Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

December 10, 2013

BZA members approve one variance, deny two

Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Batesville Board of Zoning Appeals members listened to two applications for variances and one for a home occupation permit, but only gave their approval to one.

Jerry Ertel asked for a special exception variance, which would allow him to purchase precious metals at 1030 State Road 46 E. “I’m currently open 13 hours a week (with Gotcha Covered Paintball) and want to expand to purchase precious metals. If I made purchases, they would go directly to a refinery. It would not be a retail store.

“As far as expected traffic, I would be happy to see two people in those 13 hours .... Hopefully, it will give me a little bit of edge to keep Gotcha Covered open .... The sign will remain the same size or smaller,” he noted.

President Dave Raver said Ertel is in a Business-4 zone. “This is basically a zone that was created to allow areas made up primarily of homes to operate as an office .... The one thing that B-4 prohibits is retail sales and services. The additional business Jerry is asking for is not retail sales, but probably is a retail service.”

He revealed that in 2005 when Gotcha Covered was approved, there were stipulations that “there were to be no outside business supplies, but we all know you set a lot of stuff out front, golf carts and trailers. That’s clearly an expansion of your business operation.”

Ertel said he would remove the outside items as soon as possible.

Raver asked members to consider, “Is the purchase of precious metals enough of a retail service that it doesn’t meet the spirit of B-4?”

Member Darrick Cox remarked, “I think the paintball part would be a definition of retail, but I would not consider the buying of precious metals as being in that category at all.”

Referring to the occasional items that are set in Ertel’s yard, Mary K. Cambron stressed, “The business has to be paintball and precious metals and nothing else.”

Raver agreed, “There can be no external display of the product on the property.”

Members agreed to grant the variance.

Kyle Chaffee asked for a use variance. “I’m exploring purchasing a garage at 591 Central Avenue ... and storing equipment there and putting two mulch bins on the west side of the garage. It’s not for retail sales, just so I can supply my regular lawn customers with mulch .... It would be a lot easier if I could have it stored there.”

Madonna Loudermilk, who lives adjacent to the building, said, “This is a residential neighborhood .... I have no problem with the storage in the garage, but my problem is with the mulch. It’s dirty and dusty.”

Her mother, Jinny Stewart, who owns the house her daughter lives in, noted, “That is not a commercial area or business area. Why do we want a mulch bin in a residential area? Surely there’s another place he can do this. Central Avenue is very busy, with the soccer and baseball fields and park.

“Mulch does tend to ignite during the summer. (Since it’s right next to the railroad tracks), a train could go by and somehow send a spark into the mulch.”

Cox told Chaffee, “I don’t think this is the best place to accommodate your business the way you would like. I encourage you to look around” for another spot because “I think having the mulch there would be detrimental to the residents.”

The other members agreed and denied his request.

Pete Mack asked for a home occupation permit to “use part of my home (at 39 Henry St.) as an office for my CPA practice .... As far as traffic concerns, in February and March, I would have two days a week where I would have six appointments a day. For the rest of the year, at most I would have three to four people a week come to see me .... A lot of what I do is done over the Internet.”

He also said this home “is a second residence for us.”

Raver explained, “Here’s the situation on home occupation ... the primary use of the structure or dwelling must remain residential.”

Member Ken Wanstrath revealed, “My concern is it doesn’t really fit the home occupation because you and your family aren’t using it as a primary residence.”

Raver agreed, “I think a residence is where you sleep and where your family is .... (and) this sounds more like a full-time business.”

Members denied the request, but told Mack he may want to reapply for a variance to operate a business in a residential area.

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.