MUNSTER | The town attorney plans to file a motion Tuesday seeking to dismiss condemnation proceedings against Arnie's Dog House.
The Munster Redevelopment Commission on Monday voted 4-0 to dismiss eminent domain proceedings filed in 2012 to acquire the property at 8125 Calumet Ave. owned by Gardner and Joy Arnold. The town initiated the proceedings in an attempt to add more public parking north of the Munster Shops.
The cost of continuing the proceedings outweighed the value of adding public parking, Town Attorney Eugene Feingold said before the vote.
Since the time negotiations first began with the Arnolds in 2010, the value of the land where Arnie’s Dog House sits has increased substantially, Feingold said. Part of the reason for the change is the completion of the Munster Shops, he said.
The Arnolds put the value of the property at $500,000, while the town’s appraisals are about half that, Feingold said. Federal and state laws now require municipalities to pay for relocation of the business, property owners’ attorney fees and the town attorney fees.
The Arnolds initially agreed to build a new facility that would sit along the 50-foot track of land owned by the town next to the water tower. The site plans were approved, but the Arnolds refused to sign a cross-access agreement and shared parking agreement with Bruce Boyer, developer of Munster Shops, Town Manager Tom DeGiulio said.
Condemnation proceedings were filed to take over the land via eminent domain. Continued negotiations with mediation failed, Feingold said.
The Redevelopment Commission on Monday approved the resolution authorizing Feingold to file the motion “to dismiss and withdraw” the proceedings “without prejudice” in Lake Superior Court.
A dismissal without prejudice would mean future town officials could re-file condemnation proceedings in the future, Feingold said.
The commission includes five Town Council members and a nonvoting Munster School Board member. David Nellans wasn’t present for the vote.
Attempts to reach Steve Arnold, the son of Gardner and Joy Arnold, were unsuccessful. He runs the two Arnie’s Dog House restaurants in Munster and Whiting.