SIDNEY — A conditional use permit request for outdoor storage at 720 Linden Ave. was revoked by the Sidney Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) during its Monday meeting.

A 60-day-review of the request of Kevin M. Darnell, on behalf of Scott Dorsey, of Silverado Trucks, for a conditional use permit and two variances for outdoor storage to allow the storage in the front and side yards and a gravel surface for the storage area was held at the October ZBA meeting. During that meeting, it was revealed the various contingent conditions set had not been met by the 60-day deadline. It was approved in August, after previously denied in May, and one of the conditions set included a 60 day review of the case.

It was previously denied because, as Barbara Dulworth, community development director, had pointed out, these locations are not compliant with the city’s code requirement for outdoor storage to be located only in a rear yard. The property is located in the I-2, general industrial district. The outdoor storage has a requirement of a minimum 20-foot setback from the property lines. The existing outdoor storage on the property consisted of vehicles, junked/wrecked vehicles, and vehicle parts, among other items.

Then in June, Andrew Pratt and Kevin Darnell, on behalf of Dorsey, filed with the Shelby County Court of Common Pleas appealing the ZBA decision. Darnell sent a letter to the ZBA proposing how conditions could be met for outdoor storage and requested they review and discuss the proposal.

Several Linden Avenue neighbors opposed Dorsey’s request at the May and August meeting, saying his property looked like a junk yard and they did not want a junk yard there.

At the August meeting, a new proposal for actions to be completed was presented to and OK’d by the board for a conditional use permit for outdoor storage and variances to allow the storage in the front and side yards and a gravel surface for the storage area.

The requests were considered and approved together, under the following conditions:

• Storage of equipment and materials on Dorsey’s property shall be permitted only in the area situated to the east of the yellow-colored line on the picture displayed with the presentation. No storage shall be permitted on the north side of Dorsey’s building. All “storage” items shall be re-located to the storage area within 60 days of the board’s issuance of a conditional use permit.

• The area located to the west of the yellow-colored line (on the picture) shall be used solely for the temporary parking of motor vehicles and shall not be used to store equipment. No motor vehicles of any kind shall be parked thereon on a long-term basis and no junk vehicles, as defined by the Sidney codified ordinances. In order to be compliant with the zoning code, this parking area must be a paved surface, either asphalt or concrete, with parking spaces striped in a manner as approved by the city. A site plan, including parking area and striping plan, shall be submitted to the city within 60 days of the board’s issuance of a conditional use permit.

• An approved surface for the storage area shall be installed within 60 days of the variance approval. The surface material and the issues related to the drainage of the same will be determined by the city’s engineering contractor in consultation with city staff and Dorsey. In order for drainage and grading to be reviewed by city staff and engineering contractor, Dorsey shall hire a licensed surveyor or professional engineer to provide a current elevation survey and a proposed grading plan.

• A new fence shall be installed by Dorsey in accordance with the requirements for outdoor storage as set forth in the city’s code and as approved with a fence permit, an application for which must be submitted to the city. The location of the fence shall be as indicated by the green-colored line on the attached picture and shall be installed on or before Jan. 1, 2022.

• The clean-up referenced in first paragraph of Darnell’s July 12 letter shall be accomplished by Jan. 1, 2022.

• No more than 20 motor vehicles shall be kept on the subject property, excluding Dorsey’s equipment.

• Dorsey shall timely file and prosecute to conclusion litigation involving CSX in an attempt to acquire property along the eastern boundary of his property, and if successful in this endeavor, shall thereafter cause a survey to be prepared to incorporate the newly-acquired property into a single lot unit.

• All actions referenced are to be accomplished by Dorsey at his sole expense and undertaking.

• City staff is to conduct a regular review and provide a monthly update on the progress on the condition of the property.

On Monday, numerous people attended the meeting. Linden Avenue resident Dorothy Griffis spoke up to ask why he waited until the last minute to begin working to clean up the place up before the meeting. Doug Billenstein, who said he works near Dorsey’s property, said he can attest that Dorsey had been working on the property over the last few months to get the junk cleaned up.

After city staff recommended revoking the conditional use permit, Dorsey was asked by the board about not meeting the deadline. He said back in the summer he told his lawyer and city staff it would likely take him six months to complete the work, but was told he would get 60 days, and that they would talk more about it at that point. He said he has had no luck hiring help to clean-up the 30-years-worth of compiled junk and had had to work on it alone. He presented the board with a list he been working to complete. He also admitted after the years of living with the accumulation of junk, it didn’t seem as big of a deal to him as it became.

If the property is continued to be used for outdoor storage once the permit is revoked, Dulworth said it is a violation of the zoning code. The case will be forwarded to the city prosecutor for the filing of minor misdemeanor charges, with penalties of $150 per day for each day of the violation.

Board chair Mary Paulus and board member Jim Fortkamp both expressed sympathy to the Linden Street neighbors in attendance for their neighborhood mess. Fortkamp also said although they may have empathy for Dorsey, they can only rule according to the code. When a vote was taken, board members unanimously voted to revoke the conditional use permit.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.