WARSAW — The Kosciusko County Board of Zoning Appeals once again heard a request made by Blue Barn Berry Farm during the meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Representatives of Blue Barn Berry Farm, 9139 N 300 E, Syracuse, are requestioning an exception for the purpose of allowing commercial recreation in an agricultural district.
Blue Barn Berry Farm started this request before the BZA in June 2019. The initial request was withdrawn and they petitioned the Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission to rezone the land from residential to agricultural, which was approved in September 2019.
The current request has appeared before the BZA for several months but has been continued as both parties worked together to finalize details.
At Tuesday’s meeting, board members had a list of items they wanted to be confirmed before voting on the request, including a screen and buffering requirement and an easement for property owners to access the lake.
The easement issue was the sticking point of the meeting. When the rezoning was approved in September, this approval came with a list of conditions. Part of the conditions state, “An easement in favor of the lots in the two Cindonway additions will be dedicated along that portion of the shoreline of Lake Jacob … A similar easement shall be granted to the owners of lots in the two Cindonway additions over the entirety of Lake Jacob.”
Attorney Jack Birch, representing Blue Barn Berry Farm, argued that the access was already provided. “The subdivision declaration already creates that access which is an easement.”
Attorney Steven Snyder, representing the remonstrators, argued that the common area on the plat was not clearly defined. “The owners do have an easement of enjoinment in and to the common area. Now the common area, when you look at the plat, is well defined in the original plat, but it’s not defined in the second edition. We don’t know where it is.”
Due to this disagreement regarding the easement, board members voted to continue the request until both parties can come to an agreement.
“We’ve gone months and months and here we thought we had this all taken care of and now we don’t,” said Chairman Lee Harman. “And I’m in the mind to continue it, send it back … There are just two totally different interpretations.”
The board also continued a variance request made by Lash Farms, 11145 West CR 600S, Mentone. The request was to allow a new grain bin to be constructed within 36 feet of the road right-of-way. David Lash was present at the meeting to explain the request. He explained that this location was necessary to make business easier and the larger-sized bin was necessary for economic reasons.
Area Planning Director Dan Richard explained that the Kosciusko County Highway Department had reached out to the board to express that the department didn’t want any grain bins closer to the road than the existing bins already were.
Due to feedback from the Kosciusko County Highway Department, board members voted to continue the request so that Lash Farms could meet with the department to discuss options.
In other news, the board approved the following requests:
- Wilbur Dewayne Lemler, 8353 West CR 1100N, Nappanee, requested an exception to allow a home-based business and to construct a 28 feet x 50 feet pole barn in an agricultural district. He also requested a variance to allow two residences on one tract of land with the condition that the residences only be used by family members.
- Patrick McGlothin, 26 EMS B40E Lane, Warsaw, requested a variance to permit the construction of a new residence. The board approved the request as long as the new home keeps the same setbacks from the road right-of-way and water’s edge that the current home has.
- Healthy Lifestyles, 8412 West CR 1350N, Nappanee, requested an exception to allow commercial storage warehouse and agricultural equipment sales in an agricultural district. Also requested was a variance to permit two uses on one tract of land. Board members approved with the stipulation that outside display of products is limited to four pieces of equipment.
- Steve Brown, 27 EMS W29 Lane, North Webster, requested a variance to permit a gazebo to remain as placed less than 6 feet from the water’s edge and 14 feet from the right-of-way. He also requested a variance to place a shed. The board approved the shed variance at 11′ from the water’s edge.
- Derek and Brittany See, 16 EMS C24G Lane, Warsaw, requested a variance to allow a residence addition nearly 6 feet from a west right-of-way and 4 feet from a south right-of-way.
- Donn and Nancy Huber, 6114 E. Elwood St., Syracuse, requested a variance for the construction of a residence addition. Board members approved the addition at 5 feet from the sideline and 15 feet from the right-of-way.