Family seeks a land exception to care for mother

A Tippecanoe County family is sharing a cautionary story after Commissioners were unable to make an exception for their farm.

Posted: Mar. 6, 2018 6:35 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A Tippecanoe County family is sharing a cautionary story after Commissioners were unable to make an exception for their farm.

Krista Jessee and her siblings were hoping the county would approve the creation of a subdivision on their property on Monday. However, their land didn't meet county guidelines.

Now, they may have to sell part of their land as residential lots. Jessee says that will landlock the farm and cause problems in the future. 

"If we want to sell farm ground it makes it less attractive," said Jessee. "We have industry that's encroaching on this area of the county."

Jessee said they needed that money from the subdivision to take care of her mother at home.

"This is how she wants to live the rest of her life," said Jessee. 

Their father, Richard H. Smith died in 2013. He asked his kids to keep their mother out of a nursing home. They're working to keep that promise but it is expensive. 

"It's running around $100,000 per year," said Jessee. 

She doesn't think it's fair but she understands why commissioners made their decision. 

"It's for the greater good," said Jessee. "But I think sometimes the greater good gets in the way of what is good for the individual."


This farm has quite the history. It was purchased in 1956 and is named the Black Walnut Farm because their father Richard H. Smith loved Black Walnut trees. They're planted throughout the farm. His kids said it's a constant reminder of his presence on the farm and it's actually a physical reminder because of the residue it leaves on your hands.

"How long did it take you to wash off?" asked News 18's Kayla Sullivan. 

"It would take two weeks for it to go away," replied Jessee. 

The family is still unsure about what to do next. They said other people's ideas are welcome.

"Land use advice, anyone that wants to buy property at this point," said Jessee. "Any assistance I think would be appreciated."

Jessee says there is a lesson to be learned for others. 

"Don't rely on your farm assets to be able to protect you as you age," said Jessee. "There are a lot of restrictions on what can happen and what you can do and how you can use your own property."

If you have any ideas or questions for Jessee, you can email her at KJessee@mintel.com.

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