I was fascinated recently by a story by Karen Caffarini from The Post Tribune on March 9, 2022, with a headline reading ‘Resident complaints lead to Merrillville denial of Luke Oil gas station plan’. It was great to see so many passionate residents come out to let us know how they felt about a gas station being built so close to their residential neighborhood. Residents brought up very good and valid points and presented themselves with respect and much concern.
Our own Merrillville Board of Zoning Appeals had already presented the council with their unfavorable recommendation and the Council, although the final authority, certainly listens to all advisory boards and commissions, this project, with or without resident concerns was not going to be approved.
The resident concerns of the gas station proximity to the Prairie Creek subdivision would have been too close for comfort for me! The added traffic, light pollution, noise, foot traffic and possible decreased property values were the same concerns the BZA, and Town Council had with this project location.
Although elected officials are called Councilman, or Councilwoman, our real title is Representative. We are the Ward X Representative, meaning that we represent all residents of our district as well as the entire town. We welcome feedback from all residents as it comes to projects and potential projects, and we share the very same concerns about building in the proper locations. After all, we’re all homeowners too living right next door to all of you!
Please keep your suggestions coming as we love hearing from you, especially when presented in the thoughtful, detailed, and respectful way that the Prairie Creek residents did at our recent meeting. Working together we remain strong for a better Merrillville. -Rick Bella, Ward 5 Representative