Union Township residents raised a stink over the Duneland 28 compost site
during a Porter County Commissioners’ meeting in March but zero complaints
in the last four months may indicate the situation has been resolved.
County Attorney Betty Knight brought the public up to speed at Tuesday’s
commissioner meeting on the progress which ultimately ended with officials
rescinding their public nuisance lawsuit against Duneland 28 located at 550
W CR 300N.
The county received e-mails from neighbors complaining last fall that foul
odors emitted from the site were infiltrating their homes and making their
way to Wheeler High School. A plan commission proposal to place additional
restrictions on building up berms brought more remonstrations, including one
from Union Schools Superintendent John Hunter.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management investigated the site,
Knight said, and determined the source of the stench was not due to solid
waste but a “large amount of grass that was not decomposing quickly enough”
from August to December, 2011.
IDEM had Duneland 28 implement new management plans for handling the grass
compost and since then the smells have ceased, Knight said.
Since May 1, no complaint has been lodged. Knight said if the problem had
not been wiped out, it would have likely returned this summer because of the
“They (IDEM) believe the problem has been eliminated,” Knight said. She then
recommended not to pursue the lawsuit for public nuisance due to lack of
County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, agreed and thanked
drainage board president Dave Burrus and Plan Commission Director Bob
Thompson for providing their expertise in the matter.
“I think the situation is solved. This is not the first facility where
something like this has happened. We will look at this as a learning
experience,” said Evans.
Knight said any further citizen concerns can be directed to Cheryl Satkus in
the IDEM Northwestern Regional Office or citizens could also file their own
Evans announced that Knight has been accepted as the permanent replacement
for the county’s attorney. She initially was brought on as the interim
successor for Gwenn Rinkenberger, who resigned in February in order to
accept an appointment as a county juvenile magistrate.
Knight has provided legal representation for governments in Indiana and
Illinois for more than 30 years and served as a litigator for several
federal and state courts.
In more appointments, the commissioners announced Michelle Smith will take
the reins of the Memorial Opera House temporarily until a permanent director
is named. An interim director for the Expo Center will be forthcoming, Evans
Both positions were manned by Brian Schafer who resigned last month. Evans
said the format will return to as it was before with separate directors for
Also on Tuesday:
• Commissioner Carole Knoblock, D-South, said $856,000 in federal highway
grant money will be used in her district to make the Division Road and Smoke
Road intersection safer for drivers. A casualty occurred there in 1998.
County engineer Ray Riddell said the Indiana Department of Transportation
will help decrease the steepness of the hill that reduces visibility. Work
should be completed in 2015, Riddell said.
• The board voted 3-0 on first reading to make a change in the county
Unified Development Ordinance at the request of Thompson. He said the state
has now made it law that county plan commissions have the ability to issue
design waivers for things like a change for storm water standards. The new
law overturns a previous appellate court decision that design waivers be
given by the county board of appeals.