Doelling wins variances for reconstructing Valpo warehouse
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent July 16, 2013 9:30PM
Paul Doelling (second from left) is shown with some of his employees and family members at their temporary shop in Valparaiso, Ind. From left: Khris Madayag, Malissa Doelling-Happer, Paula Doelling-Lynn and Carol Detmar. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 19, 2013 2:31PM
VALPARAISO — A longtime business should fully move back into its home of 60 years in September.
Doelling Decorating Center received five variances from the Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday night for rebuilding its 753 Washington St. building.
The warehouse of the building burned after an Aug. 4 lightning-strike fire, which also affected the showroom portion with smoke and other damage.
Since Paul Doelling put up the 753 Washington building in 1953, it’s had four additions.
He argued that although the rebuilding doesn’t fit the current Unified Development Ordinance, the business should be grandfathered in.
“I’m not putting up a new development here,” Doelling said. “I’m not asking for anything I didn’t have before.”
The warehouse will be smaller, going from 80 by 40 feet to 78 by 28.
The BZA allowed Doelling to have less “transparency” — windows — on the front and south sides of the building.
The front is required to have 60 percent, but the building will have 47 percent, and the south side will have 26 percent rather than the required 30.
The roof will have a less steep pitch, which Doelling said looks more pleasing, and the warehouse back that faces the steep hill can be made of cedar.
The BZA also allowed some parking along Spring Street, which Doelling back in 1968 paved and widened out of his pocket when the city couldn’t afford it.
Since Oct. 1, Doelling has operated out of 1152 Marsh St., and although the showroom section is almost complete, the business has to move its inventory.
The warehouse should be finished by the end of the construction season.
The Doelling family has been in the decorating business in Valparaiso for about 90 years when his grandfather began George Doelling Painting Contractor in 1921.
Also at the meeting, the BZA approved two variances for the renovation and expansion of the building housing The Shoe Department on 1170 Strongbow Centre Drive, near Walmart.
Attorney Todd Leeth said National Shopping Plazas, which also owns the Sears building to the south, would like to expand from 6,500 square feet to 9,700 square feet, growing 16 feet north and 18 feet east.
National Shopping Plazas has been negotiating with a national general merchandise retailer that is on the stock exchange as a possible tenant.
Leeth declined to name the business as its agreement is not final.
The improvements depend on whether The Shoe Department does not renew its lease.