LAPORTE — A hotly contested proposal to crack down on unsightly properties and noise in unincorporated areas will not come up for a vote at Wednesday's LaPorte County commissioners meeting as originally scheduled.
The measure, given preliminary approval by the commissioners June 5, has been sent to the LaPorte County Plan Commission for further review.
LaPorte County Commission President Rich Mrozinski said he felt it was best for the Plan Commission to sort through the wide range of heavy feedback from citizens and make any changes deemed necessary before he and his two fellow commissioners decide the matter.
"There's people who don't feel it's specific enough. There's people who think it's too overreaching. We're trying to weigh the evidence on both sides," said Mrozinski, a Republican from Rolling Prairie.
The Libertarian Party of LaPorte County is still going ahead with its public rally against the measure at 5 p.m. Wednesday on the LaPorte courthouse lawn before the commissioners meet at 6 p.m. at the county complex next door.
Nick Hamill, the LaPorte County Libertarian Party chairman, said the aim is to send a clear message before the review process begins.
He said the ordinance infringes on the rights of property owners, especially those who live in rural areas, to avoid restrictions that come with living in a city.
Hamill said he's also upset by the idea of placing liens on private properties to recover unpaid fines and costs incurred by county government doing maintenance work for landowners who don't comply.
"The whole thing is pretty much counterproductive to any free society," Hamill said.
The ordinance calls for the creation of a code enforcement officer to make sure buildings and the land they sit on comply with county standards.
Mrozinski made cracking down on dilapidated homes, junk cars and weeds a priority during his 2016 campaign.
Fines could be as much as $2,500.
The ordinance has created a firestorm similar to a gun-use restriction ordinance that died in April when an angry citizenry showed up en masse at a commissioners meeting.
Mrozinski said opponents of the proposed code ordinance have valid points, but so do those wanting something done about unkempt sites that lower neighbors' property values.
"Their opinion is no more important than the hundreds of people who call in every day complaining about what LaPorte County looks like, and I can't blame them. Pleasing all of the people is not easy," Mrozinski said.
LaPorte County Building Inspector Annemarie Polan said the Plan Commission's next meeting is June 27 at 6 p.m. at the county complex.