Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Local sports facility is sued by county planners

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The Porter County Plan Commission has slapped The Courts of Northwest Indiana sports complex with a lawsuit on grounds that the facility has improperly stored construction and storage materials on its North side.

Plan Commission attorney Scott McClure said the Courts have gravel stored in piles throughout the site. The athletic complex also has been improperly storing vehicles that belong to a tree service company, he said.

The complaint also claims that a gravel parking area had not been approved by the plan commission.

McClure said the Courts development also strayed from the county planner’s approved plans for stormwater control and had not completed the grading and seeding that was asked for.

A hearing for the suit has been set for Monday, Oct. 5, at 11:00 a.m.

Courts board member Mark Bengel, who was owner of the complex before it became a non-profit organization this past spring, said the construction lot has been there for four years and had not ever received a complaint from neighbors, cities, or the county until he was served the suit.

The suit, Bengel said, upheld the contention that The Courts complex property was “a nuisance to the public and is prejudiced to the health and welfare of Porter County residents.”

Bengel said the lawsuit has no basis. He believes that a few members on the plan commission have opposed the project from the start.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I think it’s just elected officials abusing their power and collecting money.”

Bengel said the county could be doing better things with county dollars other than using the money to pay for legal expenses.

“The Courts are designed for providing something for youth in the community but the county makes it tough to do that,” he said.

The Courts of Northwest Indiana is located at 127 East on U.S. 6 near the North Calumet intersection in Liberty Twp.

The board of directors is currently pursuing a 501C3 tax status.

Bengel said he is hoping to build on to the complex as soon as the economy makes a turnaround.



Posted 9/29/2010




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