Court Ruling Puts Grovertown Zoning Issue Back in County BZA’s Hands

 A contentious zoning issue surrounding the placement of a commercial office trailer on a property in Grovertown is back before the Starke County Board of Zoning Appeals. A Dec. 2, 2014 ruling by Special Judge Michael Shurn dismissed an appeal filed by Walter Ford and Julia Ford in August of 2013 against the Starke County Board of Zoning Appeals denying their building permit for a structure already placed on their property.

Their neighbors, George and Betty Dotlich, filed a BZA appeal in October of 2011 after a mobile home permit was issued for the structure, claiming it is not a mobile home. The BZA revoked that permit and issued one for a site-built home. The Dotlichs’ filed an appeal in court in March of 2012 on the grounds the trailer, which was purchased in Illinois, was not certified for any use in Indiana for any purpose and that placement of such structures outside of commercially zoned areas is a violation of county ordinances. A special judge ruled in their favor in January of 2013 and sent the matter back to the BZA. That body adopted the judge’s findings and ordered the structure removed by June 1, 2013.

The Fords applied for a new permit for the structure. That request was denied because you cannot seek a building permit retroactively. The Fords filed a legal appeal to that denial in August of 2013, and the Dotlichs filed a motion to dismiss. The judge ruled to dismiss the appeal, which now puts the matter back before the BZA for enforcement. Their next meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.