Rees sues over BZA denial
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
WINFIELD - Only four months into the new Town Council's tenure, the
town's Board of Zoning Appeals had its first lawsuit filed this past
This writ of certiorari is in regards to the denial
by the board of a petitioned variance by the Rees Land Trust #4064 to
develop property zoned Public Development by using a private sewer and
The proposed site is located immediately north of the
Lakes of the Four Seasons north entrance with the design standards
requiring the use of a public water supply and sanitary sewer
Patti Rees filed a lawsuit through the law firm
Sendak, Rominger, & Stanko under the consent of Attorney Anthony De
The suit contends that during the public hearing
before the Winfield BZA on March 8, the board's denial was 'illegal and
contrary to law' on many counts.
The first charge was that the board failed to make
adequate findings of fact as to refute the variance on the
Without proper 'findings of fact' the argument that
the 'public health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the
surrounding community' is jeopardized is 'unconstitutional.'
Additionally, the town of Winfield allegedly created
practical difficulties on the petitioned property because of the fact
that the only public utilities available where substantially distant
from the property and, thus, were not economically feasible for the
Because of this happening, the town directly applied
an 'unlawful combination in restraint of trade' on the petitioner
because it was unwilling to provide services at a reasonable cost and in
a timely manner, according to the suit.
The lawsuit contends that the 'highest and best' use
of the property would be through the implementation of private water
wells and septic tanks 'which, in turn, would adequately protect the
public health, safety, morals, and general welfare' of the surrounding
The lawsuit concluded that the town 'unreasonably,
arbitrarily, and capriciously withheld and denied' the petition of which
it had 'no substantial evidence or reason ... for denial.'
The writ of certiorari is under the advisement of
Lake Superior Court Judge James Danikolas in Gary with a pending court
case probable in the upcoming months.
Representing the town of Winfield will be BZA
Attorney Joe Irak.
Memorial Day observed
Residents honor city's soldiers
under perfect skies
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The city's annual Memorial Day ceremony brought nearly
200 people together at Maplewood Cemetery to remember men and women who
gave their lives fighting the country's wars.
"We are the heirs of those laid to rest
here," said the events organizer, Stanleigh Cribben of the American
The traditional event took place in untraditionally
good weather, allowing a full program of prayer, speeches and
Mayor James Metros offered a eulogy that noted that
over one million soldiers have died in America's wars. "It's our
job to make those who have gone before us proud," he
said. "It's our responsibility to make this an America
worth dying for."
A poem by Dolores Frahm and the traditional reading
of General Order No. 2, which inspired the Memorial Day holiday, by high
school Student Council President Lindsey Ciochina was followed by Marvin
Forsythe's prayer and patriotic music from the high school band.
Retired high school teacher Marion Kellum gave the
In a relatively peaceful world, "it is difficult
to recognize the debt we owe those we honor today. "
We have an obligation, a duty, a debt and we must not
fail during this long spring weekend to stop what we're doing and think
Pastor John P. Starr offered a benediction before
local veterans groups saluted the dead with a laying of flowers, a
salute by the Veterans of Foreign Wars firing squad, and taps and echo
by high school trumpet players Peter Hagerman and Christopher
The Maplewood ceremony was followed by the raising of
the flag at the city's war memorial at Main and Goldsborough
Metros presented the American flag to be raised above
the World War II tank. The flag had flown over the United States Capitol
in honor of Metros' cousin, Carl Metros, who was killed in Vietnam.
Bell rings for board of works
New phone system will let city
hall phone anywhere
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The city will spend nearly $18,000 for a new telephone
system at City Hall that will replace a system Mayor James Metros said
"is so outdated it's unbelievable."
The Board of Public Works approved the purchase at
its May 24 meeting.
The new Lucent system includes voice mail, a feature
the current 11-year-old system does not have. Public Works employee Bill
Kozlowski said 100 voice mail 'boxes' will be included.
Clerk-Treasurer Janis Flutka said the new system
would help her staff deal with the many calls it gets that need to be
directed to the county government.
Kozlowski also noted that the city's building
inspectors - who are part-time employees - currently receive many of
their phone calls at home in the evening.
Metros said he would still have his secretary answer
the telephone during business hours.
Net Nitco of Porter County also made a proposal to
provide the new telephone system, but Kozlowski said "Lucent fits
our paraments and what we're looking for very well."
Also at last week's meeting, the board approved a
three-year long-distance telephone contract with Midwest Telecom.
The city will pay 6.5 cents per minute, down from the 11.9 cents it pays
In other business, the board approved a one-year
lease for court space at the old courthouse.
The lease presented to the board included a four-year
term, at a rate of $900 per month, for the third-floor courtroom and
office space for the City Court.
But Metros suggested that the city look into
transferring court to City Hall, now that that building is handicapped
The one-year lease would give officials time to find
office space for the court clerk and a Legal Department clerk.