By Tim Ashley
WARSAW — Saying they intend to be “good neighbors,” the owners of a motor lodge in North Webster petitioned the Kosciusko County Board of Zoning Appeals to add more RV units and tiny houses to their facility. The petition was one of several considered by the county BZA during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday morning, Sept. 14, in the Justice Building in Warsaw.
The Lodge at North Webster is located on the east side of Main Street (SR 13), north of Easterbrook. It was formerly a motel and owned for many years by the late Jon Sroufe.
The owners wanted to add four new living units, or park models, to make a total of seven on the property, but ultimately the BZA only approved two to be added as a compromise.
There have been numerous issues on the property in the past under different ownership including excessive noise, fighting, trash buildup and others. Courtney and Brandon Sturgill were hired by Green Tide LLC, the property owners, to manage the property.
Both the owners and the Sturgills emphasized they have made many improvements to the property including cleaning it up, instituting a better screening process for tenants resulting in some being evicted, and have agreed to allow the North Webster Police Department to patrol the property, which it had not been doing under the previous owners.
Courtney Sturgill noted there are homeless people living in North Webster who have jobs but can’t find a place to live because there is a major housing shortage. They want to help those people as much as possible by providing them a place to live. One year leases are signed by tenants.
Some remonstrators living nearby said they appreciate what the new owners have been doing and have no problems with them wanting to develop the property, but say they are moving too fast. One remonstrator noted “we need to see if they will keep it up so we can trust them.” He said promises have been made in the past by the owners, but were not kept.
Lee Harman, chairman of the BZA, said he understood the concerns of the remonstrators but the owners need revenue in order to keep making improvements. A compromise was reached to allow two new units instead of four and Harman said the petition will be reconsidered a year from now.
Other petitions included:
• Richard Austgen was granted a variance to allow a front house extension and a decking structure to remain as placed on EMS W14B Lane on the east side of Webster Lake. A condition to the approval is if any modifications are made in the future, a new petition will be required.
• Silver Lake Lions Club was granted a variance to allow a new tract of land to be formed with less than 50 feet of owned access. The property is on Harrison Street just to the east of Walnut Street in Silver Lake. The Lions Club wants to sell the property. A deed was recorded after a survey was done in 2017, but apparently there was a misunderstanding of how the county ordinance reads.
• Priceless Investments was granted an exception to allow a residence to be split from a business (Price Auto Repair) on SR 15 west of Waubee Road in Milford. The business was originally a home based business. Lee Price said the intent is to sell the house.
• Beyond Properties was granted an exception to allow construction of an additional building on property zoned agricultural on Bowser Road, just west of CR 300E in Van Buren Township. A flood permit will be needed. It will allow a greenhouse nursery business to be expanded.
• Pamela Sullivan was granted a variance to allow a residence destroyed by fire to be replaced on the same foundation 5 feet from the property line instead of the 10 feet required by ordinance. The property is located on River Chase Drive in Plain Township. The Sullivans noted the insurance company won’t pay for the house to be rebuilt on a different foundation.
• Jan Morrison was granted a variance to allow a residence addition on Sunrise Drive at Lake Wawasee in Turkey Creek Township. The residence is being remodeled extensively and was once affectionately known as the “Pizza Hut” house.
• Mark Shambaugh was granted a variance to build a new residence on Grand Boulevard, south of Morrison Island Road in Turkey Creek Township.
• Bryan Burcroff was granted a variance to allow residential/living quarters, originally classified as an accessory building, to remain on a tract of land with another residence. It is located on Rozella Road, west of Phillips Street near Warsaw Community High School in Wayne Township. As a condition for approval, the living quarters must not be rented out to anyone other than family or friends.
• Phil Gregg was granted an exception to allow a covering to remain as constructed on EMS B36B2 lane in Tippecanoe Township.
• Michael Arnolt was granted a variance to allow the construction of a residence 10 feet from the water’s edge on EMS T34D1 Lane at Tippecanoe Lake in Plain Township. There is also a road vacation petition pending before the county commissioners for the south end of EMS T34D1 Lane.
• Loretta Dingillo was granted a variance to allow the construction of a residence 5 feet from the side property line when the ordinance requires 10. The property is located on Koher Road East, north of Koher Road South at Papakeechie Lake in Turkey Creek Township.
• Jason and Darcy Brooks were granted a variance to build a second story addition to their home that will have a roof extension only over the first floor decking. It is located on EMS B60 Lane at Sechrist Lake in Tippecanoe Township. The neighbor living behind the property on top of a hill objected to the petition, saying it would block his view of the lake, there is not enough parking and it would affect his property value.
• Mike and Amber Hunter were granted a variance to build a house 5 feet from the north right of way on Pine Drive, south of Walnut Drive in Turkey Creek Township. It is a long and skinny lot near a channel to Lake Wawasee.