patterson face toward Patterson except for that house, so it’s just weird.

I mean if you had it for protection, you could make it closer to his house. I know he’s got a pool there and stuff, so I’m sure he wants some pri – you know, privacy. But it doesn’t have to come all the way out to the street, you know. Okay. That’s it.

Jenny Luce (9200 Patterson Street): Which is, you know, two doors down. Um, first of all, I love the way it’s landscaped. I think it looks beautiful. Um, I think -- I can’t see their house. And if they’re trying to put up a privacy fence so that there’s not light, their, um, property is covered in light and some of them actually do point to my neighbor Scott’s house. So I don’t understand, you know, what is he needing privacy for that the beautiful landscaping already doesn’t cover? Cause as I’m looking, I – I don’t see his house, and I’m two doors down. I don’t see where you can really see anything.

And I also think a fence really, kind of, um – we have very good fences, I call it, up on our hill. We all talk. We’re all – watch out for each other. You know, there’s times when I’ve heard alarms and, you know, I’ve worried like, you know, especially when Nick used to live there, Nick Theory. We all watched out for each other. Um, I just thinks a fence like that kind of gives the wrong idea. When you’re coming, and you’re coming over the viaduct, you know, you see the houses, you know, the beautiful – you see the older houses. And I think a fence there, even though it’s kind of camouflaged by the color, um, I just think it kind of sends a wrong idea. I think we should be more open and friendly to each other.

Um, I don’t’ see, uh, why you need a fence. You know, this is our front yard, you know. So just because they chose to turn it, their house around, I really don’t get that, especially if it is a temporary one. Well, then maybe he can wait until they do the other building where, maybe, he would need more privacy. But that’s just my opinion, and thank you for listening.

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

Ms. Popovic asked if there is a proposed timeline for when the other road is going to be installed. Mr. Zajac stated that it is going through the permitting process, so he isn’t sure.

Mr. Kennedy asked if he is talking about permitting from the Town. Mr. Zajac stated that it is all of it: the engineering, Indiana Department of Emergency Management, and everything that goes into doing a layout and subdivision.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly if there is anything in the ordinance that covers the fact that this house backs up to a road as it does. Mr. Eberly stated that when the development to the west occurs, this will become a double frontage lot. At that time, it will have an address on the interior street and would no longer have a 9120 Patterson address, so Patterson will become its rear yard. And they could build that 6-foot fence all the way along their property line, up to the right-of-way line of Patterson Street and all the way to the south to where the property line is there and then come up along the side of their property with nothing more than a building permit.

Mr. Eberly stated that they could also avoid the variance for the fence on a lot that doesn’t have a primary structure on it by simply doing a one-lot subdivision and combining them into a one-lot subdivision. It is a bit more of an onerous process than what they are asking of the BZA at this point. At some point in time, this could become a moot point to the BZA.

Mr. Panczuk advised those present from the public that the variance is what is temporary, not the fence itself.

Mr. Panczuk stated to Mr. Eberly that he feels there is a hole in the ordinance as a corner lot doesn’t allow for a fence up to the sidewalk.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Panczuk’s to explain his statement. Mr. Panczuk stated that the BZA has had variances for fences for homes on corner lots. One side of the home is facing a street, and we don’t allow folks to install fences up to the right-of-way.

Mr. Panczuk stated that we could work it and address it now for fear that they’ll come back later and build it right to the street, or the board could wait and take it to the Plan Commission and rewrite the ordinance to fix the hole.

Mr. Zajac stated that the Schillings always do things that are esthetically pleasing, and feels that he would be willing to add landscaping to help beautify that area.

Mr. Panczuk asked if added landscaping could provide enough screening to provide the privacy he is seeking. Mr. Zajac stated that the number or trees that have survived is about 10 percent of the number of trees that Mr. Schilling has purchased and planted.

Mr. Panczuk stated that perhaps this should be deferred and request a more detailed drawing and see how close it can be put to the house. Mr. Panczuk further stated that if he were to go half way between where the green lawn ends and the street, he would get his privacy and Patterson will still look open like it does now.

Mr. Kennedy stated that in a year the infrastructure to the west potentially comes in, and Mr. Schilling could put the fence all the way to the street. Mr. Kennedy said that this is at least 20 feet off. Mr. Panczuk stated that 20 feet is pretty close on Patterson Street, and it would just barely be into the first few trees at 20 feet.

Mr. Zajac stated that is a to-scale drawing. Mr. Eberly stated that if it goes where the dashed line is, that is approximately 25-30 feet from the edge of pavement.

Mr. Panczuk asked if that area was surveyed or if it is an estimated placement. Mr. Zajac stated that the drawing is a scale drawing, and the fence in the dashed line is where it is proposed, which is 20-30 feet off of the property line.

Mr. Panczuk stated for the edification of the new members of the board to be sure to look at the Findings of Fact when you are wanting to make a decision as far as hardship and affecting adjacent property values.

Motion to approve for Dean Schilling relief of Chapter 13 § F.5-c-ii-2-b and Chapter 19 § B, to allow a 6-foot solid, front-yard fence, to be a minimum of 30 feet from the east, front-yard, property line adjacent to Patterson, and to allow a fence on a lot without a primary structure: 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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Vote by roll call:

Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

E. 2018-0005 MATT SELLA – 10065 w 93RD Avenue – Petitioner is Seeking a Rear Yard Setback Variance for a Deck

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Item 2018-0005. The petitioner is Matt Sella, 10065 W. 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Eberly thanked the Sellas for their patience, especially the very well-behaved young one.

Mr. Sella stated that they are wanting to install a deck and a pool in the back of their property. The house is set on a bit of a crooked line, so he will need a variance to do so.

Mr. Eberly stated that the house faces 93rd Avenue and is on the curve just east of Town Hall before Lake Hills. He has a 40-foot platted rear lot. There is very little space between the front yard and the rear yard. In order to add anything to the back of the property, he needs a variance due to the platted 40-foot rear yard setback.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the pool and deck will be inside the fence line. Mr. Sella confirmed that it would be.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is a fence currently on the property. Mr. Sella responded that there is a partial fence. Mr. Kennedy asked how tall the fence is. Mr. Sella stated that it is a 6-foot fence.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the neighbor whose driveway lines up to Mr. Sella’s fence is here. Mr. Sella stated that he was not. Mr. Panczuk asked if he is aware of the pool. Mr. Sella stated that he is and that they speak to one another quite regularly.

Mr. Eberly stated that he had one person stop by his office relative to this request and they have no issue with it.

Mr. Panczuk asked how close the pool and deck will be to the fence and property line. Mr. Sella stated that the deck will be 10-12 feet off of the back property line. Mr. Panczuk asked if there is a picture of the pool and deck. Mr. Eberly stated there is one in the packet.

Mr. Lareau asked if the deck will completely surround the pool. Mr. Stella stated that it will.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing regarding this matter. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Matt and Carrie Sella’s variance relief to allow a rear-yard setback variance for a deck: 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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Comment. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Before adjourning the meeting, Mr. Panczuk advised that he and Mr. Eberly have discussed a training session for the BZA. Mr. Eberly stated that he will send an email to find out who is available when so the board can pick a night. The members agreed.

Having no further business before the board, Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting 10:49 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

03-19-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

March 19, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the March 19, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Training Session to order at 6:28 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Panczuk. The following Board Members were present: Michael Aurelio, Mark Lareau, Libby Popovic, John Kennedy, and Paul Panczuk. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

POWERPOINT TRAINING SESSION:

Mr. Panczuk turned the floor over to Mr. Eberly.

Mr. Eberly stated that he has provided each of them with a copy of the Findings of Fact for each of the variance types that the BZA deals with.

The types of variances are:

✓ Developmental-Technical Variance
✓ Special Exception Variance
✓ Use Variance

Mr. Eberly stated that they also have a copy of the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Zoning Appeals, which were revised and adopted in April 2017, as well as a three-page set of instructions that are given to our petitioners as part of a packet they receive, which also includes the necessary forms to come before the BZA and a copy rules and regulations.

A petitioner must:

✓ Put notice in the Times and the Post Tribune;
✓ Send certified mailings, return-receipt requested, postmarked at least 15 days prior
✓ Post a sign on their property that we make and provide for them The Town has set forth that petitioners must notify the general public at least 15 days prior that they are coming before either the Plan Commission or the BZA

Mr. Eberly announced they are going to go through some slides. He stated that he is not expecting them to answer any questions, but they are welcome to if they wish to. The next slide will give you the answer.

(The slides that were presented are in Q&A format below. Unless otherwise noted, the paraphrased comments were spoken by Mr. Eberly. )

Q. Does the BZA hear variance requests relative to the Subdivision Control Ordinance Regulations?

A. No. The Plan Commission rules on the Subdivision Control Ordinance. The BZA hears variance requests from the Zoning Ordinance regulations.

The Zoning Ordinance is the monstrosity you’ve got in front of you in the folders. You are not required to read it. It was given to you for your information.

Q. Does the BZA conduct rezoning public hearings?

A. No, the Plan Commission does that.

You hear matters related to developmental variances, use variances, and special exceptions. I have been doing this for thirty years and have never come across it, but a resident could contest a ruling from me. If I’m interpreting something in the Zoning Ordinance that they don’t feel is accurate, they can come to you and ask you to rule on it.

Q. The BZA conducts Public Hearings on:

Development Standards Variances
Use Variances
Special Exceptions
Appeals of decisions made by administrative officials

Of these 4 matters, which does the BZA have exclusive jurisdiction over?

A. Development Standards Variances and appeals of administrative decisions. The BZA makes recommendations to the Town Council on Use Variance and Special Exception requests, and the council then makes the final decision. That only applies in Lake and St. Joseph counties. In the other 90 counties in Indiana, the BZA has exclusive jurisdiction over all matters that it hears.

We’re one of only two counties in the state of Indiana that the BZA does not have exclusive jurisdiction over all that it hears. Only here and in St. Joe are you limited to exclusive authority over the Development Standards Variances.

You make recommendations to the Town Council, who makes the ultimate decision on use variances and special exceptions.

Now, if they challenge the administrative appeal, you also decide that as well. But that is a different animal, and in thirty years, I’ve not had that happen.

Developmental standards are things such as the height of a building; the setback from any property line; the size of a building; or building materials.

A Use Variance is where you could rule what you would allow in a C2 Zoning District that’s normally only allowed in a C3 Zoning District. For example, you might rule that a duplex, which requires R-3 Zoning, can be allowed in an R-1 or R-2 single-family zoning district. Again, you make a recommendation to the Town Council on that.

You have three choices: You can make a favorable recommendation, an unfavorable recommendation, or no recommendation. It is the same thing with a special exception, which is specifically listed in the Zoning Ordinance as a use that needs a special exception in a given zoning district.

Mr. Panczuk stated that a good example of a special exception would be a gas station on US 41 which is not allowed. In our Zoning Ordinance, we have an Overlay District that doesn’t allow a gas station. Circle K came here wanting a special exception. And we don’t make a decision on it; we make a special exception recommendation to the Town Council. Ultimately, it is their decision. However, , they needed so many developmental variances at the Developmental Standards Variance step to execute their plan that it fell apart before we even got to the point of recommending it.

Mr. Panczuk stated that Developmental Standards are very important. They may not sound like much, but it’s more than just building a fence or different house. Sometimes it has a far greater impact.

Mr. Eberly stated it could be something like the number of parking spaces, the size of those parking spaces.

Q. Once the BZA certifies its recommendation on a Special Exception or Use Variance to the Town Council, the council has 90 days to act on the matter.

What happens if the council fails to deny the petition within that 90 days?

A. The request would be approved regardless of the BZA recommendation.

The answer is that it gets approved regardless of the BZA’s recommendation. You could make an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council on a matter; but if they don’t rule on it within that 90 days, then the petition is deemed to be approved.

The Town Council has to be careful that they meet that 90-day deadline and typically acts on a BZA recommendation at their very next meeting.

You also don’t have to make a decision the night it is brought to you. As Paul and John can attest, the BZA got into a bad habit of continuing and continuing and continuing items. One of my goals was to get us to the point where you’re making your decision on the night of the meeting.

Sometimes there is missing information, and there’s not enough information for you to feel comfortable making a decision. There are legitimate reasons to defer to another meeting. By and large the board has been deciding matters on the evening they’re presented.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there have been times where they would look at a plan and know it wasn’t going to pass, so they would extend an olive branch and give the petitioner ideas or possible changes to make and defer the matter. If they made no changes, then that was it; they would either be denied or receive a no recommendation to the Town Council.

Mr. Eberly stated that if a petitioner is turned down for something, our rules state that the petitioner has to wait one year before bringing it back to the BZA.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the significant change caveat is.

Mr. Eberly stated that there was a rezoning petition at the Plan Commission that was denied. The petitioner was allowed to bring that back before the Plan Commission in less than one-year’s time because the attorney said that they made more than a 20 percent change to the plan, so it was effectively a new plan.

Our rule is just one sentence, and it says, “The BZA shall not further consider any petition that is denied for one (1) year after it is denied.” The language needs to be worked on a bit. Dyer’s rule states that the petitioner waits a year unless there was a significant change to the plan, but significant was not defined.

Mr. Eberly stated that he likes what Mr. Panczuk stated about extending an olive branch to a petitioner and defer the matter to give them a chance to tweak the plan.

Ms. Popovic asked if there is a limit to the number of deferrals that can be made. Mr. Eberly stated that there is no limit by law or by rule.

When a matter is deferred, the petitioner does not have to give notice again.

Ms. Popovic asked what the reason for the one-year wait is. Mr. Eberly responded that it is just a Town rule and is likely in place so somebody doesn’t come back month after month.

Ms. Popovic asked if the board has the ability to define significant change. Mr. Eberly stated that we use a 20 percent rule. Mr. Panczuk stated that what defines 20 percent can be questionable.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he likes to explain what the decision making is based on so the public has an idea as to why we make the decisions we do, and he uses the Comprehensive Plan as a reference often when making his own decisions about matters presented.

Mr. Eberly stated that the Comprehensive Plan is the overarching goal and the Zoning Ordinance and the Subdivision Control Ordinance are the documents that implement the goals in the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Lareau asked if a deferral is something a petitioner asks for or if it is something we would chose to do as a committee. Mr. Eberly responded that it could be either. If a petitioner sees it going south, they can ask for a deferral. Or if you chose, you can say there isn’t enough information here, we need X, Y, and Z at the next meeting; and the Chair will ask for a motion to defer, which can then be acted on.

Q. Sally Johnson has applied for a Development Standards Variance in order to build an oversized garage on her property. She placed the proper notice in the newspapers, filed her application in a timely manner and paid the application fee. At the meeting, it is discovered that she did not mail the notices out to the adjacent property owners. Can the public hearing proceed?

A. No. Notice to adjacent property owners much have been mailed in a timely manner. Same applies to PC public hearings.

There was a petitioner who got the notice to the newspaper in time, but the newspaper failed to publish the notice in time. In this particular case, it was published in the Post Tribune but not the Times. The BZA, as well as the Plan Commission, can waive the rule if you feel that there was an error that was not the fault of the petitioner.

In this scenario, however, none of the notices were sent out, so that rule is not likely to be waived. The petitioner could ask. There was a Plan Commission petitioner who will not have a Public Hearing on April 4th because the engineer did not get the notice into the newspapers in time.

Any rule can be waived at a meeting by a majority decision.

Q. Speaking of timely notice requirements, how far in advance of a meeting must the notice be published in the newspapers at a minimum?

A. 15 days – same applies to PC.

The rule of how far in advance was amended last year; it used to be ten days.

Mr. Lareau asked why the change was made. Mr. Eberly responded that the timeframe was extended because the green cards that people get wouldn’t be returned before the meeting; and sometimes the newspapers’ proof of publication may not be back to the petitioner in time as well.

Q. In what newspapers must the notice appear?

A. The Times and the Post Tribune. Same applies to PC. The particular newspapers are chosen by the Town Council at the beginning of each calendar year.

Q. How far in advance of a public hearing must notices be sent to adjacent property owners?

A. They must be post marked at least 15 days prior to the date of the public hearing. It should be noted that the date that is used is the date the Post Office stamps on the white mailing receipts rather than the date that they either actually attempt to deliver the latter or the date that the letter is signed for. The petitioner cannot be held responsible for postal delays or unsuccessful delivery attempts. Again, same applies to PC.

It must be postmarked 15 days prior. When the petitioners send out their mailings, they get a white receipt where the post office stamps the date the notices are mailed. If they never get the green cards back, that cannot be held against them. By showing the white receipt, a petitioner is showing that they’ve mailed the notices in a timely manner.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly to explain the 300 feet for issuing notice when it crosses a street. Mr. Eberly responded that you treat the street as though it is not there.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is a circle. Mr. Eberly responded that it is a circle. You can use a GIS and do a search range, and it will light up all the properties and produce a list of those that are within 300 feet.

A petitioner can obtain their list from an engineer, an attorney, a title company, or the assessor’s office. If a petitioner comes in and gives a list of property owners but can’t prove the source of the list, that list is no good.

For St. John Township, a petitioner can go to the St. John Township Assessor and they will provide a list for free. For Hanover Township, St. John Township can produce those lists as well, but generally speaking, if someone is from Hanover Township, they go to the Lake County Assessor’s Office and get the list from them.

The search area itself is up to each community as to what the distance is. St. John has chosen a 300–foot radius. In Dyer, if it was a residential request, they only had to notice immediately adjacent property owners; however, commercial developments were required to use a 300-foot radius.

The municipality decides how public notice is going to be given and what search radius is to be used.

Q. If an adjacent property owner appears at a meeting and declares that they did not receive proper notice of the hearing and it is discovered that they are not on the list of property owners provided to the petitioner by a source approved to provide such lists, does this invalidate the hearing?

A. No. For one thing, the fact that the person is at the meeting is presumed to be evidence that they did receive notice whether that notice was timely or not and such would not be reason to invalidate the hearing. Additionally, the petitioner is not held responsible for the mistakes made by the entity providing the list, provided that the entity is one of the approved providers as listed in the BZA rules and regulations.

If the St. John Township Assessor’s Office leaves somebody off the list, that can’t be held against the petitioner. Again, it must be a list provided by one of the approved providers as listed in the rules and regulations.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they also have to post a sign on the property where the variance is sought.

Mr. Eberly stated that the sign is 12 square feet. The petitioner must put it on the property where it can be seen by the public at large. The Building & Planning Departments fills out the form and faxes it to Public works. Public Works makes the sign and notifies the petitioner when it is ready to be picked up. The petitioner gets the sign from Public Works and posts it on the property.

The day after the meeting, Public Works goes and picks it up. If the matter is deferred, the sign can still come down as it is only required to be up during the notice period. Public Works doesn’t know if something is approved or not.

Q. Can the BZA make its decision/recommendation conditioned on approval being granted to the specific petitioner and not to the property in general?

A. No. The decision or recommendation needs to be made for the property in question and not for the specific petitioner. For example, you either feel that a cell tower is an appropriate use on a residential lot or not. You decision should not be dependent upon who the petitioner is.

This mistake has been made by various BZAs. The answer is no. The decision is made relative to the property in question, not for the specific petitioner.

Mr. Panczuk stated that in the past there were times where the board approved a petition with a contingency that if a plan fell through, the petition would revert.

Mr. Eberly gave the following example of an approval with such a contingency: If an oversized garage on a piece of property was approved but the petitioner didn’t follow through and build it, then that approval did not carry over to the succeeding property owner.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they were use variances.

Mr. Eberly gave an example of a Use Variance that is approved for a location: If the BZA and Council approve the Use Variance for a Circle K to go on the corner of 93rd Avenue and US 41 and Circle K decided not to go there but Family Express wanted to go there, that approval would still be good for Family Express. Once a variance is granted, it is supposed to be granted in perpetuity.

Ms. Popovic asked if it can ever be revoked. Mr. Eberly responded that it can be revoked: If you attach conditions to the approval and the petitioner doesn’t meet the conditions, then the approval can be revoked. Mr. Eberly advised that as far as he knows, if the petitioner meets all the conditions, there isn’t a way to revoke the variance.

Q. There are three statutory conditions that must be considered in a Development Standards Variance. Which of the following are those three conditions?

The approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety morals, and welfare.

A majority of adjoining property owners must be in favor of the request.

The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner.

Development standards cannot be exceeded by more than 20 percent.

The strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in the practical difficulties in the use of the property.

A. The approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety morals, and welfare.

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 the practical difficulties in the use of the property.

A lot of people in the public think that the petitioner must have their approval because they receive notice. That is not what that means, they are just to be notified in case they would like to come and remonstrate.

“Development standards cannot be exceeded by 20 percent” is not a condition of approval.

Q. There are five statutory conditions to consider in hearing a Use Variance. Which of the following are the valid conditions to be considered?

The approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety morals, and welfare.

The highest ranking elected official must approve the request.

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 use must not be prohibited in the particular zoning district.

The strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in a hardship.

The need for the variance arises from some condition peculiar to the property involved

The approval does not interfere substantially with the Comprehensive Plan

All five members of the BZA must approve the request

A. The approval will not be injurious to the public health, safety morals, and welfare.

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 a hardship.

The need for the variance arises from some condition peculiar to the property involved.

The approval does not interfere substantially with the Comprehensive Plan.

"The highest ranking elected official" is not one of the five criteria. "All five members of the BZA must approve the request" is not a true statement either. It is just a simple majority of 3 out of 5 is what is required.

Q. True or false. There are no statutory conditions to consider in making a recommendation on a Special Exception request?

A. True. The town is free to develop its own set of criteria to consider in the case of these requests. We have established 7 criteria listed in our Zoning Ordinance at section 18D.6b.

You have a list in front of you that has seven conditions that must be considered for a Special Exception Variance; however, Special Exception Variances are not statutory conditions. They’re not conditions listed in state law.

The three conditions for Development Standards Variances are listed in state law. The five conditions for Use Variances are listed in state law.

For a Special Exception Variances, each community is allowed to come up with its own particular list of conditions to consider a Special Exception by; there are no statutory conditions.

The conditions for a Development Standards Variance and/or a Use Variance can be mimicked and used for a Special Exception Variance. The criteria are listed in the Zoning Ordinance at §18 D.6b.

Q. Can the BZA grant/recommend approval for a Use Variance for a use that is specifically prohibited in a given zoning district?

A. Yes.

Dyer does not. Dyer’s Town Attorney took the position that if it was a prohibited use in a zoning district, a variance could not be granted. The legal firm for St. John said that you can grant a variance.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Eberly if he could explain what “prohibited use” means. Mr. Eberly gave the example that if a gas station is prohibited in a C-1 Zoning District, the Use Variance would not be granted in Dyer, but in St. John a Use Variance could be granted.

Mr. Kennedy asked if a prohibited use in a zoning district is approved, would that prohibited use be able to be used in that zoning district. Mr. Eberly responded that it could at that specific property.

Q. State law requires that “interested parties” be given notice of a public hearing before the BZA (and Plan Commission). Who determines who “interested parties” are and how they are notified?

A. State law provides that the municipality can make that determination. We define "interested parties" in the Rules and Regulations for both the BZA and the PC.

We can decide who the interested parties are and how they will be notified. We don’t have to use two newspapers; we can use one. We don’t have to use any newspapers. We don’t’ have to require them to have a sign; we can make them have five signs. It is all up to the Town.

Q. Can BZA members discuss a pending agenda item (petition) outside of the confines of the actual meeting?

A. Only with BZA staff (Board Attorney, Director of Building and Planning, Town Manager). They cannot discuss such matters with the particular petitioner or general public. This is referred to as ex-parte communication and is prohibited by state law.

You are not supposed to discuss it, particularly with the petitioner or the general public. It is referred to as ex-parte communication and is prohibited by state law because you are a quasi-judicial body as opposed to the Plan Commission, who is not.

Mr. Eberly gave the following example: If someone has an oversized garage and have filed a petition to come before the BZA, then you cannot discuss that with them outside of a meeting. You are supposed to get all of your information from staff personal or at the meeting.

This doesn’t preclude you from visiting a site to familiarize yourself with the site. You cannot meet with the petitioner or discuss the petition with them or the general public.

Ms. Popovic asked if they have to give notice to visit a site. Mr. Eberly responded that you do not; however, if three or more decide to go at the same time, you would have to call that as an official meeting.

We use Google Earth and Lake County GIS all the time during meetings to help us focus in on the property.

Q. Can the BZA impose reasonable conditions on the approval of a Special Exception?

A. Yes per I.C. 36-7-4-918.2

The BZA regulations are in 36-7-4-900 through the end of that section. The breakdown is 36 is the title, 7 is the article, 4 is the chapter and 900 is the section. The acronym is TACS, title, article, chapter, section.

Q. Can the BZA impose reasonable conditions on Use Variance requests?

A. Yes per I.C. 36-7-4-918.4.

Q. Can the Town Council change, add to or delete the reasonable conditions that the BZA attached to a recommendation?

A. Yes. The Town Council is the adjudicatory body of the town and is free to change any such condition they choose.

In St. John the answer is yes, the Town Council is the adjudicatory body of the Town and is free to change any condition as they choose.

In Dyer they took the position that because the recommendation came from a public hearing, they couldn’t be changed at a meeting that wasn’t a public hearing and the Town Council meeting is not a public hearing.

The difference between a public meeting and a public hearing is the public hearing is advertised.

Q. Can the BZA impose reasonable conditions on Development Standards Variance requests?

A. Yes, per I.C. 36-7-4-918.5.

You can impose conditions on any of the decisions or recommendations you make. The Findings of Fact are filled out for each decision or recommendation and the Town Council gets the copy of the Findings of Fact along with all recommendations, so they know any conditions that are attached to an approval.

Mr. Eberly provided scenarios for discussion.

Scenario #1

Henry Ford appears before the board to petition for permission to build an auto sales lot at the northeast corner of W. 85th Avenue and US 41. The property is zoned C-3 and is also located in the US 41 Overlay District.

Q. Does he need a variance and if so, what type of variance is he seeking?

Special exception
Use variance
Appeal of an administrative decision
Development standards variance
None of the above

A. C3 zoning allows auto sales by right; however, that land is also in our US 41 Overlay District which requires such a use to seek a Special Exception.

Because it is in the Overlay District, they would have to seek a Special Exception through the BZA which is ultimately decided by the Town Council.

Mr. Panczuk stated that Special Exceptions are rare, and we do more Developmental Standard Variances. The Overlay District color chart lays out all the zoning areas of the town and what is or is not allowed.

Mr. Eberly stated it is in Chapter 3, Section E – Schedule of Uses.

Mr. Panczuk stated that you could use the chart to see why something is a special exception. You see it is in the US 41 Overlay District, and you could then look and see what is required in that district.

Mr. Eberly stated that the Overlay District extends from the town limit on the north to the town limit on the south on both sides of US 41. On the east side, it is from US 41 to the parallel railroad tracks. On the west side, it is if Us 41 to any adjacent residential development.

Ms. Popovic asked if we just make a recommendation to the Town Council for Special Exception Variances. Mr. Panczuk stated that she was correct.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Use Variance is the same way. The Town Council can accept or reject either, and they don’t have to agree with your recommendation.

Ms. Popovic asked if it ever comes back to the BZA to decide, if it were to be reversed by the Town Council. Mr. Eberly stated that can be done at the Plan Commission but not the BZA.

Ms. Popovic asked if the Town has the ability to modify the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Eberly stated that the Plan Commission does the work behind it and sends it to the Council to be adopted.

Q. What document(s) would you research to determine the type of variance request?

Subdivision Control Ordinance
Zoning Ordinance
Comprehensive Plan
The Magna Carta

A. Zoning Ordinance. Specifically Chapter 3 Section E Schedule of Uses.

You would look at the Zoning Ordinance, specifically Chapter 3, Section E – Schedule of Uses, to determine whether that use can go there.

Q. What authority does the BZA have in hearing a request for a Special Exception?

Power to grant or deny the request
Power to make a recommendation to the Town Council on the request
No authority at all

A. Power to make a recommendation to the Town Council.

This next question goes back to the findings.

Q. Match the statutory findings with the particular variance request (Special Exception):

Not injurious to public health, safety and welfare
No substantially adverse effect on the adjacent area
Hardship
Practical difficulty
None of the above

A. None of the above. Special Exception criteria are determined by the municipality not by state statute.

Remember that Special Exception are not statutory criteria. It was a trick question.

Q. Who has the final authority in this matter?

BZA
Plan Commission
Town Council
None of the above

A. Town Council

Remember, the Town Council is the final authority only in Lake County, and in St. Joe County. The BZA has the authority in the rest of the state.

Scenario #2

Stardust Corporation wishes to open a bowling alley on Olcott Avenue in an area zoned R-2.

Mr. Eberly stated that this is a really absurd example.

Q. What type of variance would they be requesting?

Special Exception
Use Variance
Appeal of an administrative decision
Development Standards Variance
None of the above

A. Use variance. When a use is either not listed as an allowable use or is listed as a prohibited use in a given zoning district, then a Use Variance would need to be granted before the use could locate in such a zoning district.

Q. What statutory conditions does the request have to satisfy in order for the BZA to grant approval? Check all that apply.

Not injurious to public health, safety and welfare
No substantially adverse effect on the adjacent area
The need for the variance arises from a condition peculiar to the property
Hardship
Does not interfere with Comp Plan
All of the above

A. All of the above

“All of the above” is the correct answer; those are the five criteria for a Use Variance in order for them to make a recommendation on it.

Q. Who has the final authority in this matter?

BZA
Plan Commission
Town Council
None of the above

A. Town Council

Scenario #3

Jane Doe wishes to build a room addition onto the side of her house. She is located in an R-1 zoning district. The room addition would be built to within 8 feet of the side property line. The minimum side yard setback requirement in an R-1 zoning district is 10’.

An R-1 zoning district is a single-family zoning district.

Q. What type of variance would she be requesting?

Special Exception
Use Variance
Appeal of an administrative decision
Development Standards Variance
None of the above

A. Development Standards Variance

Her request is for height, size, or bulk type of variance request because she wants to build closer to the property line than our ordinance allows.

Q. What statutory conditions does the request have to satisfy in order for the BZA to grant approval? Check all that apply.

Not injurious to public health, safety and welfare
No substantially adverse effect on the adjacent area
Hardship
Practical difficulty
None of the above

Since we know that the Development Standards Variance requires three findings, one of those four will not be there, and that is hardship. We tend to call hardships and practical difficulties the same thing. By state law, they are not the same.

A. Not injurious to public health, safety and welfare
No substantially adverse effect on the adjacent area
Practical difficulty

It is the petitioner’s job to convince you that they meet the statutory criteria, or any criteria, whether it is the three for a Development Standards Variance, the five for a Use Variance, or the seven for a Special Exception Variance.

The petitioners are always told that it is their responsibility to make their case to you.

Q. Who has the final authority in this matter?

BZA
Plan Commission
Town Council
None of the above

A. BZA

The BZA has the final authority because it is a Development Standard Variance.

Scenario #4

John Doe wishes to develop a warehouse on property zoned C-2. The proposed use is not allowed in C-2 but is allowed in the Industrial zoning district. The lot is 14,000 square feet in size. The minimum lot size in a C-2 zoning district is 32,000 square feet.

The building will encroach on both the front and rear yard setback areas. It will also be 5 stories high (a total of 55 feet in height). The maximum building height in a C-2 zoning district is 50’.

Q. What type of variance(s) will he need? Check all that apply.

Special exception
Use variance
Developmental Standards Variance
All of the above

Start with the first one; it’s not an allowed use in C-2 and he wants to develop it in C-2. So that will require a Use Variance. The rest of those are Development Standards Variances because they are for height, setback, and lot size.

A. Development Standards Variance for lot size, building height and setback relief

Use variance to allow an Industrial use in a C-2 zoning district

You decide the Development Standards matters.

As Mr. Panczuk stated earlier, the Circle K had 21 Development Standards Variance requests that they had to satisfy before they ever got to the Special Exception Variance issue. And they couldn’t come close to the Development Standards Variance, so the Special Exception Variance became a moot point.

Q. What are the reasons for each of the variances?

A. Lot is too small, violates front and rear yard setback regulations, building is too tall

The use is not listed as a permissible use in the C-2 zoning district

Q. Who has authority over each of the variance requests?

A. The BZA has authority over the Developmental Standards Variance requests.

The Town Council has the ultimate authority over the Use Variance request.

Scenario #5

Rick Eberly has a temporary development sign removed from the premises at 9800 Joliet St. due to a lack of a permit for the sign. The owner disputes the removal claiming that the sign ordinance allows the placement of such a sign without a permit. Rick refuses to allow the replacement of the sign and insists that a permit must be obtained by the owner prior to putting up a new sign. The owner appeals to the BZA for help.

Q. What type of action is being sought?

Special Exception
Use Variance
Appeal of an administrative decision
Developmental Standards Variance
None of the above

A. Appeal of an administrative decision

They feel the Zoning Ordinance is not being interpreting correctly in this case.

Mr. Kennedy asked if our legal counsel provide us their recommendation in an instance like this. Mr. Eberly responded that you would want to get guidance from the town attorney on something like this ever surfaces. It is an appeal of an administrative decision.

Q. Who has the final local authority to rule on such matters?

BZA
Town Council
Plan Commission
Police Commission

A. BZA

It would be your decision. There are no criteria for that. In something like that, I would explain my position and I would cite the section of the ordinance that I feel supports my decision.

The petitioner still has to advertise for that meeting just as you would for any other request; they have to put notices in the paper and all the other required notification.

They would make their case why they think their right, and I would make my case why I think I’m right, and then it falls in your lap to make that decision.

The next question is just for a little levity.

Q. What do you do with the scoundrel (Mr. Eberly) if you determine he was wrong?

Send him on an all expense paid trip for 2 to Disneyworld
Send him on an all expense paid golf trip for 4 to Hawaii
Buy him a new set of golf clubs
Nominate him for employee of the year

The board members all said, “All of the above” before seeing the answer slide.

A. All of the above.

Mr. Eberly told the board that is it “All of the above.” He then offered to make the PowerPoint available to them via email, and they gratefully accepted his offer.

QUESTION AND ANSWER SEGMENT:

Mr. Eberly advised that if the members use the Findings of Fact to help them make a decision, it will keep them focused on what the decision should be based on, He then offered to answer any questions.

Mr. Eberly started the conversation by using Circle K as an example of how it brought out a lot of emotion from the members of the community. The people in the audience didn't understand why we were even entertaining the possibility of the request that was before us. The answer is that we simply don't have a choice.

Mr. Eberly stated that he often uses the following example to help the audience understand the process: If Stardust wanted to open a bowling alley on Olcott Avenue in the middle of an R-2 subdivision, it would never be approved. However, if they came to us with that request, they cannot be told that they can't appear before the BZA or the Plan Commission. We have to allow it.

Mr. Panczuk stated that Mr. Eberly is very good at explaining things to the public. He further stated that it really diffuses a lot of the public outcry if they understand that we have to allow a petition to be heard. Mr. Panczuk added that he used to be on the other side, and people don't understand the process.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly for permission to go over a list of things he wanted to discuss. Mr. Eberly gave Mr. Panczuk the floor.

Mr. Panczuk stated, first and foremost, to rely on the Findings of Fact and the supporting documentation, which makes it easier to make a decision. And you can take them one at a time to simplify the decision-making process even more.

Mr. Panczuk used an example of a Developmental Standards Variance. The ordinance permits a maximum of a 30 square-foot monument sign, and the petitioner wanted a 95 square-foot monument sign. They used the reason that they have the same thing at all of their locations.

We talked the petitioner out of the digital display, because it would be interpreted as a flashing sign, and flashing signs are prohibited in town. They were allowed to keep the price sign because a gas stations needs one to do business.

Mr. Panczuk recited "The strict applications of Zoning Ordinance will or will not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property." Not being able to display gas prices would be a difficult for a gas station.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they were generous and allowed a 42 square-foot monument sign; however, making them stay at the 30 square-foot maximum wouldn't have created a difficulty for the use of the property. He feels they should have made them stick to the maximum of 30 square feet. If you let one have it, then others will want the same or better.

Mr. Eberly stated that he is glad the BZA stuck to their guns on not allowing the larger size they requested. Even though the petitioner stated that they are all standard signs, they contacted him and have had one customized for that location.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they are supposed to protect and defend the ordinance. He further stated that they should not be concerned with what they want to do, we should be concerned with the ordinance and what we need to enforce.

Mr. Eberly stated that he always tells the petitioners wanting a Development Standards Variance to focus on item 3, because items 1 and 2 are almost a given. Most of the time it will likely not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals, comfort, and general welfare of the community. It is not likely going to devalue the area adjacent to it. However, item 3 is the one that's the most difficult for somebody to prove and requires the effort on the petitioner's part to convince the BZA.

Ms. Popovic asked if there is a definition. Mr. Panczuk stated that much of this is our interpretation.

Mr. Panczuk used Circle K trying to locate in the Overlay District as an example. He stated that all the items they were asking for went against what is in the Comprehensive Plan for US 41 and would have decreased land value. When you start decreasing landscaping and increasing density, he takes it as hits against items 1 and 2. The general welfare of the community, how do you interpret that? We have our Zoning Ordinance at a high standard to keep a high standard. And if you decrease it in any way, it can impact the adjacent property values.

Mr. Panczuk stated that if you read the Indiana Code, it tells you what they are but not how to follow them, which leaves it completely in our hands.

Mr. Eberly stated that practical difficulty can mean something different to you than it does to the other members. One thing we do is, if someone has a large piece of property of 30,000 square feet or more, they get an extra 540 square feet of garage space, which is 1100 square feet on a standard lot. We don't allow the same thing for an accessory building, like a shed, which is limited to 160 square feet.

Mr. Eberly stated that it is more difficult to prove number three, typically, than it is the first two, especially with residential variances.

Mr. Panczuk stated that we're going to have a lot of requests for signage size variances.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he's been on the board for 16 months. At first, he used to feel guilty about saying no to somebody. He had to learn that it is on a case-by-case basis and advised the members to base their decisions on the facts in front of them.

Mr. Kennedy stated that if something big was on the agenda, he would call Mr. Eberly, who would give him all the facts, rules, and advice to make a decision but never told him how to vote. Mr. Kennedy further stated that he would advise calling Mr. Eberly or having a cup of coffee with him if they are unsure of something big that is coming up. It helps with feeling like you know what you're doing in the decision-making process.

Mr. Eberly stated that he enjoys doing that. The better prepared that you are to make a decision on the night of the meeting, the better off we all are.

Mr. Panczuk stated he has some more examples to share with the new members. There was a petition for a communication tower, which is an example of something we voted no on and the Town Council voted yes on. If somebody comes in and gives you the sob story about how they already spent money and did something and ask for mercy, as a newer member, you feel bad saying no. Even as a seasoned member, you feel bad. However, a rule is a rule; and we have to follow them. It doesn't matter whether that tower was built or not. It plays no part in our decision.

Mr. Panczuk stated that in that meeting he said that these folks didn't have a chance to properly remonstrate against it before it was built. And had it not been built, we would have told Lake Central to put it by the bus barn. That was our idea. You can't worry about whether the money is spent or not because it will open the door for trouble.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it can get really frustrating when they get arrogant about it. The tower is literally right in someone's backyard, and they never got a chance to properly remonstrate at the BZA.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the Lake Central sign was a bad situation.

Mr. Aurelio asked if it took so long for them to get the sign up because they got turned down and had to wait a year to come back. Mr. Eberly stated that they actually waited over two years. They only had to wait one, but they waited two instead.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has one more item to bring up regarding the issue of prohibited uses. He stated he wants the board members to hear this because he thinks it needs to be pursued. Section 3, if you read this section, it's very clear. Blank is prohibited. That's a classification. Special exception is where it's written in and P is permitted. That's three classes.

Mr. Panczuk if you look under TC, it's a blank. So if it's a 41 Overlay, they can come to us and request a Special Exception, one of the three things we do. We have no process for a prohibited property. There's no legal process to get to us.

Mr. Eberly stated that they have discussed this with Mr. Muenich and Mr. Austgen. Mike Muenich said we can't; Dave Austgen said we can. Mr. Eberly further stated that when he discussed this issue with Mr. Kil, that Mr. Kil informed him that he has been to court over this issue many times, and every time he has had to allow it. Ms. Popovic stated that the problem is that there is no due process. It's going to lose every single time.

Mr. Panczuk stated that when we get the new attorney he would like him or her to look it over and, perhaps, look up case law on it. Mr. Eberly stated that we will do that when the Council settles the matter on who the next Town Attorney is.

Mr. Panczuk asked if oversized sign was destroyed and had to be rebuilt, could it still be nonconforming. Mr. Eberly stated that it depends on how it was approved. If it had a variance to be that size, then it's good in perpetuity. However, if it is a sign that was there that doesn't comply with today's regulations because it was grandfathered in, they would have to come before the board for a variance.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 8:03 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

04-28-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

April 23, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the April 23, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Mr. Panczuk. The following Board Members were present: Mark Lareau, Michael Aurelio, Libby Popovic, John Kennedy. Staff Members present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk called for the Approval of Minutes. Mr. Kennedy made a motion to defer the Approval of Minutes. Mr. Aurelio seconded the motion. Motion carries, 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0007; 8587 MAGNOLIA – Variance to Allow Construction of a 30x35 Detached Garage (Petitioners: Sharon Kavadas and Victor Garcia,)

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is 2018-0007, Sharon Kavadas and Victor Garcia, 8587 Magnolia, and invited the Petitioners to please come to the podium.

Mr. Eberly advised, for the record, that the Petitioner has satisfied all the criteria for appearing at the meeting. He added they are seeking a variance for a detached garage and that, because of the size of the property, they are entitled to a total of 1640 square feet of garage space. In order to have a detached garage, on anything less than 1 acre, the Development Standards Variance is required regardless of size of the garage.

Mr. Eberly advised the ordinance limits the garage to 14 feet to the peak of the roof. The size of the existing 2-car garage is needed; and if the existing garage is more than 590 square feet, they will need a variance for total garage space, which they have advertised in the even it was needed.

Mr. Eberly summarized that there are the issues of a detached garage, possible garage height, and total garage space that may need addressed in this petition.

Ms. Kavadas offered to show the actual paperwork and the sketch drawing. (Mr. Eberly displayed the Plat of Survey on the screen for everyone to view.)

Ms. Kavadas stated that the document Mr. Garcia is handing them is showing the height, the proposed height, and the size of the new garage. She added the Survey Location Report actually shows the existing shed that’s there, which is15.3x20.3, with the 35x30 proposed additional garage space.

Mr. Garcia explained that what is seen on the screen that is dotted is what they are proposing as the the addition to that shed, that the proposed garage will open to the existing shed, and that the proposed structure is 35 feet wide by 30 feet deep.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the shed will be classified as a shed.

Mr. Eberly advised that if it is going to be physically connected to the garage, the shed would be garage space. Mr. Eberly also advised that the new structure would be 30x35 for 1050 square feet, the existing structure is 300 square feet, and those would be combined. He further explained that in combining those two with the existing 2-car garage, it will be more than 1640 square feet.

In response to Mr. Eberly asking, Mr. Garcia stated the existing 2-car, attached garage is 24x24. Mr. Eberly stated that adding that in will make it almost 2,000 square feet in garage space.

(The Board reviewed the documents furnished to them by the Petitioners.)

Mr. Panczuk inquired about the marked area around the shed. Mr. Garcia explained that it is a concrete apron and that there is an approximately 5-foot porch in front of the shed.

Mr. Aurelio asked how they plan to use the space. Mr. Garcia responded that he will use it to restore a vehicle and to store another vehicle. He added that there wouldn’t be any driving back there.

Mr. Aurelio then asked if he worked on cars for a living. Mr. Garcia responded that he does not.

Mr. Kennedy asked for clarification of the shed as to whether it is being expanded to 30 feet or if it will stay in its existing position. Mr. Garcia stated it is staying as an existing structure. Mr. Kennedy then asked if it will be squared off. Mr. Garcia responded it will be an L-shape.

Mr. Eberly asked for the height of the proposed garage. Mr. Garcia stated he believes the top of peak to be 17 feet.

Mr. Garcia stated there would be downspouts and gutters and explained that the three doors would be facing west. Ms. Kavadas stated the proposed building is to match the existing shed.

Mr. Panczuk opened the discussion for Public Comment. Mr. Eberly advised he had received no written remonstrances regarding this matter.

John Theodore (8603 Magnolia): I am Vic and Sharon’s neighbor directly via my backyard and their backyard, you know, are together. I don’t have a problem with it. I think it’s a great idea, and I know that Vic would do it very nicely, you know. It will match the rest of his property. And the upkeep is immaculate. So, I just think it’s a nice addition to have in the – back in that area. I mean especially for him to be able to store things inside. So, I have no problem with it.

Marti Ross (8573 Magnolia): I’m the neighbor on the other side of Vic and Sharon. I personally do not have a problem with it. It’s going to butt pretty close to my yard, but it’s not a problem to me at all. I’d rather look at that than what I have to look at on the other side of my neighbor. So I – I’m very much saying I’m – I’m – I’m approving this because it will be something that’s nice to look at. And Vic and Sharon have ‘em in – they just keep just everything perfect. They don’t – their yard is magnificent. And I think that they would not have anything out on the outside of it. I think everything will be inside and condensed, so that’s all you’ll see is the garage area.

Jack Glover (8560 Magnolia): I live right across the street from Vic and Sharon. And as Marti just said, they’re great neighbors. They keep their place up. I’ve seen the prints, looks good. I’m very much in favor of it. Thank you.

Steven McIntyre (8582 Magnolia Street): Right across the street. I’m all for it. I know that it’ll be nice to have a little clubhouse in the neighborhood. It just, kind of, makes my place look a little rustic now.

Roger Garcia (8602 Jacobson): I’m on the unincorporated side. I need that car moved inside of garage. I’m joking. When it’s done, I want to drive it. So it – actually from my backyard, I can see the back of the garage, and it’s – I don’t mind it. It’s going to be great.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any more questions from the public. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Comment and asked the Petitioners to step back to the podium.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the two cars will be in the garage and the third garage would be just for additional equipment or lawn-care products and whatnot. Mr. Garcia stated they have another vehicle that’s actually in storage at another location. The Petitioners explained they will store the three vehicles and lawn-care equipment in the proposed garage and existing shed.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they park the cars they drive regularly in the attached garage. Ms. Kavadas responded they have two personal vehicles parked inside the garage and their son’s vehicle is parked outside.

Mr. Panczuk asked for clarification on the square footage, and Mr. Eberly responded it is at 1950 square feet including the square footage of the existing shed. Mr. Eberly stated the shed is 300 square feet, the new garage will be 1050 square feet, and the existing attached garage is 600 square feet.

Mr. Panczuk said since the shed is non-conforming existing, it can’t be counted as a shed once it is attached to the garage and recommend a stipulation that no other accessory buildings or sheds be allowed in order to preclude them putting up another shed.

Mr. Eberly advised that it needs to be added as a contingency.

Mr. Eberly advised the Petitioners that should they decide to put in a driveway to the back, it would have to be a paved, hard-surface driveway that must be at least 3 feet off of side property lines.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further questions from the Board. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the variance for a 30x35 detached garage, which will include their existing shed; the approval will not be injurious of public health, safety, morals, 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; that the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property; there is a contingency that no additional shed or accessory facilities will be allowed on this property. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Mr. Panczuk recommended amending the motion to specify that the shed attaches to it. Mr. Kennedy moved to amend the motion as such. Mr. Eberly inquired as to the acceptance of the second. Ms. Popovic responded in the affirmative. Motion carries, 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Garcia and Ms. Kavadas thanked the Board.

B. 2018-0008; 8630 MAGNOLIA – Variance for the Construction of a Detached Garage and a Size and Height Variance (Petitioner: Mike Swiderski)

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is 2018-0008, Mike Swiderski, 8630 Magnolia and invited the Petitioner to come to the podium.

Mr. Eberly advised the Petitioner is properly prepared for Public Hearing. He added no remonstrances have been received regarding this property for the addition of a 1500 square-foot detached structure. This property is more than 30,000 square feet but less than an acre, so it does require a variance for any detached garage regardless of the size. Given the size of the opposed structure at 1500 square feet and the fact the Mr. Swiderski has an attached 2-car garage, minimum, which is another 600 square feet, an overall garage size variance is needed.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Swiderski if the height was more than 14 feet, and Mr. Swiderski confirmed that it is. Mr. Kennedy asked what the height is. Mr. Swiderski responded right around 16 feet.

Mr. Eberly advised the proposed structure will be 5 feet east of the easement to the west and 30 feet off of the north property line.

Mr. Swiderski indicated the detached garage will match the house with asphalt shingles and cedar siding. Upon being asked if there was a driveway, Mr. Swiderski indicated the garage would be used for storage of restored vehicles.

Mr. Panczuk opened the discussion for Public Comment.

John Glover (8560 Magnolia): I live about two doors down from Mike. And I’m for Mike and certainly don’t have a problem with them building this structure. I think it’d be an improvement for the property overall. Thank you.

Marti Ross (8573 Magnolia): I would like to see that done. I – I personally do not like all the equipment out in the yard because, as you drive by, it’s – it’s – and I – he’s a great neighbor. I’m not saying he isn’t, but he does need to put the equipment elsewhere. And I think that adding that building in the back would be fantastic for our neighborhood. Thank you.

Sharon Kavadas (8587 Magnolia): And I also think that Mike is a fantastic neighbor. But I would like to see the shed also – or the garage. Based on how he keeps his home and maintains the outside of his home and his landscaping, without the extras, it’s – it’s beautiful; so it would be an absolute asset to the neighborhood. Thank you.

John Theodore (8603 Magnolia): When I look out my picture window, it’s like my view is Mike’s yard across the street. His house, and it’s like a little bit kitty-corner, but I’ve seen the plans. And I know where he’s going to put it, and I think it would be a great thing. It should look – look really good.

Jerry Lawhorn (13320 West 86th Place): I’m Jerry Lawhorn, and I live directly across from Mike at 13320 West 86th Place. And I have no problem with it at all. He’s an excellent neighbor.

Steven McIntyre (8582 Magnolia Street): And I think it’s going to be a great idea. I’m looking forward to having it done and, you know, get to go over there and play in his garage too.

Roger Garcia (8602 Jacobson): On the part I can’t even see Mike’s. I just want to drive the Chevelle, so.

Jack Costenaro (8713 Lantern Drive): And I can see Mike’s place and – and the lake and all that through my side windows and out my – my kitchen. And Mike has been a real-busy guy improving and improving and cleaning and pushing things around and getting things going. This addition to his – to his land would be great. And it just wouldn’t be the end of the things that he does to improve his land, so he’s an energetic improver, good thing to have happen.

Hearing no further comments from the Public Hearing, Mr. Panczuk closed the Public Comment and returned the matter to the Board. He asked Mr. Swiderski to return to the podium.

Ms. Popovic asked if there was any other shed in the backyard. Mr. Swiderski responded there was not. She then asked the Board if he would also be precluded with a contingency. Mr. Eberly advised that unless a stipulation was made, he would still be able to add a shed.

Mr. Panczuk recommended the height be clarified because it was unclear. Mr. Swiderski stated they are still working with the pitch of the roof yet. Mr. Eberly stated the motion could be made with a not-to-exceed stipulation.

Mr. Panczuk stated that they would encourage a better pitch and quality appearance, even if it means a higher building, and asked Mr. Swiderski the maximum he would need for height. Mr. Swiderski was unsure as the pitch is still being worked on at the time. Mr. Eberly advised Mr. Swiderski a maximum height will need to set. Mr. Swiderski responded, 18-19 feet.

Discussion included a recommendation to include a contingency of no shed because of the square footage of total garage space to keep future land owners, should the property change hands, from putting another building up.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any other questions. Hearing none, he entertained a motion. Ms. Popovic made a motion to allow variance for the construction of a detached garage not to exceed 19 feet in height with the contingency of no sheds or any adjacent structures to the garage or on the property for 1500 square feet as proposed. Mr. Panczuk requested that Ms. Popovic amend the motion to include the address. Ms. Popovic amended the motion to include property 8630 Magnolia, the Petitioner is Mike Swiderski. Mr. Lareau seconded the motion. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Swiderski thanked the Board.

C. CCDM HOLDINGS LLC; 10007 RAVENWOOD DRIVE – Variances from Materials Requirements of the US 41 Overlay District and Lot Size and Building Size Requirements (Petitioner: Mr. Joel Sivak)

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the Agenda is CCDM Holdings, LLC, 10007 Ravenwood Drive. Petitioner is seeking a variance from the materials requirements of the US 41 Overlay District, lot size requirement in that district, and building size requirement in that district.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Joel Sivak is here representing CCDM Holdings. All items are in order for the Public Hearing. The Petitioner will need a lot-size variance because he proposes to build on an existing lot, Lot 4 of Brooks Park Addition. The lot is immediately adjacent to the Ravenwood Development and behind where Dollar Tree is going to go. Dollar tree is on Lots 2 and 3 of Brooks Park Addition. It’s immediately south of Tractor Supply Company.

The lot is pre-existing and was a legal-conforming lot before the ordinance changed and required 2-acre minimums in the Overlay District. The lot meets the C-2 Underlying Zoning District requirements, but it does not meet the Overlay District requirements. The Petitioner has no opportunity to expand the acreage and is proposing to build a building of 8040 square feet. The requirement is 15,000 square feet in the Overlay District.

The materials meet the standards of the Overlay District. There is a conflict in the requirements between the C-2 and the Overlay District. C-2 requires all exterior elevations to be a brick construction. The application mentions Section K-2 of the Overlay District requires a minimum of three materials from a list of approved materials. The materials the Petitioner is planning to use meets that criteria, so he is compliant.

The ordinance says the stricter of the two standards applies, and the argument could be made that requiring all brick exterior is the stricter standard. Mr. Eberly advised he had Mr. Sivak advertise for a materials variance.

Mr. Eberly stated all three are development standards variances. Mr. Eberly further advised that he does comply with the Overlay District in terms of materials; he doesn’t comply with the Overlay District in terms of lot size and building size. He does comply with the C-2 regulations in terms of lot size and building size. It is because of being located in the Overlay District that there are these issues.

Mr. Eberly invited Mr. Sivak to the podium to answer any questions. (Mr. Eberly showed neighboring properties built of similar materials on the screen.)

Mr. Eberly referenced Sunrise Solar’s appearance before the Board of Zoning Appeals for a number of variances. He added they are the newest structure on the block and asked Mr. Sivak if his building would be similar if permitted. Mr. Sivak concurred.

Mr. Sivak stated it is a similar cultured stone on the bottom 3 feet with the limestone ledge and then the architectural metal. Mr. Eberly clarified with Mr. Sivak that they are metal panels, and a standing, metal-seam roof, and Mr. Sivak confirmed it was.

Ms. Popovic inquired about the other structures in the area. Mr. Eberly responded they were all pre-existing except Sunrise Solar, which did go through the same process. She asked if it was applied under K-2 with the materials. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the planned use for the building is. Mr. Sivak stated they are a dental manufacturing company presently renting in Dyer and need more space. He added he lives in St. John and would like to have his business closer to home. He added, this move would allow an opportunity to expand as they continue to grow. Mr. Sivak stated they have four employees at this time; but if they are able to make the move, they will hire two more.

Mr. Panczuk stated US 41 Overlay is to preserve the character along the highway. And the lot is in a unique section that’s back behind the commercial area, mostly out of the public eye, in more of a light industrial area. The US 41 Overlay District covers everything between US 41 and the railroad tracks. Even though he’s far back from the highway and not in the public eye, he is under that Overlay.

Mr. Eberly advised that where the Petitioner’s property is, it is zoned light industrial between Ravenwood Drive and the railroad track. Dollar Tree would be on the lots west of it.

Mr. Sivak stated they do not need a storefront. He added that other than a few local customers, they will have FedEx and UPS trucks coming and going once a day, and that’s about it traffic-wise.

Mr. Kennedy stated he drove by there, and there were some other businesses that were all-brick front office, but the remaining back was just like a metal warehouse type of look. He added this is 96 feet deep and almost 30 feet wide and if the whole front end had to be in all brick, it would be a substantial cost.

Mr. Panczuk inquired about the stonework and that the office doors will open to the north. Mr. Sivak confirmed the office doors will open to the north and that the cultured stone is designed to line up with the awning around the corner.

Mr. Sivak also stated they will add the wainscoting and the architectural in a different color to add to the look. He added there would be no windows on the south side.

Mr. Panczuk asked about landscaping and Site Plan. Mr. Eberly advised that will still have to go before the Plan Commission for those items. He added that he informed Mr. Sivak, before he got to this point, that if there are any deficiencies there, he could be back before the Board for parking or lighting or landscaping or whatever. He does have to go through Site Plan Approval for this. He only needs minimal parking based on his use. Mr. Eberly stated that it is not anticipated that any other variances will be needed.

Mr. Panczuk opened the matter for Public Comment and invited anyone in the audience who would like to speak to the podium. Mr. Eberly advised he has received no remonstrances, oral or written, leading up to this Public Hearing.

Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk brought the matter back to the Board and asked Mr. Sivak to step back up to the podium.

Ms. Popovic asked if it is three separate motions. Mr. Eberly advised that they can be together or one at a time.

Hearing no further questions or comments from the Board, Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion.

Mr. Kennedy made a motion for approval at 10007 Ravenwood Drive, approval for lot size requirement in that district, building size requirement in that district, and building material for that site; the approval will not be injurious of public health, safety, morals, 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; that the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Sivak thanked the Board.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is general Public Comment and asked if there was anyone wanting to make a general comment.

Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk opened a discussion about the next meeting.

Mr. Eberly stated the Petitioners for the next meeting are in the audience to see how it operates. He further stated that he informed them the scheduled meeting for May would be the 29th instead of the 28th due to the 28th being Memorial Day.

Mr. Panczuk requested everyone’s availability the week of the 29th, and all agreed on the 29th as the date for the next meeting. Mr. Eberly advised it is on the Town Calendar for the 29th.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

05-29-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

May 29, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at 7:05 p.m. and asked everyone to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Michael Aurelio, Mark Lareau, Libby Popovic, John Kennedy, and Mr. Panczuk. Staff present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

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

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0010; 8469 W. 91st Avenue – Construction of an Oversized Shed (Petitioner: David Cudzilo)
Mr. Panczuk advised next on the agenda is Item A. 2018-0010, David Cudzilo, 8469 West 91st Avenue. The petitioner is seeking to construct an oversized shed in terms of size and height. He wants to build a 16x24 shed that is 18 foot in height. He is seeking relief from Zoning Ordinance chapter 11A, 11A2, and 11A3. Mr. Panczuk asked the petitioner to come to the podium.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner. However, Mr. Cudzilo has decided to meet the height requirement at 14 feet, so he will no longer require a height variance. Mr. Cudzilo would like to have the oversized shed of 16x20, a 320-square-foot shed, or a 280-square-foot shed that is 14x20.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Cudzilo to state his request. Mr. Cudzilo stated the shed will be for storage and a workshop for doing home projects and hobbies. He is requesting to build a 16x20 shed at 14 feet in height.

Mr. Eberly advised they are within the ordinance restrictions where they would like to build the shed. Mr. Eberly also advised that the covenants of the subdivision match the ordinance allowing a 160-square foot shed maximum; so if Mr. Cudzilo is granted the variance, that variance does not grant him any relief from those covenants.

Mr. Kennedy asked for clarification on the maximum for accessory buildings. Mr. Eberly advised that there is a maximum allowable amount of 250 square feet in accessory buildings with a maximum building size for any accessory building to be 160 square feet; therefore, a resident could have a 90-square-foot shed in conjunction with a 160-square-foot shed.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Cudzilo if he is still looking at a shed with a dormer. Mr. Cudzilo responded that he was not.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is a possibility he could add on to his attached garage. Mr. Cudzilo responded there isn’t enough room. Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Cudzilo only has about 11.5 feet to his property line on that side of his residence.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Comment regarding this matter.

Rich and Marlene Wolf (9150 Mallard Cove): Good evening. First of all, I am the original developer of North Point Phases One and Two. If you reference page 6 of the covenants, the covenants are in effect and remain in effect in perpetuity. There is not a homeowners’ association for North Point. There never has been, but there is a requirement for any construction of any accessory buildings or changes to the home, an addition, anything like that, that the developer has review rights to approve. The original developer of TRAM Development assigned those rights to Martram, and Mr. Cudzilo was made aware of that via my remonstrance.

He also was made aware of the covenants in the subdivision when he bought the property. They are a part of his title work. They were given to his realtor, because I was the listing agent on that house. So they were given to his realtor. It was nothing held in secret. The covenants are the covenants. Everyone who knows if you purchase a house, there’s covenants in the subdivision. You may not have a homeowners’ association. But you have a duty when you’re purchasing a home to know what you’re buying.

When we built, uh, developed North Point, the Town was very insistent we incorporate shed requirements and fencing requirements that mirrored their —their ordinance at the time, which we did. So, I mean, yes, Mr. Eberly stated that if you grant the variance, he still has to receive, you know, seek relief from the covenants. And in order for that to happen, he – we — we, even as the original developer, would have to seek permission from the majority of the homeowners. They purchased with the protection of those covenants, and we can’t just arbitrarily change them.

The majority of the – the residents have to approve that. So, you know, that’s why I’m asking you don’t – don’t grant that variance because that’s only saying to the residents, “Hey, that’s your problem. You deal with it,” for giving someone permission to alter the covenants. So if we — we start altering the covenants with the requirements of sheds, then why don’t we alter the covenants when it comes to landscaping requirements, fencing requirements, size of house, all of that. Um, you know what kind of, you know that – can of worms that can open.

So that, that’s the purpose of the remonstrance. Uh, page 6 references the covenants remaining in full force and effect. Mr. Cudzilo has been made aware of the requirement to have any sheds approved and how to do that. So again, I would reiterate that I would – I would ask that the BZA deny the petition for the, uh, the variance. Thank you.

Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Wolf is correct and that the covenants do say they run with the real estate, so there is no expiration date. He further stated upon receipt of Mr. Wolf’s remonstrance, he forwarded the same to Mr. Cudzilo so he could have a chance to speak with whomever he needed to for permission for relief from the covenants.

Mr. Panczuk clarified to Mr. Wolf that his remonstrance will be considered only against the ordinance for the variance on size as the BZA does not enforce covenants.

Laura Garson (8449 West 91st Avenue): I live right next door to them. I’m Lot – what was that? Lot 54? Um, I’ve spoken to my neighbors about how I’ve been – how I felt – feel about this. I don’t have a problem with them building a shed. We all need sheds. I get it.

Um, but a couple things: First of all, the size of it, I – I’m – I’m just not – I know he’s changed the size now. But when I moved to St. John — and I just got done building our deck. I have such a beautiful view in my backyard that to have such a monstrous piece of, you know, a garage. What I’m thinking I – I’d – I don’t need to have something like that knowing that I moved to St. John to not have that. Um, him – okay. I had asked him before, you know, if he could move the shed to the other side where the shed, there’s another shed. And he says, “But that – that blocks my view.” I’m like, “Well, your shed blocks my view.”

So I just think that, yeah, if he wants a shed, that’s fine. And we both talked about it. You know, I’m not a bad neighbor. I just think the size that he wants is just outrageous, you know. So that’s it.

David Spevacec (8501 West 91st Avenue): I pretty much agree with everything Rich Wolf and the lady before him were saying. I mean, I bought my house for this specific reason with these covenants so people couldn’t just build whatever they want. There has to be rules that apply to it. My – my lot’s wooded. It’s secured. There’s no views. I bought it on purpose so I don’t have to look at people’s pools and all their other things. It’s open. It’s a nice view. It’s that country living without having to live in the country. And that’s what St. John’s about. So I vote no, and I don’t want it. That’s all. Thank you.

Lisa Ippolito (9160 Mallard): I’m in Sierra Pointe which abuts up to that subdivision. Um, I am part of our POA, and we do have covenants. And we do restrict it. And I know that you guys already stated that you can’t control that. But that sets precedence for our subdivision, also, then because now, then, people would start asking us for all these variances.

And then what are we up for? We’re going to end up with single-car garages without driveways in the backyard, and that’s not what we’re looking for in our subdivision. So I’m asking for you to keep it to what the standard is for our town and what it’s always been.

Terry Ippolito (9151 Mallard Cove): I’m just looking at it as that we have to keep it at the – at the 150-160 square foot. That way, there, everybody isn’t starting to build bigger and better. Everybody trying to outdo each other. Everybody wanted it, you know, to keep it. Everybody liked it that it was a 10x16. Everybody’s the same size.

You start allowing one person, then someone’s going to try to build something bigger than that with an excuse: I need more storage; I need more room. And before you know it, we’re going to be, you know, looking for variances for pole barns and whatnot. I think everybody has followed the 10x16 rule. The subdivision is pretty much so built out. Now we’re, you know, going to start changing things. I think if we keep it the same for everybody. Thank you.

Cheryle Cudzilo (8469 West 91st Avenue): And I just want to make a couple things straight. We’re not building a pole – we’re not asking for a pole barn at all. The porch in the back is a breezeway. It is a very nice porch. We don’t want to take that away. It’s very – it’s very nice to sit on in the evening, especially now, summer, fall evenings. We don’t want to take that away.

Our basement is a large basement. We all do hobbies. My son Bill has a train table down there. He’s – it’s a big train table, so it takes up one part of the basement. My, uh, husband likes to do – he likes his workshop. That’s another part of the basement. And it takes up a big base – big part of the basement. And then you’ve got the sump pump area over there with the basement over there we have. And on the other part, we have storage. We have a lot of things. I like a lot of gadgets, cooking things. I like to cook, so I’ve got a lot of stuff there. So that’s our storage area. So the basement is pretty well filled up.

Okay. So we do need something. We – we all do hobbies. He needs a workshop outside. They’re always doing wood projects. I’m asking him to make stuff all the time. Uh, my son’s making stuff all the time. He spray paint – he does – makes models. We all do hobbies. We need a – more room. Maybe not that big, what, you – he initially asked for. But we need something else. Thank you.

Kristy Abel (9043 Teal Place): I live in the same subdivision. I agree with what they’re saying that if you allow this – we’ve already talked to other neighbors that aren’t here tonight. And some of ‘em are very against it. Some of ‘em are like oh, well, if they can do it, then I’m going to do it too. You know, so it’s going to start a whirlwind, and it’s going to change our whole subdivision. It’s not going to just affect this one house.

I understand that they want more space. But they just bought this house. It’s — they just moved in recently, you know. So if it didn’t have enough space, then that’s something that probably should have been thought about beforehand, you know, instead of trying to change the reason that everybody bought and moved into this subdivision in the first place, you know. So I just – I just wanted to say that I — I vote no and let you know that I have spoke with a lot of people, and it’s going to cause more people that are going to want to do this if we allow it. Thank you.

Mr. Panczuk returned the matter the board.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the additional facility of 90 feet was included in the ordinance in 2005. Mr. Eberly responded that he can verify it has been in there since 2009. Mr. Kennedy stated the covenants seem to follow the ordinances. Mr. Eberly stated the house size reflected our requirement in 2005. It does not today. It was a minimum of a 1700 square foot house in North Point in 2005. Today our zoning ordinance requires that it be at least 1900 square feet or more depending on the type of house.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the Board of Zoning Appeals looks at the nature of the property, the character of the surrounding neighborhood, and if there is some unique difference that brings it to the BZA; that they need to pass all three of the criteria to be able to relax our ordinance; and that this matter has nothing to do with the covenants.

Mr. Eberly explained for the members of the audience that there are three statutory criteria by which the Board of Zoning Appeals is required to judge a petition such as this matter and that those will be read so that the audience can know what it is the board judging the petition by.

Mr. Panczuk informed the audience it is the board’s job to defend the ordinance unless there is significant reason to overturn the ordinance; otherwise, the ordinance would no longer be effective. He added it is not an unusual piece of property, it’s not unusable with a160-square foot shed, and it’s not a larger lot that provides more space. Mr. Panczuk then read the criteria for the audience.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion. Motion by Mr. Aurelio to deny the approval of the oversized shed: 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 be affected in a substantially adverse manner; the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Seconded by Mr. Lareau.

Vote by rollcall:
Mr. Aurelio – Aye
Mr. Lareau – Aye
Ms. Popovic – Aye
Mr. Kennedy – Aye
Mr. Panczuk – Aye

Motion is denied 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. 2018-0011; 12110 S. Oakwood – Variance for the Construction of a Detached Garage and a Size Variance (Petitioner: Balt and Cynthia Lopez)

Mr. Panczuk advised next on the agenda is Item B. 2018-0011 Balt and Cynthia Lopez, 12110 South Oakwood. The petitioner is seeking a variance to allow the construction of a detached garage. He will be requesting a size variance as well due to the fact that the combination of the existing garage and the proposed detached garage would exceed the 1,100 square feet of total garage space that the property would be allowed. The Zoning Ordinance Section from which he seeks relief is Chapter 11B2.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner to proceed. The request is to build a 35x24 detached garage in the rear property. The combination of the proposed garage and the existing garage would exceed 1,100 square feet. Regardless of the size of a detached garage, anybody wanting to build a detached garage on a lot less than 1 acre in size has to seek a variance. The petitioners intend to keep the garage at the 14 foot maximum height; however, they will need a variance for the detached garage and for the total garage square footage.

Mr. Lopez stated there are three detached garages near his home. Mr. Eberly advised the provision of needing a variance for a detached garage has been in the ordinance since 2009.

Mr. Eberly advised the board that there are a number of remonstrance letters in the packet for their review.

Mr. Panczuk stated it looks like there is room on the east side where the garage could be expanded. Mr. Eberly stated from the roofline to the property line is 12.5 feet and advised there is an 8-foot side yard setback requirement.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the size of the current garage is. Mr. Lopez stated it is 26x24.

Mr. Lareau asked the petitioner what plans to do with the proposed garage. Mr. Lopez stated that it would be storage for their five vehicles. Mr. Lareau asked if they would be putting in a driveway. Mr. Lopez answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Kennedy asked where they currently park their vehicles. Mr. Lopez answered there are two vehicles in the garage, two in the driveway, and one in storage.

Ms. Popovic asked if anything else will be stored inside the garage other than the cars. Mr. Lopez answered that lawn equipment will also be stored in the garage.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there is a particular reason the petitioner isn’t trying to add onto the existing garage and maybe put a shed in the back for lawn equipment. Mr. Lopez stated the backyard is vacant; there is nothing back there. That’s why they asked for the garage. And it’s a little more expensive to add to the existing garage than it would be to build a separate garage. Mr. Panczuk stated the ordinance favors attaching the garage.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Lopez was thinking of running the driveway to the east of the garage to the rear. Mr. Lopez stated it would be on the west side. Mr. Aurelio asked if there would be enough room with the setback lines. Mr. Eberly advised the setback regulation for a driveway is 3 feet. Mr. Eberly further advised the setback regulation for detached structures have to be 5 feet off of side and rear property lines; anything attached to the house must be 8 feet off of side and rear property lines.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there is anything in the ordinance that allows for two driveways and if it would be considered two driveways. Mr. Eberly stated there is no prohibition against multiple driveways.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Comment regarding this matter.

Philip Kickert (12065 South Oakwood Drive): I just would like to say that I have no problem with the Lopezes building a separate garage in their backyard.

Larry Beeman (8784 West Oakwood Drive): It doesn’t directly affect me cause we’re further down. But I know most of these people. And you can just look at that map, and already that 6-foot fence is an eyesore. You’re going to have a long driveway to the back of the lot, another building; drainage is a big issue there, seepage. The people who make sump pumps make a fortune in that neighborhood. It’s going to affect the lady to the right, the gentleman to the left, the views.

It – it just makes no sense. Why buy this house? And they’ve already built a gate for the driveway. They’re making a lot of assumptions. Why build – why buy that lot and then want to have parking for five cars? I – I mean two big trucks, two cars in there now. I – it’s just not right. And like I say, it has no effect directly on me. But I know all these people, and they’re as upset as you can get. Enough said.

Barbara Beeman (8784 West Oakwood Drive): Our view isn’t going to be impaired, and we’re not going to see the yard. But this is a 25x35 foot structure. That’s 875 square feet. There’s some little houses in St. John that aren’t that big. And this is on an – on – not on acreage.

We have nice yards. But this isn’t farmland. This is a neighborhood where people raise their children. We have new sidewalks. People use the street. They walk around the block. They walk their dogs. Everyone’s friendly. And everyone really respects everybody else. It’s – we’re like a family, like a 60- or 65-home family. And this is not right. These people just moved here. If they needed room to park five cars, they bought the wrong house.

Bob Hupke (12139 North Oakwood Drive): I live directly north of Baltazar’s property. And I’ve lived there for 41 years and have enjoyed the view in the backyard until he put up the big 6-foot fence all the way around. And one of the nicest things about the neighborhood was we all started with half-acre lots because we had septic systems. And the backyards were huge. You could walk from one end of the neighborhood to the other through the backyards.

And this – the fence inhibits the view, for sure, and tightens up the whole neighborhood. Uh, there’s a thousand watt bulb on every night, all night, in his backyard. And to – to build a huge garage like that in the backyard would further inhibit the openness of the neighborhood. It’s just not – it’s not pleasant to look at now. And I think it’ll be much worse when it – if it gets done. Thank you.

Jim Thiel (12210 South Oakwood Drive): My wife and I have been there since 1963. The – the neighborhood has basically been like a family, you know. You – you know just about everybody in the neighborhood. People walk their dogs. Kids playing in the street. Uh, you know, it’s like just a – a – one big neighborhood. Most of the people know each other. I think, uh, the, uh, the fence is, in my opinion, a visual pollution. It’s a, you know — it, you know, almost glows in the dark. You know, it – it restricts the view in the – in the back. And, uh, I’m totally against this.

You know, for somebody to come in with five vehicles — and who knows what they’re going to use the garage for in the future, you know. Um, there’s been somebody in – has a garage in the neighborhood, said it was going to be just used for storage and, uh, there’s a, a trailer sitting out of it and all sorts of, uh, of trash. So I’m totally against this, uh, garage. Thank you.

Before calling the next individual, Mr. Panczuk advised the audience that this matter is not about the fence. If they would like to talk about the openness, that’s fine; however, nothing can be done about the fence.

Marilyn Thiel (12210 South Oakwood Drive): I’m actually Jim’s wife. Yes, I’ve been there since 1963 also. We were the tenth house in the subdivision. And as everyone has said, our neighbors have spoke clearly about how nice of a friendly neighborhood we have, you know, kids in the street and all this, and it’s really been wonderful, really pleasant. And, yes, I totally – I feel – I know it’s not a best defense. But when somebody does that, you feel they don’t want to be a part of it. They’re hiding something.

Um, I guess we used to have a covenant about stuff like that, and from what I understand this afternoon, I learned that that was expired, unfortunately. Um, but anyway, as far as even putting up that size of a garage and stuff in the back, that’s just ridiculous, in my case. I – I feel – I mean I see on the street where there’s – there’s acreage down 41, you know, 6 acres, 2 acres. Buy there. We’re not country. I – I learned that or was heard that they said they were looking for something in the country. We are not country. We’re not. I mean that’s, to me, you know, get a – go out where you can buy – build a pole barn someplace else, you know. But we really don’t want, so I’m against it also. Okay, and thank you very much.

Ruben Sanchez (12025 South Oakwood Drive): We’ve been there, what, 14 years, I believe, now. And, uh, we moved away from where we moved to get away from this. And now, you know, the garage is going be out in the open area. And everything we had, we loved – we liked it. And now we’re here and everything’s changing. It’s like, if you let him build something that big back there – you know, I realize he needs room for his vehicles. But like the woman said, you bought the wrong house.

I mean, to come in and start making all this change where we’ve been there — these people have been there longer than I have. But I felt like it’s a family thing too, and we just – we just get along and everything goes. And now, if he does it, can I do it? I have the same size, same size lot; I want a bigger shed. Everybody wants something different. But it’s just not right. It’s just wrong.

John Rainwater (8737 North Oakwood Drive): I’ve lived there 53 years. If he builds this monster garage, is it going to be heated, air conditioned, and is it going to have security? What – he’s keeping valuable cars in there. What kind of security is he going to have? Bright lights all around it or dogs or what, you know? It’s not just the garage. There’s a lot of other things that come in to, you know, having this thing.

And, uh, the guy across from me, across from the playground, he was here getting a variance to build a storage garage on the back of his that faces the incoming street. So the first thing when you see, you come in the subdivision, to the left you see his storage garage. And he built a 16-foot driveway, red-colored concrete. I don’t know what the idea was in that. Now he keeps his old junk trailer parked on it. And this old junk trailer’s been parked on the driveway for the last year, year and a half. And then he piles anything that he wants to around the trailer and around the storage garage. And this variance, does it include the right to do all this? No.

And this thing with 100-foot driveway, how many cars can you park on a 100-foot driveway? You can park maybe five or six cars in a row on a 100-foot driveway. So it just snowballs into something that you can’t control. So I – I told him right to his face, I said, “Are you going to run a business out of it?” “No, no, no.” And I said, “Well, if you start running a business” – but I don’t know what he’s doing with his – it sits there all week, some, and he throws junk in it.

And then sometimes on the weekend, he tows it off or someone tows it off. And it’s not only him in there towing this trailer away, and this and that and, uh it’s a – it’s an eyesore. And in order to build the thing, the east side of the storage garage is longer than the west side. It’s – but I don’t know. It’s – but, uh, people can come up with strange ideas. So I don’t know. I – I vote no. Thank you.

Jerome Shallon (12095 South Oakwood Drive): I met Balt when he bought – he moved in. Everybody here has talk about his fence. Mr. Rainwater’s talking about another garage. Um, at one point, I had six cars and two motorcycles at my house. I got a, um, second garage built before the rules were what they are now. Um, it matches my house. Everybody told me how nice it was. Um, I’m told about I have nice cars. I have a nice motorcycle. I don’t think any of my neighbors, my family neighbors, have complained too much.

I’d like to see you give Balt a chance, maybe on the size of the garage, if he could work that with the neighbors. But the fence, the fence went by the rules, from what I understand. If the neighbors don’t like it, maybe the rule should have been changed. But I think he followed the rules on that. Um, and I think they just give him a chance, maybe work on it a little bit more. Thank you.

Desiree Ladewig (12064 North Oakwood): My husband and I moved here three years ago. We picked this community because this little cul-de-sac, because it was quiet. It’s a beautiful place. We don’t have sidewalks for grandkids. That’s okay. They walk in the street. They’re only 6 and 7 – 6 and 8. Most of the times, it’s pretty safe for them. Um, sometimes we have a problem with traffic. That’s not what we’re talking about. I realize.

We moved – we’re a transplant from Illinois. Go ahead, you can make your jokes about taxes and everything. We moved from an area where people were putting in buildings that were taking up their yards. They were putting in extra driveways. We moved here cause St. John was the way it was. Especially at this time of our life; our house was paid for. Not that that’s important, but we moved to this community because it stood for what – it had everything in line. Like you said, certain areas have covenents, other people – everything was – everything was by the book.

We put a pool in this year. We jumped through hoops to get all those things, to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be, that we had it away from here and away from here. And we even talked to our neighbors on each side. “Are you good with this? If you’re not, we’ll – we’ll – whatever we need to do.” We got the okay from our neighbors before we ever came to the village to make our, um, to get our, whatchamacallits, permits. That was the main thing is just coming here.

The neighbors that you have talked to that have spoken tonight, every one of them, in the time we’ve been here, they’ll walk by; they stop. Everybody knows everybody. It’s a really beautiful neighborhood. And it is quiet. I don’t care that somebody put a fence up, but it does chop up the yard. And that’s their – that’s their property. They went by the rules. That’s up to them. I just don’t want to have to say I got to put my house up in a few years cause the same garbage was going on where I lived. I moved from that. I came to St. John because you guys had values. I’d like it to stay that way. Thank you.

Paul Haralovich (12140 South Oakwood Drive): How you doing? I live directly, um, west of, uh, Balt and Cynthia. Um, the fence, it’s – they have a dog, and that’s really not an issue. It’s – it kind of, uh, inhibits the area a little bit. But the large garage and the extra driveways, I think, are a little bit too much. It’s, uh, there’s a quaintness about our area that, you know, I’ve been there for thirty years, which I, you know, really like, and I’d like to keep. And, um, right now with the size of the vehicles, I mean the size of the garage, and maybe with the driveways, I – I’m feeling it’s starting – I’m going to be living next to an industrial park. And that’s not what this place is about. Okay. Thank you.

Christine Estry (8750 West Oakwood Drive): I live just a few houses down from the, um, house we’re talking about. I feel bad that I have to, um, say that I don’t agree with what they’re, um, wanting to put up because we do have such a nice neighborhood. Like everyone has said, everyone is friendly. We walk around, walk our dogs, say hi, get to know people. Um, I’m sure they’re very nice people. But, um, I think it’s just something that’s probably out of place in our nice, quiet, old, neighborhood. And we love our neighborhood. It is nice, old, and quiet. And it seems like this would be really out of place. Thank you.

Joyce McClellan (12060 South Oakwood Drive): I’m, uh, on the east side of the Lopezes. My main concern is with a building that large and the amount of concrete that will go back there, plus the concrete driveway, plus the big concrete pad in the backyard is – I just wonder where all the water is going to go that used to go into that ground. Um, it – I think it could be a really big problem for myself. Plus, our ground does flow down to the other neighbors, and I think that would be a problem for them. Uh, you did mention before that there are detached garages in our neighborhood, but I believe those are not in addition to existing attached garage. I think that that was just the way it was built. The house was built; the garage was built. So, uh, I – I can’t see making a comparison there. Um, I just, uh, like I said, mainly, I’m worried about the water. Thank you.

John Rainwater – additional comment (8737 North Oakwood Drive): With the increase of the traffic around (indiscernible – walking to the microphone) right as you come off of Patterson Street into our subdivision right on the right there is the playground. And there’s kids play there all the time and everything. And I donated that lot to the Town for the playground because I didn’t want someone buying it and building an eyesore that all my neighbors would have to look at forever. So that kind of defeats everything that I was thinking about, but thank you.

Donna Cox (12035 South Oakwood Drive): I’m across the street, um, from that house. I moved in about three years ago. And one of the main reasons why I picked, um, that house in that neighborhood, again, was from the look. Um, the openness, the green. Um, it’s – it’s a very appealing place. And my biggest concern actually is about, um, future property values. Um, not only do people look online at all kinds of stats when they’re buying houses, and things come into consideration, such as how long a house is on the market, etc. So, you know, down the road the alterations that they’ll be making to that property, um, would require, kind of, a special buyer for that. Um, someone who would want that setup is not someone who would normally would want to buy into that neighborhood.

Um, I think what we’re all trying to do is, hopefully, prevent future problems because, well, you know, they may have plans for parking vehicles in it, etc. Now that you have a very large building there at the point in time when they move and someone else sees it and thinks that looks like a great place to open automotive repair shop, things like that because you have the ability to drive vehicles in and out can cause future problems.

Um, it also could, potentially, affect property values because the peoples whose homes overlook that property could, potentially, have difficulty selling their homes because, again, that’s not what people want to look at when they move into a neighborhood like ours. If they have to drop their property values or the asking price in order to sell those in the future — when I would, perhaps, want to sell mine or any of the other neighbors around there would want to sell their houses — people know what these houses went for. You know, why am I asking X amount for mine if the house across the street sold for $15,000 less, you know, that sort of thing. So those are the considerations and the worries that I have for this project. I just wanted to add that.

Mr. Panczuk brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk read the letters of remonstrance from the public into the record and referenced included attachments to letters where applicable.

Letter from Robert and Lauren Ryan, dated May 22, 2018, is attached hereto and made a part thereof as BZA-5-29-2018 Exhibit No. 1.

Letter from Robert Hupke, dated May 15, 2018, is attached hereto and made a part thereof as BZA-5-29-2018 Exhibit No. 2.

Letter from Larry and Barbara Beeman, dated May 20, 2018, is attached hereto and made a part thereof as BZA-5-29-2018 Exhibit No. 3.

Letter from Arlene Pettigrew, dated May 20, 2018, is attached hereto and made a part thereof as BZA-5-29-2018 Exhibit No. 4.

Form Letters from multiple parties, dated from May 22, 2018 through to and including May 26, 2018, are attached hereto and made a part thereof as BZA-5-29-2018 Exhibit Nos. 5-22.

Mr. Eberly advised he has prepared two findings of facts, one for each issue. The variance on the detached garage needs to be acted on first; and then, if the variance is granted, the size of the total square footage of the garages would need to be addressed.

Mr. Lopez stated they are flexible on the garage size and that it does not have to be 35x24 and added that was the maximum size requested.

Ms. Popovic asked if the petitioners would be willing to look at adding to the attached garage as an option. They responded they will have to now.

Mr. Lopez asked if they do apply for an attached garage permit would they have to sit through the whole process again. Mr. Eberly advised they would only have to go through the process again if they exceed 1100 square feet. If they stay within the building limits, they would only need to fill out a permit application.

Mr. Panczuk stated there are two action items: a detached garage variance, and if we deny that, the application for a size variance would be null and void. If the board takes no action on it, the petitioners would not have to wait a year to seek a size variance again.

Mr. Eberly advised if the board defers the matters, the petitioner does not have to advertise again and send letters back out. If the board denies the detached garage and doesn’t act on the size of the garage, then the petitioner will have to advertise for another public hearing because it is completely separate petition.

Mr. Eberly further advised that if the board denies the detached garage and defers the petition for size, the petitioner should be okay without having to advertise again with one caveat, the size petition will have to be addressed at some point and cannot be left open indefinitely.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion for the detached garage. Motion by Mr. Aurelio to deny the petition 2018-0011 for the detached garage: Approval will 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 be affected in a substantially adverse manner; the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Vote by rollcall:
Mr. Aurelio – Aye
Mr. Lareau – Aye
Ms. Popovic – Aye
Mr. Kennedy – Aye
Mr. Panczuk – Aye

Motion is denied 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion for the square footage. Motion to defer the size variance by Ms. Popovic in the matter of 2018-0011 Balt and Cynthia Lopez, 12110 South Oakwood. Seconded by Mr. Kennedy.

Vote by rollcall:
Mr. Aurelio – Aye
Mr. Lareau – Aye
Ms. Popovic – Aye
Mr. Kennedy – Aye
Mr. Panczuk – Aye

Motion is deferred 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Eberly requested the petitioner inform the board what date he will return and appear before the BZA on the deferred matter. Mr. Lopez stated he would be back in June. Mr. Eberly advised the meeting will be June 25, 2018.

Mr. Eberly clarified for those in the audience that the detached garage has been denied. The only variance the petitioners may be seeking would be for a size variance of an attached garage if it exceeds a total of 1100 square feet. If the petitioners choose stay at or under 1100 square feet, they would only need a building permit.

PUBLIC COMMENT

No Public Comment was made.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

06-25-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

June 25, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, June 25, 2018, at 7:02 p.m., and asked everyone to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Michael Aurelio, John Kennedy, Mark Lareau, and Mr. Panczuk. Staff present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director. Absent: Libby Popovic.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to approve the minutes for April 23, 2018 and May 29, 2018 meetings. Motion to approve the minutes for April 23, 2018 and May 29, 2018 meetings by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to defer the minutes in arrears. Motion to defer the remaining minutes, dated 4/24/2017-3/26/2018, by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0011; 12110 S. Oakwood – Variance to Allow an Addition to His Existing Attached Garage in Excess of 1,100 Square Feet (Petitioners: Balt and Cynthia Lopez)
Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is item 2018-0011, a petition by Balt and Cynthia Lopez for 12110 South Oakwood.

Mr. Eberly advised the Lopezes were here last month and their garage size variance was deferred until this evening. They intend to build an addition to their existing attached garage for a total of 1,200 square feet, 100 square feet above the 1,100-square-foot maximum.

Mr. Lopez stated that his drawing shows two possible addition lines, one for the maximum of 1,100 square feet, and another showing the 1,200 square feet if he is granted the size variance for the addition to their attached garage.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the dimensions will be. Mr. Lopez stated the proposed garage will depend on the contractor. He further stated 20 feet deep is proposed, but 22 would be better. Mr. Kennedy asked what the total proposed size of the garage would be with the addition included. Mr. Eberly stated it would be 26x46, the addition of 26x22 added to the existing 26x24 existing garage.

Mr. Kennedy asked if any other entrance points will be added into the garage. Mr. Lopez stated he has access from the street now, and there will be an exit door facing north.

Mr. Lareau asked if it is going to be an access door or a garage door. Mr. Lopez stated it will be a garage door.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for public comment.

Robert Huptke (12139 Oakwood): Good evening. I live directly north of Baltazar. And when I first – we – I was here at the last meeting for the detached garage. And I came back tonight to check on the – the variance for the bigger-sized garage. And it doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal, 100 square feet, in addition to what the Town allows.

My only concern is, would there be a driveway going around to come in those back doors that – that are going to face my house? And will there be additional security lighting that’ll be on all night that, you know, will lighten up the sky and – and do that kind of stuff? I didn’t – I didn’t want it to be a car repair yard. That was my concern.

The size of it doesn’t seem – if the Town allows 1,100 square feet and he’s going to add just another 100 square feet, that doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal. My only concern is it – if there – it doesn’t sound like there’s going to be a driveway going around. He was going to put a driveway on the left hand side. And I – I don’t think that would be appropriate. And my other concern is the lighting. Thank you.

Mr. Eberly advised that the Lopezes are not planning on having anymore driveway space at this time; however, should they decide too, they are entitled to it up to a limit. Residents may have up to 15 percent of their lot size covered with driveways and sidewalks.

Mr. Panczuk brought the matter back to the board for any additional questions or comments. Mr. Panczuk asked if the question regarding the lighting could be answered. Mrs. Lopez responded that the lighting will be exactly as it is currently; when the new garage is built, the lights will be moved to the new back side of the garage.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further questions or comments.

Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion. Motion to approve the variance for a 1200-square-foot garage addition for the Lopezes at 12110 South Oakwood: 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; which is not to exceed 1200 square feet by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

B. 2018-0012; 10608 BAILEY STREET – Variance to Build Two Homes on Two Lots Which Will Not Meet the Minimum House Size Requirement – (Petitioner: Josh Roux)
Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is item 2018-0012, Josh Roux of 10608 Bailey Street.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner. Mr. Eberly stated he has received no remonstrances relative to the petitioner’s request. Mr. Eberly further stated Mr. Roux purchased the property and demolished the original home. The original home and detached garage took up two lots, and Mr. Roux wishes to build two single-family homes, one on each lot.

Mr. Eberly stated the proposed homes will not meet the current house size minimums: One home will be a ranch, which is less than minimum of 1900 square feet. The other proposed home is a two-story home, which is less than minimum of 2400 square feet. This will be new construction in an established neighborhood. Lot 2 is 15,851 square feet; Lot 1 is 13,968 square feet, which is a little undersized for an R-2 lot. The lot sizes are grandfathered.

Mr. Roux wished everyone a good evening. He stated there was a house on the lots that was uninhabitable. Mr. Roux stated he has one of the newest homes in the subdivision, which he build about fifteen years ago. The house he just purchased and demolished has always been an eyesore.

Mr. Roux stated he would like to propose two new homes in Watt’s Artesian Wells. He stated most of the homes in the subdivision are less than 2,000 square feet. The ranch will be 1500 square feet with a two-car garage on a slab with three bedrooms and two bathrooms located on the larger lot.

Mr. Roux stated the two-story home will be about 1600-1650 square feet in size. He stated they have preliminary drawings, but they are holding off their architect until they have the variances. He further stated that while these homes are smaller, they will be some of the largest homes in the neighborhood.

Mr. Eberly brought up the GIS and showed where Mr. Roux proposes to build the houses.

Mr. Panczuk stated he is curious about the basic average size of the lots in the neighborhood. Mr. Roux stated the number 2 lot is the biggest lot on the block.

Mr. Eberly advised the house to the north of the lots Mr. Roux owns is 900 square feet. Mr. Eberly pulled up another neighboring home that is 1,522, which includes the garage. Mr. Roux stated that particular house has a breezeway to it.

Mr. Kennedy asked if they will be spec homes. Mr. Roux stated they will be spec homes.

Mr. Roux stated he is a licensed general contractor in Lake County, Indiana.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there was a way to take the ranch up 400 square feet. Mr. Roux responded the subdivision was developed 50-60 years ago. The new ordinance is more applicable to new development in new subdivisions. What is he is proposing is new development in a very old subdivision.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Roux if he knew a ballpark figure of what he might be able to sell the houses for. Mr. Roux stated that, according to Zillow, 1500 square feet at $140 a square foot for new construction is just over $200,000. He further stated there have been no homes that have sold for over $200,000 in that subdivision.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for public comment on this matter. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk returned the matter to the board.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he understands the reason for the lesser size home in that subdivision. The lots will be nice and spacious and the proposed construction seems to be a reasonable fit for the neighborhood.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there is practical difficulty if he puts a larger home on the lot because he may not be able to sell it. Instead of what are we giving away, the board should look at what is being gained. He is increasing the size of the house on the lot, which is closer to the minimums than what was there.

Mr. Lareau asked if both the houses will be built on a slab. Mr. Roux responded that they would both be on slabs.

Mr. Roux stated he does have to have a soil engineer design the foundation plans. It isn’t the best soil and the foundations need to be built up. K & S Engineering will be who he works with. There is a floodplain there; so if they had a basement, it would be below the floodplain.

Mr. Kennedy expressed concern regarding the 38 percent to 60 percent reduction in the sizes of the houses because there is still room without hitting the side or rear-yard setbacks. . Mr. Panczuk stated he brought in the finances because it becomes part of the practical difficulties to use the property if the ordinance is enforced.

Mr. Eberly stated if the house were pushed back any further on the lot, it gets into Flood Zone A and would require flood insurance. Mr. Panczuk stated it is about as big as it can be without hitting the flood zone or needing a variance for building setback in the front. Mr. Kennedy stated that addressed his concerns.

Mr. Eberly advised that he has prepared Findings of Fact for Lot 1 and a Findings of Fact for Lot 2.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion for Lot 1. Motion to approve Lot 1 of Watt’s Artesian Wells 4th Addition for no less than 1650 square feet: 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 by Mr. Aurelio. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion for Lot 2. Motion to approve Lot 2 of Watt’s Artesian Wells 4th Addition for no less than 1550 square feet: 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. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT

No Public Comment was made.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

07-23-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

July 23, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, July 23, 2018, at 7:03 p.m., and asked everyone to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Michael Aurelio, John Kennedy, Mark Lareau, Libby Popovic, and Mr. Panczuk. Staff present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk advised the first item on the agenda is the Approval of Minutes.

Mr. Eberly advised that he sent the minutes for the January 22, 2018 and June 25, 2018 meetings earlier that afternoon and that Mr. Kennedy was the only one present at the January 22 meeting. They could defer approval of the sets of minutes if the board would prefer.

Mr. Eberly stated that the Town’s attorney has advised that members could vote for the approval of minutes for meetings that they did not physically attend as well as minutes in arrears even if they were not members of the board at that time.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Kennedy if he had time to review the minutes from the January 22 meeting. Mr. Kennedy stated that he has and that they are accurate.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to approve the minutes for January 22, 2018. Motion to approve by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to defer the minutes for June 25, 2018. Motion to defer by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0013; COYNE VETERINARY CENTER, 10801 Wicker Avenue – Several Sign Variances (Petitioner – Shaun O’Brien)
Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the Agenda is item 2018-0013, Coyne Animal Center, 10801 Wicker Avenue. The petitioner is seeking several sign ordinance variances as follows: total square feet of signage, size of monument sign, number of wall signs combined with a freestanding sign, and flashing and/or scrolling LED signage.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner.

Mr. O’Brien, with Landmark Sign Group, is here representing Coyne Veterinary Center. Construction Manager Tim Burke, with RWE, is present with him. They are here seeking several signage variances. They have a combined signage area of 180 square feet, which is more than the 100 square feet allowed.

The monument sign is 68 square feet, which is larger than the 30 square feet allowed. It has a programmable LED electronic message center incorporated into the sign. The sign is 9’8” high by 10’ wide with push-through lettering. The white lettering illuminates at night; the background is opaque, and the cat and dog are a silhouette-style with lighting behind the two animals.

The wall signs will be 50 square feet each with white illuminated lettering; one facing west towards Wicker Avenue and another facing south towards US 231.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the entrance sign constitutes a sign on the building. Mr. Eberly advised that an entrance sign would only require a permit if it is going to be lit due to the electrical wiring, and they are not calculated as part of the signage because it is not advertising.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the site plan was available for review. Mr. Eberly brought the site plan up on the screen.

Mr. Panczuk stated the monument sign is more than double and asked if there is a hardship to warrant the sign being so large. Mr. O’Brien stated that the sign’s location and proximity to the roads will not appear very large with two lanes of traffic each way going more than 50 miles an hour, and he feels it is proportioned properly.

Mr. Panczuk stated that 30-foot signs along Wicker Avenue are amply visible. Mr. O’Brien stated that they had just installed one up the street that was approximately 80 square feet. Mr. Panczuk stated that was a completely different property with a lot more green space around it and that the scale of the sign in relation to the size of the property was a bit more appropriate where this is a smaller property with other small properties in close proximity.

Mr. Panczuk stated he favors wall signage more as it does not obstruct view or diminish the beauty of the drive through town. Mr. O’Brien stated that is true, but they are not as effective as a monument sign.

Mr. Panczuk stated the board generally does not approve LED signs at all, and the exceptions they have made in the last five years were very restrictive such as perhaps allowing 8 square feet of a 30-square-foot monument sign to be LED in one color with no moving, flashing, or scrolling text.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. O’Brien had done the signage for the Crown Point location, and, if so, how large the wall sign is. Mr. O’Brien stated he had, and the wall sign is the same size as the one for this project; however, the monument sign is much smaller than the one in Crown Point.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the property linear footage is on US 41. Mr. O’Brien stated it is nearly 300 linear feet. Mr. Kennedy asked what the linear footage is at Community Healthcare Center. Mr. Eberly stated that Community Healthcare Center is 786 linear feet on US 41, which is more than double Coyne Veterinary Center. Mr. Kennedy asked the size of the monument sign there. Mr. Eberly stated it is approximately 60 square feet.

Mr. O’Brien stated he has seen several LED signs approved in St. John since 2014. Mr. Panczuk stated that is not true. A short discussion regarding locations with LED lighting ensued.

Mr. Panczuk stated that civic use has been given a bit more latitude; however, for business use, it is 8 square feet with only one color, amber. There is some signage that has been grandfathered in. Full color pictures, motion, and distractions are avoided.

Mr. O’Brien stated he did not understand the reason for only one color. Mr. Panczuk stated full-color screens tend to get animated after the meetings are adjourned.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. O’Brien how much area is LED lighting on the monument sign. Mr. O’Brien stated the LED board is 25 square feet. Mr. Eberly asked if that whole area could be changing messages. Mr. O’Brien responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk stated the wall signage is fine, but he would like the monument sign to be greatly reduced in size. Mr. O’Brien stated he tries to do what is best for his client as it is a working tool for their business. Mr. Panczuk stated the board is trying to keep the standards for the beautification of the highway as things develop and redevelop.

Mr. Panczuk stated that, while there are some non-conforming signs that are not spec, the Plan Commission wrote that ordinance; and the BZA is supposed to support it unless there is a hardship. If the wall signage is approved, which is in great excess of our ordinance, it would give plenty of visibility from the highway at normal speeds.

Mr. Eberly stated if they had two wall signs totaling 100 square feet and that is all they had, they could get a permit for that and would not be required to obtain any variances. However, any monument sign, regardless of size, would put them over the 100-square-foot maximum. Ms. Popovic asked if they would need it for the 30-foot sign. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Lareau asked what the total square foot on the wall signage is. Mr. Kennedy stated 100 square feet. Mr. Panczuk stated that 100 square feet is the maximum allowable square footage of all signage. We are giving them an extra wall. Mr. Eberly stated that if a business is going to have a monument sign, it is only allowed one wall sign, and if a business is going to have two wall signs, it would need to eliminate the monument sign.

Mr. Eberly advised that the ordinance does not prohibit LED signs. The signage on the wall signs is LED lighting. Flashing and scrolling signage as well as monument signs capable of doing those functions are prohibited.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. O’Brien what he calls the LED sign. Mr. O’Brien stated it is an electronic message center, EMC. Mr. Eberly stated the assumption is that it will flash and/or scroll, which the ordinance does not allow. Mr. O’Brien stated that is all in how Coyne would program it to function.

Mr. Panczuk stated that with the additional wall sign and the additional size on the wall signs, the monument could be 30 square feet. He further stated, looking at hardship in the Findings of Fact, he is not going to lose business having a 30-square-foot monument sign that conforms. Multiple members concurred.

Mr. O’Brien asked if the board would approve the monument sign if he removed the LED portion of the sign. Mr. Panczuk stated he would like to see the LED removed and it dropped to the 30-square-foot size. Mr. O’Brien stated it is only 43 square feet without the LED portion.

Ms. Popovic asked what size Family Express’ sign is. Mr. Eberly stated the monument sign is 75 square feet, 25 square feet of that is the LED portion of the sign showing the gas prices, which is monochromatic and static.

Mr. Panczuk stated he wanted to go on record as saying he regrets that that was passed. He thinks that was not needed and has seen other gas stations that had 30-square foot signs that are quite effective.

Mr. O’Brien stated, in order to keep the dog and the cat silhouette on the monument sign, he needs a minimum of 40 square feet. Mr. Panczuk stated he could support the monument sign being at 40 square feet plus the scant extra for the animal heads. Multiple members concurred that they like the sign with the cat and dog silhouette.

Ms. Popovic asked if the sign without the LED would accomplish what Dr. Coyne was looking to accomplish. Mr. O’Brien stated he thinks the sign is adequate even though Dr. Coyne did want an LED sign, but a compromise must be made if the board will not allow it. Ms. Popovic asked if it would be better to have a 30-square-foot sign with an LED or the 43-square-foot sign without the LED. Mr. O’Brien stated at 30 square feet an LED sign would not be effective.

Mr. Panczuk opened the topic for Public Hearing. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion for the variances requested.

Motion to approve a 43-square-foot monument sign for Coyne Veterinary Center. 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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to approve two wall signs combined with a free-standing monument sign for Coyne Veterinary Center: 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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to approve total square foot of signage not to exceed 143 total square feet, for two wall signs and a monument sign. 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 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to deny flashing and/or scrolling LED signage for the monument sign at Coyne Veterinary Center: Approval will 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 be affected in a substantially adverse manner; the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will not result in practical difficulties in the use of the property by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. O’Brien thanked the board.

Mr. Panczuk stated before closing the meeting that he wanted to discuss the Family Express sign. He feels that one got away from the board. He also feels that the new Circle K’s 30-square-foot sign in Schererville is quite readable at highway speeds. Ms. Popovic asked if that was on US 30. Mr. Panczuk stated it was. Mr. Lareau asked if that was by the Dairy Bell. Mr. Aurelio stated it is and is at Austin and US 30.

Mr. Panczuk stated he looked at the sign and thought it is completely readable, at about half the size of Family Express’ sign. Mr. Kennedy stated that they also have good signage on the canopy.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has taken note of all the 30-square-foot signs in the town, and they are readable. Mr. Panczuk further stated that he is more lenient on the wall signage because it does not obstruct the beauty of the town.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and asked if anyone would like to speak. Hearing none, he closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 7:46 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

08-27-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
09-24-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

September 24, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, September 24, 2018, 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 members present: Michael Aurelio, John Kennedy, Mark Lareau, Libby Popovic, and Paul Panczuk. Staff present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk advised the first item on the agenda is the Approval of Minutes for the February 26, 2018; March 26, 2018; June 25, 2018; and July 23, 2018 minutes.

Motion to approve the minutes from February 26, 2018; March 26, 2018; June 25, 2018; and July 23, 2018 by Mr. Kennedy Seconded by Mr. Lareau Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0014; BRUCE BOYER – CREW CARWASH, SOUTHEAST CORNER OF US 41 AND 93RD AVENUE – Special Exception and Multiple Variances (Petitioner – Boyer Properties)
Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the Agenda is item 2018-0014, Bruce Boyer and Crew Carwash to be located at the southeast corner of US 41 and 93rd Avenue. The Petitioner is Boyer Properties; and the petitioner is seeking a Special Exception per Chapter 3 Schedule E, to locate a car wash at this location. The Petitioner is also seeking a lot size variance per Chapter 8.4 E.1; a building size variance per Chapter 8.4 F.5; a parking variance per Chapter 8.4 G.2; landscaping per Chapter 8.4 H.1; lighting per Chapter 8.4 I.2; parking per Chapter 12 A.4, B.1, C.1; landscaping per Chapter 13 F.5, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.7, and P.2; and signage per Chapter 15 E.2, E.5 and I.1.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the board will address the requests one at a time. Mr. Panczuk advised the public that Mr. Boyer is addressing more than just a car wash and that some of the variances are applicable to the old Standard Bank building.

Mr. Panczuk turned the floor over to Mr. Boyer.

Mr. Boyer introduced Bill Dahm of Crew Carwash and Scott Hazlett of Boyer Construction. They are here tonight to request a number of variances for the redevelopment of the entire southeast corner of 93rd Avenue and Wicker Avenue, Route 41.

Mr. Eberly advised that the board needs to address an issue with the Notice: All of the letters were postmarked and sent in a timely fashion, both newspapers were published in a timely manner; however, the sign on the property was posted 14 days in advance instead of the 15 required by the Town’s rules. The petitioner is asking that you waive that rule for the posting of the sign on the property.

Mr. Panczuk explained the process and reasoning of waivers on this rule for the edification of the public present.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the shortage of one day was not the petitioner’s fault. Mr. Panczuk stated that Mr. Eberly was out of town, which caused the sign to be a day late.

Motion to waive the strict adherence to the 15-day notice rule on the signage notice for this BZA hearing by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Boyer reviewed the packets he provided to the board.

The existing property is a 4.34-acre parcel that includes an existing two-story office building and an abandoned dental office at the corner, which is only 7 feet off the property line and is a huge problem.

The existing building has approximately 18,000 square feet of rentable space of which only 5700 square feet, approximately, is rented, currently by three tenants. They have owned the property for a little over a year and have had difficulty finding tenants for the building due to the perceived abandoned notion of it. It was vacant for a number of years. The dental office on the corner has also been vacant for a long time.

The first floor is proposed to be redeveloped for restaurant and retail use and maintain the second floor as office space. Mr. Aurelio asked if that is 50/50 split. Mr. Boyer stated it is right now but is subject to change.

He is seeking a variance for outdoor dining in conjunction with the proposed restaurant. It will be located under the existing bank canopy, which will be enlarged.

He showed a rendering of the proposed reconfiguration of the property. The access drive and the circulation to Civic Drive will be changed to eliminate the long U-turn, simplifying access to Civic Drive as per the staff’s request.

Additional parking will be added in the rear of the property as well as adding an additional row of parking in the front of the property. Currently, there are 118 parking spots on the office building portion of the property, and they will increase that to 130 parking spots.

There will be a new entrance at the north end of the office building parcel on Wicker Avenue which is a right-in/right-out entrance because they are showing a median down Wicker Avenue from 93rd Avenue south to the south drive and installing a left-turn lane there to help the traffic flow through that intersection. There is currently no dedicated left-turn lane there.

On the north end of the property, they are proposing a relocated driveway all the way to the east. The layout includes the building known as Nina’s Salon. The plan is to tear down the dental office and Nina’s Salon and reconfigure the entire property.

The proposed car wash is at the north end of the property. The right-turn lane will be installed; however, that driveway approximately 130 feet further east to move it away from the Route 41 intersection.

They plan on maintaining the driveway to Civic Drive and allowing for any other future widening of Route 41 and/or 93rd Avenue.

The proposed Crew Carwash parcel will have stacking for 47 cars; 57 percent more than the stacking that is required which is 30 cars. Stacking is required for five times the number of cars that can be in the car wash at any time. It is a full-service, tunnel car wash with exterior vacuum stations. The wash line is approximately 130 feet long, so six cars can fit in the building at any one time.

The cross access routing allows for access to the Schoop’s property to the south, access to Civic Drive to the east, the new access at the north end of the office building parcel, and a new drive out to 93rd Avenue. There is also a proposed designated no-build area that will be deed restricted to allow for any future expansion of Route 41.

The car wash is set back to the east as far as possible. There is approximately 95 feet between that building and the Route 41 right-of-way.

Mr. Kennedy asked what the distance if the crosshatches on the drawing are 10 feet wide. Mr. Boyer and Mr. Eberly stated that they were.

Mr. Boyer stated that they are meeting all the requirements of the existing Overlay District ordinance for landscaping and parking.

Mr. Boyer provided photos of the existing property and photos of what it would look like with a Crew Carwash building. Mr. Boyer stated that the existing vacant dental office building, Nina’s Salon, and the existing large sign on 93rd Avenue will all be removed and demolished.

With all the buildings in place, they would be at 8 percent coverage where 65 percent is allowed for building-to-land ratio. The intent is to leave a large landscaped area along Route 41.

The Crew Carwash building will be an all-brick structure with architectural metal panels and glass. All materials being used are in compliance with the US 41 Overlay District requirements.

They are asking for four directional signs on the property. They are also requesting a variance for four building signs.

Mr. Boyer reviewed the variance requests.

The following variances are being sought for the existing office building:

To allow for outdoor dining; the ordinance calls that all business use is to be done within the building.

To allow a hair salon; personal services are not a permitted use under the Overlay District.

To allow medical office use; medical office use is not permitted and is actually a prohibited use.

To allow parking in front of the building; parking is not allowed in front of the building. It is an existing building and existing parking lot that will have additional parking added to it.

To allow the existing signage to remain for Orthodontist Specialists and that each tenant in the building be allowed a maximum of 40 square feet per building sign and to allow for signage on the first and second floor. The ordinance states that each business is allowed a sign, but on multiple-tenant buildings it doesn’t specify the total allowable amount of signage, and it also states that all signage must be on the first floor, which doesn’t fit the use of the building, and there is an existing sign already there.

To allow for restaurant use, which is proposed to be on the north end of the first floor where the outdoor dining is, to be allowed to have two building signs: one on the north wall, and one on the west wall.

The following variances are being sought for the car wash parcel:

To allow for a car wash. A car wash use is a permitted use, but it is a Special Exception in the US 41 Overlay District. It is permitted in the underlying C-2 Zoning and the US 231 Overlay District.

To allow an individual lot size of less than 2 acres. The ordinance requires a minimum of 2 acres, which is limiting. They have 2.7 acres for the office parcel and 1.64 acres for the car wash parcel. It is a function of where to draw the property line between the two. If he splits it into an even 2 acres, it won’t provide enough parking for the office building and restaurant use, and that much acreage is not needed for the car wash.

To allow a building size less than 15,000 square feet. The car wash building is approximately 5700 square feet.

To allow for 4 building signs since it is a corner parcel and to allow for one at the rear of the building.

To allow a second monument sign at the 93rd Avenue driveway. One monument sign is allowed per the ordinance, but they would like a second one there to help direct people into that entrance.

Mr. Boyer stated there is confusion with the ordinance and permitted uses, prohibited uses, and Special Exception uses in the Overlay District. They have had a number of meetings with Mr. Eberly and discussed some of the items. Prohibited use, as it is written, are drive-in restaurants, medical offices, schools, parks, and churches. Yet we have allowable uses of hotels and motels and theaters.

The existing office building can’t be used for the intended use of the existing dental office because it is a prohibited use as it sits today.

Mr. Boyer stated that the building of the car wash meets or exceeds all the other requirements of the ordinance: building materials, site lighting, and landscaping requirements. They are improving the traffic with the Route 41 turn lane in the median and the relocation of the 93rd Avenue drive as far east as possible.

They are demolishing the Nina’s Salon building which is a converted residential building. They are demolishing the existing dental office building. They have an existing office building that is 75 percent vacant that they want to redevelop and introduce new uses to it rather than office use with the restaurant and retail use.

The redevelopment is a cohesive redevelopment of 4.3 acres in the town. They are improving the ingress/egress. They are improving traffic congestion. They are providing adequate drainage access and utilities. They have a restaurant basically ready to go, but some of the variances are needed as well as being able to address the entire property. The restaurant use is contingent upon redeveloping the entire parcel and getting rid of the office building at the corner.

Mr. Kennedy asked the redevelopment of the southern lot is contingent on only the demolition of the dental facility. Mr. Boyer responded that it’s contingent on the redevelopment of the north parcel.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is related to a particular use or just a variance. Mr. Boyer replied that it is for the variance of the car wash. They are buying the Nina’s property and tearing down the dental office building. It’s part of the entire redevelopment of the 4 acres.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it the redevelopment of the bank building lot is specifically linked redevelopment of the north lot to include a car wash. Mr. Dahm replied, “Yes.”

Mr. Kennedy asked if any other use could help him redevelop that. Mr. Boyer replied, that they’ve not entertained any other use. They’ve owned the property for over a year and are having limited success renting out space. They have only rented two offices in the office building to INDOT because of their US 41 Improvements. That’s all they’ve been able to accomplish in a year with this property.

Mr. Boyer turned the floor over to Bill Dahm with Crew Carwash to speak regarding the operation and the history of the company.

Mr. Dahm stated that Crew Carwash is a 70-year-old company. His father built the first tunnel car wash in the state of Indiana in 1948 in Fort Wayne. Today, they have third generation in place. Mr. Dahm is the second generation leader. They have 31 locations. They have never closed a car wash, and are truly an industry service leader.

Mr. Dahm stated that they have won a number of awards: The Better Business Bureau has awarded them several times with their Torch Award for being an ethical business. In 2009, the Wall Street Journal gave them an award for “Best Place to Work.”

They really value the people that represent them. They are extremely picky on who they hire. They have a full curriculum of classroom training. Their associates wear uniforms, and they run a tight ship.

All of their properties have underground sprinkling. They cut their grass twice a week. They have flowers. Being in the cleaning business, their image is important to them; so they take great pride on the way their facilities look and in the personnel that represent them.

Mr. Dahm advised that they like to give back to the community. On any given month, they have twenty or thirty not-for-profits that sell their coupons, and they keep half of the proceeds. Last year, over $400,000 went back into the communities they operate in to help not-for-profits. Additionally, they do fund raisers at the car wash. They did a fund raiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and $5,000 went to the folks in Merrillville of $74,000 raised in a weekend. They did the same thing for Gleaners Food Bank and raised $34,000 this year. For Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, they raised over $60,000.

Mr. Dahm stated that they are known for being “clean, fast, and friendly.” They are an impulse-driven business, not a destination business – most people don’t’ leave home just to go to a car wash. They are not a full-service car wash, but they are a car wash that people visit when they are in a hurry and want a quality clean, dry, and shiny exterior, which is a reason that signage is so important.

Mr. Dahm stated that this proposed site is a large site by their standards. To be able to hold 47 cars is really – their average site would be an acre – there is a lot of capacity making the flow really comfortable for the customers. They are pleased that the site plan calls for two ways to enter the property from US 41 and one from 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Dahm stated that he would be happy to answer any questions.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any questions from the board for Mr. Dahm. None were had.

Mr. Panczuk brought the matter back to the board and advised that the board would address the variances and Special Exceptions in an orderly fashion starting with the Special Exception for the car wash. Then they will address the north lot variances and then the south lot variances.

Mr. Panczuk read aloud a brief overview from the US 41 Overlay District for the edification of the public present and addressed some issues raised regarding the Overlay District’s permitted, prohibited, and special uses.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the Overlay District imposes additional requirements above and beyond the C-2 classification. Some uses are prohibited; some are not. Medical uses, he thinks, is a catch they put in there to ensure that we can have some oversight on the type of medical business that might establish here. Perhaps they’re not all created equal. He views the building as office professional space. And in that case, it’s not a prohibited use at this time. He views the entire parcel as being office professional currently and not in a prohibited category and approved.

Mr. Panczuk stated that a Special Exception is a recommendation to the Town Council by the BZA and that they do not make the final decision. However, they make their recommendation based on the findings of fact, and then he read the Special Exception’s findings of fact for the members of the public present.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any questions or discussion on the matter of the Special Exception from the board.

Mr. Kennedy asked if four lanes are needed to operate the stacking area, because in the future, they may need to expand 93rd Avenue; and it looks like it encroaches into the property. Mr. Dahm stated that four lanes is ideal because it gives all that stacking. They have operated with three lanes, but the preference is four lanes.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the no-build area looks sufficient for US 41 but not on 93rd Avenue if four lanes are required to operate.

Mr. Boyer responded that they are providing a turn lane now. He has not spoken with Rick about the future of 93rd Avenue. He believes there is some difficulty expanding to four lanes because of some of the adjacent properties across the street as well as the AT&T building and going farther east here.

Mr. Boyer stated there is adequate room there now. The right-of-way is quite a ways away. He doesn’t believe it would be unreasonable to widen it a bit more and get two lanes in there for 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he has concerns about a future northbound right-turn lane to eastbound 93rd Avenue. He had requested that Mr. Eberly acquire information regarding the intersection and First Group’s traffic study and asked if he was able to get that information.

Mr. Eberly responded that the improvements were more specific to 93rd Avenue as opposed to Wicker Avenue. In the ten-year buildout projected, 93rd Avenue could become a 4-lane road with two lanes coming from the west side of US 41 and continuing towards St. John’s east boundary.

The project, as Mr. Boyer has it, it has a dedicated right-turn lane into the property. There is room to make that two lanes in the eastbound direction. However, that would cause the loss of the dedicated right-turn lane. You would still be able to turn right off of it, but it would be a through lane instead.

Mr. Eberly stated that he believes Mr. Cobb stayed away from US 41 as those are generally not our improvements to make even though we are making some improvements to US 41 as part of another project. And Mr. Boyer has indicated some improvements to US 41 as part of this project; however, it is not to that northbound right-turn lane specifically.

Mr. Boyer stated it is not because they haven’t seen a design of that intersection. They believe there is adequate room now to add a turn lane, but it would be very much up against their current property line. It would also involve completely redoing the traffic signal because it is a string pole right at the corner that would have to be relocated.

Mr. Eberly stated that it would have to be moved to accommodate any widening of the intersection.

Mr. Boyer stated that they are allowing additional property to be acquired if necessary with the no-build area. Mr. Boyer further stated that they could shift their property further south by 10 feet or 12 feet and allow for an additional lane along 93rd Avenue if they would like.

Mr. Kennedy asked where he is in the process with INDOT regarding the right-in/right-out access. Mr. Boyer stated that they have not initiated that yet as they are waiting until their Special Exceptions are addressed.

Mr. Boyer further stated that they will have to go through a platting and a development review plan as part of the process as well. They don’t believe there will be any issue with that driveway considering it can only be a right-in/right-out.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further comments or questions from the board specific to the Special Exception to operate a car wash on that property in the Overlay District. Hearing none, he opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Mr. Panczuk read two letters of remonstrance, one from Jack Slager of Schilling Development and the other from Frank and Dean Schilling.

(The two letters of remonstrance are attached hereto and made a part of thereof as Exhibit Nos. BZA 2018-09-24-1 and BZA 2018-09-24-2 respectively.)

Mr. Panczuk requested that the petitioners, if they have a similar or repeated comment, please be short and state that they agree with someone, which is as good as repeating a remonstrance.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): Mr. Chairman, thank you, and board members. I appreciate for the opportunity to speak tonight. I think it’s unfortunate that this site is an all or nothing proposal, uh, because I really like what Mr. Boyer is proposing for the south half of that development, but not so much on the north half.

Um, and as I looked at the drawings and talked about a right-turn lane on 41 on Wicker, I think that’s got to be a requirement before we do any additional developments that are going to require extra traffic. Um, as I reviewed the developmental standards and the use variances, reviewing Indiana Code 36-7-4-918.4, the fifth one – point was that it also must fit within the Comprehensive Plan.

Um, and as I reviewed that, compared them to the request for this petition, I – I – I see that, number one, it’s really not – not to be injurious to public health, safety, and number two that it would not affect the adjacent area in adverse manner. But I believe that the traffic flow, or at least the lack of it, along 93rd and Wicker would cause this petition to – to fail to meet those criteria, especially in the area that’s surrounding our Fire Department and our Police Department as our first responders and emergency vehicles need to come through there regularly. And with the traffic issues that we already have now, I think a high volume, like a – a – car wash will just make that even worse.

Um, and I look at criteria number three, and I don’t believe the property warrants a special exemption for this high traffic on this property. I think it’s a little bit undersized. And based on our ordinances and also based on the designs of car washes that I’ve seen in other communities. And I looked at the car wash on – on Route 30 in Dyer. Um, that one has three lanes. And each lane is 650 feet long. That’s – we – we don’t – we’re not even talking about half of that. I believe this is a prime parcel location, like the letters mentioned earlier, possibly one of the best locations for retail business that I – I don’t believe that rejecting this application would – would be an unnecessary hardship on the developer either.

Uh, and then finally, as far as the Comprehensive Plan, um, it’s – it’s placed in the Overlay District. And it is very directive – detailed directives. You reviewed the purpose of the 41 Overlay, so I won’t read that again, uh, in – in the essence of time. Um, but I – I think all those things are desirable. But since a car wash in the 41 Overlay District is not permitted, but it requires a special exemption, and since I don’t believe the petitioner has met the five recommendations required to build in the 41 Overlay District, I would ask that this request – that this request be denied. Thank you.

Mark Kleeblatt (10471 Adler Cove): I just agree with everything Gerry said. All Right. Thank you.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): Um, I – I believe your first commission is to protect the safety of the residents of St. John. And this would be not a safe proposal for that corner. There’s no proposed widening of 93rd. The people on the east side of St. John are tired of all of the traffic congestion on 93rd and 41. It is a main thor – it is the main thoroughfare in the Town of St. John.

And I believe that Mr. – Mr. – the owner of Crew would agree that public safety is of the most importance to his building proposal. Um, also, I believe that in our plan that everything has to have full brick or stone; and his building has metal panels. And I don’t believe that is conducive to what we’re asking for in the Town of St. John. And I also agree with the Schillings: It is the most important corner in St. John. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): I guess, basically, as you look at this plan, there’s a few flaws in it. But let’s discuss traffic first and foremost. This is – as the Schillings pointed out and Gerry, and I’ll go along with it -- this is the major corner in St. John. There’s no corner bigger. This is our main thoroughfare for the town. If you all like to drive out there at 3:00, 3:30, and 4:00 in the afternoon, you kind of know what I mean. Don’t you?

Now, what we’re going to do is we’re going to put a car wash in there. And you just heard this gentleman sitting here and he basically said we want fast, efficient, in-and-out service cause that’s what they live for. Now, let’s imagine, let’s just put on our thinking caps and imagine in a beautiful day in January when it’s 40 degrees for one day after it’s been 20 below zero and everybody wants to get the garbage washed off their car, what are they going to do? They’re going to go to this car wash.

Now, how many car washes have you seen in St. John, like across from Lake Central. where they start lining up on 41 because there’s no room inside? Now, where are they going to line up? They’re going to start lining up down 41. No. They’re going to create a safety problem like you can’t believe. What are they going to do on 93rd? They’ve got a take a left turn off of 93rd going northbound in order to get into this car wash. It can’t happen. You’re going to have accidents galore.

Let’s talk about right-turn in, right-turn out. You’re going to have people – because I’m in the intersection where on 93rd and Patterson right behind the Walgreens, big line – big sign says, “No left turn.” I bet you I’m in that intersection two or three times a week when I see people ignore that sign and sit and turn left in front of people.

What do you think’s going to happen here at this car wash? Do you think people going north on 93rd who want to get in the car wash aren’t going to try and cut across traffic heading east? Do you think people coming out of that car wash are going to right turn only? No. They’re going to try and turn across traffic. And what’s going to happen? You’re going to have problems.

So, therefore, we’re going to have accidents. And then what happens when all these people are lined up for a car wash and they call out our fire trucks? Where are our fire trucks going to go? How are they going to get through an intersection that’s completely tied up because of this car wash?

The man said fast, efficient service. That’s great. Everybody loves a 5-minute car wash. Where are all these cars going to go? Where are the cars going to go that are vacuuming them? They’re going to start backing up because people are going to want to vacuum their cars. Where are these cars going to go? They’re showing four lanes there, and they’re saying there’s 47 cars in there.

When was the last time you pulled up on somebody’s bumper when you pulled up to a stop sign or when you pulled up to a stop light? When was the last time you took your 18-foot car and put it 6 inches away from the car in front of you? So, therefore, that 130 feet they’re saying are going to hold this many cars, they’re not. I would suggest that Crew – would love to have the car wash in town, but why don’t you take it somewhere else. This is the busiest corner in St. John, and we can’t allow this to happen there. Thank you.

Debbie Abel (7402 W 91st Place): My husband and I moved from Sun Meadows on the west side of 41 to Tiburon subdivision on the east side, which I’m finding out now is a big mistake. I have appointments on the west side of 41. My doctor’s here; my hairdresser’s here. It takes me at least 45 minutes on a good day to get to the west side from 93rd. That traffic light right here on 93rd and 41, I’ve sat through that maybe four times before I’ve gotten to go through. And like Bryan said, emergency vehicles, you know, a car wash is just not a good idea. I agree with all these guys. Thank you.

John Berenc (13985 West 94th Court): What – what these people are saying is correct. I know what guys these want to do. They’re businessmen. I understand that. But at the same time, when we’re not addresses, we build umpteen subdivisions down 93rd. We got the Preserves on White Oak with 470 homes. We’ve got another subdivision going down by “Timberlane.” The lady that lives down there. Another one going on there, so the traffic in this area has got a lot to be desired.

So the guy who said we make a left-hand turn off of Patterson on 93rd, I’ve seen that. It’s crazy. As a matter of fact, you know, Joliet is also a bottleneck in this co – this town. My wife, on Easter, was going to the store. Right-hand lane next to the curb, lady couldn’t wait for a left-hand turn to go on Joliet, so she whips out; her car got creamed on the side.

So we can’t put much more traffic where we’re at. We got to do something with the infrastructure of this town. And if we don’t start addressing that – we’re building all these subdivisions – these people are going to get their front lawns whacked off while you finally make a decision to widen the roads. If you look at 93rd and the S-curve and where somebody hit that one telephone post, that’s sitting on that east side of that road. That’s my – my statement.

Judy Naillon (9904 Hickory Lane): I will be brief. But I will say that what the Schillings wrote in that letter is very accurate. We don’t want a car wash as a centerpiece of St. John. And that particular corner is nothing but headaches now as far as traffic is concerned and potential accidents. And we should have something better for St. John than a car wash at that intersection. And so I agree with what has been said today in opposition, and I add my opposition to it that. It’s not a good idea. And I say that.

Mary Therese Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): Good evening. Um, I must say I agree with everyone prior to my coming up here. And I had something to say, but I’m not going to – the gentleman from Crew said it for us. Impulse. We don’t have enough problems with 93rd and the traffic, and you want someone going to a destination on an impulse? We’re talking accident after accident. Oh, I’m going to go to the car wash. He said it. It’s impulse. And if the property’s such a problem for Mr. Boyer, maybe for what St. John’s done for Mr. Boyer, he could dedicate it to the Town. We can make a park. Thank you.

Dale Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): Hasn’t the Town of St. John done enough for Mr. Boyer? If you think about it, you got that mall, 96th street. State of Indiana informed us that St. John turned down their improvements from 97th to 93rd because St. John was going to take care of it. Why? Is it because of the new mall? I don’t know. Is the Town going to pay for the traffic light? I assume they are, the development there. Now you want to put a car wash in that’s going to cause a traffic jam. That is not the place for a car wash. It can go down the street. And I feel it’s a threat that somebody says if I don’t get this certain part, I am not going to do any of it. That’s a threat.

Phillip Roach (10732 Manor Drive): I agree with everyone, everything everyone else said. And then I also wanted to add that, um, I put a post for a poll on the neighbor app that got 207 votes on the poll, and then I believe 93 percent said no to the proposal for the car wash and 6 percent said yes to it. And I understand that these people aren’t here at the meeting today, but eventually or down the road, these are also concerned citizens of St. John’s beliefs on this proposal, this car wash. And, uh, I just feel like it, uh, eventually should be considered more. I don’t know how much you guys consider it now, but in the future because not everyone can make it to these meetings and spend, you know, hour or two hours here, however long it takes. But this is more of a modern time now, and everything’s on the Internet. And that’s all I would like to add.

Rita Berg (10351 Joliet Street): I’ve only got one, or I should say two other comments. One is we could certainly use a car wash in St. John, but please pick another spot. Um, we got plenty of room south of the town and where everything new is going to be built. Let’s put it down there someplace. The second thing that really concerns me is my usual grandmother thing: What about the safety of the kids on that block and the church stuff and all that whole corner. They want to just put stuff in there that’s going to, to me, impede the buses again, and the whole nine yards, and our ambulances, etc. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I was impressed with what Mr. – the owner of Crew said. But it’s certainly the wrong place. We have an abandoned car wash already on 41 that’s for sale. The sign’s still there. Uh, I think if he went there, he could probably outbid Mr. Boyer, who probably has some contingency on that thing. That would be a better place for the car wash away from this intersection.

The real problem here is you all took an oath to support the Indiana Constitution, the State Laws, and the Ordinances of the Town. You have your Findings of Fact. There’s no hardship here. If there’s a hardship, Mr. Boyer bought a pig in a poke and he can’t rent it out to recover his money. So he’s going to try and put anything there; and then when he says if you don’t take that car wash, I’m not doing the other lipstick I’m putting on the other building. He’s trying to tease you with a – a restaurant and lipstick and nice drawings. He does a great presentation.

But the bottom line is, it’s not good for the people in town. It’s not good for the health, safety, and welfare of the town. If you’re going to come out of that car wash, you’re going to have to go left on 93rd. No, you can’t go that way because there’ll be a string of cars that’ll prevent that. If you go right – but let’s say you came from the south side of town, how are you going to get back to the south side of town? You’re going to have to go down Civic Drive to the Post Office and then come out some crazy opening out of a shopping center. Where is the ultimate traffic plan? If you’re – if you’re going to – if you came from north, okay, you’re going to have the same problem. If there’s a train, everybody knows what happens when there’s a train on 93rd. It backs up all the way to 41 and then it backs up all the way west of 41.

I incorporate all the other comments that were made here tonight including the letter remonstrances. These are people remonstrating against a guy who’s trying to bail himself out and sell that corner to somebody and make money. But he’s going to violate the overlay plan and all the other health, safety, and welfare issues that come up.

It’s all about traffic at that intersection. What’s really – look to the future, look past your lifetime. 41 at some point is going to be six lanes all the way from Cedar Lake to the expressway, to 294 – 80/94. This corner is going to be squished out. And 93rd, ultimately, has to be widened; it has to be widened. And if you look at the east side of town, if there’s a train on 93rd, the Fire Department, the only access they got to the east side of town is they got to come down 93rd, go south all the way to 231 to get to the east side of town when that train is stopped there.

Anything that increases the traffic impact on this corner, like this is going to do, it – it violates health, safety, and welfare. We got the problem right now. This was compound it. And so incorporating all of those previous comments in – in my remonstrance, I think what we got to do is stick by what – what the plans, the overlay plans, the master plan of the town is and there – there’s no – it doesn’t meet the elements that you recited at the beginning. It is going to affect the health, safety, and welfare of the town. It’s – it’s undoubtable.

The one thing that wasn’t even addressed here is how much water are these guys going to use a day? What’s the impact on our water supply? Okay. And the bottom line is I don’t think we know all the collateral and hidden impacts of this car wash. We see the surface ones. So basically – I’ll sum it all up – you got your Findings of Fact. I think you should reject this thing based on making all the will or will nots that go to rejecting this plan.

All these people didn’t come here for fun. Okay. And so you heard their – your – their concerns, and they’re all very similar. And the other – the other thing is this: I do not think that you should be waiving public notice. The rationale that there’s a lot of people here, there’s also people that could have missed it; because in order to come here, people see that sign. All right. And if you take 1/15 of the people that could have seen it, there would have been more people here. You would have got more opinions and more remonstrances. Once you start waiving public notice, you have to do that for everybody. And for whatever crappy reason I heard here tonight – the guy’s out of town or this, that doesn’t count; it’s the developers responsibility, put that sign there.

You should never, never violate public notice with that sign on the property, because everybody is entitled by your rules and ordinances to see it. And you do not have the authority because you’re cheating people in town from participating in this meeting, even if it’s one person. But the main thing is health, safety, welfare in all of those things on the Findings of Fact that should cause you to stand up and do what you were sworn in to do and reject this thing. Thank you.

Laura Huizenga (11050 W 93rd Avenue): I’m going to be right in the heart of this, um, with the traffic, cause it’s already really bad. Um, so that’s basically why I’m here. I agree with everyone – all you guys – because safety is so important with the – the police and the fire department and just the traffic. It is – it’s a nightmare trying to – for the buses. So I’m going to say, I would go – I vote against it, but – or I oppose it, I should say.

John Clark (11120 W 93rd Avenue): My name is John Clark, the grandson of Hal Clark Middle School. My grandparents came here years ago. (Mr. Panczuk asked him to state his address. He gave his address and continued as follows.) Which is directly behind Hearth and Home; and I, as well as that young lady there, am directly affected by this.

Years ago, probably ten years ago, I’ve already given up frontage; 93rd is almost on my porch. I’m afraid, as this traffic goes, we’re going to then reconsider and need more frontage. The more you go, you’re going to be in my house, sooner than later. Because I doubt that a business is going to reconfigure theirs before a small person is going to reconfigure their house, and my house will be gone. It’ll be gone by eminent domain. I don’t see how we can take this and add – take this property and add more traffic, more noise.

And if we have a restaurant, are we going to sell alcohol to where there’s going to be more risk? Judgment may be swayed, moving in and out of a traffic jam already. I also have to ask, more signage, are we going to have illumination? Because if so, it’s going to come in right in my front window.

I – I didn’t hear. Are we increasing – I heard where we’re increasing signage. But is it increasing lumens? Do we have an answer? If I looked correctly, car washes don’t close until – Crew Carwashes don’t close until 9:00. Traffic, right now, kind of ceases, probably 4:00 or 5:00 at that corner. We’re going to increase it longer during the day. I don’t see how we can support this, not at all. Thank you.

Ed Miller (8445 Wicker Avenue): I’m owner of Hands-on Premium Car Wash, St. John. We’ve been in town for ten years. We’ve donated a lot to the community around here. This would be the seventh car wash within a 6-mile radius. I mean, I don’t know why the Town’s so gung ho on shoe-horning this in. Before, it was going to be a Special K or a Circle K that was going to go in there, I think last time.

(Mr. Panczuk clarified that it’s not the Town that is proposing things, but the BZA does have to hear petitioners’ proposals.)

I understand that; I understand. I know, and I’ve seen a lot of you around. And I’m just saying, like Mr. Schilling – I mean Frank – I’ve known Frank for ten years. And when I heard that he was against this with Dean for the reasons, I just wanted to support them as well and say I honestly – I mean, this gentleman run – wants to run a business. I get that. But, I mean there’s – you got a car wash on the corner of 30. You got us across from Lake Central. You’ve got, between the gas stations, car washes along the way.

I mean, I’m just saying, I think you’re starting to over-pack, condense. And if you think that that is – isn’t going to cause a problem with the stacking onto the road and everything like that, then you’re setting yourself up because, been doing it for ten years, and I can tell you – and if you’ve seen our property, we got a lot of property to stack cars; and we still, on the busiest days in the winter, can get some out onto 41. And we’ve got four lanes to go to the back. So I’m just telling you, just be careful is all I’m saying. Thank you very much.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): Mr. “Bower,” you are a resident here and – at least your businesses are in St. John. I’m proud of what you’ve done, your reputation. Crew Carwash, good people. I’m familiar with you guys, your reputation.

I have to tell you, I hope you become a neighbor of ours, but not here. This is just not the right location. It looks almost like it was force fit, and, uh, I agree with all of the folks. Again, not to diminish the project itself, but the location of this project is not optimum, and I believe there are much better uses for this facility.

I understand this is your land and your project and – and you have, certainly, the right to look at all of the options, but this particular one is in the wrong spot. Thank you. And we would like to see you as neighbors.

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

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Boyer to clarify if the number of stacking lanes for vehicles is three or four. Mr. Boyer responded that it is four lanes.

Mr. Panczuk advised the board that the two homes on 93rd Avenue are between Hometown Appliances and Thiel Street, so they would be directly affected by this project.

Mr. Panczuk further advised the board that the Special Exception has nothing to do with the restaurant or the property as a whole and asked for any questions or comments from the board.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Boyer how much space is in between the sidewalk, right-turn lane and the new property line. Mr. Boyer stated that they haven’t gotten that far on the engineering as that would be part of the plat process in the engineering review. However, he is willing to provide enough right-of-way on 93rd Avenue for future expansion, including a sidewalk in the appropriate location per the staff and the engineering.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the egress being proposed will allow for a second eastbound through lane with a right-turn lane heading into the site. Mr. Boyer stated that it could and that he is willing to shift the property line and shift the entire building and the parking and the stacking lanes further south to accommodate that.

Mr. Boyer stated that one of the biggest issues of remonstrance is the traffic, and they are willing to shift the property and provide adequate right-of-way for the widening of US 41 and the widening of 93rd Avenue.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Eberly about the plans for adding an additional lane to 93rd Avenue and what year of a ten-year plan we are currently in. Mr. Eberly advised that we are in the first year. He further advised that the current traffic conditions are high enough to require three lanes from the west end of town to Blaine Street, and in the ten-year buildout plan, it is proposed to be four lanes.

Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Boyer offered to provide another 20 feet of right-of-way on 93rd Avenue. The widening of 93rd Avenue has been talked about going back to the late 80s, and it would require taking a lot of folks’ homes and some businesses in order to do so.

Ms. Popovic stated that, conceivably, anything going in that corner could increase traffic irrespective of a car wash. Mr. Eberly responded that the plan is irrespective of any business going in on that corner.

Mr. Panczuk stated that Crew Carwash looks like a fantastic business. His concerns are traffic count that a car wash would bring in and that stacking could be a concern if even one car backs up on 93rd or a car to turn left into the establishment that is blocking traffic. Car-service-based businesses create a higher traffic volume than the professional center or restaurant would.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is further concerned about the corner and the aesthetics of the town and that car-related services require a Special Exception variance on US 41. The intersection of 93rd Avenue and US 41 is a historic corner of town with the church across the street as well as the cemetery, and a business that is a car-related service could impact that and may not be the right fit. Mr. Panczuk further stated that Crew Carwash would be excellent in our town, but on this corner, it seems that it would be a detriment to the safety of the town due to all the in and out traffic it would create.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there are still opportunities for Mr. Boyer, without hardship, that might take a little more work to develop the property to a use with a lower traffic count in and out and with longer duration of staying. He stated he could think of several uses, and the property is not unusable; however, to approve a car-related service creating those movements, he has an issue with that. Mr. Lareau concurred.

Mr. Aurelio stated that Crew Carwash is a well-run business and represent themselves well. He would love to have them in town, but he is concerned about having it in that area with the traffic.

Mr. Boyer responded that they have done everything they can to improve traffic flow at that intersection. They have 57 percent more stacking than required by the ordinance and could probably stack another 25 cars. They have two and half times more than the minimum that is required.

Mr. Panczuk complimented Mr. Boyer on the site plan layout and said that the plan, on a whole, is excellent and a drastic improvement over what is there. He stated that it is not so much the flow of traffic but the count.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion to include the Findings of Fact.

Motion by Mr. Lareau to send an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council for the Crew Carwash Special Exception per the Findings of Fact as follows:

1. 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;
2. That the Special Exception will 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 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 not, 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. Aurelio.

Motion by roll-call vote:

Mr. Aurelio Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Boyer if he would like to proceed with the variances for the car wash or if he would prefer to defer those variances until after the Town Council makes their decision.

Mr. Eberly explained the differences and reasons for either deferring or proceeding with variances contingent upon the Town Council's decision, which is the final decision on any Special Exception. Mr. Boyer opted to defer taking action on the variances requested for the car wash until after the Town Council renders its decision on the Special Exception request.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to defer the variance related to the car wash allowing a lot size less than 2 acres, building size of less than 15,000 square feet, additional interior directional signs, building signs, and the second monument sign at 93rd Avenue driveway.

Motion to defer by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries by voice vote 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk advised that there are five variances specific to the professional building, and they will address them individually.

Mr. Eberly advised that the variances include a Special Exception to allow for personal services, the Use Variance for the medical office which is prohibited in the Overlay District, and the balance are Development Standards. Mr. Eberly further advised that on a Special Exception or a Use Variance, those are recommendations to the Town Council who then makes the final decision.

Mr. Panczuk asked if everything north of the professional building will be inaccessible by car. Mr. Boyer confirmed the same.

Mr. Panczuk asked the board for any questions or comments upon the variance for outdoor dining.

Mr. Lareau asked, if a different business owner takes over and wants to make the area a bar instead of just outdoor dining, how we can prevent that from happening. Mr. Boyer stated that it can be clarified, but it is a restaurant with outdoor dining which is an allowable use.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Boyer to clarify the address for the multitenant building. Mr. Boyer responded that the actual address is 9321 Wicker Avenue.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing on the outdoor dining in conjunction with the restaurant variance request only.

Joe Hero (11723 S. Oakridge Drive): I think if you approve the outdoor driving, or dining, that it be required and contingent on making the road improvements around that whole building connecting to Civic Drive, a straight line and making that a public road instead of doing everything piecemeal and then in the end you don't know what's going to happen, if they'll ever make the road improvements.

By breaking this up into all these little pieces, you don't know what the outcome's going to be. So if you approve the outdoor dining, you should make it contingent on making the road improvements within his property, because you'll still have to have access to the dining. You'll still have that confusing wiggle in the back, and all that other stuff. But I ask you make it contingent on making that access from 41 to Civic Drive a public road and that improvement be done right away. Thank you.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was anyone else wishing to speak. Hearing none, he brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he personally feels it's good for the town and follows what is outlined in the Comprehensive Plan that residents are desiring. It's a great addition and the type of business that we do want on US 41 and that it will be a classy restaurant.

Mr. Lareau agreed with Mr. Panczuk and feels it would make a great addition to our town. He feels that making the road improvements, as suggested by Mr. Hero, in tandem with the project would be great idea as well.

Mr. Panczuk stated he would support a condition of site plan, minus the car wash, as viewed tonight if they would choose to make a condition on some of these and bind it together.

Mr. Boyer stated that for him to do all of that work for the benefit of one existing tenant in an existing location would be a tremendous hardship.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly if there were a circulation problem on the site, if it would be handled at the Plan Commission. Mr. Eberly responded that this would go for site plan approval before the Plan Commission, and it may or may not go to subdivision platting. This may stay platted as it is depending on what happens with the Special Exception. Mr. Boyer stated that they are not changing any physical attributes to the office building parcel, so there would be no site plan review. They are simply asking for use of the existing building.

Mr. Panczuk stated that approving the patio for outdoor dining would get redevelopment of this area going, which would facilitate the future redevelopment of that corner. The low impact of a restaurant would not impact the traffic as much and will start the improvement of the building and look of it.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he is not concerned as much about the circulation improvements, but he is concerned that he will not make any improvements to the existing site that is currently a drive-through. He is concerned that no cars can transverse and impede that area. Mr. Boyer stated that if the outdoor dining is approved, that drive-through bank teller area goes away.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the outdoor dining area at the facility per the Findings of Fact as follows:

1. That the 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 Ms. Popovic.

Motion by roll-call vote:

Mr. Aurelio Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk advised that the next variance they will discuss is the variance for the salon. Mr. Eberly advised that it will be a Special Exception request to allow the salon to operate.

Mr. Boyer stated that they are trying to clarify an ordinance that is ambiguous by nature. You even said that you would consider a medical office to be a professional office; yet it is prohibited.

Mr. Boyer stated that "personal services" is a wide-open category and is unclear as to what is prohibited. Mr. Panczuk stated that there is a dark side where some of these things can go and is usually permitted on a case-by-case basis. Something like a legitimate doctor's office is not a problem or a salon is usually not a problem. It is hard to give an open end and is better reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Mr. Boyer asked why don't they strike personal services and say salon and medical uses, which would work for him. Mr. Lareau stated that medical use can be ambiguous as well. Mr. Panczuk concurred. Mr. Panczuk stated that it is usually on a case-by-case basis and not left open-ended so that the public can have a chance to speak on each individual medical use or salon.

Mr. Boyer responded that he is not sure how to answer that. Mr. Boyer stated that a doctor or dentist or chiropractor is considered a professional, which is a permitted use. Medical use is excluded when hospitals and health centers are allowed, and asked the board to explain that to him.

Mr. Eberly stated that the US 41 Overlay District does allow a hospital but doesn’t allow a medical office, and it makes no sense to him either. Mr. Panczuk stated that the Plan Commission needs to clean up the ordinance and that he is a member of the Plan Commission. Mr. Panczuk stated that there is essentially a medical corridor on one side of US 41.

Mr. Eberly stated that most of the medical buildings predate the implementation of the US 41 Overlay District; however, the lists of uses are very confusing. He further stated that he doesn’t know how a hospital can be allowed and medical offices are not allowed.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Boyer is here seeking a Use Variance for medical uses in that building and a Special Exception for personal service uses. Mr. Eberly further advised that Mr. Boyer has made the personal service use specific to a salon. Mr. Eberly stated that the use variance has statutory Findings of Fact and the Special Exception is a list of Findings of Fact.

Mr. Panczuk asked for clarification on the chart of uses. Mr. Eberly advised that a blank space on the chart indicates a prohibited use, the SE indicates a Special Exception, and a P indicates a permitted use.

Mr. Panczuk advised that they will take the personal service special exception request first. He asked if the board had any further questions or comments on the same.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Panczuk to confirm that we are limiting this to a salon. Mr. Panczuk confirmed the same.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): The way I think you should approach this, because of the confusion and you don't want open up personal services to massage parlor, whatever you may not want. I would – you already have an orthodontist there. What you should do is approve that and get that legal. And if he has a client that is going to be a hair salon or whatever, that should be a separate approval. You shouldn't just go by general classifications.

When there's a car lot just down the street from 93rd – and years ago that used to be a gas station. And they came to the BZA to get approved to sell cars because it was a different type of business. So what you have to do is treat each business individually even though it sounds like it's tedious. But if you approve a general classification, you don't know what you're going to get. So I would go – my – my opinion is go approve the orthodontist. It's already there.

And if he has a salon client, let him explain what that person's going to do and approve that one. And then as the new ones come, come here, it's not that big a deal and get them approved one at a time. That's the only way you'll know what you're doing because of the confusion in the ordinance. You have to look at the existing facts as they come. Thank you.

Mr. Eberly advised that no action required on the existing orthodontist’s office that is grandfathered in. The approval will be for any future medical office.

Mr. Hero spoke from his seat in the audience asked Mr. Eberly if he was an attorney for the BZA. Mr. Eberly responded, "No. Are you, Mr. Hero?"

Mr. Panczuk informed Mr. Hero that Mr. Eberly is just explaining that the orthodontist’s office is grandfathered in and that he was already aware of that fact.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): Uh, I would think that you could stipulate that the physicians were state licensed or the beauticians were state licensed. Because if there was any problem, you could go to the state and they would pull their license. That's just my input, a licensed medical doctor or a licensed beautician.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was anyone else who wanted to speak regarding this particular matter. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing for the Special Exception for a salon and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there are two separate issues, the personal services and the medical office. He believes the ordinance should be revised and has no problem approving medical office use in this building. The personal services is a little too open-ended. He feels it's easy to bring in a business owner, so the Town Council has the chance to meet the business owner and understand what they're doing. If we approve personal services, it's too difficult to put stipulations on exactly what's happening there and who’s doing it.

Ms. Popovic stated that the personal services business was just specified to be a salon. Mr. Panczuk stated that what a salon is considered can be too broad as well. Ms. Popovic said she believes it is narrow enough. Mr. Panczuk stated he just wants to be sure and have petitioners come in front of the BZA for approval.

Mr. Boyer stated that that is not an easy process when he has to do public notices, post a sign, give 30-day notice and come and sit here for three hours. Mr. Panczuk stated it wouldn’t usually be three hours. Mr. Boyer asked if there is a definition of “salon” in the ordinance. Mr. Eberly advised that there is a definition of personal service, but it is open-ended.

Mr. Eberly advised that it states that it is “Any establishment for the provision of personal services directly to the consumer at the site of the business or which receives from or returns to the consumers goods that have been treated or processed at another location, this includes but is not limited to: shoe repair, watch repair, barbershops, beauty parlors, interior design studios,” and more. It is not all-inclusive and does not specifically say salons or give a specific definition of salon.

Mr. Boyer stated that there is no specific category in the ordinance to deal with a hair salon and asked if that would fall under a professional office. Mr. Panczuk stated he believes Mr. Eberly said barbershop. Mr. Eberly confirmed that he had stated barbershop and beauty parlor.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he believes beauty parlor would be a hair salon in his opinion. He stated he would be willing to consider approving a barbershop/beauty parlor and stay away from personal services.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly to repeat the list. Mr. Eberly read the list and stated that there is inconsistency within the list itself because it allows for retail establishments but does not allow personal services; and a beauty shop and a barbershop are retail establishments.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion for a personal services Special Exception variance conditional on it being only a barbershop/salon/beauty parlor.

Motion by Mr. Lareau to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for a Special Exception per the Findings of Fact as follows:

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.

With the contingency that the Special Exception variance be specifically for a barbershop or beauty salon only. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio.

Motion by roll-call vote:

Mr. Aurelio Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk advised that they will consider the medical office next. Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see the building filled up and that medical offices are low traffic and offer great jobs.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing regarding Use Variance to allow medical uses in the building such as doctors’ offices and the like.

John Clark (11120 W 93rd Avenue): Again, I have to apologize. I am not prepared. I wasn't given adequate notice. And when I did call the surveyor who distributed, they told me – cause I asked – just faxed me a copy because I got the notice saying that I needed a certified mail and I had to pick it up and I couldn't get it. I said can you please just fax me. And the – I met with resistance of, “It’ll take me hours to find this, the engineer who’s developing whatever project it is associated with St. John.”

So I had in -- through another call and another call had found out that this was going to happen today. So I may sound uneducated and I apologize for that. But I am. So what I would ask is that, because of the Catholic Church, that there be some kind of stipulation in the definition of medical field to where it is limited to a local anesthetic and not broad-based. Because when you open up to any type of medical profession, it could cause a difference between the beliefs of the Catholic church, which is across the street, and what is going in as a business. So if you would take that and say that we can have a medical professional but we will limit their services to nothing beyond local anesthetics. Thank you.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was anyone else who wanted to speak regarding this particular matter. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing for the Use Variance allowing medical use and brought the matter back to the board.

Ms. Popovic stated that she believes it has already been gone through. Mr. Aurelio stated that what Mr. Clark brought up is important because we don’t want Planned Parenthood in there or – within the confines of the law – that would be a long stipulation.

Mr. Panczuk stated that we allow hospitals where anything can happen, so to be consistent in our ordinance, it is better to grant a Special Exception. Ms. Popovic recommend having separation of church and state.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would entertain a motion.

Motion by Mr. Aurelio to allow the Use Variance to allow for medical use at the property per the Findings of Fact as follows:

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.

Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Motion by roll-call vote:

Mr. Aurelio Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk advised that they will address the variance request requesting parking in front of the building.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Boyer if he plans to install the additional parking. Mr. Boyer responded that he would like the option to do that.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Boyer if he would like to defer that request or for the board to hear the request. Mr. Panczuk stated that if they hear the request now, they may specify how many spaces they will allow, and he may desire more than that when he does his site plan. Mr. Boyer responded that he will defer the matter.

Mr. Panczuk advised that they will address the signage variance request.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Boyer if he is taking down the big sign on US 41. Mr. Boyer stated that he is not taking that existing sign down. It is a legal, non-conforming use, and he is going to use it.

Mr. Kennedy stated that it was a Standard Bank sign that predates the ordinance.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the dimensions are of that sign. Mr. Boyer responded that he is not sure of the actual measurements offhand.

Mr. Kennedy asked if he had the one on 93rd Avenue as well. Mr. Boyer responded he does have the one on 93rd Avenue also.

Ms. Popovic asked if it lists the tenants. Mr. Boyer confirmed the same.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly if he would have to keep it the same size and location. Mr. Boyer stated that they have to keep it the same size, and that they are allowed to change the names. No structural changes can be made. Mr. Eberly confirmed that Mr. Boyer was correct.

Mr. Lareau asked if it is reasonable to address the sign issue without knowing more specific details about what the sign is. Mr. Panczuk explained that he has a legal nonconforming sign currently and he is asking for additional wall signage of 40 square-foot tenant signs, eight in total, and also for the restaurant to have an additional sign on the north end of the building of 40 square feet.

Mr. Boyer stated that 30 square feet per tenant is allowed, and they are asking for 40 square feet due to the setback of the building from US 41. Mr. Panczuk asked if he is asking for an additional sign on the north side as well. Mr. Boyer responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Panczuk asked what type of signs would be on the building. Mr. Boyer stated that they would be channel-letter signs. The drawing shows signage boxes for signage area placement only.

Mr. Panczuk asked if one would be able to see the brick through it. Mr. Boyer stated that they would be mounted on a raceway. They prefer to see that rather than individual letters which puts numerous holes in the façade of a building.

Mr. Kennedy asked if he is asking for nothing on the eastern side as far as signage. Mr. Boyer stated nothing on the eastern side. Mr. Kennedy asked if the additional sign will be located on the north side. Mr. Boyer confirmed that the extra sign would be located on the north side would be for restaurant use where the restaurant is proposed to be.

Mr. Panczuk stated he would like to see the monument sign on US 41 be brought into conformance before approving additional signage. Mr. Boyer responded that any other property or use would allow building signage and a monument sign as well.

Ms. Popovic asked what it would need to be a conforming sign. Mr. Aurelio stated that it would be more like a monument sign. Mr. Panczuk stated that it would be a sign like the Community Hospital sign, which is a rather large monument sign.

Mr. Boyer responded that it is an existing building which has been vacant for more than five years, and what is being asked is adding more restrictions and hardships. He then asked if St. John does not have empty buildings already. Mr. Panczuk stated that he does not like the empty buildings and that the board is trying to work with him as best as they can.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Boyer if he needs an additional eight signs approved up front. Mr. Boyer responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly if our ordinance currently restricts signage on the second level. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Eberly advised that the signage restriction to just the first floor is unique to the US 41 Overly District. Mr. Boyer stated that the architecture is very unique and the signage areas on a building like that have very few areas where signage can be done.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he is concerned with the large windows and the aesthetics. Mr. Kennedy stated that he would be fine with allowing him four signs on the lower-level initially and one on the north side. He feels that would be aesthetically pleasing.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Boyer how many tenants he has in the building currently. Mr. Boyer responded that he has three tenants. Mr. Boyer stated there is an existing sign on the second floor that is greater than 30 square feet. Mr. Kennedy further stated that he doesn't know that each tenant needs a wall sign when they will be listed on the monument sign out front.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Boyer if he has tenants in the two units on the second floor. Mr. Boyer responded that the orthodontist takes up the majority of the front of the building. There is an ability to have five additional tenants upstairs. Mr. Boyer further added that they could potentially have as many as five tenants downstairs. However he would never get that kind of signage on the building.

Mr. Boyer stated that as a property owner, he needs to have the ability to discuss with potential tenants what is and is not allowed.

Mr. Boyer stated that he is asking for a 40 square-foot sign for each tenant. If he has three tenants, that would be three 40-square-foot signs. Mr. Boyer added that there is no way he could have 12 signs on the building should he have 12 tenants.

Mr. Kennedy expressed continued concern regarding signage above the second story arched windows. He has no problem with the lower-level signage; however, he would need to see a more detailed drawing for anything on the second level.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Boyer if he would have use for a sign on the first story on the south side of the building. Mr. Boyer responded that if he got a restaurant for the south end, he would entertain a second sign for the south side of the building.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly how it would work if a motion were made to approve six signs on the first floor, one on the north, one on the south, and four in front, and deferred the additional three signs based on further architectural layout. Mr. Eberly advised him that he could do that. Mr. Kennedy asked if that would require him to go through the Public Hearing process again. Mr. Eberly stated not if they are just deferring it.

Mr. Boyer stated that in order to simplify it, if they were willing to allow each tenant to have up to 40 square feet and allow restaurants to have two signs and prohibit the second story portion of it for now, that is fine. Mr. Kennedy stated that if he has 12 tenants on the first floor there could be 12 signs on the first floor. Mr. Boyer stated that he could not physically do that many signs.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he would defer the upstairs with the understanding that, after additional renderings are submitted, they would revisit the signs. Mr. Boyer asked how he could possibly market to a tenant and tell them he does not know if they would be able to have a sign. Mr. Kennedy asked him if he could he bring drawings back in the meantime.

Mr. Boyer asked how long the deferral would last. Mr. Eberly advised that it would be deferred into the next month. Mr. Boyer stated that the one-month deferral does nothing for him.

Ms. Popovic asked if he would have to come back the following month with a new rendering. Mr. Eberly advised only if it is deferred.

Mr. Kennedy stated that we could approve six on the lower-level at 40 square feet. Mr. Panczuk asked if that is one on the north, one on the south, and four in the front. Mr. Kennedy confirmed the same.

Mr. Panczuk asked if Mr. Boyer will be changing the pylon sign. Mr. Boyer stated that alternatively he could abide by the 30 square foot and one sign for each tenant and not have to be before the BZA for this matter.

Mr. Panczuk asked what his intention is with the existing sign. Mr. Boyer stated that it would be to allow the tenants to be listed on the sign if they so desire, and he would redo the panels to accommodate that.

Mr. Panczuk asked if he would be willing to eliminate the LED portion, which is nonfunctional and nonconforming. Mr. Boyer stated that he would. Mr. Panczuk stated that he supports that.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there would need to be clarification of where the signs are and the contingency of the reader board coming off of the pylon sign for any motion made. The variance would be for a total of six signs at 40 square feet per sign, four across the front of the building, one on the north side, and one on the south side, all on the first-floor.

Mr. Boyer asked if he had two restaurant uses on the bottom floor if they would allow each restaurant to have two signs. Mr. Panczuk stated that they would allow an extra sign on the north side and an extra sign on the south side, so yes. Mr. Boyer asked if that would be for any use or only for restaurant use to allow two signs for one tenant. Mr. Panczuk stated that he does not have a problem with any use and prefers wall signage over larger signs and monuments signs.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing on this matter.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): Will these be lit signs, electrified? (Mr. Boyer confirmed they would be.) Okay.

Mr. Panczuk asked if anyone else wished to speak. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to allow existing signage to stay, allow each tenant 40-square-foot signs not to exceed a total of six signs on the lower-level and including the contingency of removing the reader sign.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve to allow existing signage to remain and allow a total of six, 40-square-foot signs on the lower level of the building: four on the west façade, one the north and one on the south end of the building per the Findings of Fact as follows:

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.

The following conditions are hereby made part of the record: That the removal of the reader board on the pylon sign will be removed. Seconded by Mr. Lareau.

Motion by roll-call vote:

Mr. Aurelio Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Panczuk Aye

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and asked if anyone would like to speak.

Hearing none, he closed Public Comment.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 9:51 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

09-24-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Exhibits.pdf
10-22-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

October 22, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, October 22, 2018, at 7:02 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Michael Aurelio, John Kennedy, Mark Lareau, and Paul Panczuk. Staff present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director.

Absent: Libby Popovic

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk advised the first item on the agenda is the Approval of Minutes for the March 19, 2018 and September 24, 2018 minutes.

Motion to approve the minutes from March 19, 2018 and September 24, 2018 by Mr. Lareau. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0015 PAULA YOUNG – Variance to construct a fence on a vacant lot at 9495 WEST 106th Avenue

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the Agenda is item 2018-0015; Paula Young, the petitioner, is seeking to be allowed to construct a fence on the vacant lot at 9495 West 106th Avenue that she owns next to the property that her house is located on. This would be relief from Zoning Ordinance Chapter 19 where the term “Accessory Building” or “Structure” is defined.

Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioner is not here; Natalie Ripley, Ms. Young’s daughter, is here and has Power of Attorney to speak on her behalf. The Power of Attorney is on file.

Natalie Ripley stated that she is here to represent her parents, who wish to install a fence. They bought the lot next door, which has trees. The fence will go 6 feet behind the trees to the end of their property.

Mr. Eberly stated that she is speaking about a line of arborvitae that go across the lawn and will enclose the rear of the lot.

Mr. Eberly learned today from the developer that there is a covenant in the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions that dictates that fences cannot be installed further toward the front of the property than the rear corner of the house.

Mr. Eberly advised that a permit cannot be issued for a fence in The Gates of St. John that does not abide by the covenants. It is the only subdivision in town that we have to honor the covenants.

Mr. Eberly advised that the sketch in the packets was drawn by the petitioner of what they want to do with the fence. It would not be permitted under the regulations for The Gates of St. John.

Mr. Aurelio stated that he drove past the property and the arborvitae does go all the way to the front. He feels that to enclose that whole lot is too much, he wouldn’t like it if he were a neighbor, and he prefers just the arborvitae there.

Mr. Lareau stated that he has the same type of fencing for his yard, and you can see through it.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there would be access points/gates in the fence. Ms. Ripley stated that they have an access point on the existing fence, and she will make sure that they have one for the whole fence as well.

Mr. Eberly stated that at the request of Mr. Kennedy, he contacted the Chiefs from the police and fire departments as to any concerns they may have on a vacant piece of property. The Police Chief expressed that he would like to see a gate for access in the event of an emergency.

Mr. Eberly advised that if the board wishes, they could attach a condition that a gate is provided along the fence line to any action that they take.

Ms. Ripley asked if a lock will be able to be used on a gate if it is required. Mr. Eberly stated that a gate can be locked.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Keith Kwiatkowski (9475 West 106th Avenue): Adjacent to the property. The photos and stuff here are a little misleading because even if, like in The Gates of St. John, the Covenants, it says you can go to the rear of the house. Well, currently where their gate is anyway, it’s not to the rear of the house. It’s to the first bump out right there. And I have photos on my phone here as well. And, um, if they enclose in the trees, then it’s almost to the front of the house.

Mr. Eberly stated that they wouldn’t be allowed to do that.

And you know, again, I’m a little concerned, you know, with, uh, you know, police, uh, fire, whatever, you know, Parrish is a very busy street. If that’s blocked or something, they’re trying to get in, if there’s no entrance, you know, on that side, if they, you know, put the gate there, you know, I would have a gate because that’s all the way on the other side right next to Parrish. So they got to go all the way around the house – I mean, you’re talking distance, you know, so there should be a gate there, if you know, you choose to, uh put there. If you like to see the photos, I can, you know, show you here.

Mr. Eberly showed the limitations of the fencing area on the screen. The members discussed possible gate locations.

There’s a swale there in the southern part, so, um, and it’s – that’s not going to matter. I mean they – there’s townhomes in there. I do also want to point out that Parrish has been closed. There’s been no traffic absolutely, whatsoever, to see your sign that was posted. That’s probably why I’m the only one here besides – cause all the adjacent properties around me, still under development, still under development, still under development, still under development (indicating properties on a map on the viewing screen).

Mr. Eberly advised that the petitioners had to send letters out to people within 300 feet and advertise in two papers as well.

Yeah. It’s undeveloped, you know. And every time I’ve looked at the sign, there’s been a car blocking it every – every time, not their vehicles, but construction traffic. So, I mean, if anyone were to come down there, they couldn’t have seen it anyway.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was anyone else wishing to comment on this petition. Hearing none, Mr. Panczuk closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk asked the board if anyone had any questions or comments.

Mr. Panczuk stated that a fence meeting The Gates of St. John Covenants would be allowed if it were one lot and would not have to appear before the BZA. Mr. Panczuk advised that so as long as we conform to the covenants and to what it would be if it was one lot and we ask for a gate for access, it seems that it would work.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the variance allowing the construction of a fence on the vacant lot at 9495 W. 106th Avenue: 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. Approval is based upon the following conditions: The Covenants of the Gates must be adhered to for the location points of the fence, that an access gate is to be installed, and that the east-west fence line cannot be north of the rear of the house. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

B. 2018-0016 CHRISTINE WAUGH – Variance to construct an oversized accessory structure at 9410 Grasselli

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the Agenda is item 2018-0016; Christine Waugh, the petitioner, is seeking a variance to construct an oversized accessory structure on her property located at 9410 Grasselli. Zoning Ordinance Chapter 5.4 Section D restricts such structures to 250 square feet and limits them to 14 feet to the peak of the roof. The proposal is to build an 18X18, 324 square-foot structure that will be roughly 17 feet to the peak of the roof, due to sloping topography of the lot on which the structure is to be built.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner to proceed. Mr. Eberly stated that he has received letters of support for this petition.

Mr. Eberly advised that the reason the peak of the roof is 17 feet is due to the slope of the yard. It is less than 14 feet at the front, but by the time you get to the rear of the yard, it drops by more than 3 feet.

Mrs. Christine Waugh introduced herself and her husband, Jeff, to the board. She stated that their lot is slightly over an acre. They have no children, and both have small families who live a goodly distance away. Their neighbors are their family, and many are here tonight to support them. She thanked them for coming. She stated, for the record, and asked that it be included in the minutes, “They are the best neighbors, ever!”

They enjoy entertaining their neighbors and decided to put in a deck to use for entertaining. They got a permit and everything was set to go. Since then, there were several family deaths delaying the project.

In the meantime, she decided she wanted a roof over the deck. She did not realize that putting a roof over the deck caused it to be an accessory structure. When Mr. Gil came out to inspect it, he stated that it is completely different than what the permit allows for. She stated that her husband had done the same project in Valparaiso without any problem. She added that the variance is in her name only because it was completely her fault for not doing it correctly.

Ms. Waugh stated that they would like this structure at this size due to the magnitude of people that they entertain and because they have a very large lot.

Mr. Eberly advised that as a deck, they were fine. It was when they added the roof that it became an accessory structure under the terms of our ordinance requiring the variance. If not for the roof, it could have been just used as a deck and the permit alone would have been sufficient.

Mr. Kennedy asked how far the structure is from the property line to the south. Mr. Waugh responded that it is 35 feet.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they have a rendering of what the finished structure would look like. Mr. Waugh stated that he does not. It will have the same siding as the house on a back wall and will have Trex decking. The roof will be a thatched roof to go along with the tropical feel of the back yard.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any further questions from the board. Hearing none, he opened Public Hearing.

Jeff Alesi (9430 Grasselli Avenue): Two houses south of Christina and Jeff’s house, and we’re probably one of the only, probably, two houses that can actually see this structure from our backyard. And you know, same thing that drew us to our lot is our – the back lot, the wetlands. And you know, the structure doesn’t obstruct any views. You know, we have no concerns with it, and you know, we moved to the area about the same time. And Christine and Jeff are the reason we know a lot of neighbors from going to their – to their functions at their house, so you know, my wife and I are fully in support of this.

Steve Horn (9420 Grasselli Avenue): We are the ones directly to the south. My wife and I are in full support of it. Matter of fact, she even draft me to help dig part of the foundation. Please don’t tear it down. But we are in support. Thank you.

Vince Frassinone (9878 Elle Avenue): I’m directly on the other side of the retention pond from them, and me and my wife are both in support of their – their covered deck, so thank you.

Mr. Panczuk requested that the letters of support be included in the recorded minutes.

(Said letters are attached hereto and made a part of thereof as Exhibit Nos. 2018-10-22 BZA 1 through 2018-10-22 BZA 4.)

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

Mr. Panczuk stated that he will entertain any questions or a motion.

Mr. Eberly advised that there are two variances, one for the size of the structure and the other for the height of the roof. Mr. Eberly further advised that both items could be addressed in the same motion.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve the variance of a 324-square-foot accessory structure with a 17-foot roof peak: 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. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

C. 2018-0017 GREGORY DEENIK – Variance to construct a detached garage at 8985 Tapper
Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the Agenda is item 2018-0017; Gregory Deenik, the petitioner, is seeking a variance to construct a detached garage at 8985 Tapper per Zoning Ordinance Chapter 11D since his property is less than one acre in size.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner to proceed.

Mr. Deenik stated that they have lived in their home for about 19 years. He advised the board that the small shed will be razed once the new structure is built. He has a tractor with attachments, a motor cycle, and a jet ski that he would like to have the room to store it all.

Mr. Deenik stated that they had considered attaching another stall to the attached garage; however, it wasn’t very cost effective. He is wanting to build a 20x24 foot storage shed, basically.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it looks like there is a fence where the garage would go. Mr. Deenik stated that it would be built behind the fence. Mr. Deenik explained that it would be about 3 feet behind the existing fence and approximately 26 feet from his neighbor’s yard and 26 feet from his house.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there will be a driveway leading to the garage. Mr. Deenik responded in the negative.

Mr. Eberly advised that he and Mr. Deenik discussed whether this should be an oversized shed or a garage. He is referring to it as a shed. He will not have a driveway to it. It is on the agenda as a detached garage. Either way, it is a Developmental Standards Variance. As a garage, a variance would be required as it is a detached garage on a lot less than one acre in size. As a shed, it would need a size variance, as it is three times the maximum allowable size of 160 square feet.

Mr. Eberly advised that the lot size is approximately 32,600 square feet.

Mr. Aurelio asked why the garage’s proposed location is where it is. Mr. Deenik responded that the grade elevation from the patio area back, which is just past the shed, the lot slopes off about 6 feet to the fence, and there are large trees he doesn’t want to encroach on either.

Mr. Kennedy asked if there will be exterior lighting on the garage. Mr. Deenik responded that he will eventually put a light on the exterior at some point in time, but nothing like a mercury vapor light or anything. He added that he is going to try to match the siding on the house and put some wainscoting on the bottom.

Mr. Panczuk asked how tall the peak of the roof will be. Mr. Deenik responded that it will be just under 14 feet. It is a Menard’s package garage.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any further comments or questions from the board. Hearing none, he opened Public Hearing.

Corey Lucas (8974 Tapper): I own the house across the street from the petitioner. So I didn’t know any of the details before tonight. That’s why I wanted to come, just to make sure. I did have some concern regarding, you know, when I hear attached garage. And one of the appeals when I purchased my house about four years ago, you know, was just the open space, you know. I don’t really have anybody behind me in the back. And when I look out my living room window, I basically have the two back yards that don’t have anything. So it’s a nice scenic, you know, view, so but – I’m sorry, I don’t know your name. Haven’t met formally, so hi, nice to meet you.

But they take very good care of their property. That wasn’t a concern of mine that it was going to be esthetically unpleasing. But the concern of mine was that for, you know, for potential future resale, you know, when you see all these garages going up and their oversized, you know, how is that going to affect my property value? But based on the specs that you’re talking about, I don’t think that there’ll be a problem, and I know that the quality is going to be good because I always look across the street and say, oh, they take really good care. So I’m – I’m okay with it.

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

Mr. Panczuk stated that since we are approving this as a garage, he would like there to be a contingency added for no other accessory structures to be allowed on the lot.

Motion by Mr. Kennedy to approve variance for a detached garage at 8985 Tapper Street: 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. Approval is subject to the following contingencies: One, the attached garage will not exceed 480 square feet and the peak of the roof shall not exceed 14 feet; two, no other accessory structures will be permitted on the lot; and three, the existing shed will be removed after completion of the detached garage. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and asked if anyone would like to speak.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): Gentlemen, I would like to thank you for your work tonight; your diligence to get to the details, which quite often gets left behind, so thank you for that. But I also thank you for your compassion that you have on the homeowners. I appreciate it a lot. Thank you.

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

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 7:54 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

11-26-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

November 26, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio  
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, November 26, 2018, at 7:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the recording secretary with the following members present: Michael Aurelio, John Kennedy, Mark Lareau, Libby Popovic, and Paul Panczuk. Staff present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and Michael Muenich, Board Attorney.

Absent: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk advised the first item on the agenda is the Approval of Minutes for April 24, 2017; May 22, 2017; June 26, 2017; September 25, 2017; December 18, 2017; and October 22, 2018.

Mr. Kennedy requested that the minutes for April 24, 2017 and May 22, 2017 be deferred since he was at those meetings and wants more time to read them and made a motion for the other minutes.

Motion to approve the minutes from June 26, 2017; September 25, 2017; December 18, 2017; and October 22, 2018 by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to defer the April 24, 2017 and May 22, 2017 Minutes.

Motion to defer the April 24, 2017 and May 22, 2017 Minutes by Mr. Kennedy. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0018 DON CRONER – Variance to Construct a Fence on a Lot Without a Structure

Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is 2018-0018, Don Croner. The petitioner is seeking a variance to construct a fence on a lot that does not have a primary structure on it, per Chapter 19, Section B, Definitions, under the definition of “Accessory Building or Structure.”

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner. The property is in the middle of St. John but almost isn't in town. Mr. Eberly displayed the lot on the viewing screen and showed where the property is located and where they would like to construct their fence. Mr. Eberly added that it is a unique property.

Mr. Croner stated that they would like the fence for privacy and safety; he has small grandchildren that visit and wants to keep them safe. Mr. Croner intends to install a 6-foot PVC fence.

Mr. Muenich disclosed that he represented the Croners on another piece of property in the past, however, he doesn't foresee any conflict.

Mr. Panczuk asked where the fence is proposed on the property. Mr. Croner explained where the fence is to be located, which shall start at the north line and go directly south, and demonstrated the same on the viewing screen in the room.

Mr. Lareau asked if the fence would be L-shaped. Mr. Croner responded in the affirmative. Mr. Panczuk asked if the fence will have a 90-degree in it. Mr. Croner responded that it would.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there was anyone wishing to speak. Hearing none, he asked Mr. Eberly if there were any letters of remonstrance. Mr. Eberly responded there were not.

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

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any more questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve Don Croner’s petition seeking a variance to construct a fence on a lot that does not have a primary structure, referencing the Findings of Fact by Mr. Kennedy. Second by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. 2018-0019 BRUCE BOYER – Several Developmental Variances
Mr. Panczuk advised the next item on the agenda is 2018-0019, Bruce Boyer. The petitioner is seeking several Developmental Variances including lot size per Chapter 8.4E1; building size per Chapter 8.4F5; wall signage per Chapter 15E5biii; wall signage combined with ground signs per Chapter 15E5biii; and total square feet of signage per Chapter 15E5ai.

Mr. Bruce Boyer of Boyer Properties stated that he is here tonight to talk about the southeast corner of 93rd Avenue and US 41. There is an existing, abandoned dental office on the corner, and they are proposing a multi-tenant retail building of about 8,000 square feet. Mr. Boyer advised that they are a little constrained by the project this time because it does not include the Nina's property.

Mr. Boyer stated that they are asking for a variance to the minimum lot size of 2 acres, minimum square footage size of 15,000 square feet, and a few sign variances. Mr. Boyer further stated that they are looking at the signage from a multi-tenant aspect. The ordinance is a bit vague on what it allows for businesses and multiple-tenant buildings and the size and location. The building is oriented in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance of buildings facing inward and cross-access with a frontage road system, which they have. It isn't a direct frontage road, but the Thoroughfare Plan requires that commercial properties be tied together with access, and they are accomplishing that.

Mr. Boyer advised that it is planned to meet the lighting and landscaping requirements, but they are asking for signage variances. Part of that is dealing with the unknown of knowing how many tenants will rent that space as it is speculative at this stage.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the lot size will change if INDOT denies the right-in/right-out on US 41. Mr. Boyer responded that it probably won’t and stated that the lot line is placed where it is due to the center line of that drive and the center line of that parking lot in order to maintain adequate parking. They would prefer to have the right-in/right-out where it is with the median in place on US 41, which the median was requested by the Town.

Mr. Panczuk stated that his primary concerns are the general safety and welfare of the town and the traffic it may create in the future on 93rd Avenue and US 41; and he would like right-of-way figured in and granted ahead of time so that something isn’t pushed forward by the BZA that could induce future traffic issues. Mr. Panczuk further stated that he knows that if the Plan Commission requires more right-of-way, then Mr. Boyer would have to come back for more variances since it can affect building setbacks; and he would like to get the right-of-way granted without creating a hardship for Mr. Boyer.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to see the right-of-way granted and be tied into the lot size variance so that this intersection is locked in for future improvement, which would prevent Mr. Boyer from having back-and-forth between the Plan Commission and the BZA.

Mr. Panczuk stated that Mr. Eberly mentioned that Mr. Boyer had considered right-of way in the design of the project and asked Mr. Boyer what additional right-of-way he was considering on both US 41 and 93rd, which is 10 feet and 15 feet. Mr. Boyer responded that it would be 15 feet on 93rd Avenue and about 12 feet on US 41; however, those aren't really BZA issues, they are Plan Commission issues.

Mr. Boyer additionally stated that the ordinance states that land shall be reserved for future acquisition, which they have done. They have situated driveways, parking, and access points in the building so that there is land available for future acquisition when and if it becomes necessary. Mr. Boyer stated that there is not a project planned for the widening of US 41 there or for the widening of 93rd Avenue east of US 41.

Mr. Boyer stated that there was a lengthy discussion about adding another lane on 93rd Avenue at the Plan Commission meeting. While there is land available there, there are utility poles in that area, there is a string pole for the traffic signal that could be a problem, and he feels it is an unnecessary burden for him to relocate all of those items in order for a right-of-way of dedication and a widening of the street, which cannot be widened past the AT&T building. They do have the land reserved if that project were to evolve in the future. On US 41, Mr. Boyer believes it is really unreasonable to ask for a 60-foot right-of-way on their side of US 41 when there is only an existing 40-foot right-of-way on the west side. Again, the land is reserved to be taken in the future.

Mr. Boyer advised that there was a taking of land in 2007 where it was widened about 7.5 feet, and the property owner was awarded $79,000 for that taking. He feels that to ask him to dedicate that right-of-way today for a possible future project is unreasonable and borders on inverse condemnation and putting an undue burden on the property owner.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he understands it is a Plan Commission matter and that the only reason he brought it up now is the general welfare and safety of the town. Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Eberly for clarification regarding the ordinance, the ordinance is written that at development and planning the right-of-way is supposed to be granted.

Mr. Eberly stated that it is; but what Mr. Boyer is referring to is that in the Thoroughfare Plan, US 41 is identified as a principal arterial road, and there is a schedule for right-of-way widths in the Thoroughfare Plan that's a component of the Comprehensive Plan that calls for a 100-foot right-of-way for a principal arterial road. He has his 50 feet on his half of US 41. It goes on to say that in areas of intense commercial development, it may be preferred to have as much as 120 feet of right-of-way and maybe more. It doesn't define "intense commercial development" which is a "may" provision, not a "shall" provision.

Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Boyer has provided what is a “shall” provision in our ordinance on his property.

Mr. Eberly advised that the same language talks about a minor arterial road and defines 93rd Avenue as a minor arterial road, which requires a 45-foot right-of-way for each side, or a total of a 90-foot right-of-way. And that is where our request for an additional 15 feet comes in because there is an existing 30-foot right-of-way in that area on the south side of 93rd Avenue. Mr. Eberly concurred with Mr. Boyer that there was a lengthy discussion about this at the Plan Commission meeting as well as the difficulties of going any further east with the extra 15 foot of right-of-way.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the 45 feet is a requirement that is provided or is it that he provides access. Mr. Eberly advised that in our Subdivision Control Ordinance and in the Thoroughfare Plan various kinds of streets are provided and it states that you "shall" give your portion of that right-of-way to get to 60 feet.

Ms. Popovic stated that he's already met the mandatory requirement for the 50 feet on US 41. Mr. Eberly concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the ordinance needs to be cleaned up because that should be clearly defined for a petitioner.

Mr. Eberly advised them to keep in mind that the Thoroughfare Plan in the Comprehensive Plan is a guidance document and is not a cut-and-dried "you shall do this" type of thing.

Mr. Muenich advised that is a subjective not an objective. The objective says we know it's 50 foot, but since nobody knows what this intense urban area is because it is not defined, it is purely subjective in the mind of the beholder. You might think it's intense, and another might think it is not intense. As far as the urban development is concerned, I don't think the development is very intense, but the traffic on the roadways are fairly intense.

Mr. Muenich stated that 93rd Avenue is a bit of an easier question because that indiscriminate or subjective term doesn't fall into it under the Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 8, page 13, section F Bulk Requirements where it specifically talks about 93rd Avenue: "Principal buildings that are also located adjacent to any arterial parkway, such as 93rd Avenue or 101st, Route 231 shall be sited consistent with the building setback requirements of the underlying zoning district." The underlying zoning district is C-2, so we're not talking about 15 feet, it's 20. The 15 feet is under sections F1, F2, and F3, which is frontage road requirements. That's not what we have here. The Thoroughfare Plan requires 45 feet, and then you've got a 20-foot setback.

Mr. Muenich advised that the setback requirement could be waived as a condition of what you're speaking about doing as one possibility. If you don't, you need to keep in mind that, if he moves the building an additional 5 feet further south, or cuts 5 feet off, that could change the square footage of the building. That additional 5 feet in the building is 85 feet east to west, would be another 450 feet off the building. Depending on how he would meet that 20-foot requirement, unless you waive the 20-foot requirement as a condition of one of the other elements, could impact the size of the building.

Mr. Muenich advised that he meets the subjective on US 41. Objective on 93rd Avenue is a “shall.” Again, it is an objective standard and not a subjective one, and there is a bit more difficulty with the objective standard.

Mr. Boyer stated that language in the Thoroughfare Plan lists those street types and the right-of-way and states that it "should be used" and not that it "shall be used" and there are a number of places in the ordinance that talk about the hierarchy of the words "shall," "should," and "may." Mr. Boyer stated that it is not a requirement per the Thoroughfare Plan.

Mr. Kennedy asked if it is a requirement of the ordinance plan. Mr. Muenich stated that he had not read the Thoroughfare Plan prior to tonight and is not in a position to go into what Mr. Boyer refers to as the hierarchy.

Mr. Boyer advised them to look at Chapter 19, page 1, section A. Mr. Eberly reminded that the Thoroughfare Plan in the Comprehensive Plan is a guidance document. What we're looking at here is the Urban Section Standards in the Subdivision Control Ordinance which calls out various streets, frontage streets, minor streets, collector streets, arterial streets, divided and non-divided.

Mr. Kennedy stated that he would not consider the operations on that corner intense commercial development, so he thinks Mr. Boyer meets our requirement on US 41. Mr. Panczuk stated that he could argue that it is intense, but he would err on the side that it is too vague and agrees with the 50 foot because it is vague.

Ms. Popovic asked if Mr. Panczuk is saying the “intense commercial development” is too vague. Mr. Panczuk responded that the non-absolute definition of it is vague.

Mr. Panczuk is agreeable with the 50 feet right-of-way on US 41, but he is more concerned about 93rd Avenue because it is a bottleneck.

Mr. Boyer referenced a similar intersection at Main Street and US 41 where the right-of-way on US 41 is 100 feet and the right-of-way on Main Street is about 85 feet east of US 41. It widens a bit at the intersection where they did a flare. At that intersection, there is double turn lanes, double through lanes, and a right turn lane in every direction.

Mr. Eberly displayed the corner of 93rd Avenue and US 41 on the viewing screen and explained the right-of-way as it currently is and stated that at some point there was additional right-of-way taken from the north side of 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Eberly stated that there is a hodgepodge of measurements in that area and that taking another 15 feet would be right at the doorstep of the AT&T building. Currently, the right-of-way in front of Nina's is only 20 feet and just less than 30 feet in front of the AT&T building.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like to have a double-left turn from 93rd onto US 41, allowing for stacking of two or three cars in each lane, to open up that bottleneck.

Mr. Panczuk again referred to the Thoroughfare Plan and that, “New developments on the various classifications of streets should have the required Right of Ways, (noted in the Thoroughfare Plan) dedicated at the time of Planning approval.”

Mr. Boyer responded that it says "should" not "shall" and they have met the requirements of the development plan where it says, "Dedication of streets and rights-of-way and/or reservation of land to be sold to governmental authorities for future development of streets and rights-of-way."

Mr. Kennedy asked where that language is found. Mr. Boyer stated that it is in Chapter 17, page 1 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Kennedy asked if this is a BZA issue or a Plan Commission issue. Mr. Eberly explained that it is a Plan Commission issue; but Mr. Panczuk is anticipating that, if the Plan Commission requires Mr. Boyer to give the extra right-of-way, the BZA should prospectively allow a setback variance on both the north side yard and the west side yard. Mr. Eberly stated to Mr. Boyer that Mr. Panczuk is trying to do him a favor rather than having him come today, go to the Plan Commission next month, and have to re-advertise and come back before the BZA in a future month.

Mr. Boyer asked if that could be conditional. Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Muenich talked about that. Mr. Muenich stated that they could just grant the variance. The issue before the BZA is the building size and the setback, so they would give the 15-foot setback variance off of 93rd Avenue as a part of that building size variance.

Mr. Muenich quoted from the Thoroughfare Plan, "For the time being, it is recommended that all future development along West 93rd Avenue be platted with a 45’ half right-of-way in order to provide the Town the sufficient width to widen to four lanes and have auxiliary left-turn lanes.” Mr. Muenich clarified that it is all of West 93rd Avenue, not 93rd Avenue west of US 41.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the setback variance can be done since it is not on the agenda. Mr. Muenich advised that building size and lot size are being discussed and that it logically and naturally flows with the building requirement.

Mr. Eberly advised that he has ample building setback as the plan is; however, if he is required to give more right-of-way by the Plan Commission, his building would then have a 10-foot side-yard setback, which is less than the minimum required setback of 20 feet; absent reducing the building by 5 feet or moving the building, a setback variance would be required.

Discussion continued regarding the right-of-way and allowing a setback variance.

Mr. Panczuk stated that as a re-subdivision, it is starting anew, that all new development subdivisions are required to dedicate the right-of-way at the time of planning, and that he is reluctant to approve the project without the right-of-way for expansion.

Mr. Boyer stated that he is a bit confused because the BZA doesn't have the authority to require right-of-way as that is a Plan Commission and subdivision process. Mr. Eberly confirmed the same.

Mr. Muenich advised that they have the authority to do the building size, lot size, and a setback variance, but they do not have the authority to say anything about 45 feet or 30 feet or any other right-of-way.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Muenich is saying that we can give a setback variance to expedite the process. Mr. Muenich advised that he believes that reasonably ties to reduced lot size and reduced building size and movement of the building line.

Mr. Boyer stated that he is inclined to go along with them on 93rd Avenue, but he cannot allow additional dedication on US 41.

Mr. Eberly advised that they still have the option to only address what is before them as it stands today.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it is all wrapped together because of the impact on the health, safety, welfare of the community with the traffic issues at 93rd Avenue, so he believes that would make it a BZA matter.

Mr. Muenich advised that the BZA can address the building size, the lot size, and add the setback variance to fit the pieces together in the event the Plan Commission imposes a condition.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Boyer has 4.09 acres right now. If he were to give that 15-foot right-of-way, he would be under 4 acres in total, and he could not subdivide those two properties into 2-acre lots and would be seeking a lot size variance for at least one if not both of those lots.

Ms. Popovic asked for clarification that it is within the BZA’s purview that as a condition of allowing the building size and location, we're implicitly granting a setback contingent on the Plan Commission reviewing it. Mr. Muenich responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Muenich stated that this particular property has a handicap with the existing structure, which predates any of the current restrictions in place, and in order to cure that, the building has to come down. The building, as it stands, is a hazard.

Mr. Eberly advised that if they do a right-of-way take right now, it would include the purchase of that building.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Panczuk what he would prefer to take action on first. Mr. Panczuk responded that he would like to address the lot size first.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly is there is sufficient parking allotted. Mr. Eberly responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Lareau asked what the west elevation would look like. Mr. Boyer responded that it would be all brick with some decorative features and landscaping. The west side is the back of the building per ordinance, but they would prefer to screen it as they don't want it to look like the back of a building either.

Mr. Panczuk asked what the lot size would be if the additional right-of-way were taken for a circuit-breaker amount for the lot size variance. Mr. Eberly responded that Mr. Boyer is showing a 1.15-acre lot and taking that extra land as right-of-way would leave approximately 1.07 acres.

Mr. Muenich advised that a no less than 1 acre should work.

Mr. Panczuk opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): Um, I – I – yeah, we're all over the place on this one, so I've got a couple of points that I wanted to bring up. I think, first of all, to look for a variance in the setback, that you would be provisional. Um, I – I think that that needs to be advertised. I think anything that you're going to do for the, from the BZA to ask for a variance needs to be advertised and, uh, and spelled out pretty clearly. Um, and that's not spelled out yet in this advertisement of what this evening is supposed to bring.

Um, I think we're rushing through this thing. I don't think that it's properly prepared and planned to work through the Plan Commission, to work through the BZA. I – I think there's way too many open-ended things here. Um, Mr. Boyer's requesting variances, um, for lot size and building size; but we don't even – you don't even know what size the building's going to be based on what the Plan Commission does. And I just don't think you guys can approve this project tonight.

Um, I think – and then my second point would be, I think the building's too large. I don't think 8,000 square feet on that corner is reasonable. I mean you may not call it intense commercial development, but that's a word that's in our – that – that’s the verbiage. And if there is an intense development corner, that would be it. I mean that's it as far as St. John goes. If you don't want to go by that, that – that’s fine. But I still think a building twice the size of the one that's there now is not reasonable. I think it's going to generate too much traffic; and we don't need extra traffic on that corner. You're going to go from a 3500 square-foot building on the corner now to an 8,000 square-foot building. And I just don't think that that's a wise decision. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): I guess, basically, this was discussed at the Planning Commission last week. I think that this town has a traffic problem. We're all aware of it. We all drive in it every day. I believe Mr. Kil said last week that the Town's getting a shovel ready project to go on the west side of 41 to improve the intersection. And they're going to put it in for a community grant match, which is a great idea. I think as a part of our thinking, we ought to look at the right-of-way, we ought to get two left-turn lanes on 93rd on the east side to match the west side, and I think, maybe, we ought to consider having a shovel-ready project next year for the east side.

So let's get the property in place. Let's get the plans in place. Let's see if we can get the money in place to have a shovel-ready project to do the east side of the intersection since we're going to do the west side. So I think that the proper planning, as Mr. Panczuk is trying to do, is the proper thing to do. But I do agree with Mr. Swets in that we're moving a little too fast with too many ifs, ands, or buts. I think the Planning Commission ought to decide what they're going to do before you people approve anything else. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I would a – like to ask Mr. Boyer if he's the owner of this property or if he has a power of attorney from James Thomas in regards to this project. Can you tell me that? Mr. Building Commissioner, is there a power of attorney? Is James Thomas involved in this project?

(Mr. Eberly stated that he does not know the name James Thomas at all.)

Are – are you the petitioner? Are you the owner of the property?

(Mr. Boyer responded from his seat that there are powers of attorney.)

Is James Thomas the CEO?

(Mr. Boyer responded in the negative.)

Is he any –?

(Mr. Christian Jorgensen asked why it is relevant from his seat in the audience.)

Why are you asking?

(Mr. Panczuk attempted to intervene.)

I'm being interrupted by Mr. Jorgensen.

(Mr. Jorgensen made an indiscernible response from his seat.)

It's important that we know who is doing this project. I notice a tendency by this BZA, on the right-hand side here, to try to move heaven and earth to try and get this thing to roll through, just having listened to that discussion. And I hear Mr. Jorgensen in the background screaming out when I use the name Thomas. I wonder why.

(Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Hero to stick to the subject.)

Okay. Now I'm moving forward. You don't control my speech.

(Mr. Panczuk stated that Mr. Boyer answered his question.)

I'm making a presentation to this board and making an argument. Okay. You went through and you discussed a lot of variances here that are not on the public notice. Okay. They're not on the agenda. And I think you should address the agenda. And if you look at the lot size, okay, did anybody here read what the minimum tract size is under 8.4E1 and E2?

I'll read E1. "Except as provided in this Section, the minimum area for a Development Plan within the US 41 District is two (2) acres." That's what it says in the ordinance. E2 says, "If a parcel of land is located both inside and outside the US 41 District, a DP shall be submitted to the Plan Commission for the entire parcel. Wherever there exists a conflict between the requirements of the underlying zoning and of the US 41 District, the requirements of the US 41 District shall govern and prevail."

This – this plan does not follow that. So I remonstrate for that reason. The other question is the public information given was there’s a map similar to the one that's on the board. Okay. And now you start discussing moving buildings and putting all these other contingencies in there that's not in the notice that was going to be discussed here. And if you read the document submitted, item 2, it says, “Bruce Boyer Properties – Bruce will be seeking several variances for the property at 9321 Wicker. He intends to demolish the existing building and wants to construct a new building of 8,075 square feet on the property. He will be seeking a lot size variance, a building size variance, total wall signage variance, variance to allow multiple wall signs in conjunction with the monument sign, and” the “total sign” – total square-footage – I’m sorry.

So I think what was discussed here doesn't match what the notice indicates, and I think anything other than that, any other variances, they are not listed on the public notice, so you can't give those other things. And as I watch Mr. Kennedy try and move heaven and earth to try and ram this thing through, I – I got to ask why, why, why. It's a very simple situation. This thing is not definitive in what was published to decide. And I think that is an adverse effect on anybody who wants to remonstrate against this project because it's floating all over the place. And then to go back and say, well, it's up to the Plan Commission to do this and that, you're abdicating your authority to – on some other group. Mr. Panczuk is a representative of the Plan Commission, I believe, here. Am I correct?

(Mr. Panczuk responded in the affirmative.)

You're elected by the Plan Commission to be here. So ping-ponging this back and forth puts the – any remonstrator at a – a distinct disadvantage. And I think in all of these properties, as they get built, we need to know who the principal investors are and what their names are and – and so we all understand what's going on here. And for all of those reasons – especially the next one I'm going to tell you – I'm remonstrating against this – is the traffic. Okay. That is the most dense intersection. This is like, I think, about the third project that has come up at that intersection. And it's always health, safety, welfare, and traffic. This will create a nightmare, and especially if you go giving all these variances. I got to think in my mind, what are these people thinking about here. Everybody's got a traffic problem in St. John. The biggest problem is going through that intersection.

Why is there a push here to try to move heaven and earth to accommodate Mr. Boyer? I don't understand it. The people of St. John are the most important ones, their health, safety, and welfare. When the fire engines got to go through that intersection and it can't get through there, when the ambulance got to go through that intersection and can't get somewhere else, that burden shifts to the decision you make here today. I think this – you should look at that plan that's presented to you and make your ruling on that plan and not try and re-engineer this to accommodate Mr. Boyer or any other petitioner.

You should decide on what the legal notice says, what ordinances say. Why are these ordinances made? Why is there a Comprehensive Plan? Why are all these other overlays? You're not the legislative body. If you start giving one man all of these freebies, then everybody else is entitled to it. So for all of those reasons, I remonstrate against this. And I don't understand having listened to this thing for a long time tonight. To me, there seems to be some undertow here trying to push this thing through for Mr. Boyer. And I ask where, and where is that undertow coming from, and got some suspicions and I will share them some day. Thank you very much.

Christian Jorgensen (10157 East Wellington Court): St. John Town Council. Mr. Muenich, does the board today have the authority, based upon the notice that was given to – to grant variances that Mr. Boyer is seeking?

(Mr. Muenich stated that the advertised notices are clearly the lot size and the building size, so I have absolutely no problem with those. My opinion is the building setback line combined with the 45 foot, and the lot size, and everything else is an adjunct that logically flows from it. Is it a specific item, no, I won’t make that claim; but logically speaking, there's a number of considerations every time you get into variances that people know other things change as things move within it. So in order to do this, I think you’re logically able to change the building setback line. And I don't see how that impacts the traffic. I don't see how that impacts 99.99 percent of what Mr. Hero just talked about.)

I’m in agreement as well.

(Ms. Popovic stated that we have the ability to logically and legally vote on that.)

(Mr. Muenich stated that it is hard to believe, but sometimes the law does follow logic, and in this particular situation, given the movement of the boundaries and the movement of the other things that may happen down the road, it only makes sense that if you're going to address the building size and the lot size, you're going to have to address the setback size.)

And of course, again – and thank you very much, Mr. Muenich. I appreciate that. And of course, they could grant a variance that's contingent upon the future decision of the Plan Commission, correct?

(Mr. Muenich responded that is the way I structured it. Obviously, if the Plan Commission does not require something in excess of 30 feet, which is what we have now, then the rules as they are written apply. The variance on the building size would still be in place and the variance on the smaller lot because it’s 1.15 instead of 1.07, and the building size changes slightly; but the rest of the production of the Town’s requirements either under the Overlay District or the C-2 zoning would apply.)

Wonderful. And then I would simply say to everyone that this an opportunity to move forward on a corner that's already ill-constructed, um, and it just happens to be a legacy issue. Um, two buildings that – that exist now that – that, perhaps, wouldn't exist, if we had our current plans, today. Now this is an opportunity for us to move forward.

We're the safest town, most prosperous town, but yet, we're a pretty ugly town, uh, when it comes to our commercial development. This is an opportunity. It's an opportunity you've all discussed. Certainly, we shouldn't be pedantic about it and allow some flexibility. But please, I – I think it's within your purview to go ahead and do it; and I hope you would consider it. Thank you.

Nina Dimer (1123 W 93rd Avenue): I'm the owner of Nina's Salon. Well, although I would like to see something happen with the corner as well, I'm not opposed to that; but my concern is my business, safety of my clients. Right now coming in and out of my parking lot is becoming more and more difficult, which is why I would have agreed to sell my place to move to another location to try and help do something with that corner.

Right now, with me, my location – and we're talking about how many feet and that – cars are coming by. I see the, um, the ambulance and the firemen and all that. Cars have to get up on the sidewalk just so we can get through to help. I don't know what the answers are. I just wanted to let you know that I see the traffic every day. I am concerned with 43 more cars coming in and out of that little side street, it's going to be harder and harder for my clients.

Um, as far as the signs go, I don't know how that's going to impact me right now. The sign that's there has been there for two years with some kind of tarp on it. It looks terrible. So whatever you could do to improve that would be great. And also the value of my property, I don't know how that's going to impact me one way or the other, but I am concerned about the traffic; and that's my concern, so thank you.

Mary Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): I have to agree with Mr. Swets. I have to agree with Bryan. I have to agree with Nina. I think we need to do something with that corner before we do anything else. We can't keep coming back every time Mr. Boyer has an idea. We can't keep throwing things against the wall to see what's going to stick. So let's put the horse before the cart for once in this town. Thank you.

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

Mr. Panczuk stated that there are two things that can be voted on tonight. One would be lot size less than two acres. That can vary slightly and has in the past dependent upon restrictions we may impose on it. The second is building size less than 15,000 square feet. Mr. Panczuk advised that the lot size will be addressed first and asked if there is any discussion on the lot size.

Mr. Eberly stated that he would like to clarify one thing: Mr. Boyer intends to go before the Plan Commission for both site plan action as well as replatting this property. The Plan Commission can't grant a plat approval when a lot would be undersized, so that's the reason he's here before you before going to the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission cannot approve a lot that's has less than 2 acres on it in the US 41 Overlay District. We know that building is not likely going to be 15,000 square feet on this property. There have been considerable remonstrances against the size of this at 8,000 square feet. If he were to meet the ordinance of 15,000 square feet and do a 2-acre lot, he could do that; and we would have no control over that at all. It would be a 15,000 square-foot building on a 2-acre lot right on that corner.

Mr. Eberly stated that he doesn't think most of us want that; however, he is here because he can't go to the Plan Commission and plat two 2-acre lots here, and the Plan Commission can't approve it. While he's here, he should ask for the other variances he needs. If you want to defer the issue of the setback, you can defer that; however, I think you still have the issue that some have raised that it's not an advertised variance. Mr. Eberly stated that he would defer to Mr. Muenich’s expertise on how to handle that.

Mr. Panczuk thanked Mr. Eberly for the clarification of why this needed to come before the BZA before going to the Plan Commission and stated that he would prefer to work with the variances that Mr. Boyer requested and circle back to the other in a month.

Mr. Boyer stated that it would take him almost two months between going to the Plan Commission and re-advertising and stated that that is a bit of an unnecessary burden when we're here. The notice was given; the idea of notice is to get people here to voice their opinion, and you have the legal advice that you can do it.

Mr. Eberly discussed the timeline and stated that Mr. Boyer came before the Plan Commission for the first time at the Study Session this past Wednesday night. He is coming on December 5th to seek permission to advertise for a Public Hearing for a January 2nd Public Hearing on the Primary Plat, so then it would be the January BZA meeting at the earliest before he could come back and see you if the Plan Commission requires the additional right-of-way dedication.

Mr. Boyer advised that the January 5th meeting may need to be deferred into February as he is scheduled to be out of town at the time.

Mr. Panczuk asked for any discussion relative specifically to the building setback.

Mr. Kennedy stated that we have legal opinion asking him to grant us 15 additional feet for our future Thoroughfare Plan, contingent upon Plan Commission approval, and for us to provide him a setback because of our requirement for that 15 feet, and if the Plan Commission determines no, then that 15-foot setback is null and void.

Mr. Panczuk stated for the public to hear that we are imposing the setback on the petitioner, and not the petitioner wanting the setback. This is the board wanting the right-of-way. The setback does not affect the Findings of Fact, and if there is legal opinion that the BZA can address the setback at this time, he doesn't have a problem with it because it will benefit the town.

Mr. Panczuk reiterated some of the items Mr. Eberly explained earlier and gave examples of possible scenarios to provide more clarity for the edification of the audience.

Mr. Panczuk entertained a motion to approve a lot size less than two acres to include a no-less-than 1 acre stipulation with the motion. Ms. Popovic asked if it is including the contingency.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Muenich if the setback variance would be tied in with the lot size or the building size variance.

Mr. Muenich advised that if they marry the lot size, as it is drawn, with the structure, as it is drawn, and you grant a variance to reduce the lot size not to be not less than 1 acre, then you cannot leave the building where it is and modify the lot line accordingly without changing the building setback line. You can't do it because one chases the other. That's why I'm giving you the opinion, my opinion, that in granting that type of a variance and allowing him and holding and protecting this 45-foot right-of-way that, at least, is in discussion; if you're going to move that north building line, and that's what happens when you reduce this to 1 acre, less than 2 but not less than 1, then that setback line has to change. There's no other way that you could move the lot line without changing the variance unless you're going to modify and move the building. So the one condition has to flow with the other. There is no way around it.

Mr. Kennedy asked if a motion is made to reduce the lot size, would it be contingent upon our approval of a variance to reduce the setback to 15 feet on the northern end. Mr. Muenich added, "all of which is contingent upon the Plan Commission requiring a 45-foot right-of-way." Mr. Kennedy asked if it is not a totally separate motion and if it all has to be put together. Ms. Popovic stated it's all one motion.

Mr. Muenich stated that it is his opinion, you're going to have to do it as one motion. If you treat it as two separate things, it's disjunct. It doesn't work. You can't make the connection.

Mr. Muenich drafted the verbiage as follows, which was then moved by Ms. Popovic.

Motion by Ms. Popovic to approve a variance of a lot size less than 2 acres but not less than 1 acre; a projected building of less than 15,000 square feet, but not less than 8,000 square feet; and in the event that the Plan Commission requires a 45-foot dedicated right-of-way, a variance to the setback line adjacent to West 93rd Avenue of 15 feet.

Mr. Boyer asked if he could interject and stated that he might object slightly to the language of no less than 8000 square feet because if something were to happen at the Plan Commission level that he has to move or shift the building, he would like a bit of leeway.

Mr. Aurelio asked why the building size is proposed at the size he requested. Mr. Boyer responded that they are looking at multiple tenants and the minimum square footage for a tenant in a retail environment is anywhere from 1500 to 2000 square feet.

Mr. Panczuk asked if 7500 or 7000 would work for Mr. Boyer. Mr. Boyer responded that he would prefer 7000 square feet minimum.

Mr. Muenich stated that if Mr. Boyer is going to reduce the building size to 7000 square feet, then there's no need to modify the setback line.

Mr. Eberly stated that if he can move the building 5 feet south, we can eliminate this. Mr. Boyer stated that he doesn't know if he can do that. Multiple members asked if a setback line is needed.

Mr. Muenich stated that he is starting to have a real problem with coming up with a set of conditions that now, after we've been at this for an hour, all of the sudden we can maybe make the building 7000 square feet, or maybe we can make the building 7500 square feet. Well, if that's what we're going to be making the building, then we don't have to worry about the setback line; and we've been sitting here burning up time doing this. If Mr. Boyer wants to put up an 8000 square-foot building, then he needs the setback variance; however, if he's going to start changing the numbers around, are you going to grant a 15-foot variance if the building size is reduced by another 500 square feet, 1000 square feet? At that point, maybe the variance isn't needed at all.

Mr. Boyer responded that they don't know what the Plan Commission is going to do.

Mr. Eberly advised the board that we've got a lot-size variance request and a building size variance request. We can do those conditions for the setback and tie them to either the building size or the lot size. The lot size and the building size don’t have to be addressed in the same motion.

Mr. Boyer requested that the motion be left as Mr. Muenich stated at no less than 8000 square feet. Multiple board members stated that they would agree to that.

Ms. Popovic asked if we are staying with the motion as articulated by Mr. Muenich. Mr. Panczuk responded in the affirmative and stated that Ms. Popovic has made a motion and asked if there is a second.

Seconded by Mr. Kennedy.

Vote by roll call:

Mr. Aurelio Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye

Mr. Panczuk asked that the motion please be amended to include the Findings of Fact. Ms. Popovic amended the motion as it stands to include the Findings of Fact. Amended motion was seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Panczuk then gave his vote.

Mr. Panczuk Aye

Mr. Panczuk advised that signage will be addressed next.

Mr. Boyer stated that in a multi-tenant building, each tenant is allowed a sign of 30 square feet, which is what they are proposing, although, regardless of the number of tenants, he'd like some flexibility to not exceed the total of 120 square feet and to divide that proportionally amongst the tenants.

Mr. Boyer stated that two wall signs are allowed, and they are requesting a third wall sign at 50 square feet. A monument sign is allowed. Mr. Boyer added that they feel the additional wall sign is necessary as it is a corner lot.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Eberly to refresh his memory as to what the current ordinance allows. Mr. Eberly stated that monument sign plus permanent wall and window signage is not to exceed 100 square feet. However, Mr. Boyer is talking about the multi-tenant signage. The ordinance states that, in a multi-tenant building, each tenant can have 30 square feet of signage. If he had a multi-tenant business, such as an architect and CPA sharing the same unit, that unit would be allowed 50 square feet of signage with each tenant being allowed no more than 30 square feet of that 50 square feet.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Boyer to confirm that he is asking for the two signs, the one on the north and the one on the south side of the building. Mr. Boyer responded that they are proposed as 50 square-foot signs.

Mr. Eberly asked if the monument sign would meet code. Mr. Boyer confirmed the same. Mr. Eberly stated that code is 30 square feet and no greater than 10 feet tall; however, he would not be able to have that monument sign because he has more than one wall sign. He has six as proposed, and the total square-footage is going to be exceeded because of the two additional signs that he's asking for on the north and the south sides of the building.

Mr. Eberly stated that as he calculates it, Mr. Boyer would be asking for a total of 250 square feet: Four, 30-square-foot signs; two, 50-square-foot signs, and the 30 square-foot monument sign. Mr. Boyer stated that there is a little bit of a grey area that doesn't address multi-tenant total signage and a monument sign.

Mr. Eberly stated that what he's referring to is Chapter 15E4, which says that commercial center identification signs must, first of all, be a ground sign; second, can be as large as 50 square feet; and is not to be calculated as part of any other signage allowed on the parcel. Mr. Eberly advised that this talks about four or more tenants; however, at this point, Mr. Boyer is unsure how many tenants he will have in total.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Boyer only had two tenants, each tenant would be allowed 60 square feet of signage. Mr. Eberly stated that it would be 30 per tenant.

Mr. Boyer advised that they are asking for a total of the 120 divided by the number of tenants, which is stated on the plan, under the east elevation as he has to be able to market something to prospective tenants as to what will be allowed.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Boyer is asking for the 120 square feet of signage regardless of how many tenants he has.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the existing sign is going to remain. Mr. Boyer responded that it is an existing, non-conforming sign that will become an off-site sign for the office building.

Mr. Panczuk asked if the new monument sign will be dedicated to the retail building. Mr. Boyer responded that it would be only for the retail building.

Mr. Eberly advised the board that it is up to them to choose what they would like to grant Mr. Boyer for signage.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the monument sign will be advertising the tenants that are in the building. Mr. Boyer responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Lareau stated that the monument sign and a wall sign on the south side of the building seems to be redundant and is too many signs. Mr. Boyer stated that he understands Mr. Lareau's reasoning.

Mr. Panczuk concurred but supports the other wall sign for those traveling westbound on 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Boyer stated that he would go along with eliminating the south building sign and using the monument sign.

Mr. Lareau asked what the current size of the existing monument size is. Mr. Boyer responded that he doesn't know as they have never measured it.

Mr. Lareau asked if Mr. Boyer is going to tear it down and put a new one up. Mr. Boyer responded that their intent is to reface it and update it for the office building.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the only item that needs to still be discussed is the tenant signage totaling 120 square feet and allowing greater size per sign for less than four tenants.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Boyer only had two tenants, they would each get a 60-square-foot sign. Mr. Panczuk stated that is what Mr. Boyer is proposing.

Mr. Lareau stated that he is not wanting to leave it open-ended and give “a blank check” on the signage of 120 square feet. Mr. Aurelio stated that it could be one, 120-square feet sign, which would be extremely large. Mr. Panczuk concurred.

Mr. Boyer stated that they proposed 120 square feet to be equally divided by the number of tenants, based on leased square footage. Mr. Boyer further stated that if they had one tenant with 1500 square feet and another tenant with the balance of the building, they would probably have a 30-square-foot sign for the smaller tenant and a larger sign for the larger tenant.

Mr. Boyer asked if they are allowed up to 50 square feet per tenant. Mr. Eberly stated that it is worded awkwardly, but it states, "The exception is each business shall be entitled to a maximum area of 50 square feet for permanent wall signs combined with permanent window signs, provided that each single tenant shall be allowed a maximum of 30 square feet of such signage. The maximum of 50 square feet shall apply to a multi-tenant business." It is not building, it is business.

Mr. Boyer asked if he had four tenants and each tenant had two businesses, he would be allowed 200 square feet on building. Mr. Eberly stated that is correct.

Mr. Eberly advised that, normally, tenant signage is limited to its linear face front of its unit. If it's a 20-foot-wide unit, then it gets a 20 square-foot sign, so the total building wall signage could be tied to the linear front footage. In this case what we're looking at is 95 feet of frontage, so you can go 30 square-foot per tenant that is allowed under one section of the ordinance; or you can be more restrictive and say if you've got less than four tenants, then 95 square feet of total wall signage on that east façade is all you can do. If there were one tenant in the building, they could have a 95 square-foot sign. Since they are proposing multi-tenant in there, they're each entitled to 30 square feet.

Mr. Panczuk stated that if anyone is inclined to make a motion, he would like to see a condition that, if it is reduced to one tenant, nothing greater than 95 square feet will be allowed as not to exceed the linear frontage; otherwise, it is 120 square-foot divided.

Mr. Muenich stated that it should also be noted that the southern wall sign has been withdrawn.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Boyer if that is doable. Mr. Boyer asked if it can be 100 square feet for one tenant. Mr. Panczuk stated it is up to the board. Mr. Kennedy stated that for 5 more square feet, he doesn't see it being a problem. Mr. Panczuk stated he doesn't want to see it be 120 square feet for one tenant.

Mr. Panczuk opened Public Hearing regarding the request for sign variances on the property. Hearing none, he closed Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the board.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any further questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve wall signage as discussed, withdrawing the south wall signage on the southern elevation; the east elevation shall not exceed 100 square-foot of the building if there is only one tenant; otherwise, the maximum shall not exceed 120 square feet divided amongst the tenants; and to allow the monument sign of 30 square feet referencing the Findings of Fact by Mr. Lareau. Seconded by Mr. Aurelio. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 9:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

12-17-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals

December 17, 2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Paul Panczuk, Chairman Mark Lareau Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director
Libby Popovic, Vice Chairman Michael Aurelio Joe Svetanoff, Town Attorney
John Kennedy, Executive Secretary    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Panczuk called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, December 17, 2018, 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 members present: Michael Aurelio, Mark Lareau, Libby Popovic, and Paul Panczuk. Staff present: Rick Eberly, Building and Planning Director and Joe Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: John Kennedy.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Panczuk advised the first item on the agenda is the Approval of Minutes for April 24, 2017; May 22, 2017; and November 26, 2018.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any questions or comments on the minutes. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. Lareau. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

OLD BUSINESS/NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2018-0021 LUCKY BROTHERS, LLC – Special Exception Variance and Several Developmental Standards Variance Requests for a Gas Station
Mr. Panczuk advised that the first item on the agenda is Petition No. 2018-0021. Lucky Brothers, LLC. The petitioner will be seeking a Special Exception Variance as well as several Developmental Standards Variances for a gas station proposed for the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231.

Mr. Eberly advised that all items are in order for this petitioner to proceed.

For the edification of the audience, Mr. Eberly introduced Mr. Joe Svetanoff, the new Town Attorney. Mr. Eberly welcomed him and stated that we look forward to having him at our BZA and Plan Commission meetings.

Mr. Svetanoff thanked Mr. Eberly and stated that he looks forward to working with each and every member of the Plan Commission, BZA, and, of course, yourself.

Mr. Panczuk welcomed Mr. Svetanoff aboard.

Mr. Eberly advised that this property is located on the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231. The property is 1.4 acres. It is Lot 1 in St. John Crossing, an Addition to the Town of St. John. The Coyne animal hospital sits immediately north of this property, and the bank is immediately east of this property.

Mr. Eberly further advised that there are 20-some Developmental Standards Variances being requested; however, several of them are redundant because the requirement for brick materials appears in several sections of the Town Code, and each section has been listed with a request for relief from those sections. There are a number of sign variances, landscape variances, and lighting variances.

Mr. Eberly advised that they are proposing a lot coverage of 81 percent; the limit is 65 percent. They meet the parking standards in terms of the number and size of the spaces required. For the most part, they meet the setbacks. They have a proposed canopy over the diesel pumps that is setback just over 5 feet from the front property line; 10 feet is required.

Mr. Eberly noted that he just wanted to set the table for this petition and that he will let the petitioner go into the details of the property. There will be a lot size variance request and a building size variance request. The building is proposed at just under 5000 square feet and the lot is 1.4 acres.

Mr. Eberly advised that this property is in both the US 41 Overlay District and the US 231 Overlay District and has an underlying zoning of C-2. The variances requested come from a combination of all three zones as well as Chapter 11, which deals with the canopy location.

Mr. Eberly advised that there is a Power of Attorney from the property owner, and Mr. Svetanoff has that in front of him. The owner of the property will not be here this evening and Chris Kalischefski will be speaking on his behalf.

Mr. Kalischefski thanked the board for allowing him to make this presentation. He stated that the petitioner is Hutton and the tenants will be the Lucky Brothers. Two of the “brothers,” per se, live in St. John in Lake Hills, so it is local money investing in the local community to make it better.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that there are three zoning districts that overlap on this property. The variances they are asking for can almost be divided by three since they are requesting the same variance from three different zoning districts.

Their goal is to show that they are offering a very high quality facility. Mr. Kalischefski reviewed the 1.4-acre site’s access points which includes full-access to the east, right-in/right-out to the north, and another right-in/right-out at the southeast corner. Being on the northeast quadrant of the corner is important for the flow of traffic and turning into the site.

Mr. Kalischefski reviewed the three things that make a retail facility successful: the product being offered, convenient access, and safety. They used those three items as parameters when they designed the site, and they hope it will show why they need certain variances.

There are, basically, three different businesses on this property. The first is the southern part of the building itself, which will be a food vendor; to the north of that is the convenience store; and the forecourt is the petroleum facility.

Mr. Kalischefski explained some of the variances they are requesting: Relief from the minimum lot size of 2 acres, the physical boundary for the lot is 1.4 acres, which is a hardship; relief from minimum building size of 15,000 square feet as they have a building size of 4925; and relief from the maximum impervious surface of 65 percent as they are at 81 percent.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the FAR ratio allowed is 0.5 and their FAR ratio is only 0.08, which is one-sixth the density that is allowed.

Mr. Kalischefski reviewed the layout of the site in relation to truck traffic. He stated they want to make it clear that this is not a truck stop. There are no shower rooms; no sit-down, full-service restaurant; a separate truck store; or a separate truck desk. It is proposed as a fueling facility for local box trucks with a separate canopy for box trucks because people are nervous when they are next to a box truck under a canopy. The separate canopy will also allow simple access without interference with the car circulation. They feel the use is appropriate for this site as it is a syphoning use, a non-destination use.

Mr. Kalischefski compared the pavement line to pavement line distance of what they are proposing to those of the strip malls. They are proposing 42 feet and the strip malls are basically 36 feet. All the dimensions they have on their plan are prescribed distances to allow safe maneuvering of the vehicles. Truck turning radiuses are run through the site to allow safe maneuvering.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the diesel component is a very important part of their business development plan. Diesel is a high draw in terms of the profit margin and all people building fueling stations now are including this item.

The box-truck diesel component could be included at the end of a canopy, but that can be a safety issue. The special pumps for the diesel fuel have wider nozzles to dispense the fuel faster. They are proposing only one station with two dispensers as trucks have tanks on both sides.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that there will also be diesel in the auto-fueling center, but that is a smaller nozzle that fits in cars. The high-flow diesel nozzles do not fit into an automobile.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the building will be all masonry building with masonry-bearing walls on all four sides with insulation on the inside. Sample boards and a sample masonry block were displayed, and it was noted that there will be light, medium, and dark tones used as he pointed to colors that are being proposed.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that the convenience store and the food vendor will have separate entrances.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that they are requesting the sign variances due to the fact that they essentially have three business on this property. They are proposing an ID monument sign; four canopy signs, two signs on each of the two canopies; and two wall signs.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the American Planning Association determines the recommended size of signs based on the speed and complexity of roadways, and for this location, the recommendation is 242-square-foot sign; but they are only asking for an 80-square-foot sign. The sign will be 10 feet high with a masonry base. It will be encapsulated, have a logo, price sign, diesel price sign, and an LED reader board.

Mr. Kalischefski advised that they are aware that there has been discussion about a welcome sign on the corner for St. John, so they will need to work with the Town on that. They are proposing a sign on the corner at an angle to serve both US 41 and US 231 traffic. They are allowed seven signs; however, they are asking for a total of eight signs to clearly identify the three businesses.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the square footage for a canopy sign is 6 square feet by Town ordinance and further stated that size is really for a canopy on a building that’s over a doorway as opposed to a large canopy that’s over gasoline islands. The typical gas station sign is typically 25 square feet, which is what they are requesting. On the building walls, they are looking to identify the convenience store and the food vendor.

Mr. Kalischefski reviewed their photometric plan and mentioned that Illuminated Society of North America has specific recommendations for gas stations. Their guidelines state that gas station lighting is not the same as regular parking lot lighting needs and that, when you are at a gas station under the canopy, you are in the store, so the lighting needs to be greater for safety purposes.

The recommended amounts are: High urban areas, 50-foot candles under the canopy and 15-foot candles in the other areas; medium areas, 30-foot and 10-foot candles; and rural or low area, 10-foot and 5-foot candles. A high urban area would be the corner of a major intersection within an urban area or large community; low would be a stand-alone location on a rural road.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that they are not a high urban area or a low rural area. He stated that their lighting plan proposes 21-foot candles under the gas canopy, 19.8 under the diesel canopy, and 2.1-foot candles in all other areas, so they are very close to low or rural guidelines. He further stated that they tried very hard to get as close as possible to the Town’s regulations. They are proposing all LED lights, which can be controlled better. All the lights will be up in the soffit area and in the fixtures for the yard lights. They have internal optics which can be controlled, including the forward throw, side throw, and can cut off the back throw.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that they do have a list of variances but that he would like to stop at this point and address any specific questions the board may have.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, he opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Tom Post, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (5822 West Fish and Wildlife Lane, Medaryville): The mailing address for the actual Department of Natural Resources, our main office, is down in Indianapolis; but I will use my local one. I believe you all have a handout that I presented to the recording secretary, and I’ll get you a copy after my comments on that one.

Good evening. My name is Tom Post, and I am with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources which owns and manages Biesecker Prairie Nature Preserve. This preserve is located directly south of the parcel where numerous variances are being requested. Biesecker Prairie is a 34.2 acre preserve that was purchased in 1990 and dedicated as a State nature preserve in 1992; such dedication gives the preserve the highest protection under State law. The prairie is a living museum of natural history showcasing what large sections of central Lake County looked like when first settled. It provides habitat for literally hundreds of plants and animal species, including over 175 native plants, among which one is listed as federally threatened; five plants that are listed as endangered, threatened, or rare in the state; three rare animals; and over 30 rare insects, many of which are moths. Because of the minimal amount of prairie left in Indiana and the rarity of the plants and animals on the property, the preserve is considered irreplaceable.

Since the State first purchased the property, the neighborhood has under gone changes. The State has cooperated with development issues such as relocation of utilities, re-paving of US 231, and improvements of US 41 going north into St. John. We are amenable to developments such as the bank directly north of the preserve and probably will get along well with the new veterinary office currently being built nearby. We believe we have been good neighbors with the subdivision directly north of the preserve.

However, continued proposed development presents additional pressures which brings me here tonight. I am here to speak about the proposed automobile/convenience store/restaurant located directly north of Biesecker Prairie. As you know, the parcel is located in the highway 41 Overlay District. This is a district where quality and character are important to the community, where aesthetic qualities and high standards for buildings and landscaping are required. These qualities are described in your Zoning Ordinance for the Overlay District. The DNR finds these qualities lacking in the applicant’s request.

A review of the 23 variances requested shows serious issues of this request. First, starting with the very first variance for a gas station as a special exception; and going through the list, the applicant is trying to shoehorn in a development not compatible with the neighborhood or your zoning intent. Lot size, building materials, parking, landscaping, lighting, signage; the applicant is asking for multiple variances from your standards.

Specific concerns to the DNR as a neighbor in the area include increased congestion caused by the number of cars potentially using the site. Our concern is increased vehicle accidents caused by the use of fire. We use fire to manage the prairie; we burn a portion of it every year. Fire causes people to rubber neck at what is going on our properties. We know because it has happened on other sites where we burn.

And I’m going to deviate a little bit from my prepared comments here, if I may. Concerned also about the congestion on US 231, we have noted over the years that people trying to make a left turn onto Schneider Place, which is just to the east of this, causes not only back up towards US 41, but also causes people to drive around on the shoulder. And if you’ve noticed with the repaving of US 231, there’s a shallow passing blister there right now; and INDOT did that at my request, because as people were trying to turn and people were going around them on the soft shoulder; they were getting stuck; they were making ruts; they were impacting the drainage off of the property; so that’s an example of the congestion that we’re concerned about. And that’s a deviation from my prepared comments for you, so now I’ll go back to those, this evening.

The variances from landscaping requirements such as greenbelt or plantings are concerning as well. Landscaping contributes to controlling water leaving the site; it can promote cooling of the area and contributes to the aesthetics of the area. Plantings as called for in your ordinance should be the norm, and usage of all native plants should be required rather than the variances being requested.

There is also a variance request to allow more impervious surface than called for in your ordinance. I believe that you are well aware that the more a site is made impervious to water, the more water runs off the site; and since a gas station is being considered with lots of pavement where will the runoff go? And you can also probably count on contamination being in that runoff water because spills invariably incur at a gas station.

The amount of lighting being requested through variance is also problematic and detrimental to the preserve. More and more studies are finding that artificial urban lighting is detrimental to night flying insects, particularly moths. Biesecker Prairie has dozens of moth species using the preserve, and DNR believes the lighting variances as requested will be directly detrimental to night flying insects. The DNR, as a neighbor to this proposed development, also finds the variance requests concerning signage to be excessive and not contributing to the quality of the neighborhood.

There is also a proposed gas station on the southwest corner of US 41 and US 231. Does the town of St. John want to have two such developments on the doorstep to your town? If the requested variances are approved, might this set precedence for other developments in St. John?

In closing, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is not opposed to well-planned, well-thought-out developments of this property. We believe there are more compatible developments of this property that would make it more suitable for the neighborhood in terms of aesthetic quality and character while maintaining the high building and landscaping standards the Town would like to have. By holding to the standards of your US 41 Overlay District, this would be helpful in limiting impacts to this important State resource across the street.

The DNR is concerned with congestion of the area, the building materials proposed, lack of landscaping, drainage, and especially excessive lighting. There is a natural jewel across the street, and we request your acknowledgment of this by denying all the variances requested in this petition. Your action on the local level will help protect what is also a State treasure.

Thank you for your consideration, and if you have any questions I will try and answer them at this time.

(Said handouts are attached hereto and made a part thereof as Exhibit Nos. 2018-12-17 BZA 1 and 2018-12-17 BZA 2.)

Mr. Panczuk thanked Mr. Post and asked the board if they had any questions for Mr. Post. None was had.

Jerry Shallon (12095 South Oakwood Drive): I’m not here for anything specific. I just read about it in the paper, and it looked like a laundry list of requests they had of many varian – of variances. The Town does studies. They have committees. They pay people to do investigations on development and planning for the Town. They make the rules; they make ordinances; and then all of a sudden, everybody wants to change all the ordinances. It seems like a lot of wasted time.

Personally, looking at his plans right there, uh, the traffic seems all wrong. Heading south, I don’t think you’re going to be able to pull into it. Heading east, you’re not going to be able to pull into it. We already have a problem in front of Target. It’s supposed to be no left turn going south into Target. People are making left turns, they’re having accidents. You’re not supposed to leave going south out of Target on the non-lighted ones. They do, and there’s accidents.

They’ve got the one over here by, uh, Subway on 231. Going east, you’re not supposed to make a left into there to cross traffic; they are. It – it – it just – people do it. You put up signs, but they don’t care. They still make the turns.

You’ve got this little entrance way coming into here. He’s talking about box trucks. He’s got a small area to – to – for the trucks to load. What happens when you get two or three box trucks and they’re waiting out on 41 trying to turn in? You’re going to back up traffic and everything else. It – it – it just looks like it doesn't fit there. And I’d like to thank – thank Tom for bringing up a lot of good reasons why – why too.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I think one of the primary concerns is how is the appearance of this going to look and how is it going to fit into that overlay. How is it going to look as it – as it – uh, as people drive by, whether it’s on 41 or 231? I think this town needs to, um, have, you know, an appearance that – that is clean and neat looking. Um, I think with trying to fit about 3 acres of stuff in 1.4 acres, it’s going to get very busy looking. I think we’re going to lose that aesthetic that I think that we really want for the future of this town.

Um, I’m concerned when you’re running three businesses in – in 1.4 acres, because then you’re asking for signage for three separate businesses. I think the signage is, uh, too overwhelming. I think the lighting standards is you want lighting, uh, effective lighting on a gas station. I understand that, um, but I think, um, as – as – as brought up earlier, I think it – it – it’s just asking for too much in that – in that particular area.

Um, the impervious surface of 81 percent, I think is not reasonable. I – I think we need to have – and I have no problem with this, the – the – the surfaces that he’s going to use on the building. I just think we need more green space. I think we need to make it look like it’s a – a really nice piece of property. And I just don’t see all of these, um, variances, um going to make that a very appealing thing; so I’d like to see fewer signs on it. I’d like to see less lighting on it, more green space on it; and maybe an extra acre would be good. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): As I look at your agenda, it says see attached sheet of variances. You ask the public to comment on these. Every one of these items should be a Public Hearing. You don’t even tell us what these variances are. You say, “Well, let’s hear from the public first, and we’ll list the variances.” To me, that is backwards.

How are you running this commission? You’re running it backwards. How can we comment if you didn’t list the variances. It says it’s supposed to be attached to this sheet, and it’s not.

(Mr. Panczuk informed Mr. Hero that he thought they were attached.)

Well, I’m just telling you, from my perspective, it has nothing to do what you thought; it’s what you did. Okay. Now, we look back at a previous BZA meeting where you gave Mr. Boyer everything he wants. And you – there was overlay districts. There was the same issue with the size of the lots, the 2-acre minimum, and all that stuff.

You’re not – when you did that, you opened the door for these people. They got to be treated the same. You screwed up the last time you did this. You got to treat everybody the same. You let him get by without a 2-acre lot. You’re supposed to be the backbone of the ordinances in this town. And what I see here is you’re not.

You don’t inform the public what they can legally in a public hearing – what they can comment on because you don’t list the ordinances. Who’s in control of this BZA now?

(Mr. Panczuk responded that he is and that Mr. Eberly specifically listed out every ordinance.)

Well, but the public doesn’t have that information. It says on here, it’s “see attached list,” and it’s not there. You can’t talk your way around this, okay, sweet talk it. My biggest concern is – I was impressed first of all with the DNR guy that came here. I don’t know what inspired him to come here, but this is the first time we’ve seen somebody from the State. And I applaud what the guy said. Okay. But I look back at what you’ve done for other people; you’ve opened the door. You opened the door for this development. The overlay, all of this stuff, why do we have these ordinances?

My main concern is, simply, the traffic. They’re going to widen 41, that intersection. You can see 231 is going to be widened. It’s the same thing that’s going on in this whole town; it’s traffic problems. We put development in, and we don’t do anything with the roads, the deceleration lanes, and all of that stuff.

So first of all, I think you guys got to read your own ordinances and understand them, not let Mr. Eberly bail you out of every issue. You should be studying your ordinances, and go by the ordinances.

Mr. Svetanoff: If I might interject, at this time, Mr. Hero.

Mr. Hero: What did you say?

Mr. Svetanoff: Mr. Hero, if you could just have some decorum. Don’t attack the BZA here tonight. Let’s get the subtenant comment –

Mr. Hero: Well, no. It’s important. My – my argument is simply this: The homework hasn’t been done in the past; you opened this up to giving it to the guy.

Mr. Svetanoff: These are citizen members here tonight, Mr. Hero, and they’re here doing their civic duty. So if – what we can do, at least, at the end of the day, is be civil with these folks, so –

Mr. Hero: I’m being civil, sir.

Mr. Svetanoff: You’re – you’re kind –

Mr. Hero: This is a trend that keeps going on and on and on.

Mr. Svetanoff: Well, Joe, I can assure you of something: I’m here now, and we will be conducting things necessary and proper, as you know; you’ve dealt with me before. But please don’t attack these citizen members. Let’s just get the substantive issues on the project itself.

Mr. Hero: Well, I believe that the agenda is deficient; that’s where I’m going.

Mr. Svetanoff: The publication that was run, Mr. Hero, had the specific variances that were being requested; so there was a publication, a proper publication. If the agenda here tonight is missing the listing, the publication that was run in the newspapers, in two newspapers, was proper, necessary, and put everybody on notice; and you could have come into Mr. Eberly’s office, if you really wanted to see the list of variances, and get them from him there because he’s always in.

Mr. Hero: Well, we – we request the notices, the agendas, and they send them to us; and we didn’t’ see all of this. I tried opening up those emails. You know, how – how else can we – we every – we ask.

Mr. Svetanoff: Again, this is no intent; there’s no intention here. They’ve tried to do things necessary, proper, and to the best of their abilities; so let’s go ahead, let’s talk about substantive issues of this project. Let’s continue.

Mr. Hero: All right. Let’s go on. It’s good to see you here, sir.

Mr. Svetanoff: Well, thank you, Mr. Hero.

Mr. Hero: We’ve been missing somebody here for a long time.

Mr. Svetanoff: Well, thank you; appreciate it.

Mr. Hero: Anyway, notwithstanding that, it’s the traffic issues. They’re going to widen that road, 41. They’re going to widen 231. You look at those little turns in there, they’re almost 90s in some cases, ins and out; and then you see these – I call them delta separators – between the lanes. You’ve seen where they had them at the bank here at 96th. They took it out.

Okay. So I – I think the traffic is the big issue, and so I incorporate all the comments that the previous people have said about this. I feel sorry for these people. They want to start a business, and – and the way business is run here, in my opinion, isn’t in conformance with the ordinances. And they wasted a lot of money doing this because of precedence you’ve set in the past; so I ask you to set the precedent to follow the ordinances. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): I guess, on top of everything else that’s been said, I – I spent four years working at Schilling’s truck stop in St. John when it was popular back in the late ‘60s. We ran 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel through that truck stop every month, a half-a-million gallons. I look at these diesel pumps, and he’s talking about box trucks. All I’m going to do is ask you to pay attention to the in – right-in and look at the right-out.

Okay. You got a right-in coming north on 41. Now they’re going to have a right-out on 41. Same thing on 231: right-in/right-out. Think of these box trucks rolling into this facility. Look at the green space that they’ve got drawn in there and put yourself into a big dual-tanked rig coming in there to fuel up on that diesel fuel and then ask yourself: In the wintertime, those trucks are going to be rolling in there; how is that truck coming up 231 going to turn right into that station? Now, what’s he going to do? Is he going to turn left right there at the green space because it’s wintertime and it’s slippery and he doesn’t want to drive all the way around to come in from the back side? Or is he going to turn left right there by the green space where there’s going to be people coming out in cars? He’s going to be pulling through there. And what you’re going to do is create a problem that I don’t think we want to see. Thank you

Jerry Shallon (12095 South Oakwood Drive): Just for my knowledge, last year they had a discussion of quiet lighting up here and talking about it and about passing ordinances. Did they ever do anything with an ordinance or recommendations for quiet lighting on parking lots and all that?

(Mr. Panczuk and Mr. Eberly both stated they’ve never heard of that.)

We had a meeting up here, and we discussed it like the gas station in Dyer where the light is focused.

(Mr. Eberly stated that it is the Dark Skies Ordinance that is in place. Mr. Eberly added that the ordinance is one that the petitioner is seeking relief from.)

I don’t know what those variances are. I read them, but I don’t know what all the standards are.

Harold Yorke (10802 Schneider Place): I have to agree with a lot of what I’ve heard as far as why some people don’t – don’t want this facility built in – in – in that particular area. I live right there, and that’s a small little subdivision. I get to look at Coyne. Okay. I get to look at a concrete block wall now every morning when I get up; and, um, I certainly don’t want to be looking a truck stop. In spite of what’s been said here, okay, it’s still a truck stop, in my opinion; and it said so right on the presentation. Okay. So I don’t think it’s good for the community. I don’t’ think it’s going to be good for traffic, and I – it’s certainly not going to be good for the subdivision. Thank you.

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

Mr. Panczuk advised that he will start with the variances related to the green space, impervious surface area, and the buffers. There are multiple variances; however, they will be grouped together as one category for discussion.

Mr. Panczuk stated that in relation to the intersection, sufficient right-of-way is provided; however, the green that is shown is not private property. That is right-of-way, so it is deceiving. Currently, there is zero buffer on US 41 and insufficient buffer on US 231. Mr. Panczuk advised that he is completely opposed to any variance regarding buffer or landscaping at all on this property. Mr. Panczuk stated that the property is too dense. Eventually, the intersection will be improved, and it’s not going to be the way that it should be.

Mr. Lareau concurred with Mr. Panczuk and stated since the rendering is not a true depiction of what is there, their request for 81 percent impervious surface as opposed to 65 percent, and what the gentlemen stated from the DNR, he thinks it is a bad plan. Mr. Lareau further stated that he is concerned about gas spills, due to human error, going into storm sewers, etc., which is an issue.

Mr. Eberly showed the right-of-way line on the viewing screen and stated that what looks like a lot of green space is not on the property. The requirement calls for a 30-foot landscape buffer on US 41 and a 10-foot landscape buffer on US 231. The landscape buffers, as provided, are 5-foot landscape buffers, which is deficient in meeting the required amounts of the area and the number of plantings on US 41 and US 231.

Mr. Eberly displayed a spreadsheet that he prepared for the members of the BZA on the screen and explained that the numbers in red are indicative of what is deficient in their proposed project. What they are proposing for landscaping needs to be on their property and not in the right-of-way, and the plan that is in front of the BZA does not meet the intent of the ordinance.

Mr. Panczuk reviewed the requirements affected by the requested variances that fall into the category that has been discussed: impervious area percentage, the 30-footgreenbelt along US 41, the planting along US 41; the 10-foot planting to the side of the building, and landscape islands in the parking lot.

Mr. Eberly indicated on the screen where the landscape islands should be located on the property.

Mr. Aurelio stated that what he is looking at here doesn't represent what it is going to look like, which is a real concern.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the Landscape Plan shows where the property lines are and where they are landscaping to. He further stated that the purpose of this demonstration is to show what approved uses have been given in the past. Mr. Kalischefski compared curb line to pavement of their proposed lots with the strip malls further north on US 41 and parking to parking. He stated that the green space is similar or greater than those neighbors he compared to.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he understood what Mr. Kalischefski said and that it was basically what he had stated earlier. What he is comparing to up north is about to change as INDOT comes in and widens US 41 in the year 2020. The intersection is going to see significant widening in the future.

Mr. Panczuk advised that there is a Plan Commission and a BZA. The Plan Commission does site planning, and the BZA considers property and hardship. Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn’t see a hardship that requires the project not to have the buffer and landscaping.

Mr. Panczuk stated that it doesn’t matter what the guy next door got or who he got it from, but it wasn’t from him. He further stated that the ordinance was different when this subdivision was platted, which is why there is an automatic hardship for a lot under 2-acres. However, there isn’t a hardship regarding the landscape and the buffers. In his opinion, what has been done up the road doesn’t affect what is done on this corner.

The other members of the BZA concurred with Mr. Panczuk.

Mr. Panczuk stated that in order to move forward, we could vote on this or –

Mr. Kalischefski asked if he may make a couple more comments first. Mr. Panczuk afforded him the opportunity to do so.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that he believes the concerns about raising traffic is invalid as it is a corner lot with a proposed syphoning use and not a destination use. In regards to the natural resources, they built a Speedway across from the national Rookery, which is located at Renwick and Route 30. He stated that they were very sensitive to the facility there in terms of lighting, storm water, and that is what they would do here.

Mr. Svetanoff asked if the State of Indiana remonstrated against that project. Mr. Kalischefski replied that it is in a different state.

Mr. Svetanoff asked if the governmental agency of that state remonstrated. Mr. Kalischefski responded that the governmental agency expressed concerns, and they worked with them to meet those concerns. Mr. Kalischefski added that in regards to runoff, they don’t just let a drop of rain hit the pavement and run off; the rainwater is collected in the stormwater catch basins, which have petroleum-related filters; then it goes to the underground detention, which is, again, separated; and before it is released, it goes through an aqua swirl or a Stormceptor that is specifically designed for cleaning any remaining contaminants in the water.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that the tanks will be double-walled with interstitial monitoring in the tank space, in the pipes, in the sumps that are above the tanks, and under the dispensers. It is monitored and inspected on a regular basis by the State and 24-hour records must be kept daily. He further stated that they take the commitment to the environment very seriously.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that there are items they would like to work with the staff on in developing a limited amount of variations. He added that this would be the lowest lighting amount, in terms of candles, of any gas stations in town.

Mr. Kalischefski commented that they will look at the signage. They misread the wall signs and can modify that. The ID sign will be smaller than ones that have already been approved.

Mr. Panczuk advised that he would like to bring the discussion back to what was being discussed initially because it will be crucial to everything else. The site plan depends on landscaping and buffers that the board is, seemingly, not in support of; so everything else is of no consequence.

Mr. Panczuk advised that the board is not comfortable with the density, the greenspace, and the buffers, which completely impacts their plan in every way. Mr. Panczuk added that he has other issues as well, but he is not addressing those as yet.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they have considered a plan that meets our ordinance for landscaping and buffering. Mr. Kalischefski responded in the negative.

Ms. Popovic clarified that the landscape buffer is 30 feet from the property line. Mr. Panczuk concurred. Ms. Popovic commented that, essentially, the truck stop part would need to be removed.

Mr. Panczuk agreed and stated that he is completely opposed to the diesel pumps and wouldn’t consider the Special Exception in the overlay district with those diesel pumps. Mr. Panczuk brought the discussion back to the greenspace and the buffer and stated that it will not work.

Mr. Kalischefski responded that the board has made that point clear and requested that their matter be continued so they may work with the staff and see what could be done in terms of modifying the layout.

Mr. Panczuk stated that if they are going to request a deferral, for the benefit of the public who came to the meeting, he would like to review some of the other issues the board has so they can be discussed.

Mr. Eberly stated that he agrees with Mr. Panczuk and advised the board to address all the items they have issues with and give the petitioner an opportunity to respond and defer the matter only once and resolve everything at the next meeting one way or the other.

Mr. Panczuk stated that, in regards to lighting, he is in favor of supporting our lighting ordinance; however, we made an exception at Family Express because it seems that gas stations and convenience stores seem to be a place where people are sometimes unsavory people and didn’t present as safe of a feeling. Mr. Panczuk added that he is open to a compromise for lighting in a gas station; however, he has additional concern due to the DNR property across the street and would like Mr. Post to give his input regarding the lighting and have him work with you.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is going to bring the traffic concerns under the umbrella of the Special Exception variance. Safety is one of the Findings of Fact there; and he feels that it is going to induce illegal, left-hand turns into the pork chops.

Mr. Panczuk asked if they have considered installing a concrete barrier down the center where the pork chops are. We don’t want to allow or encourage illegal, left-hand turns. Something needs to be provided for the prevention of the same.

Mr. Lareau concurred and stated that he sees people doing that on a daily basis to turn into Target or Starbucks. He further stated that he is not a big fan of the right-in/right-out, as is, without any kind of barrier in that area.

Mr. Panczuk advised that to encourage the eastward, proper left turn, we need to have a proper blister and a no-left-turn lane. The site would invite that traffic, just as the petitioner would like it to; but something needs to be there for safety.

Mr. Kalischefski asked, in terms of the right-in/right-out and full access, if there was anything in the plans at that time when the barrier medians were approved. Mr. Panczuk responded that he cannot answer that; however, the petitioner is requesting a gas station that does syphon and draw traffic in, which will draw more impulse traffic than a restaurant.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the purpose of the Overlay District is to protect the overlay district from aesthetic concerns, safety concerns, so it was planned that way, but not necessarily for the volume that an in-an-out traffic that a gas station produces.

Mr. Panczuk commented that if the right-in/right-out is done correctly, it might work with modifications; however, that is excluding trucks.

Mr. Panczuk stated that, as far as signage goes, he feels a 30-foot monument sign is sufficient, especially with the canopy signage. Mr. Panczuk referenced the Circle K gas station on US 30 in Schererville, which is about 30 square feet, and stated that it looks good and that he can read it from a half a mile away. He can read the BP sign at Hart Street from a quarter of a mile away. The intersection at US 41 and US 231 is going to get slower and slower, and a 30-foot monument sign is sufficient.

Mr. Panczuk stated that there doesn’t need to be a canopy sign on the west side, maybe on the north and south side, as he sees some hardship there since it’s a corner lot. Mr. Panczuk further stated that the signs on the building do not need to exceed our ordinance at all. The proposed signs on the building significantly exceed it, and they do not require that. Mr. Panczuk supports the ordinance for signage 100 percent with the exception of two canopy signs. Multiple board members concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the maximum canopy sign size is 6 square feet, which is supportable and he doesn’t see a need for any variances on the signs.

Mr. Panczuk advised that the LED portion of the sign requires a variance because it can flash or scroll, which is not allowed by ordinance. Should they choose to keep that, it would have to be reviewed separately at a future time.

Mr. Panczuk again referenced the Circle K sign at approximately 30 square feet and stated that it works fine without the LED component. It has the pricing and the brand and is quite readable, so he doesn’t see a hardship for the monument sign. Mr. Lareau concurred.

Mr. Kalischefski again referenced the American Planning Association’s guide where public safety guidelines are published. Mr. Panczuk responded that their information has been quoted multiple times, and if it were the only sign they had, it might be true; however, the canopy will likely have colors that represent your brand, the front of the building will, and there will be brand recognition, so an advertising billboard isn’t needed on top of all that.

Mr. Eberly asked if Mr. Panczuk wanted to address the materials. Mr. Panczuk responded that he does.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he feels the brick-like materials they are using meets the intent of the ordinance and that it is a decent looking building. It appears to look like brick on all four sides and has the extra features that the overlay district call for. Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn’t have an issue with the materials. The other members of the board concurred.

Mr. Panczuk stated that, in reference to lot size and building size, the purpose of the BZA is to make exceptions from ordinances at times. While they don’t like to make exceptions to the ordinances, there are times and circumstances where a property is unusable because the ordinance completely boxes it in. The BZA has to ability to make an exception as long as it meets the requirements.

Mr. Panczuk read the Findings of Fact for a Developmental Variance and stated that it is his utmost mission to protect property value. The third Findings of Fact is a hardship for the landowner, and they have to right to petition the Town for relief from that.

Mr. Panczuk explained that no matter what is built on that property, it will require a variance for lot size and building size. The BZA needs to make sure it meets the other requirements. Mr. Panczuk stated that he doesn't have an issue with the lot size or building size, but his issue is with all the other items that have been listed out and discussed tonight.

Mr. Eberly advised that the first page includes the front-yard parking that is normally not allowed, and this property has parking spaces in the front yard or in the front-yard setback. Parking is supposed to be behind or to the side of the building, and there are spaces in front. This is also supposed to be no parking in the 60-foot front-yard setback.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that if they adhered to those ordinance rules, they would be left with about five usable spaces, and they are required to have 26. He further stated that they are showing 27 spots; they could remove one and put in landscaping there. Mr. Kalischefski stated that these ordinances are written for larger buildings with larger lots where it is easier to do the setbacks required.

Mr. Panczuk stated that parking in the front makes sense for this project. Mr. Panczuk referenced the Casey’s General Store that was built in Valparaiso, which was built backwards. He stated that it looked odd; and for safety purposes, he would rather park in front and be seen from the highway.

Mr. Eberly advised that the next one is impervious surface. Mr. Panczuk stated that he believes that was addressed with the landscaping and the buffers because, if those were to meet the ordinance, the impervious-surface number would align. Mr. Eberly responded that he agrees with that; however, in the landscape ordinance, it requires that 15 percent of the lot be landscaped, and they have 15 percent of the lot landscaped.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he is referring to the buffer sizes. Mr. Eberly concurred. Mr. Eberly stated that a 30-foot buffer along US 41 would eliminate the canopy and the diesel islands, so that setback variance would go away.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the board has made it clear that the diesel islands would be a deal-breaker for the Special Exception as the truck traffic is just too tight.

Mr. Eberly advised that there are two items that impact every development in the Overlay District regarding landscaping: the requirement that there be 25 feet of landscaping front of the building, extending 10 feet to either end of the building, and doing the 10 feet along the sides. They are seeking a variance from that.

Mr. Eberly stated that they don’t plan to put a 25-foot landscaped area in front of the building extending 10 feet either to either side and that they have landscaping along the north line that probably meets that ordinance, however, they don’t along the south.

Mr. Panczuk stated regarding the landscaping in front of the building, if it were a huge building, the parking would be in back, the landscaping would be in front of the building, so he understands that; however, the buffer falls in a separate category. Every lot, regardless of size, on our major thoroughfares need that buffer for aesthetic quality so the impervious surface remains low for the property developed.

Mr. Eberly advised that the last landscape variance would be to allow that south line of parking to be constructed as is without the island that Mr. Kalischefski mentioned earlier. Mr. Eberly asked if they want Mr. Kalischefski to put the aforementioned island in or if they are willing to consider the parking as is. Mr. Panczuk responded that he doesn’t believe the variance is required.

Ms. Popovic stated that she believes the big issue is the buffer. There is too much stuff going on, on the 1.4-acre lot as there are three different businesses, so we are dealing with the aesthetics of it, the safety of it, and also a big move away from the ordinances because the buffer on Wicker Avenue; there’s nothing there. Ms. Popovic stated that there are no evergreens proposed or ornamental trees, which is also a big move away from what the ordinance calls for.

Mr. Eberly informed Mr. Kalischefski that what that means is they want to see the landscape island in that row of parking if this goes forward. Mr. Kalischefski responded that it is a minor adjustment.

Mr. Kalischefski noted that the landscaping does exceed the percentage, but it is a matter of where that landscaping is. Mr. Kalischefski stated, again, that they are below at one-sixth the density allowed. The ordinance would allow a 50-foot building to be built here, and they are only 25 feet at the peak of the tower.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that ordinances are written with the best intentions in mind, and they are here for exceptions for, quite frankly, common sense; so they will look at this property to see if anything is viable. A petroleum facility is the largest tax producer on a square-foot basis, providing more tax monies to communities on a square-foot basis than does a Walmart or anything like that.

Ms. Popovic asked if it is an option to not have the diesel there. Mr. Kalischefski stated that it is a component that they will have to look at where they can place it on the lot.

Mr. Panczuk stated that the tax income for the community is not one of the BZA’s priorities.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Kalischefski to exchange contact information with Mr. Post from the DNR. Mr. Panczuk stated that he would like Mr. Kalischefski to work with their potential neighbor to the south regarding plant materials, planting for the landscaping, and lighting. He further stated that he wants to make sure they aren’t putting something in there that Mr. Post will say no to. Mr. Kalischefski responded that he is in agreement with that.

Mr. Eberly advised that Mr. Post has identified that there are some invasive species identified in the landscaping plan that he has concerns about. Mr. Eberly feels that Mr. Post’s input on that would be invaluable.

Mr. Eberly advised that they are allowed 100,000 lumens of lighting per acre. They have a 1.4-acre site, so they are permitted a total of 140,000 lumens and are proposing roughly 321,000 lumens.

Mr. Kalischefski stated that it would be the lowest illuminated site for a gas station in St. John, by far; and it is below the Dark-Skies recommendation.

Mr. Eberly stated that it is not below St. John’s Dark-Skies recommendation.

Mr. Svetanoff advised there are only two gas stations in St. John.

Mr. Panczuk added that they are quite dated. We have Go-Lo and Speedway.

Mr. Eberly stated that he would have to compare this to Family Express. This petition does not exceed the foot candles under either canopy. They are allowed 30-foot candles under the canopy, and their highest reading is less than that. The parking areas don’t exceed that maximum, and their light trespass doesn't trespass onto the prairie. There are a couple of light-trespass areas in the right-of-way on US 231 and US 41 where they are slightly higher than what’s required. However, in terms of trespassing on adjacent properties, they do not violate the ordinance.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Post what the maximum for that area would be that wouldn’t interfere with the nature preserve there. Mr. Eberly advised that while Mr. Post’s input is requested, it is ultimately the BZA’s decision.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that what we are doing is telling the potential neighbors to collaborate and make sure we take the remonstrance potentially out of the mix.

Ms. Popovic concurred and was just wondering about the lumens, because of how far apart those numbers are.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that it becomes a question too, if not this business, what business would be allowable by the State; and if the State is not going to allow any business to go there, is that a constitutional taking whereby there would have to be an eminent domain proceeding.

Mr. Panczuk asked where the light is coming from if they are meeting the light trespass and the canopy lighting. Mr. Eberly displayed the lighting plan on the screen and explained where the additional lumens were coming from. Mr. Eberly stated that the drive aisles are brighter than usual. It is the lumen output that they are exceeding by more than double.

Mr. Panczuk stated that if the buffers are in place and the diesel canopy eliminated, that would significantly change that number. Mr. Panczuk added that he is more worried about the canopy and the area between the canopy and the building being lit.

Mr. Kalischefski responded that he agrees with the point Mr. Panczuk is making and that the area between the canopy and the building has to be safe.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he believes that everything on the list has been covered.

Mr. Joe Hero asked from the audience if Mr. Panczuk was going to open Public Comment. Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Hero to give him a moment and stated that he would.

Mr. Panczuk summarized that, for the most part, the BZA is not in favor of most of these variance requests. There are a few that would be required for hardship for anyone developing the lot.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there are any further questions from the board. Hearing none, he reopened the Public Hearing.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): As I look at how this transcribed tonight, I don’t think these people were treated fairly; and the traffic issues and all those issues are correctly raised at DNR. But they spent a lot of money, probably, to get here tonight. Okay. I think when somebody puts a petition in, all these little issues that Mr. Eberly keeps raising tonight should have been discussed with these people. I don’t know if they were or not. That would have let them clean up their project so that they could come in here and make their best presentation.

So I see sometimes when developers come in here, they get greased lightning. This is one of the few where they seem to hit a lot of barriers, and I think a lot of those barriers could be eliminated if they would have had that discussion with Mr. Eberly. But I don’t know if they did or not, so I would encourage you to look at this that way. I don’t think they were treated fairly tonight. That’s just my opinion, and I think it always should be done that way. Thank you.

Mr. Panczuk advised that Mr. Eberly did exactly that; in fact, that’s where that list that was put in public notification was created. Mr. Eberly created the checklist so the petitioner was well aware of every single variance they were asking for. Mr. Eberly did a good job of nailing every single one, which is why the list was so extensive to work thhrough, and the petitioner chose to come forward anyhow and ask for quite a substantial list of variances.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that Mr. Eberly has been in constant contact with ownership and the developer of this project, so there has been a constant information sharing going on throughout the entire process. Mr. Svetanoff further advised that this is not like an, “Aha, gotcha.” It’s been a process for the petitioner to get this far, and staff has done a tremendous job.

Mr. Eberly stated that he appreciates those comments, and he would agree that he has advised the petitioner of the difficulties they were facing, in his opinion. Mr. Eberly made it very clear that he has to be careful when cautioning a petitioner so it doesn’t come across that he acting on the behalf of the BZA. While he can’t predict every issue that the members may have with a presentation, he tries to caution the petitioners as to what he thinks the issues may be with the BZA.”

Mr. Eberly stated that the petitioners were advised that everything that was discussed here this evening were potential issues and to be prepared to make a decision, if they are able to do so, or to request a deferral to come back. Mr. Eberly noted that those conversations happen all the time from the simplest of residential petitions to the more complex commercial petitions.

Mr. Eberly reiterated that he is very cautious to not say that the BZA will or won’t grant a petitioner’s request(s). He does try to prepare the petitioners for the likelihoods that they may be facing.

Mr. Panczuk stated that Mr. Eberly’s unbiased assistance is always welcome and thanked him for the same.

Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street): I would like to thank this board for their diligence in following the ordinances, for making things plan in the future like the things like we would like to see this town laid out, and for that work – for that work I’d like to say thank you. And thank you, Mr. Eberly, for the work that you’re doing because what I’ve seen in the past over the years, this is a major improvement. This is phenomenal; and if we can get consistent with this, then petitioners will know what is coming for them in the future; so thank you.

Shamir Manhani (9028 Parkside Lane): I’m a resident of St. John. I live in Lake Hills on Parkside Lane. I’m very thankful to have the BZA members and all of you to show up today. I just wanted to tell you what’s the reason behind bringing this project to town. Uh, it’s me and my brothers here, uh, friends – friends like brothers, and we are putting up – we’ve been in gas station business since 20-30 years, a longer time. And, uh, we were – we built houses here. We live here. We’re part of the community.

But we were just not happy with the two gas stations that were in town, you know. And I was like, it’s our town; and, you know, I live here. And my other brother, he also lives in Lake Hills; and we’re like, we can give this town a little bit better looking facility. But keeping in line with, uh, what we want because we – we want to work together on this. And – and I – I – the diesel was, uh, we really did not want to put the diesel in; but we thought the small box trucks, there was no room when we travel 41 north all the way to Love’s truck stop by highway 80 that somebody would appreciate it. But because of the size and the traffic problems and the safety, we would really, you know, go through and see if we really don’t want to present that diesel and keep it safe.

But we would really love to come back in this town again. So if you can give them a little better piece of property, nicer looking, and keeping the future in mind too. And once again, thanks for all your comments tonight, and thanks for the BZA members for letting us be here. Thank you very much.

Bryan Blazak asked Mr. Eberly to bring the site plan back on the screen as he approached the podium to speak.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): In regards to this, while I’ve been sitting here listening to all this, if you look at this plan with those diesel islands sitting in there, consider this: You’re talking about trying to squeeze a traffic pattern into this design.

Cars or trucks, box trucks are going to be coming in from the southbound turning right, and they’re going to have to make a tight right turn right after they hit the pork chop. So if you’re running a 30-foot box truck, I defy any driver to be able to make that pork chop and then cut immediately in to get in line for the diesel fuel.

Next comment: After they fuel the truck, he’s facing southbound. He’s going to leave by pulling forward – you’re right on there, Rick – and driving out this way. He has one choice – two choices: He can go left and go to 41 if he’s going north or south, or he can go all the way around and try and go northbound on 41.

Now, consider this for a minute: Ten – ten islands or ten stations on the islands, how many of you sitting here today can think over the weekend – Friday, Saturday, Sunday – you’re out shopping. Two o’clock in the afternoon, you go by Speedway, gee, there’s a whole bunch of people here. So even with ten islands, they’re all full; and you have to sit back because you want to be able to pick which island you’re going to go to, so you’re not going to pull in right behind somebody at an island. You’re going to sit back where all that parking is.

And you have one car sitting there. I’ve been in where there’s two and three and four cars waiting to get in to get fuel. Where’s that box truck going to go when he’s got three or four cars sitting in front of him waiting to get into an island? I rest my case.

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

Mr. Svetanoff asked Mr. Panczuk if he wished to close Public Comment at this time. Mr. Panczuk responded in the affirmative and stated that he is a chairman who likes to open it at will, so keep that in mind. Mr. Panczuk further stated that he likes to have the citizens involved.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that he is trying to get familiar with the surroundings.

Mr. Panczuk stated that he likes citizen involvement, that he is a citizen himself, and that he lives here, so it’s a good thing. He further stated that he will take all the wrath.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that he is trying to keep a clean record.

Mr. Panczuk asked if there were any further comments from the board. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to defer all action for this petitioner to the January meeting by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Lareau. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Panczuk adjourned the meeting at 8:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

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

12-17-2018 Board of Zoning Appeals Exhibits.pdf
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