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November 15, 2018

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met Thursday, November 15, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, White County Government Center, Monticello, Indiana.

Present: Dennis Sterrett, Chris McWhirter, Randy Conwell, Stan Minnick, and Abbey Gross

Also attending were Executive Director Joseph W. Rogers, Board Secretary Sarah Baunach and Area Plan Attorney Abigail Diener

Visitors attending were: Eric Stevenson, Janice Conwell, and Kaleb Pass

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Dennis Sterrett at 6:00 p.m.


Minutes and Findings of Fact: There was a motion by Randall Conwell and a second by Chris McWhirter to approve the Meeting Minutes and Findings of Fact dated September 20, 2018 as written. Motion was carried unanimously.

Note: At the introduction of each case hearing, Director Rogers introduced the Staff Report and affiliated documents into the official record of the meeting, to be used as supporting documents for the developing of the Findings of Fact for each hearing.

Variance #2987

Director Joseph Rogers stepped to the podium to discuss the variance request. Director Rogers explained the applicant, David Waldron, is requesting a front setback of 16’4”, which translates into a 13’8” variance request. Director Rogers stated that the property, 3896 N Dolby Ct., Monticello, is zoned an L-1, Lake District and the purpose of the variance is for a new dwelling. The current developmental standards for an L-1, Lake District are as follows: 35’ maximum height allowance, 20’ rear (roadside) setback, 30’ front (lakeside) setback, and 4’ side setbacks. He said that Dolby road is constructed of pavement (10 to 12 feet wide) and saw no indications of posted speed limits, but he feels it is safe to conclude that the speed limit would be a lower limit since the road is so narrow. Director Rogers stated within Dolby Court, there are several accessory structures and dwellings that were constructed close to the road that were most likely constructed prior to the time zoning developmental standards were adopted. Director Rogers also explained that this property is located in Liberty Township, which did not come into the area plan zoning jurisdiction until 1993. Therefore, anything constructed prior to that year would have been done prior to or without consideration of a zoning ordinance. Director Rogers indicated that the proposed home construction is typical of a single-family dwelling in that surrounding area and is not viewed as excessive. Director Rogers stated the staff believes the only practical alternatives to eliminate the proposed variance would be to either reduce the size of the proposed structure or move the structure closer to the roadside property line, both of which would create another variance condition pertaining to the minimum living space or the rear (roadside) setback requirement.

Director Rogers explained that moving the structure closer to the roadside property line only moves the variance request from one end of the property to the other. Director Rogers stated that the staff is very leery of moving structures less from 20’ away from most roadside property lines because it creates a potential visible impairment and an entry & exit distance limitation, which can create safety issues for property owners and passing traffic. In an L-1, Lake District, a 20’ roadside setback was established to give people enough room to get their vehicle off the road before entering into a garage. The staff typically tries not to infringe on the roadside setback for visual impairment and safety reasons. Therefore, moving the home closer to the lake creates a safer circumstance than to move it closer to the road. Due to the nature of lake lots and their associated developments, the staff feels the proposal would not be injurious to neighboring properties nor would it negatively impact area property values. The staff feels if the proposal has any impact, it would most likely increase property values.

Director Rogers stated the subject site is a lot platted prior to zoning ordinance that does not meet the current developmental standards for the width of an L-1, Lake District property. Rogers said that the lake lots were created very small and were designed for small structures and fishing cottages. As that has changed over time, the lot sizes have created some difficulty for property owners due to their narrow property widths. Director Rogers stated that to accommodate the property owners needs for a home, they have to go longer in length which results in an infringement of either the front and/or rear setbacks. Director Rogers said, prior to zoning, there were no setbacks applied to these types of lots so the entire lot was available for development. Under the current Zoning Ordinance, the area for development is reduced to compensate for the assigned setback standards. Director Rogers explained that many lake property owners require setback relief in order to accommodate an average sized home. It appears to the Staff that the granting of this variance reserves the right commonly possessed by other property owners in the same vicinity or district. Director Rogers stated the applicant is not asking for any more relief than is necessary and this proposal would not alter the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Director Rogers informed the Board that there were no public phone or electronic communications. He stated when he was at the subject site, one of the neighboring property owners had nothing but positive commentary regarding the proposed construction.

Eric Stevenson stepped up to the podium and informed the Board he was representing the variance request for the applicant. Eric Stevenson is the contractor building David Waldron’s new lake home. Board member Randall Conwell asked where the sewage came in at and Eric responded that the sewage comes in on the roadside. Director Rogers stated the property is within the Twin Lakes Sewer District jurisdictional area. Eric Stevenson said the TLRSD grinder pump and the Comcast cable TV box are currently in the proposed driveway and that these are in the process of being moved.

Chairman Dennis Sterrett asked if there was anyone else that would like to say something regarding this variance. At that time, Janice Conwell, abutting neighbor to the South, stated that she was in favor of variance request.

After tabulating the ballots, Chairman Dennis Sterrett read the following results into the record: Variance #2987 - 5 Votes cast; 5 to grant, 0 to deny; Petition Granted.

Variance #2988

Director Rogers explained the applicants, Benny & Susan Becchino, are requesting a rear (roadside) building setback of 6’6” versus the required 20’ rear setback for an L-1, Lake District, which translates into a 13’6” variance request. The purpose of the request is to increase the residential floor space for an expanded ADA compliant bathroom and office and/or storage area. The current developmental standards of an L-1, Lake District are 30’ front (Lakeside) setback, 20’ rear (roadside) setback, and 4’ side setbacks, with a maximum height of 35’ for a dwelling. Director Rogers informed the board the applicants are an elderly couple that are experiencing functional difficulties with the current sized bathroom. As a result, a bathroom that meets ADA standards is required due to the ages of the owners. Director Rogers also stated that by squaring off the end of the dwelling as proposed, the property owner would gain some additional space that could be used for an office or storage space. Director Rogers said by allowing the proposed construction the house would become closer to complying with the living space requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, which is 900 square feet for a dwelling unit in an L-1, Lake District. Director Rogers also informed the Board that the Zoning Ordinance encourages any opportunity for a reduction in any non-conformance. For example, if a dwelling is 500 sq. ft. and the property owner wants to add on to the dwelling, making it 800 sq. ft., then the Zoning Ordinance encourages the construction since it will make the square footage closer to the current Zoning Ordinance requirement of the 900 sq. ft. Director Rogers explained that whether the addition is constructed on the roadside or the lakeside of the dwelling, a variance would be required. In the opinion of the staff, extending the dwelling to the roadside is more practical since the bathroom is already located on that end on the dwelling. Director Rogers said that expanding to the lakeside could create a visible impairment for neighboring properties. Director Rogers explained that this variance is the exact opposite of Variance # 2987, where the Staff took the position that the variance should be granted to the lakeside vs the roadside. Because, for this variance, (# 2988), Director Rogers said it makes more sense to go toward the road because the bathroom is already located on the roadside of the home and to move the bathroom to the lakeside does not seem practical. Director Rogers stated the second reason the Staff leans towards the construction as proposed is because there are no new entry and exit points being established; thus, they are not creating any type of safety hazard by driving or parking a vehicle into the space between the proposed addition and the road. There is a carport already existing for their vehicle. There would be no change to the entry and exit points already established. Director Rogers said the third reason the Staff is comfortable with the roadside setback variance is because this home is off what historically (under the 72 Zoning Ordinance) would be classified as a driveway, not a road. The road which leads to this “driveway” is subject to a speed limit of 15 mph, has a paved surface of about 12 feet, and has been constructed with a speed bump. As a result, Director Rogers stated the circumstances for this request are different than the previous request and warrants a different consideration. Director Rogers informed the Board there has been no phone or electronic communications with the office concerning this request.

Chairman Dennis Sterrett asked if there was anyone representing Variance #2988 and Kaleb Pass stepped to the podium. Kaleb stated that he was representing the variance because Benny and Susan Becchino were not able to make it to the meeting. Chairman Sterrett asked if Kaleb was the builder and Kaleb replied that he is the contractor. Kaleb stated that the bathroom is very small and needs to be remodeled. Kaleb stated the property owners may be downsizing and moving to this home year-round.

After tabulating the ballots, Chairman Dennis Sterrett read the following results into the record: Variance #2988 - 5 Votes cast; 5 to grant, 0 to deny; Petition Granted.

New Business

Director Rogers stepped to the podium and asked the Board for input as to how they would like variances and special exceptions presented to them. He asked that if they have any ideas or changes to get ahold of Sarah or himself at the office. Director Rogers stated that he and Sarah are going to experiment with videos versus still pictures, which will help with the commentary of why certain pictures were taken.

2019 Meeting Dates

There are 10 meetings set for 2019. There is not a meeting scheduled in February due to slow building and for budgetary reasons and none in December due to year end office duties. Director Rogers stated unless there is an increase in the building activity, he recommends leaving the calendar as is. The dates would be as follows:

Filing Dates

Meeting Dates





















Board Member Abbey Gross made a motion to approve the BZA meeting and filing dates for 2019, seconded by Board Member Stan Minnick. All in favor. Motion carried.

There being no further business, Board Member Abbey Gross motioned to adjourn the meeting, with a second from Board Member Stan Minnick. Motion carried, meeting adjourned at 6:51 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

White County Area Plan Commission


Sarah Baunach, Secretary

Area Board of Zoning Appeals



Sarah Baunach, Secretary

Area Board of Zoning Appeals