The white frame house along the south side of the highway, owned as a rental by Gary and Marjorie Hood, is being purchased by Greencastle attorney Michael Goss as the new home for his law office.
Goss received unanimous approval from the Greencastle Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday evening at City Hall on a special exception request to allow office uses in the Light Industrial (LI) district.
While currently a residential property, the building at 2100 E. State Road 240 will allow Goss to move from rented space in downtown Greencastle to a nearly one-acre site diagonally across the road from Ascena Retail Group (FB Distro) and Area 30 facilities in the old IBM plant.
The Greencastle native explained that he specializes in "elder law," focusing on estate planning, wills and trusts and helping people protect their assets in case they need nursing home care.
"Since opening my solo practice, I've been fortunate to attract an increasing number of clients," he said, "and my son has joined the firm to help meet their needs. The space we currently rent downtown is no longer adequate."
Goss doesn't forsee much modification to the property. He plans to add a small blacktopped turn-around to ease his clients' exit from the property and envisions signage similar to that at the church next door.
The sign would be of "simple, traditional character" consistent with the house, Goss said.
"I was out by there to look at it today, and it's basically good to go," BZA member John Phillips commented.
Goss pointed out that with the property currently zoned light industrial but being used as residential, granting a use variance for his law office "would move the property closer to its approved use, not further away."
City Planner Shannon Norman recommended the BZA approve the requested use variance, noting that office uses have been contemplated as permitted uses in Light Industrial districts under the Greencastle Zoning Ordinance.
"While the property is located in an industrially-zone area, its current and past uses have been legal, non-conforming uses," she added.
The special exception granted on the site would "last as long as Mike (Goss) owns the property," Norman said.
Anyone wishing to acquire the building for another use in the future would need a new special exception from the BZA, she noted. The lone exception would be returning the building to a residence, which was the original usage, to which it would revert.
BZA member Donnie Watson made the motion to approve the special exception with a second from Phillips and a third aye vote from BZA Chairman Paul Sanders.
Members Jeff Sigworth (who has reportedly resigned from the board) and Kathy Ferrand were absent from the BZA's 15-minute January meeting.
The next regularly scheduled session of the BZA is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5 at City Hall.