WARSAW — Several residents from the Sunset Drive area attended the Warsaw Common Council meeting Thursday, March 29, to speak regarding the proposed bridge ordinance, which prohibits standing or stopping on or below the bridge on Sunset Drive. The ordinance was presented in February and was voted on and approved at the first meeting.
Council member Jack Wilhite said, “I met with a number of the residents out there a couple of days ago to make sure I was getting all the facts straight. I was actually somewhat taken aback, shocked, that it sounded worse than what I had first heard. Sunset Drive is a quiet residential area, and it also has features that draw people to it for fishing and different recreational activities.”
“Problems have arisen, mostly over the past year, and the incidents have been rather significant,” Wilhite continued. “There were 23 calls to the police related to complaints in this area in the last three years, 17 of which were in 2017.”
“When I was first looking into this, I thought ‘If this was happening in front of or behind my house, how would I feel about it?’” said Wilhite. “People are going out there to fish and are reportedly out there until three or four in the morning. When a resident has to put up with people outside their door being boisterous, cussing, playing music – and some of these residents have to get up at 5:30 the next morning to go to work, that’s a problem.”
The first resident to speak, Mike Campbell, said, “They cuss, they swear. You don’t want to hear the words we have to listen to. I was in the Air Force for 29 years – I heard some of that language there, but I don’t want to hear it at my back door with my grandkids. My wife and I have even thought about moving.”
“They leave trash down there – they throw styrofoam bait boxes in the lake,” Campbell said, adding that there is evidence that people are also defecating around the bridge.
He reported that recently syringes have been found in the area as well. “I don’t have to tell you what that means – they aren’t taking flu shots,” Campbell said.
Another resident, George Crawford, explained that sound carries over water and said he is often woken up at night due to people fishing in the area of the bridge who are talking loudly and playing music.
“It’s not about the fishing – it’s about the bad behavior,” said Crawford.
Joanie Campbell spoke next, “It’s all hours of the day and night. Had we known this would be a problem, we never would have moved here.”
Joe McManama said people trespass on his property to fish, adding that he runs them off. McManama stated there are elderly residents in the area who are afraid to confront people who are trespassing and littering on their property.
Council Member Mike Klondaris described the testimonies of the residents as “very compelling.”
Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer said, “Part of the reason we’re here tonight is that the ordinance that’s posted down there is no longer on the books. It was deleted from the code at a certain point, inadvertently, I suppose.”
“The problem has been that the police can’t enforce it if there’s no ordinance to enforce,” continued Thallemer. “This involves reinstating an ordinance that had been there for some time and somehow got expunged.” The ordinance was unanimously passed.
A public hearing was held regarding two annexation parcels related to the Airport Industrial Park Annexation. The annexation involves 419 acres of land currently used for industrial, residential and agricultural purposes. By annexing into the city of Warsaw, septic will be provided to all properties included in the designated acres. The ordinances will be voted on at the May 7 meeting.
- The council approved four tax abatements; one for Patrick Industries, two for Banner Medical and one for Whimet, Inc.
- Randy Rompola from Barnes and Thornburg LLP, South Bend, presented an ordinance amending rates and charges with respect to sewage works, to include a summer credit. This ordinance will be up for adoption April 16.
- The council approved an updated resolution amending a reinstated declaration of the AIM Medical Trust for management of city employees’ insurance.
- Ordinance 2018-04-02 was approved regarding amending pre-approved payment of claims.