Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Double Standard For The Carsons

Sam Carson is an inspector for the City of Indianapolis and the son of the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson. He lives in the home formerly occupied by the late congresswoman in the 2500 block of North Park Avenue. Without obtaining a permit or proper zoning approval (think of 300 East), Carson had a 10 foot wrought iron fence built around the Carson home with a gated drive. The fence, which abuts the neighboring sidewalk, violates both height and setback restrictions. Those of you familiar with zoning variance hearings know the drill when you do something like this that blatantly violates the city's building and zoning ordinances. You request a zoning variance and the Board of Zoning Appeals says politely to you that they're really sorry but the rules are there for a reason and you'll have to take the fence down. That's when you and I do something like this. Those rules don't apply to the Carsons. As usual, they can do whatever they want in this town. Despite a recommendation from staff that Carson's request for a variance be denied, the Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously granted his variance. Carson repeatedly told the Board that he was a city employee, that he meant no harm and that the fence is necessary out of "a public safety concern." Now, you go build a 10 foot fence on your property next to the sidewalk and see what happens when the City cites you for the violation. You aren't going to have the happy ending Sam Carson got.

9 comments:

Sean Shepard said...

Which zoning board of appeals? There is more than one.

Wilson46201 said...

Sadly, Sam Carson sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Last year, he campaigned hard for Mitch Daniels. He's now a Ballard city employee - it looks like being a new Republican is paying off for Sam... tsk, tsk, tsk!

Elected public official Julia Carson lived there for 35 years with no fence but now a new-hire city DPW employee needs a high fence for safety?

Advance Indiana said...

Division 1, Sean.

Downtown Indy said...

INV08-26135
INV08-30311
PRJ08-15868
VIO08-03934
VIO08-03472

It seems Sam also had problems with his siding.

Advance Indiana said...

Yep, he knew when he was constructing it that he was violating the law. The notes refer to the fence being 6 foot, still above the height restriction. From the DMD inspector's notes:

"OFF MAC INSPECTION, PO OWNER SAM CARSON CAME OUT AND ASKED WHY I WAS THERE. I TOLD HIM I WAS THERE OFF A COMPLAINT ABOUT THE HEIGHT OF THE FENCE BEING 6FT WHERE ONLY 42" IS ALLOWED. THE SOUTH SIDE WAS COMPLETE UP TO THE SIDEWALK, THE POST WERE SET ON THE EAST SIDE (FRONT) AND THE NORTH SIDE OF THE HOME. THE PO SAID HE HAD APPLIED FOR A VARIANCE. I TOLD HIM HE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THE CONSTRUCTION UNTIL HE FINDS OUT THE RESULT OF THE VARIANCE APPLICATION. HE SAID HE KNEW THE CODE READS IT SHOULD ONLY BE 42" IN THE FRONT YARD. I TOLD HIM HE SHOULD STOP CONSTRUCTION UNTIL THE APPLICATION IS ADDRESSED. HE SAID HE ALSO WORKS FOR THE CITY AS A DPW CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE. I TOLD HIM I WOULD HAVE TO OPEN A CASE ANYWAY AND WOULD BE SENDING HIM A LETTER IN THE MAIL EXPLAINING THE VIOLATION."

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Wilson, had Sam not been a turncoat, would you think his fence was ok?

Downtown Indy said...

The zoning board meeting:
Starting at 56:20

artfuggins said...

This should reflect on the Ballard administration and not on the Carsons. I agree that the fence should not have been approved and is obrusive in the neighborhood.....and that if one of us tried it that it would be denied......I certainly don't have any juice with the Ballard Administration..........

Downtown Indy said...

It's amazing what people try to pass off as being the fault of the Ballard administration sometimes.

Just as amazing is the long list of concerns the board had and recommendation to deny from the engineer, and yet they unanimously approved the variance. Unanimously???

I don't understand it, but then, I don't 'work for the city.'