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Huff's Attorney: County Lawsuit 'Outrageous'

Huff gazebo

An exhibit from court documents shows at least two structures on the Huff property in 2018. (Monroe Co. court documents)

The attorney for a Lake Monroe property owner calls a lawsuit the county filed over excavation and development on the land “outrageous.” 

Tom Malapit represents Joe Huff, who owns nearly 250 acres of property between Shady Side Drive and the lake's shores. 

The county and its plan commission filed a lawsuit against Huff last week for what they say is unauthorized excavation and construction on the land. 

The county says that land is within an Environmental Constraints Overlay Zone, which requires certain permits for excavation and construction. Court documents say all development proposals must include plans to minimize erosion and runoff.

Monroe Co v Huff by Indiana Public Media News on Scribd

 

The county claims Huff or his contractors removed trees and constructed at least two buildings on the property without obtaining the necessary permits or approvals.

The lawsuit asks the court, among other things, to issue a permanent and immediate injunction stopping the Huffs from maintaining, using or occupying the buildings until getting county approval. It also asks the court to make the Huffs remove the buildings if they don’t get those approvals.

Malapit says he believes the work happening at Huff's property is exempt from the county's rules and his client is being singled out. 

"I think it's really about logging," Malapit says. "It's very apparent in Monroe County that people are very particular about harvesting timber on property there."

Malapit says he reached out to the county multiple times to discuss the issue and was surprised by the lawsuit. 

The county says each day the Huffs continue work on the property without a land use certificate, site plan approval, or an improvement location permit should constitute three violations.

Monroe County code stipulates those who violate a local ordinance can be fined up to $1,000 on the first day, $2,500 on the second day, and $7,500 for the third and each succeeding day, if ordered by the court.

Malapit filed a motion for the case to be heard outside of Monroe County, since the county is involved in the lawsuit. 

In the meantime, the county is requesting access to Huff's property. 

In a separate case, Huff’s neighbors are suing him over logging activity on the property. The Court of Appeals recently removed an injunction in that case, allowing the logging to continue. A hearing in the ongoing legal battle is set for next week in Monroe County court.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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