Fabricating business gets six months to find new location

Oct 17, 2019

The Hobart City Council gave a resident a minimum of six months to find a new home for the growing iron railing fabrication business he’s been operating from his Colorado Street garage for eight years.

The council at its Oct. 16 meeting upheld the Board of Zoning Appeals’ recommendation to deny Erik Dworak a use variance to operate the business at his home.

However, upon hearing his story, the council agreed unanimously to give him a minimum of six months to find a new location for his business in a light manufacturing zone or come back to the council for review at its April 1 meeting.

“If you haven’t moved yet by then, you need to show good faith to make a move,” Mayor Brian Snedecor said.

Some of Dworak’s neighbors complained to the BZA of paint smell and noise coming from the garage.

On Wednesday, several neighbors and Dworak’s five employees attended the meeting in a show of support for him.

Dworak told the council he planned to move, but pleaded for time to find property he could afford. He had asked for 18 months’ time.

He said he’s a single father with two children, having lost his wife to cancer. He said he started making some railings on the side, but his business has grown and he now has five employees.

Dworak said he would address the neighbors’ complaints of noise and odor in the meantime by closing the doors to the garage and would put a gravel drive behind the garage where his employees would park.

BZA member Mark Kopil said the board voted to deny the variance by a 5-0 vote because the light manufacturing business doesn’t comply with the comprehensive plan and is spot zoning. He pointed out, though, that there was a similar incident on Liverpool Road where the resident was given time to relocate.

“It’s ironic that we (council members) all have city-issued iPads up here, and that’s where Apple was started, in a garage,” Councilman Josh Huddlestun, D-2nd, said, while making a motion to allow Dworak six months’ time to relocate.

“We want to see you grow,” added Councilman John Brezik, D-5th.

In other matters, the council approved the rezoning of 16.5 acres on the northeast corner of 69th Avenue and Mississippi Street from residential to manufacturing planned unit development.

Joe Hallak, project engineer for Becknell Industrial, said the company plans to combine the acreage with an adjacent 35 acres it already owns to either house one large building or four spec buildings.

The project is just south of the NorthWind Crossings business park that Becknell developed.

The council also approved the city’s 2020 budget on final adoption.