Hobart man given until next month to finish cleanup at his property

2012-12-08T00:00:00Z 2013-04-12T16:29:06Z Hobart man given until next month to finish cleanup at his propertyDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | The Hobart Board of Public Works told Robert Berndt to return next month with cleanup of his house and farm substantially completed.

Berndt was also told to provide the board with a timeline for when the house would be inhabitable.

"We can't leave it open-ended. Are you cleaning it to reoccupy it?" board member Thomas Ehrhardt asked Berndt.

Berndt said he hopes to move back into his home of 55 years by June.

The board in September ordered cleanup of Berndt's debris-littered, unsafe house and farm in the 6800 block of Grand Boulevard.

Berndt, 80, who was placed in a handicap accessible trailer by his family, has continued to provide monthly updates to the board.

Family members have been at his side during the meetings or spoken on his behalf.

Building Official Mike Hannigan said Berndt has made substantial progress at cleaning up his house and farm.

The exterior at both locations is complete and about 50 percent of the items in the house have been removed, Hannigan said.

Cattle owned by Berndt that graze on his farm and adjacent farms without permission continue to be a problem, Hannigan said.

"He needs to erect a fence," Hannigan said.

Berndt lashed out at officials, saying his longtime relationships with adjacent farm owners had been ruined.

Berndt also attempted to provide a list of items, including eight vehicles, he claimed had been destroyed when city officials came on his property this fall to begin cleanup.

"I want a peaceful settlement; $50,000 has been destroyed or taken from me," Berndt said.

City Attorney Anthony DeBonis told Berndt to give his claim of items destroyed to Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Longer's office for consideration.

DeBonis also advised Berndt that city officials would meet privately with him to discuss violations over the cattle.

Those violations include allowing the cattle to run freely and feeding them bread and pastries thrown into the garbage. 

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