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July 18, 2019

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met Thursday, July 18, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, White County Government Center, Monticello, Indiana.

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

Absent: Chris McWhirter

Also attending were Executive Director Joseph W. Rogers, Board Secretary Erika Martinez and Area Plan Attorney Makenzie Martin

Visitors attending were: Eric Tunno, Gail Sassman and Bill Sassman

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 Abbey Gross and a second by Stan Minnick to approve the meeting minutes and finding of facts dated May 16, 2019 and May 30, 2019 as written. Motion was carried unanimously

Note: At the introduction of each case hearing, Director Rogers entered 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 #2996

Director Rogers provided the Board with an overview of the variance requests, reviewed the Staff Report and supplemental information. He then displayed for the Board and the audience a series of photos he had taken at the site showing the area subject to the request along with the surrounding area to the property.

Director Rogers stated that he had seven communications from the community related to this variance all of them asking for the Board to approve the request. Director Rogers stated that he wanted to point out a few items to the Board for consideration. Four of the documents that the Staff received were pre-prepared documents, assuming that the applicant created and handed out to the neighbors. Those documents do not reflect the correct request. This document indicates that the request is for a height allowance of 23’ vs 19’ and a 5’ rear setback (roadside) vs 20’ which sets it at odds with the original rear setback request for a 2.7’ rear setback(roadside). The original survey submitted was modified due to errors and omissions noted by the Staff during review. The revised survey reflected a rear setback of 10’, not 2.7’ as originally indicated. The height allowance request did not change from survey to survey. It was pointed out that the newspaper notification, the letters that went out to interested parties and the sign reflected the 2.7’ rear setback (roadside) and 23’ height allowance not the current request heard tonight. The official request is a 10’ rear setback (roadside) and a 23’ height allowance. Director Rogers read three letters into the record. These were letters received after Board packets had been mailed. The letters came from Dana Carter, Laura Golab and Michael Hayes. Each letter states there are no objections to the request. The other four documents received were pre-prepared documents which were issued to the Board prior to the meeting. The pre-completed documents were executed and submitted by Michelle M Balog, John Madeja, Gerald Panfil and George Thompson. Director Rogers stated he would like the Board to consider and the Staff recommends that the variance be considered with the condition that the living space may not be used for any type of rental purposes and only as the extension of the occupants living space associated with the main residence unless subsequently authorized by the Board. If the current or future owner desired to use the new living quarters as space for rent, they would have to get approval from the Board first.

Director Rogers showed the Board and audience the aerial map of the subject site and stated that a private road services Skaggs Addition. Director Rogers explained that prior to any zoning ordinance and after adoption of the 1972 ordinance there was a distinction made between driveways and roads. In order to qualify for a road, the route had to meet a specific width minimum, if it was under that width it was not considered a road, that was dropped with the 1995 ordinance. Since the 1995 ordinance was adopted there has been no such thing as a private driveway that services multiple properties, only a private driveway that services a single property. Thus, Director Rogers stated he is going to refer to the ingress/egress route as a private road. Director Rogers then proceeded to show the Board and audience the remaining photos taken of the subject site.

Chairman Dennis Sterrett asked that if they were going to rent the apartment wouldn’t it be required to get a special exception. Director Rogers stated that not for an accessory apartment in an L-1 district, but if they were going to rent the unit as a short-term rental site, then a special exception would be required. An accessory apartment is not considered a short-term rental unit.

A motion was made by Stan Minninck to attach the condition, as presented by the Staff, that the living space may not be used for any type of rental purposes and only as an extension of the occupants living space associated with the main residence unless authorized by the Area Board of Zoning Appeals. The motion was seconded by Chairman Dennis Sterrett. The motion was carried unanimously.

Director Rogers stated to Mr. Tunno that the Board is a five-member Board with there being only four members present. He advised Mr. Tunno that he’s required to get 3 votes in favor in order to pass the request, and that he has the right, since there is not a full Board, to be continued to next month in hopes for a full Board. Mr. Tunno stated that he would like to be heard at this hearing. Abbey Gross asked if the requests are being heard together or separate. Mr. Tunno stated he would like both requests to be heard together.

Eric Tunno, applicant, stepped to the podium to represent his request. Mr. Tunno stated that across from Skaggs CT is a green space that is designated for visitor parking only and that the bylaws prohibit parking in the pool area and playground area. Director Rogers stated that when someone wants to put a garage closer than the 20’, often times they still park outside the garage. When they park outside the garage and there isn’t the 20’ setback the vehicle is either parked parallel to the road or partially in the road. Mr. Tunno stated that the proposed garage will provide two parking spots and in between the garage and the property line there should be a 10’ space where a golf car or small car can fit. In theory, there will be three parking spaces affiliated with the residence.

A general discussion pursued between Mr. Tunno, Chairman Sterrett, and Director Rogers on where the location of the proposed garage will be. The proposed garage will be situated about 7’ behind the face of the other neighboring garages.

Abbey Gross asked Mr. Tunno if there is a reason why the proposed garage isn’t being built closer to the house to meet the setback requirements. Mr. Tunno answered that he thought there was a code which would not allow him to get closer to the home. Director Rogers added that there is a building code requirement which provides if the garage were moved closer than 6’ than he would have to include a fire wall in his construction plans, but he was not aware of any other code which would limit the proximity to the house.

There were no citizens in the audience to speak in favor or against the request. BZA Attorney Martin passed out the ballots.

After tabulating the ballots, Chairman Dennis Sterrett read the following results into the record: Variance #2996- 4 votes cast; 4 to grant, 0 to deny;

Petition GRANTED.

Survey Review:

Director Rogers stepped back to the podium to discuss the survey requirement checklist. Director Rogers stated that prior to the Staff receiving a variance petition there is an initial meeting between the applicant and the executive director. During this meeting, the variance process and survey requirements are explained to the applicant. Based on discussions with this Board, the Staff would now include a survey checklist to the applicant at this initial meeting and the Staff will check each attribute that it sees as relevant to the petition. The Staff hopes this list will alleviate some of the issues we are having with the information supplied on the variance surveys. A copy of the form would be filed in the office to be referenced when the application is received.

Violation #275:

Director Rogers gave updates on two enforcement actions previously discussed with the Board. One is against the restaurant formally known as Jakes and one against Blue Door Cottages. They are being charted separately with Ms. Martin dealing with the Attorney for the Anderson’s and Director Rogers dealing with Loretta Lord, owner of Jakes. In both cases, the deadline to respond with a parking plan or advise the office of their intentions have passed and an additional notice has been sent to the owner of Jakes. The solution Jake’s implemented was to put blocks in the right of way which creates a liability for the County. Director Rogers has advised them that this solution is not acceptable. Furthermore, any plan submitted by either party which involves the right of way would need County Commissioner’s approval. Director Rogers stated that the restaurant has been advised of this and that he expects a response from Ms. Lord as the restaurant has been in contact with the County Highway department about various options. Director Rogers reminded the Board that at the previous meeting they stayed the fines which Director Rogers had already documented, but the Staff will now issue fines again if the property owners are not in compliance by their new compliance dates.

Ms. Martin stated that she has strongly encouraged the parties to come together to agree on a plan which can be considered by the Staff, along with the BZA if applicable. The Anderson’s are represented by Attorney Dow Dellinger, the other is not represented by an attorney. They are working on a plan but nothing has been provided to the Staff at this point. As to the restaurant, they have been sent final notice and are much further down the enforcement road than Blue Door Cottages. Blue Door has received one formal courtesy letter to date so they are aware of the situation. The restaurant violation is for parking in the right of way and in front of the restaurant. Blue Door Cottage issues pertain to parking on the lots on the east side of the road. They have one specific lot that is used for access to boats rented to guests staying at Blue Door Cottages. Any vehicles, parked there, even on a temporary basis, are not in compliance. Still, enforcement actions with Blue Door Cottages are still in the early stages so we have tried to give them enough time to respond or come into compliance. Ms. Martin stated she would agree with what Director Rogers stated; ie, that the restaurant has been given multiple notices and now the Blue Door Cottages are on notice also. Ms. Martin stated that they have asked the parties that their plans should include no parking pavement markings and do not park signs, and signs where parking is located along with where handicap parking would be located, so there would be signage at the expense of the parties with permission of the County Commissioners to place the signs if in the right-of-way.

A general discussion pursued between Director Rogers, Ms. Martin and the Board Members about Blue Door Cottages and the restaurant. Director Rogers stated that any solution that involves the right of way will have to have County Commissioner approval before it will come to the Board.

There being no further business, Abbey Gross motioned to adjourn the meeting, with a second from Stan Minnick. Motion was passed and meeting adjourned at 6:54p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

White County Area Plan Commission


Prepared by: Erika Martinez



Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

Area Board of Zoning Appeals