Chesterton Tribune

Judge rules county has right to deny waste transfer station permit

Back to Front Page





The Porter County Board of Commissioners won a victory last week in an ongoing legal battle with Great Lake Transfer station as a LaPorte County Superior Court Judge ruled that the commissioners indeed have the right to deny permits that impact county roads.

The dispute began in 2005 when Great Lakes Transfer applied for a permit to construct a driveway from County Line Rd. to its transfer station located on the LaPorte County side of the road. The county highway department denied the application on the grounds that overweight trucks would cause harm to the road, which is in a general rural setting.

A subsequent application involving permits for trucks over ten tons was also denied by the county.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management did however approve Great Lakes Transfer a five-year permit to build and operate a solid waste facility which is good until Nov. 10 of this year.

Shortly after, the county commissioners challenged the IDEM motion by filing a petition requesting Administrative Review.

After reviewing the petition, an Administrative Law judge issued an order denying the commissioners’ petition.

Even with the IDEM permit, the transfer station still needed a permit from Porter County to make the road cut on to County Line Rd. Sean Bleiden and property owner Darren Kaletha filed again April 2007 for the permit stating that trailer traffic would turn and head north on County Line Rd. out of the facility.

The permit was again denied by the county engineer, citing again that the road was not suitable for overweight trucks.

Later in 2007, Marion County Superior Court Judge Michael Keele ruled that the IDEM permit should be upheld for it was not issued in an “arbitrary or capricious manner,” but told Great Lakes Transfer it still had to comply with the law.

A third application submitted to the county highway department in September 2007 for the driveway permit was later denied citing concerns of “pending litigation, overweight trucks, and other issues”

The county attempted to appeal the Marion Court decision in 2008 but was unsuccessful in the appellate courts.

The tables turned again last Thursday as LaPorte County Superior Court Judge Richard Stalbrink issued a summary judgment that stated the county has the discretion to deny the permit applications.

Stalbrink ruled the commissioners’ decision “is not subject to judicial review,” and also the commissioners have authority for road construction, maintenance, and operation of the roads including Porter’s side of County Line Rd.

It is not clear whether the case will continue as Great Lakes Transfer has the option to appeal the LaPorte judge’s order.

Porter County Commissioner President Robert Harper, D-Center, told the Chesterton Tribune this morning he is “extremely pleased” with the decision. He said that County Line Rd. is not fit to handle the traffic that would result from the creation of the entranceway.

Posted 10/6/10