Disagreements tense up Cloverdale meeting

Monday, April 15, 2019
The dilapidated trailer at 16 Stardust Way facing the main road that goes through the Stardust Hills community. It has been vacant since mid-2017, and is currently owned by Don Gedert.
Banner Graphic/Brand Selvia

CLOVERDALE -- Town officials were recently met with disputes and little in the way of trust between some residents in Cloverdale.

Two issues which where brought up at the Cloverdale Town Council’s regular meeting last week were centered on Don Gedert, who is the developer of the Stardust Hills subdivision.

The first issue was brought up by resident Jean Meador concerning the apparent state of disrepair of a trailer at 16 Stardust Way. Meador related how her late husband had filed a complaint with the Stardust Hills Homeowners Association that it was affecting property value. She said further that no action had been taken on Gedert’s part since Mr. Meador turned in the complaint last October.

“That place has become an eyesore, and it’s right across the street from me,” Meador said. “It’s a dump, and I want to know if it can be taken down since Don won’t seem to do anything about it.”

Meador began her comment by asking the council if there was a “statute of limits” on a property being deemed uninhabitable before it can be demolished. Meador made a point that the trailer has been vacant since September of 2017, and that Gedert retains ownership of the home and should have an obligation to fix it.

Town Attorney Daniel Hofmann stated that he was not aware of the property being cited or brought to the attention of the council. However, he said that the town had handled several demolitions in recent months and was trying to take them one-by-one.

“The town will have to make a determination on the time that it will take,” Hofmann said. “However, the first step is to cite it (the home), that way we can consider what to do next.”

Councilman Greg Jay added to Hofmann’s comments on the council’s stake in the process, saying that demolitions are a process and “were not gonna happen overnight.”

“We’re moving them in on a regular basis now, and it’s going to take time to get to all of them. We probably still can do only five at a time if we continue the trend we’re on.”

Gedert himself did not take to Meador’s assertion that he was not holding up his end as the property owner by either repairing or demolishing it. This came in acknowledging that her husband had brought the issue up, but that he could only do so much at a time.

“Some properties which I have to maintain have to take precedence,” Gedert said matter-of-factly but with some agitation. “I have a limited number of men and so many I can work on at a time. There is only so much I can do, and there are at least five ahead of it.”

“Does that mean that it won’t be fixed until October, December, sometime next year?” Meador retorted. “I’ve had to look at this every day since last October with no one living in it, and now you’re saying again that it’ll have to wait.”

Council President Larry Fidler banged his gavel as the argument between Meador and Gedert began to escalate. It would be the first of two times he would do so.

The council then recognized Gedert, who asked whether the council had considered what could be done to address flooding in a depressed, three-acre spot near the SHOA office. He related that he had tried to fill in the space, known as the “common ground,” with dirt, as well as built a dam nearby.

Gedert said that the town’s consideration was needed, though it is understood that properties such as 336 Someday Way continue to flood. Clerk-Treasurer Cheryl Galloway provided that the town had brought in an engineer in 2015 to survey the area. However, potential solutions were not discussed by the council, and have not been considered by the body since.

Fidler suggested that the spot was not within the town’s purview, since it rests on private property and is under Gedert’s discretion. It was this point that led to a disagreement between the two as to the effectiveness of Gedert’s efforts and his responsibility to help rectify them.

After he had asked Gedert if he would be open to find more solutions to curb the flooding, Fidler rapped his gavel again as the majority Stardust Hills owner continued to insist that he had done enough and became frustrated.

Another public comment on the agenda concerned an ongoing problem with loose dogs within the town. Resident Lori Winings spoke before the council with a complaint that her neighbor’s dogs had become not just a nuisance, but a safety concern for her and others.

“He (her neighbor) has no respect for his dogs or his neighbors, and I have called the police, but it is still a big problem,” Winings said. “I have started carrying a small bat, because I don’t want to be bitten by them,” adding that she knew of a Cloverdale police officer who had been attacked.

Town Marshal Steve Hibler confirmed that Deputy Marshal Levi App had been bitten recently, and that the individual in question had been cited. He related that the Cloverdale Police Department has issued multiple citations for at-large dogs, but that it does not have the proper means to handle them.

“We’ve taken the actions that we can to help the situation,” Hibler said. “It’s frustrating that owners will not take responsibility for their dogs. However, Animal Control has the tools which we don’t have on us, so we’re escalating the issue and taking more steps.”

Hibler recommended that Winings and others who encounter loose dogs should photograph or take video of them. These should be sent to the department, that way they might be identified and the owner can be contact.

In other business, the council approved the purchase of a hydraulic lift so that the town’s vehicles can be serviced in-shop. The council also approved an ordinance brought by Galloway allowing for water, wastewater and visa funds to be combined in the Town’s general account. Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce representative Mark Wingler also related that Rick Dearwester had stepped down as the chamber’s president, and that a replacement had not yet been found.

The next regular meeting of the Cloverdale Town Council is scheduled on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. in the Cloverdale Town Hall.

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  • On the dog issue... so the person is supposed to photograph and video the dogs attacking? “Hang on a second Fido. I’ve gotta get my camera so I can video you ripping my kid’s face off”.

    -- Posted by your mom on Tue, Apr 16, 2019, at 7:57 AM
  • *

    There has got to be a reality TV show in here somewhere!

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Tue, Apr 16, 2019, at 8:40 AM
  • Don, if you can't keep up with all your properties, sell some of them, slow down and retire already!

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Tue, Apr 16, 2019, at 9:52 AM
  • Look at all of Don's properties, they are all a disgrace, and a lot of them should be condemned.

    -- Posted by becker on Tue, Apr 16, 2019, at 1:38 PM
  • To those in Cloverdale, in the "Classifieds" section of the Banner-Graphic on March 29th, the Town of Cloverdale is pursuing the demolition of two properties in Cloverdale not in compliance with Indiana Code 36-7-9-7. Said properties have not been occupied for one year or longer; are potentially hazardous to the Town's water and sewer systems; are a fire hazard; are blighted, unsafe and dilapidated; said properties may have been vandilized; windows may be broken out and utilities may have been disconnected; the exterior is run-down and decrepit; the properties may attract wild animals and other pests; the properties may present an imminent danger to other people and property.

    Do your homework, present your case to the Town Council and maybe you can get something done.

    -- Posted by Lookout on Tue, Apr 16, 2019, at 4:42 PM
  • Wow. Talk about the Town vs. Don! I have driven through Star Dust Hills many many times. I must have blinders on because I see beautiful homes with landscaped lawns. Yes there are a few run down places in Star Dust but it is a very large mobile home park. Drive down all of the streets in town and I'm sure there are run down homes there also. I and many others know exactly what the town council is to trying to do. Two council members who a few are wanting osted out just happen to live in Star Dust.Talk about dirty politics. An election is coming up soon. So to the ones who think they are doing such a fine job running the towm-- trashing others should not be your number one goal to be elected or re-elected. And to think one of these political backers who is bad mouthing others is a minister and a businessman in town. Not my definition of Christianity or someone I care to help run the town of Cloverdale. Praisee the Lord I do not live in Cloverdale.

    -- Posted by Nit on Wed, Apr 17, 2019, at 6:48 AM
  • Oh come on! Why is this property owner giving his neighbors and the town so much ammo?

    Why not be a good citizen? Stardust has a Property Owners Association. Typically, a complaint is filed and it is addressed at the Association level.

    This property owner's excuses are just that. Clearly, he has the means to hire the work done on a contract basis. The home has deteriorated from neglect and it needs to be addressed.

    Is the labor market so tight in Southern Putnam County that he cannot hire someone to power wash the siding, repair the porch and fix the skirting? The place is an eyesore and it on the main road.

    It's no way to advertise the quality of life to be found in Stardust. Mr. Gedert, hire the work done. It's past time to pick up the phone and open your checkbook on this issue. What an embarrassment.

    -- Posted by letspulltogether on Wed, Apr 17, 2019, at 9:02 AM
  • *

    The town of Greencastle (unofficial) would like to thank the town of Cloverdale (both official and unofficial) for making Greencastle look really, really good.

    I imagine even Brazil is grinning a bit, and that's saying something.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Wed, Apr 17, 2019, at 9:40 AM
  • Dear NIT...you must be blind to not see the substandard conditions that people in Stardust Hills are forced to live in because Don Gedert refuses to maintain his properties. He is now asking the town to pay to fix his drainage problems on HIS common ground. As for the towns involvement, Stardust has an OA that supersedes the towns authority and their board refuses to do anything to help the owners and the renters who complain constantly about all of the problems that this slumlord has created. His OA is also responsible for that common ground. KUDOS to Larry Fidler for having the backbone to stand up to him in the meeting. As a taxpayer I am OUTRAGED that Gedert thinks we should pay for his years of neglect.

    -- Posted by murphy1950 on Wed, Apr 17, 2019, at 5:05 PM
  • Murphy1950. Maybe both of us need our eyes checked. I have several wonderful friends who live in Stardust and their homes are great with beautiful landscaping.i am not on here to run down Mr.Gedert. As I stated earlier there are just as many places in Cloverdale that are also run down and need lots of attention. Years ago a person running for a political office would campaign and tell what they would do if they were elected. Not so in Cloverdale. All we ever hear is constant complaining about someone else. And by the way. I do not know Mr. Gedert

    -- Posted by Nit on Wed, Apr 17, 2019, at 9:19 PM
  • My suggestion to all of Mr. Gederts renters who feel they live in the slums; move. I am sure the town of Cloverdale will find them a beautiful place to live

    -- Posted by Nit on Wed, Apr 17, 2019, at 9:23 PM
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