Lockport plans appeal over contested land

Members of the Lockport Township Board agreed during a special meeting Thursday to appeal a judge’s decision regarding a contested piece of land being sought by the city of Three Rivers.
By unanimous vote, Lockport Township officials agreed to appeal St. Joseph County District Court Judge Jeff Middleton’s decision made Wednesday in favor of the city of Three Rivers. Middleton ruled that a 77-acre property on which the complex is to be built is vacant, a conclusion that cleared the way for Three Rivers to continue planning its development of what is envisioned to be a 17-field complex.
Lockport Township Supervisor Ray Signorello said a few people from the audience spoke during Thursday’s meeting and encouraged the board to proceed with the appeal.
The next step remains a question mark. Signorello said the situation puts Lockport Township in unchartered territory so he isn’t sure where or by what body the appeal will be heard. He said with hesitation, however, that he thinks it goes before a state panel.
The question of whether the undeveloped property is vacant was called into question after the city of Three Rivers earlier this month annexed the parcel despite attempts to work with Lockport Township. Township officials have claimed a permanent easement and buried water-line infrastructure negate the primary terms of annexation.

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