flare at BZA meeting
Cindy DiFazio, Staff Writer
It was the first time Maureen Sheets chaired a meeting of the
Board of Zoning Appeals. Likewise, it was Andy Scholles
first evening as a member of the board. It was an evening that
would test their mettle. Sheets welcomed a standing-room only
crowd of neighbors divided on the only issue on the agenda for
the February 27 meeting. That issue was:
1) Larry & Joyce Volz, application for a special exception
to permit the ninety-two (92) campsites that have been added
to the Delaware Campground.
First up was campground owner, Larry Volz. Volz shared background
information regarding the Delaware Campground. He said that
he purchased the property in 1977 and put in the campground
in 1991. The extra campsites were added in 1999. Its
like everything else, Volz explained. Youre
small, you need it to get bigger, we added on.
We put a lot of revenue into the county, Volz went
on. It (the campground) looks good. Its not going
to devalue anybodys property. It might raise it.
Chairperson Sheets then shared answers to a questionnaire Volz
had filled out for the special exception application. When asked
several questions regarding whether the campground would have
any detrimental effects on surrounding properties, Volz had
answered no. Questions regarding whether there was
adequate drainage and proper ingress/egress to his property,
he had answered yes.
Arnold Hunter of Cleves, Ohio, then stepped to the podium in
support of Volz. Hunger stated that he has camped at the Delaware
Campground for the last five years. There is not a cleaner
or better-run campground, Hunter asserted. He also stated
that Volz was respectful to neighbors and that the campground
is well maintained.
A neighbor to the campground, Tom Riggs, painted an entirely
different picture for the board. Riggs told the board that he
picks up beer cans, bottles and other trash noting, The
garbage trail begins at Highway 350 and ends at the campground.
He questioned why Volz could put in 92 campsites with no
regard for the law, pointing out that although the campground
was approved for a bathhouse, a permit to build one was never
obtained. Why does the law not apply to him? an
obviously frustrated Riggs wanted to know.
Several times during the meeting both Riggs and Volz became
involved in arguments unrelated to the zoning issue, prompting
Sheets to caution, Stick to the subject. These things
do not effect what were here for tonight.
At one point, Riggs had questioned what would become of the
campground if Volz sold or when he passed away. Speaking for
Volz regarding that concern, long-time camper and local realtor,
Sue Ann Collins told the board, They intend for that campground
to go to their kids.
Another neighbor testified that the campground was built when
he was a kid, and recalled he was excited to have a place to
go where he could play arcade games and buy a cold soda. He
stated that the good times were short-lived after being told
by Volz not to come in there because he didnt rent from
him. Now, says that neighbor, Volz tells neighborhood kids to
stay off the county road that goes to the campground.
Being all of the time allotted for public input, Sheets informed
the gathering that a letter had been sent to Volz notifying
him that he was in violation. Riggs pointed out that this was
a second notice, hinting of favoritism within county government.
Somehow he is on a different level than the rest of us,
Riggs complained. Board member, Roger Lang, commented that during
his tenure on the board, This is the first time hes
(Volz) been in front of us. Another board member, Denessa
Benkie told Riggs, There have been points made that are
valid, and we need to make sure that people follow the rules,
but, she implored, please be patient while we digest
Sheets then addressed Volz stating that a letter had been sent
to him from Tad Brinson, executive director of the Area Planning
Commission, on July 17, 2006 stating that Volz had 30 days to
come forward to apply for a special exception. Volz responded
that necessary blueprints were not available to him at that
time. He admitted that a septic system was installed in 1977
with no permit and that he had later tied it into a dump station.
According to information provided by chairperson Sheets, the
lines were installed too deep, off-contour and cannot be made
right. Volz showed plans to the board, protesting that necessary
work had not been done because he has not received approval
for plans from the state. Lang responded, It is my understanding
that the plans have been rejected. Riggs once again interrupted,
These plans are bogus. Wheres your letter of approval?
Volz stated that three copies of the plans have been mailed
to the proper agencies, including the health department and
the state. He also said that Earth Tech of Batesville has been
hired to do the engineering work.
Having heard all the facts considered pertinent to the issue,
Lang motioned to table the application for a special exception
until plans get back from the state noting, This may be
a dead issue if the state doesnt approve the plans.
Benkie seconded and the motion carried.
Following adjournment, emotions on both sides still ran high.
Law enforcement was eventually called to the annex to ensure
that verbal sparring did not turn into a fistfight.
CINDY DI FAZIO PHOTO
Arnold Hunter of Cleves, OH, spoke on behalf of the
Volz's at the BZA meeting. Seated, applicants Larry and
Joyce Volz, owners of the Delaware Campground, look on.
Law enforcement was called to the meeting in the end due
to tempers flaring and verbal accusations that some thought
might erupt into something physical.
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