Library sent back to school on parking lot
By Kitty Conley firstname.lastname@example.org June 5, 2012 1:54PM
The Crown Point Public Library plans to put a parking lot on the property on the northwest corner of Robinson Court and East Street. The Board of Zoning Appeals has twice deferred approval of a necessary variance as it considers the objection of a neighbo
Updated: June 5, 2012 2:20PM
CROWN POINT — Once again the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals sent the Library Board packing. Its request for a variance for a parking lot across Robinson Court from its new building was once again deferred.
BZA members said the library’s engineer, Jeff Ban, should sit down with attorney David Austgen, whose law office is adjacent to the library property and who opposes the library’s plan, before the next BZA meeting on June 18.
This all could be a moot point, since the library has filed to appear before the city Plan Commission June 11 for a revision to the site development plan that was approved March 12.
The library has purchased the property in question at 133 N. East St. The property has an assessed value of over $300,000. It currently has three apartment buildings. This purchase by the library will take this property off of the tax rolls for the city.
The intention was to use the property for employee parking. The variance is being sought because some parking spaces and driveways would be in the required set-back area. The parking lot received approval of the city Plan Commission in March, dependent on the zoning variance being granted and the city making Robinson Court a one-way west bound street.
At a BZA meeting May 29, Ban showed board members three separate designs for the parking lot. Changes were made after the remonstrance at the April BZA meeting by Austgen. Suggestions made by board member Vern Segert to make the property angled parking with an entrance on Robinson Court and exit on East Street were not included in the options.
According to Ban, the angled parking would provide 20 parking spaces instead of the 27 perpendicular spaces in the original plan, which did incorporate the one-way in on Robinson Court and one-way out onto East Street.
Ban also showed a different storm water drainage plan to put the storm sewer in the middle of the parking lot. This had not received any comments from the city’s engineer, Tris Miles.
BZA member John Marshall, who is also president of the Plan Commission, said that he felt that this change requested by the library met the concerns of the board.
Not all BZA members agreed. Alda Vellutini continued to be concerned about the elevation difference between the property owned by the library and that of the neighbor to the west, the Austgen & Kuiper law office.
She also did not believe that this lot should be designated for employees. She said that she would like to see the library employees use the municipal lot behind the city’s fire station that the city had been told would be sufficient when the library building itself was approved.
Lynn Frank, director of the library, told the BZA that this parking lot for the approximately 18 employees helps them operate better and that by putting in their own parking lot more of the municipal space was available to others.
She also said, “so many are marked 2-hour parking only,” when talking about the municipal lot behind the fire station.
Pat Schuster, vice president of the library board, said, “The city was not willing to give the library 20 dedicated spaces.”
Vellutini noted, “You did not think that was a problem when the building was approved.”
In addition to the internal parking spots the plan presented by Ban also includes angled parking within the public right-of-way along Robinson Court. Those would not be reserved parking spaces because they are in the public right-of-way.
Segert said a lot of vehicles are big SUVs and extended cab pick-up trucks. He wanted to know how much they would hang out into Robinson Court or over the sidewalk on the north side of Robinson Court. Segert said after the meeting that he was not satisfied with the answers.
Austgen also wanted to know about blockage of that small sidewalk, since his employees have to walk that way to and from the municipal lot behind the fire station to park. There is also no crosswalk designation from the west to east sides of East Street at the Robinson Court intersection.
The appointed members of the library board are Bonnie Hunter, president; Pat Schuster, vice president; Fiona McCarroll, treasurer; Vicky Klein, secretary; and members Mary Malloy-Rhee, Rose Kendall and Janet Katich.