County Level Judge Passes on Hearing a Civil Dispute Over a Conflict

Jan 12, 2021

PORTER COUNTY - A county judge cited a conflict, but didn't elaborate on what it was, in his decision to decline on hearing a civil dispute over a local affordable housing project.

The "Times" reports Porter Superior Court Judge Mike Fish, who took over for retired Judge Roger Bradford, said in his order of recusal that the two sides in the dispute have seven days to agree on a new judge or a special judge will be appointed.

The case is JJD Properties versus Valparaiso Board of Zoning Appeals, Housing Opportunities and Neighbors Corp.

The suit centers on a proposed 16-unit efficiency apartment building pitched for a vacant lot at 908 Franklin St. that proponents say would fill a much-needed gap for affordable housing for individuals, particularly men and veterans.

The owner of property immediately to the north, identified in documents as Jeff DeRubbo operating as JJD Properties LLC, filed a lawsuit on September 25th seeking to reverse the BZA's decision.

In a letter to the city ahead of the BZA meeting, he said he decided to purchase his two commercial buildings at 104 and 200 Billings St. in 2015 after researching and learning the property to the south was zoned general commercial.