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Woman asks Merrillville to let her keep her horse

Updated: May 1, 2013 2:45PM



MERRILLVILLE — Resident Judy Stevens has received Board of Zoning approval to keep her 12-year-old horse at her 3.89-acre property on Randolph Street after it was determined the horse is well cared for and there is sufficient property for the animal to graze.

Stevens has had the horse for years, but didn’t know she needed variance approval to have the animal at her 9470 Randolph St. home.

The Town Council still needs to give its approval.

The horse came to the town’s attention when someone claiming to be an animal activist wrote a letter to the town expressing concern over the animal’s well-being. The letter writer said the horse had not been seen for some time and appeared to be hidden from view.

However, the BZA had a letter from the town’s animal control officer, who did a welfare check on the horse on March 26 and said it was in excellent shape and very well taken care of. Neither the horse nor stable had any violations.

The BZA also received a letter from a neighbor in support of Stevens keeping her horse.

“I’ve been her neighbor for 14 years and she’s always provided exceptional care for her horse. I find it odd that it’s now becoming an issue,” the neighbor wrote.

Zoning director Dorinda Gregor said Stevens is only allowed to keep one horse per the size of her lot. She said Stevens can have one horse as long as she lives on the property.

In other matters Wednesday, the board deferred action on two requests — one for an adult day care center and another to allow four residential rental units on the second floor of a commercial building located to the south of town hall.

Both proposals were deferred because BZA members said they needed the fire inspector to look at and approve both plans.

A representative for Tigers Group LLC said the second floor of his building at 7870 Broadway has not been rented for some time and he was hoping to transform it into residential rental units.

He said there would be sufficient parking for his business and residential tenants.

“You need to be further along in the planning process. The main concern is that you have the proper fire protection for the residents,” BZA attorney William Touchette said.

Representatives for the proposed Sincere Heart Adult Day Care, to be located at 1443 E. 84th Place, also were told they need to have a floor plan that includes fire safety needs.

It is anticipated that 12 to 16 clients a day would be served at the day care, which would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Also, petitioner Robert Wolf received the OK to operate a used car dealership at 8602 Mississippi St., provided the north side of the parking lot gets paved when the weather breaks and no more than 10 cars are up for sale at a time. No more than five of those cars can be parked in the front of the building.



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