CEDAR CREEK – AN ILL WIND BLOWING

Some things in life do not and should not have a price tag. The Cedar Creek area is one of those. Cedar Creek is located on Coldwater Road in northern Allen County – out past DuPont, Union Chapel, and almost – but not quite – out to the Allen County line. Out to where the breeze carries sweet smells of grass and trees and flowers. Out to where the creek flows lazily through the woods and the stillness hangs in the air.

Chapman Road – near Coldwater Road in northern Allen County

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It is an area of quiet, peace, and serenity reminiscent of what our rural areas looked like decades ago. Its narrow roads wind through thick woods with heavy green tree canopies darkening the roadways and wetlands sidling up to the edges of the road. Cedar Creek is home to endangered species, migratory birds, and a long-established rare Great Blue Heron rookery. Cedar Creek is only one of three streams included in Indiana’s Natural, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System.

Yet looming on the horizon is a land deal that will destroy the beauty and serenity of Cedar Creek and its surroundings by reducing its worth to nothing more than a dollars and cents transaction. The land is owned by Charles and Sharon Bodenhafer. The development is a Mike Thomas Real Estate effort to turn the land into sterile beige subdivisions, matching his company’s other subdivisions in north, northeast, and southwest areas of Allen County.

But before the site can be developed, an obstacle must be set aside – an obstacle in the form of restrictive covenants intended to protect rural areas of Allen County that have seen unprecedented, unbridled, and unplanned urban sprawl.

In 2000, the Allen County Sewer and Water District imposed restrictive covenants which prohibited the extension of sewer service northward until the year 2015. But those covenants stand in the way of the Bodenhafer and Thomas land development deal because in order to develop this pristine area, sewer lines must be run. That means getting rid of the restrictive covenants as quickly as possible without generating a groundswell of opposition and public outcry.

On May 27, 2008, Oakmont Development Company III LLC – a Mike Thomas creation – hand delivered a letter dated May 27th to Ric Zehr, President of the board of the Allen County Water and Sewer District (ACWSD) requesting that the ACWSD lift the moratorium on northward expansion of sewers. Just one day later – on May 28th – the ACWSD voted unanimously to lift the restrictive covenants so that sewer line expansion could be pushed northward into territory that was supposed to be safe until the year 2015.

Photo Credit: created with Google Earth

Development is planned for the area between Coldwater Road and Richey Lane

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The convoluted workings of creating a subdivision require an interwoven network of those who are needed to finish the business. The following is a diagram of relationships that have the potential to impact the decision to approve the subdivision.

Diagram of relationships among the members of commissions and boards

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One of the most disturbing relationships is that of Charles Bodenhafer who is the President of the Plan Commission. Mr. Bodenhafer and his wife, Sharon, just coincidentally own the land where “Canyon Cliffs” is to be developed. And, in February 2008, he and Sharon Bodenhafer, formed a limited liability company – Coldwater Estates LLC – with Mike Thomas to develop the property.

On Thursday, June 12th, the relationships will collide. Charles Bodenhafer will be allowed to vote – unless he is disqualified or recuses himself – on upholding or denying the decision of the ACWSD to lift the restrictive covenants. If he votes to uphold the decision, he, his wife, and Mike Thomas Associates will go forward with the destruction of the Cedar Creek area, turning it into just another ugly mass of modern construction.

Google Earth view of area with overlay of data from National Wetlands Inventory

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The above Google Earth photo is overlaid with data from the National Wetlands Inventory. The area is saturated with wetlands, and the development not only will destroy Cedar Creek and its surroundings but also will destroy a natural wetland environment.

The enormity of this destruction is hard to put into words. The following photos show the beauty of the area. Some things can have no price – and one of those priceless gems is the Cedar Creek area. When you finish reading this and looking at the photos, take action and call the members of the plan commission.

I do not live in the Cedar Creek area; I live in West Central in the heart of Fort Wayne on the banks of the St. Marys. We are all tied together by our love of the environment; the beauty of areas that have been protected from the powerful grasp of land developers, construction companies, and real estate agents who have no sense of aesthetics. Entities that will destroy the land for a dollar.

The breeze that has blown so softly and peacefully through Cedar Creek is about to turn into an ill wind fueled by the greed of land developers.

Cedar Creek at the junction of Shoaff Road and Chapman Road

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Wooded area on Chapman Road

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Woods on Chapman Road

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Richey Lane – 40-foot right-of-way will be hacked into the woods

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Decades old trees that will fall to make room for a right of way

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Cedar Creek, Environment, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to CEDAR CREEK – AN ILL WIND BLOWING

  1. Charlotte,

    First, great photos. They’re breathtaking and certainly areas of Allen County that need to be preserved for generations to come.

    Second, love the connect the dots chart. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?! Were they born and raised in Fort Wayne/Allen County? Did they not have parents and grandparents who grew up here? Sincerely, I’d be interested in knowing because I find it hard to believe that families – who have been part of Allen County for generations – would knowingly – want to do this to Cedar Creek – and just for the almighty buck.

    Between this and the FWCS (lack of accountability process) – people have frickin’ lost their minds.

  2. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    Charlotte,

    First, ole Chuckles is not about to vote and mostly likly will not be at the meeting. Heck, he does not need to attend once the FIX is in. If pressure has been needed he has met with the people he has supported with money and they have made the calls for him to the various members of the board. I think they should avoid a hearing and just vote that way they will not insult me by acting like they care.

  3. Kristina:

    I don’t know the people personally, so I am not sure where they grew up. I went to a meeting Sunday night, and the chart was handed out by the organizers. I thought it was great information, so I told them I was going to put it into my post.

    I can’t imagine destroying Cedar Creek no matter where we come from.

    I live on the St. Marys in West Central, and it is a little stretch of untouched river bank – heaven to me in the City – left in Fort Wayne. The small area of Thieme, West Berry, and Nelson floods, but it only impacts about half a dozen homes. In addition, the homes have been built up high enough that the water does not come into the first floors. I get about an inch or so of water in my basement.

    We also have steep gradients on both Nelson and West Berry which helps. We have flooded 4 times since July 2003 (and believe me, I have my own thoughts on that), and I have yet to be prevented from entering my home from the back – again thanks to the steep gradients.

    But what does the City want to do? Build a wall the length of Thieme Drive, which would destroy the river bank and its environment and slap up a 10-foot wall which would forever hide the river. Thieme Drive is on the historic registry and is named after Theodore Thieme, who was an early Fort Wayne entrepreneur.

    I don’t understand the rush to destroy. I do hope the Plan Commission stands up to the developers for a change and makes the sewer district stick with its 2015 date. I hope at some point, certain areas are excluded from development period. Cedar Creek would be one of those.

    I have been fighting for several years now to keep the City and/or the Corps from building a wall

  4. J.Q.

    You have no idea how much I hope that you are wrong, but I know it is a long shot to think that the Plan Commission would actually stand up against the developers.

    I was told that Bodenhafer’s “conflict of interest” had been waived. I am not sure who or how the action was justified – or if it is true, but to think that others on the plan commission or on the sewer board could have the audacity to waive the conflict is just ridiculous.

    I personally think that these commissions and boards should not be composed of individuals who have interests that conflict with the issues the commissions and boards address. I know you need to have people with knowledge, but there have to be people out there who have a background in the specific topic without having a pecuniary interest in issues that arise.

    It reminds me of federal and state agencies. They oversee specialized areas, but the members are usually from the very areas they supervise. Like the proverbial fox guarding the chicken coop.

  5. Speaking of waiving the conflict of interest:

    Allen County Planning Commission
    Susan L. Hoot

    Allen County Ethics Commission
    ACPC Member – Suzie Hoot

    I am “assuming” its the same individual. How will she vote with a clear conscience I wonder?

  6. Erika Meyer says:

    On Monday, June 9, I was interviewed by Corinne Rose of Indiana’s NewsCenter, for a story on, “Canyon Cliffs”, the proposed 28-lot development adjacent to my home and farm near Cedar Creek. Instead of framing my comments in the context of a larger, community-based effort in opposition to the tactics used to push the development, I was portrayed more simply as a “concerned neighbor” who didn’t want change.

    I AM a “concerned neighbor”. But, it goes beyond that. Research is bringing to light a trail of manipulation. I have not read or heard anything that suggests Oakmont Development III, LLC (or Coldwater Estates, LLC; or Twin Eagles, LLC; or any other entity used, past or present, by the developer) will have the best interest of buyers, neighbors, the larger Allen County community, and a scenic river area in mind as they plan and create this proposed development.

    Look at Deer Track Estates. Look at Twin Eagles, born out of “Aberdeen”. Look at how the related sewer project is being “sold” to residents of Homestead Acres. LOOK!

    Homestead Acres, you are being played as pawns in a manipulative, exploitive game with the potential winnings going to Coldwater Estates, LLC (a.k.a. Charles and Sharon Bodenhafer and Mike Thomas).

    Perspective buyers of these lots, don’t think for a minute — or perhaps you would be well to take a moment to consider this — that you are not also being exploited. You are — just from a different angle. You will be left with the high cost of infrastructure.

    Yes, I AM a “concerned neighbor”. And, not because I just don’t want my little corner to remain unchanged. As John McCutcheon sings, “There’s no future in what used to be.”

    The particular location of this proposed development gives an ideal and unique opportunity for a landowner, perspective buyers, a nature preserve agency, a sustainable farm, and neighbors to think and plan and work together to develop a different future from the same old, same old. Dream bigger! If we have such big rights to our own land, then we have equally big responsibilities!

    Speak up! There are more pawns than any other piece on a chessboard and pawns can move.

    I AM a “concerned neighbor”.

    Your neighbor. And, my heart is breaking for ALL of us.

    ~ “Come,Boy, come swing from my branches,” said the tree.” ~

  7. Ron James says:

    Just a few notes: 1)great pics – the reason Cedar Creek is one of only three rivers qualified under the Indiana Scenic River Act (albeit only as recreational – the Blue and the Wildcat must be spectacular!) Clearly 28 McMansions with walkout decks & or ‘river views’ on the valley walls would alter the experience, as will the utility cut and widened roads; loss of tree cover.
    2) Bodenhafers got ownership of this acreage in the ’80’s, after the river was scenic-designated in 1975 – clearly with knowledge of the restrictions and benefits of the Act – and “re-“parceled it (in 2001) to cut it up to presumptively qualify as 5 ‘mini-plats’ (under regulated)after the late-90’s attempt at a comprehensive plan regulation was rejected by development interests; after ‘mini-plat’ concepts had been raised. This ‘mini-plat’ ordinance was passed in Feb ’08 with terms banning this attempt – if ambiguities are appropriately resolved in favor of existing public policy as shown by the approved Comprehensive Plan of Sept. 2007. Not to mention the ‘moratorium’ on sewer extensions relied on by the City to get their 7th waiver of CSO’s under the IDEM permitting/Clean Water Act…
    3) Bodenhafer wasn’t the one who got his ‘conflict’ waived (as far as I know, he voted on the issue of ‘mini-plat’ – the provision his developer is using to ‘end run’ the Comprehensive Plan’s goals & principles which, supposedly, he also favors). The conflict waived was attorney Vince Heine’s conflict as he “represents” the Allen County Regional Water & Sewer District and his firm represents developers taking advantage of the lifitng of the restrictive covenant/moratorium (increasing the frequency and quantity of untreated sewage from CSOs). This same firm represented the hazardous waste land fill and others in need of permits to pollute.

  8. Ron:

    Thanks for the additional information. I misunderstood whose conflict had been waived. I was talking to a number of different people Sunday night, and I thought someone said it was Bodenhafer.

    But the other conflict is just as bad. Who decided that a conflict didn’t exist for Heine?

  9. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    If this passes here is what is going to play out. A few homes will be built on the choice property. Then a zoning change will be requested to cut lot sizes and increase the number of homes per acre because the sewer and water lines will be in…. Look at the entire Twin Eagles area as it will be repeated.

    Chuckles and friends will reap millions off of this when all said and done.

  10. Save Cedar Creek:

    Absolutely no problem linking to anything of mine that can help.

  11. Andy says:

    Charlotte –

    Very nice write up. Thanks for your help.

    JQ – Unfortunately, I think you’re right. IF this development does pass, the lots will probably be split up in the future to maximize total profit.

    A friend of mine emailed me the wikipedia write-up for Cedar Creek Canyon. I had no idea it was famous enough to make Wikipedia.

    Here it is, its worth checking out:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_Creek_Canyon_%28Indiana%29

    The Cedar Creek area really is a gem worth preserving for future generations. Again, this is no open corn field. Fort Wayne is not situated next to a mountain range, lake or ocean. Some of the only natural draws we have are the areas of Metea Park, Lindenwood, Eagle Marsh, Fox Island and Cedar Creek.

    NE Indiana and Allen county would be losing a piece of itself if this development goes through.

    But…there is still time. We need a strong turnout tomorrow to make a statement to those who are in power.

    Remember, the Blue Heron that nests just a stones throw away from the proposed development has no one to speak for her other than us.

  12. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    Is it nice Ric Zehr is also involved. He too is a developer. Oh surprise surprise!!!! Wonder what he will be getting out of this…..

  13. Great article – I am excited to see some other people interested in “Fort Wayne’s” waterways, rather than just the ones that want to destroy the natural beauty and usefulness! Adding more sewage to our already overloaded sanitary sewars does not make sense to me. I have a CSO discharge alert from Joe Johnson and the City of Fort Wayne that tells me when there is a potential discharge. So far since July of last year (not even one whole year yet)there has been 54 overflows. The EPA will allow 5 per year. Part of why the city is puting in the “raingardens” all over the city is from a fine of over $900,000 for the CSO problem. How can the city add to this?
    Also, there are laws ALREADY IN PLACE to deter people from doing projects like Canyon Cliffs. Why lift the stipulations now? Every time an environmentalist wants to change laws, they are a radical. Everytime a developer wants to just manipulate the law to work for them, it’s called progress.

  14. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    Here are my problems with the project.

    1- One of the rarest pieces of land in Northern Indiana is going to be destroyed. Which includes wildlife and plantlife

    2- Cedar Creek will become become a SPY RUN CREEK with runoff. Chemicals applied to lawns will run off into the creek and destroy it. Storm runoff will carry road salts, oils, and so forth into the creek reducing the water quality.

    3- This development will look nothing like it started out when it is finished.

    4- Will add to the already problem of CSO we have.

    5- The county is talking all residential develop was going to happen out at the south end of the Maplecres Ext as a way to help justify it. Yet this project is on the front burner.

  15. Andy says:

    More good points JQ –

    This whole thing has happened so fast, its hard to think about and imagine all of the repercussions that will take place as a consequence of this development possibly being built.

    Is this development really needed ? Especially, in such a pristine, beautiful area.

    Another Mike Thomas housing division sits almost 3/4’s empty directly behind my house. Its the Valencia subdivision off of Rothman Road. The developer broke ground nearly three years ago, and was in such a hurry to build, large earth-moving trucks were active 24 hrs/day. Flood lights attached to high poles which operated off of generators, were brought in to light up the area for the 3rd shift crew. Neighbors complained about the noise coming from the site at 2 am, but the police said they could do nothing because it was in the county, and there was no noise ordinance to enforce.

    Aren’t there enough empty lots and houses for sale to satisfy the current local real estate market ?

    And what about the sewer lines ? Because this proposed development is located virtually at the far northern edge of Allen County where it meets DeKalb County, will this set a standard as to how far sewer lines will be ran ?

    On top of that, in a time when gas prices are headed for $5/gallon, we should not be supporting more urban sprawl.

  16. Fort Wayne and Allen County – the conscience of an entire community is upon you.

    As your fellow Allen County coworkers, city of Fort Wayne officials, state and local representatives, various local news and media outlets and surrounding local communities watch, tomorrow you will vote on a matter that relates to the Cedar Creek area and its future preservation or destruction.

    The proposed Canyon Cliffs Development (Coldwater Road and Chapman Road) is not only riddled with conflicted interests by numerous local officials and offices, but is also a decision that will effect Allen County and the surrounding counties for generations to come. There will not be another ice glacier to recreate this beautiful landscape in which you wish to alter. There does not exist another place like this pristine nature that lies along Cedar Creek within our very own community. Tomorrow the choice will be upon you.

    The conscience of an entire community is upon you. Will you choose to advance development at the far reaches of Allen County and destroy a coveted local natural resource? Will you try to increase downtown revitalization by planning projects at the counties farthest reaches? What will you instill and leave the generations to come? What will those that come after you be left with? Will the generations to come get a chance to experience the beauty of a simple drive northward as so many have before us?

    Its without doubt one thing to tear down a building to erect another, but to destroy nature that will never be replaced is not only irresponsible judgment but the uttermost in greed in the current housing market and economy. Fort Wayne and Allen County do not need another housing development, especially at its outer reaches and certainly not in exchange for the disposal of one of its greatest natural assets that the community has to offer.

    Tomorrow you will vote with the conscience of an entire community upon you. It will be a decision to last not only a lifetime but for every generation that follows.

    Before you cast your vote, please understand an entire community is observing your decision.
    http://save.cedar.creek.googlepages.com/home

    Your community and those around you are watching and waiting for you to vote for what is right and just. They are watching to see if you will uphold your office and community responsibilities with sound judgment and the utmost in character and with integrity for those whom you serve. Your position is a privilege, but the privilege and beauty of the Cedar Creek area belongs to all of Allen County and anyone that passes through it while driving on Coldwater and Chapman Roads.

    Tomorrow you have the ability to uphold each of those privileges as an entire community waits and watches.

    — To all local media outlets:

    We encourage all media outlets and personnel to be present for this vote and to express the facts surrounding this decision though your various media outlets so the community can continue to see and understand the decisions which are being made for them by local government. Please do not let this decision go unnoticed, its impact will effect far beyond your generation.

    — To all individuals, your voice matters:

    Attend the Allen County Planning Commission vote tomorrow June 12th, 2008 at Noon (please be there early) and let your voice be heard.

    One East Main Street
    Fort Wayne, IN 46802
    260-449-7211

  17. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    Following is a letter to the Editor in this evenings paper. My comments follow the letter.

    Holmestead Acres was started 55 years ago. I should know, because I live in the developer’s house.

    The subdivision was developed with a sewage-collection system based on taking the outflow directly from every home’s septic tank overflow. No filter bed, no treatment system, just a common line that deposits the septic waste into a creek that directly feeds into Cedar Creek. This collection system still exists today.

    Granted, every time a home needed system repairs or was sold, a filter system was supposed to be added between the septic tank and the common line. Thus, some or even many of the homes filter their septic waste before it reaches the common line. However, every time a toilet is flushed or a shower is taken in one of our 59 homes, wastewater is heading toward Cedar Creek untreated.

    We tried to finance our own sanitary sewer system and hook into Huntertown, but we were rejected. We appealed to the county to hook into the lift station at Canyon Run, but because Forest Canyon subdivision joined us in our fight, there were too many homes for the station to handle the added flow, so we were rejected again.

    We now have an opportunity to tie into a sanitary main that is being proposed for the Canyon Cliffs subdivision. While the main will run through Holmestead Acres at the developer’s expense, we fully understand that there will be a cost to each homeowner that hooks up.

    We have done the homework before, and 83 percent of the Holmestead residents signed up to make it happen four years ago. We cannot afford to lose this opportunity again.

    The plan commission will hear this appeal on Thursday, and we hope that all environmentalists will hear our plea and stand behind our call to make our community and Cedar Creek a better place.

    Richard T. Widdicombe

    On the surface this seems like a great reason to inpart consider approving this project BUT!

    1- The Allen County Board of Health can stop any septic system from directly dumping into a creek. They do not need to wait until someone sales their property. Again we learn first hand how local government has failed us.

    2- Mr. Widdicombe did not share some information that would be interesting. Is this new sewer line going down an existing easement or is Chuckles company purchasing an easement?

    3- I wonder if Mr. Widdicombe has been given a fixed price what it is going to cost him? Chuckles gets to spread some of his costs over 59 more property owners. What a deal.

    4- Does Mr. Widdicombe think that previous efforts ot obtain sewer service was messed with because of the very person who now wants to act like a knight in shinning honor.

    Remember Chuckles is the same person who provided insurance coverage to Allen County and it was never put out to bid.

    Remember Chuckles has contributed dollars to many of the elected officials setting out in the county.

    Oh well, I am not surprised but the day of paybacks may be coming for some of these people. Once just has to wonder how soon

  18. Wednesday, June 11th 2008

    An open letter was sent out to the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County and the Allen County Planning Commission, along with various state and local government officials, local news and media outlets, surrounding county officials and various concerned community members and groups.

    It can be read at the below link by the general public, Allen County citizens and those that are both concerned and interested further in the future of he Cedar Creek area which is in discussion:

    http://save.cedar.creek.googlepages.com/openlettertocityoffortwayneandallencount

  19. Wane TV News – Controversial development on Allen county nature area
    Video: http://www.wane.com/Global/story.asp?S=8465965

  20. Erika Meyer says:

    Everyone keep in mind there still needs to be a solution for our neighbors in Homestead Acres! How can we stand behind them as well? Does Homestead Acres cry for help REALLY require approval of a brand new development? What are some other solutions? “Coldwater Estates, LLC” knew about Homestead Acres desparate need and seized it as an opportunity for their own purposes. That equals exploitive. We need to stand together because the ulitmate goal is protecting natural spaces and our relationship with those natural spaces along with the relationship with our neighbors.

  21. Charlotte – what’s next on this situation?

  22. Concerning the Mike Thomas meeting with ACRES Land Trust tomorrow discussing the possible sale of the proposed land to ACRES: Although this is optimistic and welcomed news one has to wonder whether if it is just for some positive PR for the developers after so much negative public outcry last week and before the vote by the Allen County Planning Commission a day later. Thus showing that they attempted to work with the ACRES offer or if this is a genuine action taken by Mr. Bodenhafer and his wife with sincere interest in preserving this land after hearing the conscience of the community and a willingness from ACRES to provide such a solution.

    It will be extremely interesting to hear the follow up reports concerning this meeting and the facts surrounding it.

    —————————————-

    It should also be noted that since Coldwater Estates LLC was formed (February 2008) between Charles Bodenhafer, Sharen Bodenhafer and Oakmont Development Company III LLC (Mike Thomas associates) and since Mike Thomas along with the legal team were present at the June 12th meeting, one would easily assume that Mr. Bodenhafer’s direct interests were being directly represented during the meeting also, even given his absence, due to this partnership and representation by his business partner (Coldwater Estates LLC – Oakmont Development – Mike Thomas) and the legal team. One would also assume the legal team is the same legal team or law firm that represents Coldwater Estates LLC. Tom Niezer the Oakmont attorney from Barrett & McNagny LLP, area of practice states “Concentration in real estate law, land use planning and real estate finance law, with a dual emphasis in commercial transactions and residential real estate development, sales and purchases” so its not hard to imagine that Barrett & McNagny LLP would also be the legal representation of the Coldwater Estates LLC partnership. But even if they are not, its very hard to imagine Mr.Bodenhafer’s interests were not being directly represented during the meeting even in his absence due to this partnership and the presence of Mike Thomas, Mr. Bodenhafer’s business partner. Its hard to not question the issue of “conflict of interest” concerning these two issues being decided upon by the Fort Wayne, Allen County Planning Commission.

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    Charles and Sharon Bodenhafer Legacy — ACRES Land Trust offers to buy land

    An opportunity to last a lifetime and beyond:

    Mr. Bodenhafer and his wife, have an opportunity to do something that will benefit all of Allen county and the surrounding areas — that is an opportunity of preservation by capitalizing on the ACRES land trust offer to purchase this land and preserve it for generations to come.

    Instead of a questioned financial gain resulting in a housing edition (which would surely bring further development in the future) nested along side many natural preserves. Mr. Bodenhafer and his wife have an opportunity to make an impact for the community and for generations to come with this offer.

    Would not a legacy of “Charles and Sharon Bodenhafer Nature Preserve” be a more telling story for both the community and their own personal legacies, than a lingering development riddled with questions of conflict of interest within the Allen County government and Fort Wayne politics?

    Please Mr. Bodenhafer make the correct decision, for yourself and the community which you have so adamantly chosen to serve. You have an opportunity and your decision will reflect upon both yourself and your beloved community for which you serve for generations that follow.

    —————————————-

    http://save.cedar.creek.googlepages.com/home

  23. Bob Beineke says:

    It is incomprehensible how brazen and corrupted the Allen County Cronies Club is.

    The sordid history of Charles Bodenhafer and releasing covenanted restrictions is nothing but the raw abuse of the power of politically appointed bureaucrats.

    Case 1. As Chairman of the Allen County BZA in 1996, Bodenhafer was the chief negotiator between Chemical Waste Management, the BZA, and Zoning
    Administrator Dennis Gordon. They met behind closed doors and came up with an “agreed judgment” that did away with covenants running with the land. Public comment not allowed. The Tracy Warner page of the J-G was a cheerleader for the raw deal.

    This very egregious settlement cheated the homeowners who were supposed to have been protected from immeasurable harm with the restrictions in place. Bodenhafer basically thumbed his nose at those he was supposed to protect, but to whom he did great harm.

    Craig Finlayson had recently been appointed Attorney for the BZA after Attorney John Wray had been relieved of that position in a power move. A few of the others involved at various times were attorneys for Haller and Colvin, Ken Neumeister and county attorney William Fishering.

    Case 2. Daniels v. Area Plan Commission of Allen County. This case was heard 2000-2002 during which time Bodenhafer was chairman of the Plan Commission.

    Bodenhafer et al released covenants of Broadmoor Addition off of Lima Road to satisfy the desires of a developer who wanted to rezone a few houses from residential to commercial. On appeal, the Plan Commission lost. Our Allen County property tax dollars at work. How much of our $$$ did Bodenhafer et al spend on this folly?

    Note: The 6Nov05 editorial of the J-G exposing the ties between Bodenhafer Insurance and Allen County was long overdue. The J-G stated that the commissioners should replace Bodenhafer on all county boards. It could be argued that someone doing business with the county should never have been appointed to any position of public trust in the first place.

    Cedar Creek: How much damage can one person be directly tied to? There might likely be more examples of abuse of zoning police power. Using political crony connections to remove covenants for personal enrichment goes way out of the boundaries of good government. Is Bodenhafer stoppable?

  24. The Holmestead Guy says:

    I love it how people get carried away with pictures of wetlands, creeks and trees. It makes nature seem so pristine and you don’t have to smell the sewage or get sick when your canoe flips over in the water. Oh, by the way, I bet you never thought anyone in this area has a dog that got heartworm.

    Wake up folks. PRESERVING THE LAND IS NOT ENOUGH! If anyone is going to make a difference in this world, leave it in better shape than when you arrived. There are 450 homes (not just Holmestead Acres) in this area and 75% of them have septic systems discharging water on a daily basis. The Cedar Creek has “No Swimming” signs posted on it because the e-coli is too high. This area has the highest dog heartworm concentration in the county.

    Everyone posts a bitch about developers gouging out chunks of this land and they are right. But what right do people have to complain when they are guilty of polluting the very area they are trying to preserve? It is easy to be in downtown Ft Wayne and act like the residents of the Cedar Creek area are environmental saints.

    The entire area will not be ruined by the 28 homes the way that the sewage is devastating the waterwy. The birds are sickened by polluted water. Endangered mussels are endangered because of sewage. The deer spread disease because the species of mosquito that spreads these diseases lives in stagnant polluted water.

    Grow up people. Take a stand and demand that action is taken to clean up the area. We have done that in Holmestead Acres and just because the ONLY opportunity that seems real to us is via a developer, don’t treat us like idiots. The finger should be pointed at those who never fix their septic systems. In the 10 years I have worked for sewers for Holmestead, I have never gotten a call from anyone on Chapman Road who wants to join in on the fight.

    The next time you take a hike in the area, take a stroll behing Cloud Hill Drive and follow the bluffs along the Cedar Creek behind the homes. Be sure to take a clothespin with you, the smell may be sickening.

  25. Andy says:

    Holmestead Guy –

    Pretty weak argument for approving a 139 acre subdivision in one of the most pristine natural areas left in Allen County. After reading your post, I’m left wondering at what cost are you willing to go to obtain city sewer access at the most northern reaches of Allen County ?

    You did make a few statements that I would like to address:

    “PRESERVING THE LAND IS NOT ENOUGH! If anyone is going to make a difference in this world, leave it in better shape than when you arrived.”

    Great statement – precisely the reason I became involved with stopping this proposed development. Alot of the people involved with trying to preserve the land around Cedar Creek, deeply care about leaving the world in a better shape than when they arrived. That’s why there are hundreds of people AGAINST this housing development. It is a unique, beautiful, wooded area which should be preserved for future generations not exploited for development for the ultra rich.

    “I love it how people get carried away with pictures of wetlands, creeks and trees.”

    I love it too, great pictures – there’s nothing more beautiful than nature in all its grandeur. Although the pictures do not do the Cedar Creek area justice. You have to really be there in person to fully appreciate what a precious gem the area is.

    “The finger should be pointed at those who never fix their septic systems”

    I agree – follow the rules of Allen County and fix the septic systems. I fear, you are confusing two separate issues. One being, building a large, upscale subdivision in an environmentally sensitive area. And two, Homestead Acres failing septic systems. Two wrongs don’t make a right here.

    I do wish the folks in Homestead Acres all the best in solving their sewer tank woes. It is a problem that does need to be fixed. However, I do not feel bulldozing roads and building huge, mansions in such a beautiful, untouched area is a wise way and the ONLY way to accomplish this.

  26. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    Homestead Guy… word of caution. Unless you have it in writing you still may not get your sewer.

    Keep in mind the only issue before the board is subdividing the property. The parcels are large enough and according to their engineer can support stand alone septic system.

    I just hope the day comes around that everyone got a hose job done on them.

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