On Wednesday, April
18, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Dunes
Action jointly reported two apparent violations of Indiana Code to Porter
County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel, related to what the two groups
believe are unauthorized construction activities at the Indiana Dunes State
The work in
question involves the partial destruction of the West Plaza where the
comfort center is now located and the construction of an elevator shaft that
protrudes through the Pavilion roof. Dunes Action maintains that this work
was done without a valid permit, which is required by state law. The group
also asserts that a certificate of approval was required for the demolition
of the Pavilion interior, because a portion of the work was done by state
“The law gives Mr.
Gensel no flexibility,” said Dunes Action co-founder, Jim Sweeney. “These
violations must be rigidly enforced, according to state law.”
communicated with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office about the violations
last month, but in a recent letter to PEER, the AG’s Office stated that the
matter is under the purview of the local prosecuting attorney.
“Future work cannot
go forward without a permit or a certificate of approval,” Sweeney said.
“Both Pavilion Partners and the DNR have an obligation to follow these
While Dunes Action
supports a historically appropriate restoration of the Pavilion, the group
does not approve of the addition of two balconies or a rooftop pub. “These
laws were enacted to preserve Indiana’s historical heritage, and we expect
to see them enforced by Mr. Gensel,” Sweeney said. “The Porter County
Prosecutor’s Office has the responsibility to pursue speedy and fair
prosecutions of all crimes committed within Porter County.”
PEER and Dunes
Action are prepared to follow up and ensure that prompt action is taken.
Although no work has occurred on the project this year, the two groups say
that any additional construction on the Pavilion without proper
authorization would be another violation.
PEER is a
non-profit public interest organization that focuses on the environment,
including management of public land and ethics in government. Dunes ACTION!
is a grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan coalition. They can be found on
Facebook and at www.dunesaction.org