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
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
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.