Judge Blankenship to Ponder Starke County Property Case


Pulaski County Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship will take a few days to mull over a decision concerning legal action between the Starke County Board of Zoning Appeals, George and Betty Dotlich and Julia Ford.

The Starke County Board of Zoning Appeals and attorney Martin Bedrock filed a motion in court to show cause as to why Julia Ford has not removed a structure that was ordered to be done by the BZA in the Grovertown area. The issue was if she violated the terms of the court order and was to held in contempt of court.

Judge Blankenship noted that it was not his order to remove the structure – it was the decision by the BZA. Bedrock stated that the BZA upheld Judge Blankenship’s order in that the structure was not legally placed on the property, due to an error in BZA permitting procedure, and the members ordered it to be removed.

The judge also pointed out that there was no appeal to his decision and that Ford was given notification to remove the structure three times. It has not been removed and Judge Blankenship explained that it is an illegal structure as it sits on the property because it has not been certified by the state and it remains where a permit lacks.

Ford’s attorney and Ford insist that the structure meets code, but the judge said the only way it is going to meet the requirements is in the judgment he made in that the structure would have to be sent down state to be certified as a residential structure and then a permit process to place it on the property would have to start all over again.

The attorneys for the BZA, Julia Ford and George and Betty Dotlich each brought up points during arguments that Judge Blankenship will have to ponder. He explained that property issues always pack emotion and this case has been difficult to adjudicate – especially when everyone is just a little bit right. He will render a decision in the matter early next week. In this court hearing, Julia Ford was found not to be in contempt of court.