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 Post subject: Developer threatens to remove St. John well
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:23 am 
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Developer threatens to remove St. John well
BY VANESSA RENDERMAN
vrenderman@nwitimes.com
219.933.3241 | Sunday, December 07, 2008 | No comments posted.

ST. JOHN | The developer of the largest neighborhood in St. John is threatening to disassemble a well on his property if the town continues to withhold building permits for the project.

John Lotton, developer of The Gates of St. John, filed a lawsuit last week against the town of St. John as well as its waterworks and sanitary districts.

The suit was filed in response to action the town's Water and Sanitary Utility Board took in November. The board accused Lotton of not making good on all of the improvements he said he would, per an annexation agreement. So, they voted to disallow new commercial or residential buildings in The Gates to tap into the town's water and sanitary systems. The move means building permits cannot be issued, essentially freezing the project.

Lotton said if the town wants to play hardball, he's game. If permits are not allowed to be issued in The Gates by Wednesday, he'll take apart the well.

"If I don't have a judge stopping me, that pump will be gone a week from today," Lotton said Friday.

St. John is trying to stop that from happening.

"We filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Mr. Lotton, based upon oral and written threats he's made to forcibly remove the existing well site on his development," said Randy Wyllie, attorney for the town's Utility Board.

Lotton said it's his property, so he can do what he wants. He also sent a letter to NIPSCO, asking them to shut off power to the well, and to the company that owns the pump inside the well, asking it to be removed.

"NIPSCO owns the electricity, and I own the well, and I own the real estate," Lotton said. "The hole that's in the ground, I paid for. Everything is on my property."

The well serves as a secondary well that was functional in the summer but isn't being used right now, he said.

Lotton said he has until the spring to fulfill all of his obligations under the annexation agreement and the town is wrongfully withholding building permits for his project.

"I'm not in breach of anything," he said.

But Wyllie said the time frame won't allow for all the work that needs to be done.

"He's in breach of the contract on several fronts," Wyllie said.

One piece of infrastructure at issue is a water treatment plant. Lotton agreed to pay for a plant that processes 1,000 gallons per minute. When the well was drilled, the town learned it could pump more than twice that amount, so officials asked Lotton to increase the size of the plant with the town would cover part of the cost.

Lotton said he never agreed to build a larger plant.

"They put forth a set of plans that have nothing to do with the agreement," he said.

Representatives for Lotton and the town planned to meet last Wednesday to discuss the matter, but Lotton filed the lawsuit the day before, so St. John canceled the meeting.

St. John also filed a motion for a change of venue for the case, Wyllie said.

The Gates is bordered by 101st Avenue on the north, Cline Avenue on the east, U.S. 231 on the south and Parrish Avenue on the west.

Here we go. Our tax dollars being wasted on a he said she said agreement. Hasn't St. John learned yet, "Get it in writing".


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 Post subject: Re: Developer threatens to remove St. John well
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:32 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Developer threatens to remove St. John well
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:29 am 
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$90,000! I bet that would have covered the garbage fee for a while. When is this town gonna get it right?

St. John, developer nearing agreement
StoryDiscussionFont Size: Default font size Larger font size By Vanessa Renderman
vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 | Wednesday, April 08, 2009 | (5 comment(s))

ST. JOHN | St. John and a local developer are close to reaching an accord after a months-long dispute.

The agreement between the two sides has not been signed yet, but both are working diligently with lawyers to conclude the matter, said Randy Wyllie, attorney for the town's Utility Board.

The issue is centered around a disagreement about infrastructure improvements in The Gates of St. John, which John Lotton is developing as the largest residential and commercial project in town. In 2008, it accounted for one-third of all building permits issued.

When the town annexed land that would become The Gates -- bordered by 101st Avenue on the north, Cline Avenue on the east, U.S. 231 on the south and Parrish Avenue on the west -- Lotton agreed to make several infrastructure improvements, including a water treatment plant. The town said Lotton hasn't made good on all his obligations.

Lotton agreed to pay for a plant that processes 1,000 gallons per minute. When the well was drilled and the town learned it could pump more than twice as much, it asked Lotton to increase the size of the plant and St. John would cover part of the cost. Lotton declined, saying he would only build the facility he agreed to build.

The St. John Town Council and Utility Board met jointly this week to discuss the pending agreement.

Under the agreement, which Lotton said he anticipates signing today, St. John will build the water treatment plant instead of Lotton. In turn, Lotton would forfeit the system development fees that he would've received to help defray the cost.

A revenue bond will be issued and existing fees will help pay for the plant. It will not result in a tax increase, Wyllie said.

The agreement still calls for Lotton to build a transmission line to Schererville, Lotton said.

If Lotton signs the agreement, he will drop a lawsuit he filed in response to building permits being halted in The Gates, Wyllie said.

The Utility Board voted twice to halt sewer and water taps in the development until an agreement was reached. Halting those taps means building permits cannot be issued, ceasing development.

After filing a lawsuit against the town and its waterworks and sanitary districts, he threatened to disassemble a well on his property if the town continued to withhold building permits for The Gates.

St. John has spent about $90,000 so far in legal fees on this issue, Town Manager Steve Kil said


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