Zoners Table One Petition, Unanimously Deny A Second

(Carli Luca / News Now Warsaw)

Both petitions for variances before the Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals Monday had the same remonstrator: attorney Steve Snyder, representing Dave Holsclaw.

While the first petition for an attached garage at 903 Glee Miner Drive was tabled, the second petition for indoor storage at the corner of McClellan and Hackleman streets was unanimously denied.

In the first case, petitioner Jay Widman – on behalf of KT and Anita Kishan – asked for a variance from development standards to allow a detached garage in the front yard at 903 Glee Miner Drive. The property is in a Residential-2 zoning district.

According to city Senior Planner Justin Taylor, current zoning regulations do not allow accessory structures to be in the front of the principal structure on a residential lot. The Kishans’ property is on Winona Lake. Warsaw’s city code treats both the street side and lake side as front yards so it is often difficult to place detached garages on these lots, he said.

The proposed garage would be about 95 feet from the road and will not negatively impact the visibility of traffic entering and exiting adjacent properties, Taylor said. Given the size of the petitioners’ lot, the location of the detached garage and the surrounding neighborhood, he said the proposed garage would not be injurious to the public or have an adverse effect on the value of adjacent property.

He said it was the opinion of the planning department that the case could be viewed favorably when measured within the findings of fact.

Widman said the garage would be 24 feet by 24 feet. The Kishans already have a turnaround there, so the garage would be “an extension” of that, he said. “We think it would be an asset to the property and increase the property value,” Widman said.

Snyder said Holsclaw was an adjacent property owner to the Kishans on the side that the garage was proposed. He said the properties were unique not only because they front on Winona Lake, but also have “significantly larger lots than most that we would find on the lakefront.”

He said the Holsclaw residence sits back 165 feet from the road and the proposed garage would sit back roughly 95 feet from the road.

“There has to be something provided to you by the petitioner to meet the requirements of your ordinance from the standpoint of the elements that you have to find present in order to approve this type of variance,” Snyder said.

Snyder said the garage would be out of character for the neighborhood and it would destroy a portion of the character by placing a detached accessory building in the front yard. He said it would alter land use characteristics and diminish adjacent properties’ values. He said there were no unique conditions on the property which created a hardship for the Kishans, and no site plan was presented.

BZA member Tammy Dalton said, “Being in the business that I am (real estate), I take great offense to the fact that he says it’s going to diminish property values. I do take offense to that.”

Tom Allen, BZA president, said it was in the eye of the beholder and what type of garage went up. Dan Smith, board member, said he assumed the appearance would be in conjunction with the house, but the board didn’t know that for sure at Monday’s meeting.

Widman presented the board with a sketch of the garage. He also noted there was a garage there previously, but it was taken down. He also said the garage would look like the home, and there was a detached garage across the street.

Dalton made the motion to table the petition so the BZA could see some better plans on the garage.

The second petition, for indoor storage, came from Tim Merchant Skyline Builders on behalf of Silveus Insurance. He petitioned for a use variance to allow indoor storage in a Residential-2 zoning district.

The property, located at the corner of McClellan and Hackleman streets, is a vacant tract of land flanked by single-family residential uses to the east and a mix of commercial and residential uses to the west, Taylor said.

The petitioner wants to build two indoor storage facilities spanning six residential lots. The storage garages will house up to eight RVs at a time. No RVs will be stored outside of the garages.

Based on the information provided, Taylor said it was the opinion of the planning department that the storage buildings would not have a substantially negative impact on the adjacent property values “because they will serve as a transitional space between commercial and residential uses, however, the highest and best use for this property would be medium density residential units. There are no apparent prohibitive factors that impede residential development on these lots.”

Merchant said he was there on behalf of the Silveuses who own the property. They want to get as close to town as possible to have storage for their and their agents’ RVs and boats.

Allen noted that he tends to worry about taking residential “and moving it toward the commercial side.” Merchant noted that properties across the street weren’t residential and similar to what the Silveuses were proposing.

Misty Silveus said, “We’re looking for something – we have agents and ourselves with boats and RVs – and we’re looking for a nice place to keep them that is close to our homes and close to town.” She said they wouldn’t look like typical storage facilities.

Snyder, again on Holsclaw’s behalf, said there was no site plan; the property was in a significant Residential-2 zoning district with Commercial-2 across the street; doors would be on the roadside and nothing else, creating a large wall for adjacent property owners; it would change the character of the residential neighborhood; it diminishes the marketable value of adjacent properties; it might increase road congestion; and there was no hardship that a use variance could address.

Michael Matero, a neighbor across the street from the property, expressed concern about how the storage buildings would affect the drainage. He also noted there was a lot of traffic congestion in the area.

Dalton made the motion to deny the petition, and her motion was unanimously approved.