Homeowner displaced due to arsenic treated material
BZA grants temporary permit

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

Attorney Neal Comer appeared for his client Arthur McGuire when the Ripley County Board of Zoning Appeals met in July.

Comer told a mesmerizing story about the medical problems that have happened to McGuire since he built his home in 2001 with wood that was treated with arsenic. When McGuire built the house on South Michigan Road, he did much of the work himself. Since that time, McGuire has been declared disabled and has been forced to move out of the house, which is hazardous to his health.

Comer went on to say that both the Ripley County Health Department and the Indiana State Board of Health have tested McGuire’s home and found high levels of arsenic in it. He is not able to use anything in the house that is “soft” like furniture, again because of the arsenic dust that has been stirred up through the ventilation system.

McGuire has purchased a FEMA trailer and asked permission of the BZA to have a temporary permit to live in the trailer until the law suit with the seller of the lumber company is resolved. The Environmental Protection Agency banned lumber treated with arsenic in 2003. It was noted at the meeting that the FEMA trailer McGuire purchased is a new one.

McGuire wants to place the trailer about 100' away from his existing home and some of the BZA members were concerned about that being far enough away from the diseased house. Comer assured the board that the location selected is safe.

BZA member Denessa Benkie felt that a two-year permit was too long and wanted to grant only a one-year permit. The motion made by Michael Baker was for a two-year permit with Comer and McGuire coming back in after one year for an update of the situation. The motion won three to one with Benkie voting against the motion.

In other business, Todd Demaree was granted a Special Exception for a home occupation to operate a small engine repair business in the Residential-2 District. Demaree lives on 1.223 acres at 6464 S. Benham Road in Versailles. Demaree said he plans to repair ATVs and motorcycles and sell some parts.

Four of five members of the BZA were present at the meeting: Roger Lang, Andy Scholle, Michael Baker and Denessa Benkie. Planning Director Tad Brinson and Attorney John Ertel were present to advise the board. The next meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals will be August 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Room of the Courthouse Annex in Versailles.