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Jennings Sunday: Petitions pave way for road control

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VERNON — It appears that a petition requesting Jennings County to assume control of three roads in the private Country Squire Lakes subdivision has been signed by a majority of its residents.

“It’s a great thing,” said Jesse Angel, CSL Community Association manager.

Angel’s association initiated the petition drive more than a year ago because the signatures are required to modify the community’s covenants.

“As it stands now, we’re a private neighborhood and can’t get the police to come in here unless they are called in on an emergency basis,” Angel said. “That’s because they have no jurisdiction over any of the roads in the CSL community.”

If the signatures turned over to the Jennings County Commissioners on Monday night are authenticated, it eventually will allow sheriff’s deputies to regularly patrol Country Manor Road, Country Squire Boulevard and Foxmoor Drive.

Commissioner Matt Sporleder, who represents the neighborhood, said those streets mark the major entrances and exits to the

4,000-lot subdivision off State Road 7 in Geneva Township.

He said it was his understanding that CSL accounts for about three out of four calls made to county law enforcement.

“We’re going to take (the three streets) because that allows us to go in there and write tickets,” said Sporleder. “It’s a step toward increasing a police presence at Country Squire Lakes and trying to get the problems we have out there fixed.”

But it’s not yet a done deal.

Once signatures are authenticated, the CSL Homeowners Association is required to bring forward a formal petition. Once that is presented, a final vote will be made by the commissioners before the county can take over the streets.

However, neither Angel nor Sporleder anticipates any obstacles at this time.

Sporleder expects the change eventually to have a positive effect on the county. Once the streets are accepted, they will be added to the county’s road inventory and become eligible for state reimbursement for law enforcement and maintenance costs.

He also said since state statutes allow the county to act on behalf of safety and the public good, county government always had the authority to salt the three CSL streets after ice or snowstorms.

However, the state reimbursement will make it financially feasible for the county to keep those roads clear of frozen precipitation during the winter months.

Sporleder expressed optimism that more steps can be taken in the near future to solve the subdivision’s other problems, which he believes will benefit all of Jennings County in the long run.

“We need to work on Country Squire Lakes,” Sporleder said. “In the short term, it might be an economic disadvantage. But the more we clean it up, the more it will increase property values. And that will bring it more tax revenue.”

Angel said the homeowners association also wants to see additional involvement between CSL and the county.

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