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Pretty Lake greenhouse request turned down


The LaGrange County BZA denied a request for a larger greenhouse at a Pretty Lake residence during their Tuesday meeting.

The variance for a larger greenhouse was requested by Kenneth Hensch of 9125E 480S in Wolcottville for a 510 sq. ft. greenhouse. County ordinance allows for up to a 200 sq. ft. greenhouse without a variance.

Hensch told the BZA that he has a 17x30 ft. greenhouse at another location that he wanted to move to the property at Pretty Lake. Hensch currently has a commercial greenhouse in the Ft. Wayne area.

Hensch said that the greenhouse would be to start plants in the spring to be used around his property, as well as to house tropical plants during the winter

A full room of other residents from the Pretty Lake area were on hand to speak against the variance. Attorney John Schwarz spoke for most of the group, telling the BZA that neighbors had heard Hensch discussing using the greenhouse to sell plants. He also presented a petition with 93 signatures against the variance request.

The BZA was told that the idea that the larger size greenhouse could be used for commercial purposes had residents worried about increased traffic down the narrow lane. Schwarz pointed to photos showing gravel already spread across the area, stating he thought that looked like a parking lot.

If the variance were to be granted, Schwarz said, then the remonstrators wanted conditions applied to the variance that would include no commercial sales, and assurance that no chemicals or fertilizers would make it into the lake.

PrettyLakearea resident Tom Mason also spoke to the BZA, stating that he felt a 200 sq. ft. greenhouse would be more than adequate for a residence. “This one is two and a half times the size allowed by ordinance. Is this structure only for residential use or for commercial?” Mason asked.

Hensch responded to the concerns, restating that he intended to only use the greenhouse for personal use and had no intention for commercial sales. He also addressed the gravel, noting it was for where a pergola was being built, and not for parking. “It will be a parking lot for flowers,” Hensch said.

Hensch reiterated that he was making the request for the larger size only because that was the size of greenhouse he has and wants to move it to this location.

However, the BZA looked at the request being 310 sq. ft. larger than the size allowed, and felt that it was too large for that area and voted to deny the variance request.

In other business:

Jeffrey and Therese Freiburger of 4898S 080E in Wolcottville received approval for a 24x34 ft. addition to a garage that would create a building on an auxiliary lot larger than the primary residence. The Freiburgers noted that the shop space was to build cabinets and other wood pieces for when they rebuild the house. The rebuilt house will then exceed the overall square footage of the auxiliary building.

Phillip Hartman of 9740E 520S in Wolcottville was approved for a variance to build a pergola 25 ft. from the water line on Big Long Lake.

David and Ida Bontrager of 11605W 500S in Millersburg was approved for a variance for a lot width of 98.5 ft., where the standard is 150 ft. in an A-1 zone.

Martha, Jason and Jamie Hire of 5625S 940E in Wolcottville had a variance for a roadside setback of 10 ft. and side yard setback of 3 ft. approved.

Carl and Nancy Bergstedt of 6710N 450W in Shipshewana received approval for a 56.8 ft. roadside setback for a new home to be built on the existing footprint of the current building.

Troyand Jennifer Barker of 2310N 200E in LaGrange were approved for a 30 ft. ingress-egress easement, where the standard is 50 ft. The lot had been originally platted when 30 ft. was the standard for the county.

LaGrange County REMC, represented by CEO Mark Leu, received approval for four separate variances for 120 ft. radio communication towers. The towers will be used for communication with endpoint devices in the service area and will be placed at existing REMC substations. The four locations approved were CR 450N and CR 250W in Howe, just east of the intersection of CR 700S and CR 75W in Wolcottville, CR 900W and CR 200S in Shipshewana, and south of US 20 on CR 1150E in LaGrange.