Rule to Show Cause in Grovertown Structure Case Denied

Starke County Courthouse
Starke County Courthouse

Special Judge Patrick Blankenship has made yet another ruling in the heated case regarding a structure that was ordered to be removed before June 1 but was never taken down. Walter and Julia Ford were ordered to appear in court to argue why they should not be held in contempt of court for not removing the structure.

In May, the Starke County Board of Zoning Appeals voted to uphold a ruling made by Blankenship that required Julia Ford to tear down a building that has been the subject of public scrutiny and a lawsuit. They extended the deadline date from June 1 to June 15 and adjourned the meeting. However, when Ford failed to tear down th structure, BZA Attorney Martin Bedrock filed an affidavit in support of rule to show cause, requiring the Fords to answer why they should not be held in contempt of court for failing to remove the structure from the Grovertown property on which it sits.

Blankenship, however, found that the Fords were not in violation of the court’s orders. He found that while the court vacated the BZA’s decision to grant a building and certificate of occupancy to the Fords, the court remanded for the BZA to enter new findings and render its decision, effectively placing the BZA in the position of authority.

Blankenship denied the motion for a rule to show cause and stated that the BZA has the ability to fully enforce its decision entered upon remand. Parties do not have recourse to file rules to show cause back with the appellate court.

Click below for a copy of the judge’s ruling.

Dotlich et al v. Starke County BZA et al