CROWN POINT | The Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday again deferred action on a variance for the Crown Point Community Library employee parking lot after questions were raised by zoning board members.
The library board bought land for the parking lot at the northwest corner of East Street and Robinson Court, across from the new $12 million library being built in the 100 block of North Main Street.
A variance is being sought to add three parking spaces that would infringe on a required setback. The Crown Point Plan Commission granted approval for the lot in March, contingent on the zoning variance, and on the city making Robinson Court a one-way westbound street.
At the April 23 meeting, the BZA requested a redesign after remonstrance from David Austgen, whose law office is west of the parking lot site.
Austgen said at the April meeting the parking lot would create unsafe conditions for his employees and the public because Robinson Court is a narrow street.
Library project manager Jeff Ban showed the zoning board a new design for the proposed off-site library parking lot.
The new plan with 27 parking spaces at 90-degree angles would feature a separate one-way entrance and exit. The drainage plan was revised to put the storm sewer in the middle of the parking lot.
BZA member John Marshall said the new plans "address the concerns of the board." Other board members questioned the plans and the library board's intent in creating the parking lot.
Alda Velluntini said she's concerned about differences in elevation between the two adjacent properties.
"I do not believe this lot should be designated for employees," Velluntini said, citing safety of parents and children using the library.
Velluntini said she would like to see library employees use the public lot behind the Crown Point Fire Station on East Street.
Library Director Lynn Frank said the parking lot for 18 to 20 employees "helps us operate better." Developing its own parking lot keeps city parking lots open for the general public, she said. There is already a 53-space public lot next to the library, she said.
Austgen told the BZA he has had only minimal contact with the library board since April.
In addition, he said his office didn’t receive the new parking lot design plans until midday Friday, before the Memorial Day holiday. City staff members provided those plans, not the library board, Austgen said.
He also said the library board failed to file all required documents for the variance, including clearance from the city engineer on the new drainage plan.
In deferring the action until the June meeting, the board encouraged the library board to meet with Austgen to work out issues.