MERRILLVILLE | The town is no longer interested in pursuing condemnation proceedings to acquire property in the Preserve subdivision.
Merrillville had offered the owner of the property, Xavier Research Institute, $58,600 for the more than 20 acres of land near Illinois Street. That offer hasn't been accepted, Town Councilman Shawn Pettit said.
Xavier Research obtained the property for $250 in 2010 from Lake County.
The Town Council met in an executive session Tuesday night to discuss how Merrillville would proceed with the matter.
Condemnation of the property had been discussed during previous meetings. Pettit said councilmen agreed Tuesday that Merrillville will not attempt to obtain the property through court hearings.
Trespassing lawsuits Xavier Research filed against four homeowners with items encroaching on the property were among reasons Merrillville wanted to acquire the land, Pettit said.
He said he will advise those homeowners to obtain legal representation for those lawsuits.
Pettit said he also would be willing to speak on the residents' behalf if needed during hearings associated with the lawsuits.
"I'll do what I can to help them," he said.
Pettit said a portion of the property is considered wetland. The other area is zoned as a planned unit development.
If Xavier Research would look to develop the property, the Plan Commission and Town Council would need to approve amendments to the planned unit development, Pettit said.
Pettit serves on both of those panels and said he wouldn't support any amendments to the planned unit development.
When the Preserve subdivision was developed, the property was designated to be used as open space and for drainage purposes, Pettit said.