Chesterton Tribune



Town Council takes first steps to demolish Wabash Ave house

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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 36-7-9-28.

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.

O’Dell’s 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.”

The 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.

Chesterton 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 moving.”

Brassie Golf Course

Meanwhile, Evelyn 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 haven’t.”

The letter, added Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, “was in no uncertain terms. There’s no question what our position is.”

The Brassie’s position, evidently, is to ignore the council’s. Lukmann said that he would follow up.

Komenas requested a copy of the letter. Town Manager Bernie Doyle promised to provide her with one.


Posted 10/16/2019




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