The Chesterton Town
Council has taken official steps to begin the process of removing the
abandoned house at 507 Wabash Ave.
At their meeting
Monday night, members voted unanimously to proceed in accordance with the
town’s Unsafe Buildings ordinance, which mirrors I.C. 36-7-91 through
They did so after
Building Commissioner Mark O’Dell reported on an inspection of the house
conducted on Oct. 2 by himself and the Chesterton Fire Department. Photos
submitted to the council show the house to be windowless, the rear yard
littered with appliances and junk, and the interior to be trashed: drywall
ripped from ceilings and walls; electric wiring, plumbing, and insulation
exposed; large piles of lathing and lumber scattered throughout the house;
possible mold growth; and spray-painted graffiti.
conclusion: that the condition of the house fully satisfies the ordinance’s
definition of an “unsafe building”: its “impaired structural condition”
makes it unsafe; it’s a fire hazard, a hazard to public health, and a public
nuisance; and it’s not been “maintained in a manner that would allow human
habitation or occupancy.”
house--apparently owned by a company in Boca Raton, Fla.--has been vacant
and abandoned for some time, and for two years neighbors have been
complaining of drug use and other criminal activities in it.
The state’s unsafe
building statute authorizes a municipality to demolish such buildings after
a period of due process, which involves the issuance of an order to its
owner of record to remediate; a deadline for said remediation; a hearing on
the matter, should the owner request one; and then--in the absence of
remediation--the demolition of the building. A municipality may then recover
its costs by placing a lien on the property.
RR Quiet Zone
In other business,
Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann reported that CTC Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, has
signed the contract award by the council at its last meeting, to conduct a
feasibility study of the creation of a railroad quiet zone in the Downtown.
Contract price: not
to exceed $71,427.18.
officials have already had discussions with CTC, which is scheduled to send
reps here early in November for a first face-to-face.
Lukmann said that
he expects the feasibility study to be completed in the spring. “So it’s
Brassie Golf Course
Komenas, for 40 years a resident of Pearson Road--across the street from the
Brassie Golf Course’s driving range--returned to the council to ask what the
council has done about protecting her property and her neighbors’ from
errant golf balls.
“We sent a letter,”
Lukmann told her. “I don’t know if (the council) has heard back. I know I
The letter, added
Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, “was in no uncertain terms. There’s no
question what our position is.”
position, evidently, is to ignore the council’s. Lukmann said that he would
Komenas requested a
copy of the letter. Town Manager Bernie Doyle promised to provide her with