Max Busz purchased a barn during an auction and wasn’t prepared for what followed. Later he petitioned the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission to have the property rezoned from residential to commercial.
His petition was among those considered by the APC during its regular monthly meeting May 2 in the county courthouse, Warsaw. The property is on Oak Street, just north of Columbia Street in the northeast corner of Pierceton.
Dan Richard, area planning director, noted the property is one of four platted lots in that area. The barn used to be an accessory building for a house but was later separated from the residence. Since the barn is no longer an accessory building, it violates the county ordinance and that led to the petition being filed.
Busz, the owner of a tire store in Columbia City, said he stores personal items in the barn and plans to store tires, too, that would be sold at his store. He said when he purchased the building he was not made aware of the zoning problems it could cause since it is no longer an accessory building for a residence.
Planning commission members, not wanting to penalize Busz for simply using the building for storage, discussed possible options. Some felt rezoning to commercial could open the door later for multiple uses for the property as there as many as 15 permitted uses for commercially zoned properties. Busz said he does not intend to put a house on the property, but won’t rule out the possibility of having an automotive service facility built there in the future if that’s what his sons want to do someday.
Eventually Dick Kemper of the APC suggested tabling the petition for 30 days and giving Busz the option of asking the county board of zoning appeals for an exception. Busz will need to appear before the BZA anyway to deal with a setback problem concerning where the barn is in relation to the property line.
Or Busz can simply wait and see what the Pierceton Town Board decides at its May 14 meeting since the property is within the town limits.
The APC, with the exception of Bob Conley, voted to table the petition. Keith Hardy was the only member not in attendance.
Also on the agenda, approval was recommended unanimously for a rezoning from industrial two to commercial in the former Sweetlix building at the intersection of SR 13 and Baltimore Street in Syracuse by the railroad tracks.
Swiss Perfection, represented by Roy Schwartz, wants to have a bait shop started in a very small portion of the building amounting to two-tenths of an acre and visible from SR 13.
There was little discussion about the petition, but it was suggested to Schwartz the parking arrangement be clearly defined when the petition is considered by the Syracuse Town Council at its May 15 meeting.
In other business, the APC unanimously recommended rezoning property from residential to agricultural owned by Dan and Erin McKibbin on Old US 30, west of Highland Place in Harrison Township. Dan McKibbin said he wants to use the property to raise goats for 4-H. He owns other property already zoned agricultural.
James Moyer of the APC said rezoning the property to agricultural would be a good buffer as there is industrial property nearby. County commissioners will consider the petition at their May 22 meeting.
After the three petitions were considered, there was a brief discussion about the procedures used for issuing building permits. Richard said his staff has started talking about the possibility of making the permit process more “user friendly.” As an example, if someone is issued a home building permit and then months or even years later wants to add something to the home, they would not necessarily have to be issued another permit.
But, Richard cautioned, if a building addition creates a setback or other violation the same procedures as before would be used. He emphasized he did not want to mislead anyone. “I don’t want it conveyed that you no longer need a permit,” he said.
No vote was taken and the planning commission was advised to think about options and discuss those at a future meeting.