Chesterton Tribune

Burns Harbor considering court action against trailer park

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The Burns Harbor Town Council set Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. for a closed executive session to discuss whether to bring litigation against Rainbow Mobile Home Park owner Jacob Pasternac.

Council president Jim McGee said Wednesday he wants to expedite taking action that will address the many problems at the trailer park on the town’s east side. Councilman Mike Perrine said he’d like to determine what assistance Burns Harbor can expect, if any, from the Indiana State Board of Health in the matter.

The trailer park apparently hasn’t had either a state or town operating permit for the business for over a decade, according to a local official. The Burns Harbor Sanitary Board last month asked the council to address alleged violations and outstanding sewer fees.

The town previously had a negotiated agreement with Pasternac over some items but McGee indicated unacceptable conditions still remain.

Police cars going home

Narrowly approved by the council was permission for town marshal Jerry Price to allow police officers to take home squad cars for their personal use. Voting yes were McGee, Perrine and Cliff Fleming; Toni Biancardi voted no. Louis Bain was absent.

Price said he will have stringent rules for the take-home program, like requiring a mileage log, not taking the squad where alcohol is exclusively served and keeping the car within Porter County. Officers would be limited to 200 miles each per month for personal use.

Four officers currently are eligible to participate in the program at the discretion of Price and the Police Department liaison. A take-home policy previously was allowed under a former marshal but later discontinued.

Perrine asked that individual logs be kept at the Police Department listing where each car goes, but he asked if that could not be available to the public. Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said the information has to be presented to her to invoice as a taxable non-cash fringe benefit, which would be public record.

McGee questioned whether personal use of a squad car was indeed taxable.

After the meeting Biancardi said she voted no not because the officers don’t deserve it but because the tax obligation is not a necessary expense for the town; also, she said town insurance may go up, especially if off-duty police cars are involved in an accident or injury.

Village meeting requested

Perrine recommended calling a public council meeting with representatives of The Village in Burns Harbor homeowners’ association to discuss some concerns.

His request came during a discussion whether the town should accept an agreement for the stylized street lights in the neo-traditional subdivision. Associate town attorney Charles Parkinson said this spring the council discussed having the town be responsible for the lights’ wiring and utility bills, and the HOA for the posts and lamps.

Council members didn’t recall seeing a final written form of that proposal. Fleming, who is developer of The Village, said the matter has been hanging for six months because when he recused himself from voting, the council wouldn’t have a quorum due to absences.

Parkinson said Nov. 1 the town’s Advisory Plan Commission will consider a similar agreement for future street lights in the remaining phases of The Village submitted for platting.

Perrine said one of his concerns is that No Parking areas along The Village streets are being ignored, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get around. The intentionally narrow streets promote an urban feel in the development, which has rear alleys as well.

Perrine said the situation will require the cooperation of the town and the HOA to get resolved. Now, “It doesn’t feel like we’re accomplishing a great deal."


Posted 10/14/2010