On the Beat in Bluffton

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Appeal of lagoon citation delayed

The Wells County Board of Zoning Appeals allowed Almco Steel to build a new storage building and Bluffton’s First Church of the Nazarene to erect a new sign Tuesday.

But they didn’t discuss the most controversial topic on the agenda — an alleged zoning violation brewing in a lagoon at 600W and 1100S.

Bruce Leas of Leas Farms, who built and modified the lagoon, was scheduled to appeal the violation at Tuesday’s regular meeting, but he asked the BZA to wait until later.

Since Leas first built the pond that he now wants to transform into a lagoon, his attorneys and county officials have debated if he actually violated ordinances. In particular, Leas contends that, essentially, his lagoon should be grandfathered in, while the county says it shouldn't.

You can read more about the debate in the Wednesday, Jan. 23, News-Banner, as well as two variances the BZA did approve, but for an in-depth look, you can read the attorneys' first and third letter to the county disputing the violation notice and the response of the county, which Area Plan Director Michael Lautzenheiser prepared for Tuesday's meeting.

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