St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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November 28, 2016 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Ken Schneider, PresidentDavid Austgen, Town Attorney
Paul PanczukStephen Z. Kil, Town Manager
Tom Ryan 
Jason Williams 
John Kennedy 

CALL TO ORDER:


Mr. Schneider called to order the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals for November 28, 2016 at 7:05 p.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance (recited and all took their seats).

ROLL CALL:


Roll call was taken by Michelle L. Haluska, recording secretary. Members present: Ken Schneider, Tom Ryan, Paul Panczuk and Jason Williams. Staff present: Mr. David Austgen, Town Attorney and Mr. Stephen Kil, Town Manager. Absent: Mr. John Kennedy.

MINUTES:

Mr. Schneider inquired if the board members had a chance to review the minutes of January 25, 2016, April 25, 2016, May 23, 2016 and October 24, 2016. Mr. Panczuk made a motion, seconded by Mr. Williams to approve the minutes with two (2) typographical errors to be amended. Motion carried 4-0-0.

OLD BUSINESS:


A. LEVIN TIRE (8575 Wicker Avenue) Developmental / Technical Variances - continued Public Hearing

Mr. Schneider read a letter from the Director of Engineering, Mr. Russ Pozen of DVG Inc. requesting a deferral from tonight’s meeting. Mr. Austgen advised that this should be a continued Public Hearing with a specific date of the meeting being set. Mr. Kil advised that there was no December meeting scheduled as it is December 26, 2016, the day after Christmas. After discussion amongst the board members, Mr. Schneider entertained a motion.

Mr. Williams made a motion to defer the matter of Levin Tire for a continued Public Hearing to Monday, January 23, 2017. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

B. 9753 ELLE AVENUE (Mr. Shawn Engle) Developmental / Technical Variances – continued Public Hearing

Mr. Schneider asked the petitioner to come before the podium. Mr. Schneider read five (5) letters into the record from Ms. Carol Biel of 21 Century 21 Realty; James and Debbie Skowron of 9863 Elle Avenue; Russ and Pam Viator of 9861 Jack Drive; Alan and Lynn Shenker of 9460 Grasselli Avenue and Mr. Todd Yonker of 9723 Elle Avenue.

Mr. Engle had Mr. Kil display renderings of the proposed detached garage. Mr. Engle stated that he is still seeking a 24’ wide x 37’ deep, with a gable roof which is like and kind to the materials used on the house. The siding is also like and kind in that it is the siding made of concrete composite. Mr. Engle pointed to the area which will be a 6’ green space. Several angles of the rendition were displayed for review.

Mr. Engle pointed out that the new proposal would hide the utilities and meters that are on that side of the primary residence. In one rendition showing the dimensions, a small pink chair was placed as a reference to size.

Mr. Engle showed three (3) pine trees that he wishes to keep, by off-setting the driveway to accommodate this. Mr. Engle noted that it is a unique shaped lot and although not the largest in Crossing Creek, it is a very large lot and also a corner lot.

Mr. Engle was asked about any commercial use of the detached garage by Mr. Panczuk. Mr. Engle advised that he will be filling with two (2) full size van, a SUV, various “guy” items such as a tractor, snow blower, grass seed spreader, bicycles, 12’ ladder, etc.

Discussion ensued amongst the board members regarding Zoning Ordinance Chapter 5 Section D regarding accessory buildings. With no further questions from the members. Mr. Austgen reminded the board that this was a continued public hearing, all legal notices were proper and in order and you can proceed.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor for continued public hearing, advising those wishing to speak to please state your name and address for the record.

Mr. Nick Georgiou (9412 Jack Drive):
Mr. Georgiou advised that he was originally opposed and at this time he wished to withdraw his remonstrance. He is an architect and after seeing the renderings he believes it is a very nice solution and he supports it.

Mr. Patrick Jones (9422 Jack Drive):
Mr. Jones stated he agreed with the letter read from Ms. Carol Biel that it will be adding to the value of the subdivision. The lot is shaped very wide and it will look very nice. He also stated that a smaller garage would not look right.

Mr. Joseph Haasnein (9369 Elle Avenue):
Agrees with Patrick, the plus or minus of 100 square feet will be no impact to me.

Mr. Steve Horn (9420 Grasselli Drive):
Mr. Horn just wanted to give his support for this, I think it is a very professional solution and it will save a lot of neighborhood angst and it will bring a lot of value to the area.

Zorica Schilling (9359 Elle Avenue):
Ms. Schilling stated that she is in support of the garage and thinks it will make everyone happy.

Mr. Mark Nunnikhoven (9731 Jack Drive):
Mr. Nunnikhoven stated that it is his opinion that the board exists to make decisions when something does not always make it by the ordinance and he is in support of the garage rendering, and thinks anything smaller would just look silly.

Mr. Marty Kozak (9843 Elle Avenue):
Mr. Kozak stated that he just wanted to say that he was jealous.

Ms. Amanda Lisene (9430 Grasselli Avenue):
Would like to give a favorable recommendation on this, looks great, very functional.

With no further comment from the floor, Mr. Schneider brought the matter back to the board for discussion. Mr. Panczuk was noting that from the month before, it looks like the depth matches the house. Discussion ensued on contingencies and conditions that can be placed on the findings of fact. Mr. Austgen advised that any of the conditions that the board members agree upon should be noted for perpetuity for the property record.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion from the board. Mr. Panczuk made a motion for approval of the 24’ x 37’ detached garage, noting that it is to be like and kind, and 6’ from the primary structure, a 17’ side yard and wanted the renderings to be incorporated into the record. Motion seconded by Mr. Williams. To the second variance, Mr. Williams made a motion for approval of the set-back matter, and noted conditions or contingencies that (1) no commercial activity on property (2) no additional accessory structures in addition to (3) 24’ x 37’ like and kind to existing structure (4) incorporate renderings as presented (5) 6’ from primary structure and (6) 17’ side yard, as read into the Findings of Fact. Mr. Panczuk seconded motion. Motion carried 4 ayes - 0 nays.

C. ALSIP HOME & NURSERY (10255 Wicker Avenue) Developmental / Technical Variances.

Mr. Rich Christakes introduced himself to the board members. He advised that he is coming before the board for a greenhouse addition. He advised that they are hoping to improve the shopping experience of their customers and the aisle space is really tight. They want to add selling space to the area of 6,400 square feet that is currently storing mulch and such.

Mr. Christakes advised that he will be using the Nexus Group which provided the original greenhouses that are already there. He would like to go 80’ East and 60’ North of the original greenhouse, and he believes it will be a safer environment than the asphalt that is currently there for outdoor sales. He advised that the new greenhouse would have concrete floors with drains and would go North to where the PVC fence is located. This would allow for the enclosure of more product indoors and make less outdoor sales.

Mr. Williams asked if this was more like a pole barn. Mr. Christakes advised that it is a greenhouse and submitted paper renderings of the proposal for the board to review. He further advised that it is a one-story structure; that there will be no storage above and that they have simply outgrown their current facility of 30,000 square feet of the primary facility.

During discussion between the board members on the building materials, Mr. Kil reiterated that Mr. Christakes will be coming before the Plan Commission as this project encompasses several parcels, and that there will be the requirement of re-subdivision, and several waivers will need to be sought from the commission in conjunction with the action of the board this evening. Mr. Kil displayed on the meeting room screen, showing a proposed 40’ x 170’ greenhouse, so basically he is requesting to add additional greenhouse, and he wants to build a pole barn, he has a whole host of variances he is asking for.

Discussion ensued as to the materials that will be used. Mr. Kil advised that the pole barn would be tin. Mr. Christakes advised that if necessary he would be willing to brick two sides to break it up.

Mr. Christakes advised that the biggest approval right now is the greenhouse approval because he really wanted to have them done and have them ready for use in Spring of 2017. Discussion ensued to suggest approval of the greenhouse and defer the issue of the pole barn until they provide some renderings for review.

Mr. Austgen noted that these are the most interesting public notices that he has reviewed in a long time; as he can hardly match up any of the green cards to the Assessor’s Certificate. The Township Assessor’s Certificate is cut off, so the names of the property owners are not identified, only street addresses. He further advised that he tried matching street addresses and that only worked for 3 or 4 of the fifteen (15) that are here. The newspaper notices are good. Mr. Christakes advised that most of those notices were sent to ourselves as they are the adjacent property owners on several different parcels. Mr. Austgen advised that anything they do tonight is subject to the scrutiny of further data that verifies the public hearing was properly noticed, or perhaps it wasn’t. Mr. Schneider asked what Mr. Austgen’s recommendation would be? Mr. Austgen advised that it looks like you have it more information to get for the entire proposal, so you probably have another month to figure it out.

Mr. Christakes came forward to the dais to explain some of the areas shown on the paper copy that he had brought. Mr. Panczuk and Mr. Williams both wanted to see in relation to the property lines and parking lot, the existing and the proposed (shaded areas versus slash-tagged areas). Explanation was given the proposed new greenhouse was going to the East, and shifted North. General discussion ensued between Mr. Christakes and the board members at the dais.

Mr. Panczuk requested that when they come back to the board he would like to see a street rendering of the proposed pole barn.

Mr. Williams asked if their needed to be a motion. Mr. Austgen suggested that they just continue the public hearing to the January 23, 2017 meeting, which will allow them to coordinate the alignment of the legals.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor to Public Comment, requesting those who wish to speak to please state your name and address for the record.

Mr. John Schaefer (14290 West 93rd Avenue):
Mr. Schaefer asked if the petitioner was looking to take the current space that they have a greenhouse and change that into more year-round space, or are they just adding more greenhouse. He advised he is asking due to the tax structure, and if there is a different tax rate for a greenhouse compared to regular retail.

Mr. Austgen advised that concerning tax issues he would have to go to the Township Assessor’s Office or the Lake County Assessor’s Office for that information.

Mr. Eric Schneider (9190 West 106th Avenue):
After looking through the meeting minutes of October 24, 2016, I see that Lake Central, which was a concern of mine with their new huge salt barn right along U.S. 41, and their new maintenance building, it kind of states in here that they are not going to be in compliance with the brick structures either, so I am not really sure why the pole barn which is much smaller and set farther back from U.S. 41 is such an issue with what building material is being used.

Mr. Williams advised that is an issue with Lake Central and is not visible from the street, and certainly not at the level where we’re asking for brick from Alsip. Mr. Williams continued that they have a fence around it and it will have evergreen trees surrounding it, so the building will be obscured from street level view, so we were more willing to allow them to use different building materials. General discussion ensued regarding the proposal before the board tonight and one brought before them earlier by Lake Central.

With no further comment from the floor Mr. Schneider closed the floor and brought the matter back to the board. Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Christakes to come back to the podium. Mr. Christakes advised that there could be changes made and provide renderings and hereby requests that they continue the meeting to the January 23, 2016 meeting.

Mr. Williams made a motion to continue the public hearing for Alsip Homes and Nursery to the January 23, 2017 meeting, once verifying that the legal notices are in order. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 4 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Austgen reminded the chairman that Mr. Christakes should be checking in with Mr. Kil on the matter of the legal notices so that they can confirm that they have good documents and check if we had a good public hearing here or not.

ANNOUNCEMENT:
Mr. Schneider advised that it needs to be noted for the record that board member Tom Ryan left the meeting (2022 hours).

D. CIRCLE K (9301 Wicker Avenue) Special Exception Variance and Developmental Technical Variances

Mr. Jim Weiser and Mr. Austgen had a brief discussion off record (inaudible).

Mr. Austgen addressed the board that before you start Mr. Weiser would like to confer with his clients.

Mr. Weiser advised that he is representing the Circle K development and they were fully prepared to proceed this evening; however, given the nature of the project and what we believe to be the positive impact on the community, we truly believe we need a full Board of Zoning Appeals membership in attendance, that they wish to defer the matter. He advised that that this is a major project and truly believes it would be appropriate to have a full board present due to the significance of the proposal. They would feel better with a full board and would suggest a continuance to the January 23, 2017 meeting.

Mr. Austgen addressed the Chairman (Mr. Schneider) and advised that this is a normal type request when a full membership is not available.

Mr. Schneider entertained a motion to defer the Circle K request to January 23, 2017. Motion made by Mr. Panczuk and seconded by Mr. Williams.

Mr. Austgen noted for the record that all the legal notices are in order and the decision for deferral is at the discretion of the board members and the petitioner. That being said though, he advised that several persons have come to hear this issue and although you cannot go forward with public comment they should be allowed to state they name and address and note their presence for the record, so we do not have any prejudice to those folks who came out tonight on the notice of the public hearing.

Mr. Austgen advised to solicit whomever is here, as citizen, interested persons related to this application before you take your vote and defer. Mr. Weiser and Mr. Austgen noted that they will be allowed to identify themselves and that they are here for this, the public hearing hasn’t been conducted yet, but folks need to be noted on the record.

Mr. Gary Koster (9491 Eggert Drive): We have wasted a lot of time sitting here and may not be able to get back to the January meeting, so I’m glad we get a chance to talk...

Mr. Austgen addressed the Chairman and stated that the petitioner has not made a presentation, they made a request based upon the diminution of the membership present this evening, and recognizing Mr. Koster’s is to recognize that he is here, he is interested in this; but the public hearing is not commenced. It is simply for identification purposes, for the record.

Mr. Gary Koster (continuation):
It should have been noted an hour and a half ago that this was not going to take place.,. I don’t care, you guys have to get it together., and if you are not going to have all the board members here don’t waste my time and a few of the others, that is nonsense, and now you won’t even here what we have to say. Even though it will not go into the record, you won’t even here what we have to say.

Ms. Laura Huizinga (11050 West 93rd Avenue:
Interested in this matter.

Mr. Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street):
(no further comment)

Mr. Erik Schneider (11130 West 93rd Avenue):
(no further comment)

Mr. Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive):
(no further comment)

Ms. Rita Berg (10351 Joliet Street):
(no further comment)

Ms. Kathryn Wilson (9621 E. Oakridge Drive):
(no further comment)

Mr. Warren Bohler (11130 West 93rd Avenue):
(no further comment)

Mr. Austgen advised that it is unusual for a member to leave during a proceeding and the like, but.,.

Mr. Panczuk asked to make a comment, that due to the situation of them waiting for so long, is there any way that we can make that we move this item to the beginning of the agenda for the next meeting, since we have the largest public turnout for this particular item. Mr. Austgen advised that the agenda is yours and you can direct that traffic.

Mr. Panczuk made a motion to make this the first and foremost item on the January 23, 2017. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

E. SUNRISE SOLAR (10087 Ravenswood Drive) Special Exception Variance and Developmental Technical Variances

Mr. William (Bill) Keith introduced himself to the board. Mr. Keith asked for Mr. Kil to place some materials on the meeting room screen.

Mr. Keith advised that he is looking at building a building on the one (1) vacant lot that is left on Ravenwood Drive. It is located back behind the old Auburn Plumbing Supply, now it is J & M Golf.

So, all the buildings on that street, that would complete the last open lot that backs up to the railroad tracks. Right now it is surrounded by a green fence; it was a parking lot for semi-trucks before.

There are seven variances that we are looking for. Mr. Schneider counted them off in regards to the variance request.

Mr. Schneider and Mr. Keith discussed that it falls in that U.S. 41 Overlay District, however; this was originally zoned Light Industrial, you cannot see the building from U.S. 41. Mr. Keith advised that he submitted photos of all the buildings in that area. There is some brick in there and they are proposing to do stone.

Mr. Keith advised that he is trying to maximize the usage out of that lot, that way he would not have to come back for an extra garage for something down the road, if I can build the right size in the first place.

Mr. Schneider inquired as to the use of the building being proposed. Mr. Keith advised that he invented a solar powered attic fan about 15 years ago and I have manufactured it out of Warsaw, Indiana for the last 14 years and he wants to move it here. We don’t even weld items, I have all of my components made elsewhere, like in South Bend and Warsaw, and different places around the state. We will be mostly assembling and boxing, so it is a real clean operation. No public sales, because we export around the world and so once in a while we will have a skid go out or have a container brought in, which will be filled and sent overseas. We are one of the few companies that is exporting right out of Lake County, Indiana.

Mr. Williams was asking if there was a rendering from the front elevation of the building.

Mr. Kil reminded the board members that Mr. Keith will also be going directly to the Plan Commission if he receives the variances from this board. That would be for site plan approval. Mr. Kil reminded that this was developed prior to our zoning ordinance that is in effect right now.

Mr. Keith advised he is going for the more esthetically pleasing stone front, which he likes better than just the brick all the way up to the eave, he thinks it looks nicer. There is a fence that is on the other property and he will be purchasing an additional 5’ from that owner, so it will remain at 15’. The front yard setback will be 25’ – 26’.

Discussion ensued between Mr. Williams and Mr. Panczuk with the petitioner, viewing various photos from his phone. Mr. Keith advised that whatever he builds he wants it to be the nicest looking building on the street. He also noted that there is an obscuring fence all around, which he does want to keep to the back and side portion of the building for security purposes, but would like to remove it from the front of the building and attached at the sides.

Mr. Keith noted that a lot of this he felt he would be bringing to the Plan Commission. Mr. Williams noted that Attorney Austgen and Mr. Kil were nodding at that point.

Mr. Schneider added that this was all built as Industrial, and his opinion is that he did not wish to burden Mr. Keith any further.

Mr. Keith advised that he tried to get all the documentation done before the October meeting, however he could not get it all done on time. He further noted that he is under a deadline as he has to be out of Warsaw this Spring, and I am already fighting on whether or not I can get a foundation in still this year.

General discussion ensued and it was reiterated that a good portion of the matters were going before the Plan Commission.

Mr. Schneider opened the floor to public comment.

Mr. Jack Crotty (10115 Ravenwod Drive):
I will be the next door neighbor and I think it will be very well done and look nice.

Mr. Gerald Swets (9490 Joliet Street):
He is happy that they are expanding their business to bring it to St. John. He would like the exterior to still be masonry in the U.S. 41 Overlay.

Mr. Rita Berg (10351 Joliet Street):
She thinks it is very good work and likes what Bill Keith does.

With no further comment from the floor, the matter was brought back to the board.

Mr. Schneider on Variance 1. Mr. Williams made a motion to approve the set-back variance and incorporate the findings of fact in to the motion. Motion seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider on Variance 2. Mr. Williams made a motion to approve the developmental/technical variance on the square footage and incorporating the Finding of Fact into the motion. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider on Variance 3. Mr. Williams made a motion to approve the developmental/technical variance on the building exterior corners and incorporating the Finding of Fact into the motion. Seconded by Mr. Panczuk. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider on Variance 4. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to approve the developmental/technical variance on the Public Art requirement and incorporating the Finding of Fact into the motion. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider on Variance 5. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to approve the developmental/technical variance on the Bike / Pedestrian requirement and incorporating the Finding of Fact into the motion. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider on Variance 6. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to approve the developmental/technical variance on the Exterior Building Materials requirement and incorporating the Finding of Fact into the motion. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Schneider on Variance 7. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to approve the Special Exception (Use) variance and incorporating the Finding of Fact into the motion, and sending a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for final action. Seconded by Mr. Williams. Motion carried 3 ayes – 0 nays.

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

Respectfully submitted,

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