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Zoning board wants drilling property cleaned up

Updated: November 21, 2013 6:26AM



VALPARAISO — Darell Sowles got a one-year extension for his Hebron well-drilling business, but the Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals told him Wednesday that’s contingent on him cleaning up the property within 30 days.

Sowles, whose business at 242 W. County Road 900 South is in an agricultural district, said equipment trouble led to the collection of old trucks and other equipment at the site.

He is allowed outside storage under a use variance, but board members were concerned about the state of his property.

“My one concern is your equipment. You’ve got to get that cleaned up,” member Rick Burns said, adding plan commission staff would check his property.

Sowles is to meet with a member of the plan commission staff next week to assess what equipment needs to go, and he will have 30 days from that point to clean up the property. If he fails to do so, the variance will be terminated.

In other business:

*A representative of Bethel Valparaiso All Nations Church and the board agreed the church could have a 141-spot parking lot on the northwest corner of County Roads 100 North and 150 East in Valparaiso, though the church sought a lot large enough for 199 vehicles.

Board members were concerned that the large lot, meant to accommodate parking for a future youth center, would go in and the rest of the project would stall.

“My concern is ending up with 200 parking spaces and just the church,” said board attorney Scott McClure.

The church will have to come back before the board to expand the lot if plans for the youth center moves forward.

*Donald Furcsik received another two-year variance for his Internet-based gunsmithing business, run out of his South Haven home.

The business has not received any complaints, said county planner Kristy Marasco.

Furcsik said he is a licensed firearms trainer who does repairs, but not sales, though he can handle transfer of guns to people in other states with clearance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

He also must follow federal regulations for the gunsmithing, and is in regular contact with ATF agents about his work.

“With gunsmithing stuff, there are regulations to follow,” he said. “One screw-up and you’re done.”



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