Portage shuts down Invaders clubhouse

2012-07-26T16:30:00Z 2012-07-27T17:52:13Z Portage shuts down Invaders clubhouseBy Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The city of Portage has succeeded in shutting down a clubhouse along U.S. 20 that was being used by the Invaders Motorcycle Club.

The city struck a deal Thursday with owner Peter Stamper to cease using the building at 6720 Melton Road as a clubhouse or for any other purpose violating the city's zoning ordinance.

Stamper also agreed to remove signs indicating it as a clubhouse for the motorcycle club or for any other unapproved purpose.

Stamper, of Hobart, said it was his understanding talks will resume on the status of the building over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, Stamper said he removed the club sign from the building Wednesday and replaced it with a for sale sign in a continued effort to find a new owner.

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said while there were concerns about the motorcycle club's presence in the building, the city's lawsuit targeted the site because it was being used illegally.

The lawsuit, which was scheduled for a hearing Friday, claimed Stamper violated the city zoning ordinance by failing to secure a certificate of occupancy before beginning to use the building in March.

Stamper also was accused of maintaining a common nuisance and persisting despite notifications by the city, the lawsuit alleged.

Stamper said last month he applied for the certificate of occupancy but the city did not respond. He said he also met with the mayor, police chief and building commissioner.

Byron Boyd, who serves as president of the Northern Indiana chapter of the Invaders Motorcycle Club, told The Times last month he was surprised by the city's efforts to run the group out of the small commercial building it inhabited a few months earlier.

Boyd said while the Invaders was founded in Portage in 1965, this was the group's first clubhouse in Porter County. The group was using the site for business meetings and parties, he said, and not for illegal activities.

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