Chesterton Tribune



Town Council tells Pearson Road folks there is nothing it can do about golf ball hazard

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A solidly driven golf ball, in the moment after impact, has approximately the same momentum as the bullet fired by a .22 caliber rifle.

So what’s puzzling isn’t really that Brassie Golf Course management and staff are treating as unreasonable the complaints of the residents who live opposite the driving the range along Pearson Road: residents who lived there long before there was a Brassie, whose houses, cars, and property have all been damaged by errant golf balls, and who feel genuinely unsafe--because they are--in their own front yards.

What’s truly puzzling is that Porter County officials--in whose jurisdiction the driving range falls--and Town of Chesterton officials--in whose jurisdiction the golf club itself falls--seem to think there’s nothing they can do to protect folks from projectiles traveling nearly as fast a rifle bullet, and quite capable of doing as much harm.

Two of those residents appeared before the Town Council at its meeting Monday night: Evelyn Komenas and Dave Evans, the former of whom has lived on Pearson Road for 40 years, the latter of whom for 38 years. Both had stories to tell: of golf balls doing damage to their houses, their cars, their light fixtures.

Evans himself narrowly missed being struck by a golf ball in his front yard. “I called the Brassie and was told ‘Don’t stand in your front yard,’” he remembered. “Then she told me, ‘I don’t have time for this sh-t’ and she hung up on me.”

“I don’t get it,” Evans said. “My safety should be No. 1. Who cares about the driving range?”

Evans’ suggestion, also made by Komenas: the town should forbid the Brassie to sell range balls to golfers until management has raised the net along the east edge of the driving range and extended it to the north.

“I don’t see why you can’t tell them that, until they solve the problem, they have to stop selling golf balls,” Komenas for her part said. “My garage door is all beat up because of golf balls. My front light was smashed. My front door is all beat up. A window was broken. I don’t think I should be living this way.”

Komenas’ experience of Brassie management and staff, moreover, is the same as Evans’. “They are rude,” she said. “They don’t talk to us. The previous managers tried to work with us. The new ownership doesn’t care. They’ve told us to move. They don’t accommodate our concerns. They’ve never asked us how they can help us.”

Council members, however, found about half a dozen different ways of saying there is nothing they can do. “You want us to make a change over a part of the golf course we have no jurisdiction over,” said Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th. “I know that’s not what you want to hear. But we can’t do anything about this. If it were in town, this would not have been going on for 20 years.”

Town Manager Bernie Doyle did report that he’s tried to reach out to Brassie management. “But they don’t want to talk about it and referred me to their attorney,” he said.

In the end, members agreed to send Brassie management a strongly worded letter. “They can hang the phone up on (Doyle) but they can’t disregard a letter,” said Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

Members also instructed Doyle to re-double his efforts to speak with Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, in the hope of prodding the Commissioners to take something resembling action. Doyle said that he’s attempted to call Biggs but hasn’t been able to reach him.



Posted 9/10/2019




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