Scott, doing business as Scott’s Way, doesn’t cease trucking operations that
violate the Burns Harbor zoning ordinance of today, he faces a $1,000
That was the
ruling Friday of Porter Superior Court Judge David Chidester, in whose court
the case was heard.
entered an injunction and restraining order barring Scott/Scott’s Way from
operating a truck terminal and dispatch operation at 277 Melton Rd. in a
RC-2 zoning district, or any other act or business operation in violation of
town zoning codes.
judge warned if illegal signs on the building housing Scott’s Way aren’t
removed or brought into conformity as of today, a $5 per-day fine accrues.
ordered that, in the future, any town or municipality --- and specifically
Burns Harbor and the Town of Porter --- that seeks a court hearing on a
zoning-ordinance violation, particularly one where an injunction is being
sought, the government unit must file it as a general court filing eligible
to be heard by the six other Porter Superior Court judges, not just
in July in defendant Ray Cahnman’s favor when the Town of Porter alleged
zoning violations after issuing Cahnman two 2010 citations for erecting an
illegal fence and for planting an illegal tree.
his new policy on the fact that his court is given credit for only two
minutes of work done on a zoning-ordinance violation per the Indiana State
the Town of Burns Harbor (and this applied to the Town of Porter) files a
Zoning Ordinance Citation, the cases evolve from a mere citation worth 2
minutes to 12 hours of court time in hearings, briefs, research and the
drafting and issuance of orders. This is unfair to the Court and must
When the Burns
Harbor participants arrived Dec. 12 for the long-scheduled Scott’s Way
hearing, Chidester’s staff initially said no hearing was slated and none
would take place; it eventually did after town attorney Bob Welsh proved he
had an order setting the hearing date.
subsequently found the Town of Burns Harbor presented proof at the hearing
that Scott was operating a truck dispatching center on the premises in
violation of the zoning laws, and that signage on the property was in
Being a civil
action, the standard of proof was a preponderance of the evidence, not
beyond a reasonable doubt.
informed in late 2007 by a town official he would need special zoning
approval to conduct expanded trucking activities there (truck repair and
maintenance previously had been approved), and Scott was warned about the
sign irregularities in 2009. He did not file a petition with the Board of
Zoning Appeals for either.
represented by attorney Terry Hiestand. He maintained the dispatching of
trucks is primarily an office function of processing paperwork, similar to
activities conducted in an office building and allowed in Scott’s RC-2
said in final written argument to Chidester that the town’s evidence was
weak, especially in three areas: regarding the signs, whether a truck
terminal was being operated, and whether trucks parked at Scott’s Way
constituted illegal “outside storage".
the Burns Harbor zoning ordinances were being selectively enforced and Scott
should have been granted a variance by the BZA, yet Chidester said
Scott/Scott’s Way never filed with the BZA seeking such relief. Property
owner Lisco Inc. and then-tenant Job Steel did seek BZA permission for a
trucking terminal there in 2008 but were denied.
The denial was
appealed by Lisco/Job Steel and has sat dormant in Porter Superior Court
Judge Mary Harper’s court. Chidester indicated he has discussed the issue
with Harper and she will determine that matter soon.
argued what happens with the pending Lisco/Job Steel BZA appeal somehow
affects the Scott’s Way matter; Chidester disagreed. “The only issue before
this Court is whether the current occupant, William Scott d/b/a Scott’s Way
has violated a town ordinance.”