Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton officials defame Liberty Landowners

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Voice of the People

I can no longer remain quiet as Chesterton officials spread misinformation in an attempt to defame the Liberty Landowners Associa-tion.

I am proud to be on the Board of Directors of this fine organization. I am also spokesperson for our association in the matter of our lawsuit involving the Porter County Commissioners.

Two town board members, Mr. Trout and Mrs. Darnell, in regards to our lawsuit, made comments at the council meeting July 28, that the Liberty Landowners donít want a hospital. Additionally, at a previous Plan Commission meeting, Mr. Trout made comments suggesting Liberty Landowners are against the hospital. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Our suit involves the rezoning of a parcel from Residential 1 (R-1) to Institutional (I) in an area surrounded by R-1 zoning.

The Porter County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) states that an I zoning district is not appropriate next to an R-1 zoning district.

We feel the UDO is correct in that these districts are not appropriate next to each other.

The Commissioners, although aware of this, rezoned the parcel to I anyway. This is the main contention of the lawsuit. We feel that the Commissioners must follow their own rules and we are asking for a declaratory judgment from the court regarding this matter.

The only other point our suit brings up is that the vote by Commissioner Evans on this rezoning should be set aside as his wife is in the employ of the rezoning petitioner. We contend this is a conflict of interest under Indiana law.

As far as the Liberty Landowners not wanting the hospital, we realize the need for such a facility, but feel this particular location on U.S. Highway 6 is a poor choice for reasons too numerous to mention here.

We believe areas exist which are already in corporate boundaries that would be better choices. An example is just under two miles north of the Highway 6 site. There, at the Northeast corner of the Toll Road and SR 49 sits several hundred acres, within Chesterton's corporate boundaries. This area already had sewer and water on site and has been sitting largely undeveloped since being annexed in the early 1980ís.

The Liberty Landowners goal, as stated in our charter, is to preserve the asthetics and rural charactor of Liberty Township. The Liberty Landowners will strive toward this goal. We feel further encroachment by the town into Liberty Township will not serve to further our goal.

Although we can have honest disagreement over the best land use and future of the area, we cannot allow the truth to be lost during the debate.

Alan Hewitt


Posted 8/1/2008