The foxes have truly decided to make life rough on those members of the Allen County Plan Commission who disagreed with them on the Canyon Cliffs vote. The following is the description of the Plan Commission’s duties as found on its website:
The Allen County Plan Commission is responsible for the Allen County Comprehensive Plan, and its implemetation through the Allen County Zoning Ordinance, the Subdivision Control Ordinance, and various policies and practices. Guided by the Comprehensive Plan, the Plan Commission controls the type, location, and timing of development in unincorporated Allen County and works with the City of Woodburn, and the Towns of Grabill, Huntertown, and Monroeville. Fort Wayne, New Haven, and Leo-Cedarville have their own plan commissions.
Nowhere do I see the words “act as a rubber-stamp for those with vested interests in commission decisions.” In fact, the description indicates just the opposite. The Commission controls the type, location, and timing of development. If it is charged with controlling development, then how can it be argued that it is only a “rubber-stamp” to approve development so long as the development complies with the rules?
Oakmont Development – the Mike Thomas corporation which is working in tandem with the Bodenhafers to exploit the Cedar Creek area – has filed a lawsuit arguing that the three members of the commission acted outside the scope of their authority – a concept known as “ultra vires” in administrative law.
The lawsuit posits that the three members who had the courage to stand up against the pressure from the pro-development forces acted “arbitrarily, capriciously, irrationally and with intentional disregard for the Commission’s rules and procedures.” Yet in another portion of the lawsuit, the argument is made that the three acted negligently. An negligent act is a careless act, not an intentional act. I guess they are trying to cover themselves by throwing anything at the wall to see if it sticks.
Arbitrary and capricious action on the part of an administrative board means willful and unreasonable action, without consideration and in disregard of the facts and circumstances of the case, or action taken without some basis which would lead a reasonable and honest man to such action. Indiana Board of Pharmacy v. Crick, 433 N.E.2d 32 (Ind. App. 1982).
After hours and hours of testimony, I would think it would be hard to argue that the facts were disregarded or that the three members acted arbitrarily or capriciously.
The bottom line here is that those on the Commission have vested interests with overlapping roles on other boards and commissions. It is time to stop the insanity of allowing the same individuals to continue to influence – whether by vote or by pressure – the workings of the Plan Commission.
The future of Allen County is too important to be left in the paws of the foxes. It’s time to start over with a new commission, one which will take its role seriously and not allow greed to get in the way of its duties.
The old saying “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” has never been more applicable than in this situation.