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Zoning board defers request for auto repair expansion in Merrillville

Updated: May 29, 2013 6:17AM



MERRILLVILLE — A request to construct an automotive repair facility in an area of professional office buildings was deferred Wednesday by the Board of Zoning Appeals while both the board and a neighboring attorney view renderings of the proposed building and landscaping plans.

Neither plans were available at Wednesday’s meeting.

Petitioner Terry Joy said he has outgrown his existing building in Lake Station and wants to expand in Merrillville. He believes the vacant property at 700 W. 84th Drive would be ideal for his needs.

The business would have five employees. Sixty percent of its business would be general repairs and 40 percent transmission repairs, zoning director Dorinda Gregor said.

Attorney David Holub, of DRK Enterprise LLC, said he does audio and video recording and the sustained noise that would come from the auto repair business would be detrimental to his business. He also believes it would devalue the properties in the area.

“I suggest there are plenty of good sites in Merrillville for this use. This location is not a good site for this use,” Holub said.

Joy said one of the sites suggested by Holub was cost prohibitive.

BZA Attorney William Touchette said Holub’s strongest grounds for argument is on public necessity.

“There needs to be a public necessity for special exception,” Touchette said.

He said there are several auto repair businesses in the vicinity.

BZA member Chuck Stojakovich suggested Holub and Joy sit down and talk and that Joy provide Holub with a photo of the proposed building.

In other matters, Karen Wilczynski received a positive recommendation to open a Montessori school for children ages 3 to 6 at 1205 W. Lincoln Highway. Her husband, Bob Wilczynski, said there will be 10 to 12 students at first, with a hope of increasing that number to the high teens.

He said Karen Wilczynski has 10 years experience as a Montessori school teacher.

Bob Wilczynski said they would seek a variance to install a fence in an adjacent grassy area for the children to play outdoors.

Resident Andrew Pratscher was allowed to keep a swing set in his side yard at 7540 Lincoln Mill Road until April 22, 2017, after he told members he has several medical issues that make it difficult for him to walk on uneven surfaces such as the lawn in his backyard.

He said he is the child care provider for his two grandchildren, ages 3 and 6.

A neighbor had complained, saying several residents in the area are putting things in their front yards, which he believes is unsightly.

Also, Aunt Millie’s Bakeries received its final approval needed to begin construction on a new food distribution and retail sales business at East 69th Avenue and Mississippi Street, and the town received approval to install two new signs at the municipal complex center at 7820 Broadway.

Councilman Tom Goralczyk, D-3rd, said an electronic message center sign to be located along Broadway will be 51 square feet as compared to the current 40-square-foot sign. A freestanding sign will be located at the exterior of town hall. This sign will be on columns and will be 291 square feet.

Goralczyk said the signs are part of a $1 million renovation project at the municipal complex and the existing signs will be removed.



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