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home : opinion : letters to the editor May 25, 2016

9/11/2013 3:22:00 PM
Winona Easement

Editor, Times-Union:
Our Winona Lake Town Manager and others want us to resolve this problem in a win-win manner.
Why?
We own a home at 804 Court Street. Court is a narrow one-way street with no parking along the curb in front of the house.
For about 14 years, we have used the parking area in the back yard for two cars. You enter from the public alley. The main entrance to this alley is between 309 and 401 Administration Blvd.
Entering from the other end of the alley, off Tennis Street, takes four-and-a-half times as long.
At the August council meeting, the Lawns of the Courts backyard subdivision (old McKee Courts on island), wanted us to have no public alley access to our backyard parking area.
Instead, “they” would allow us a private agreement to cross their newly private land from Tennis.
None of the vacated land would go to us. We would lose all public access.  There is absolutely no other way to get a fire, emergency or support vehicle to the back of our house.
Their request was kind of funny, in a warped way, as the nine members of the subdivision own a private access easement road together now that three of the group are encroaching on.
The other members have acquiesced to this blockade of emergency and support access. Why would we think this group respects private agreements? Some subdivision people felt I was trying to use intimidation to encourage they resist this encroachment.
However, our impression was, from the beginning, the access easement becoming a public alley would allow possible further vacating. It was the only way we saw we could ever support vacating the part of the public alley that would connect their backyards. I was just saying the truth.
Several of the homes, wanting our public alley vacated, chose to blockade or make driving our public alley like driving an obstacle course. Absolute refusal or angry agreements to my personal requests to open up the alley were what I myself call intimidation efforts.
Now, the town wants us to work out a win-win with these people! Why?
Land frenzy affects most people, especially when the land is free. Are they still trying to make everything the way Brent Wilcoxson dreamed it would be when he sold it? Dreaming is not legal authorization of vacation of public alleys.
Jim Walmer, the town’s attorney, just prepared a lengthy summarization of what is private and public in the Lawns of the Courts area.
These fine people already improved their homes‘ values by having opportunity, we did not, to buy land increasing their homes’ values.
Their yards look great. But, now they want to decrease our home’s worth, by eliminating public access to parking, while they increase their home value once again.
Go drive the recently surveyed alley between 309 and 401 Administration.
I want the town to leave things as they are and define and improve the present public alleys. What do you think?
Jan Nelson
Winona Lake via email





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