Osgood business denied permit by BZA

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

William Fuchs, owner of the Neal’s Salvage Yard in Osgood, presented an appeal to reverse the decision to deny the renewal of a salvage yard permit at the regular meeting of the Ripley County Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday, June 30. Fuchs was represented by attorney Larry Eaton.

According to Tad Brinson, Director of the BZA, Fuchs presented an application to renew the permit in August of 2008. After looking into the matter, Brinson learned that the permit had lapsed 13 months prior, as well as found that there were no utilities hooked up to the property. He determined that there was no business being conducted on the property, and refused to sign the permit application as per the current zoning ordinances. Because of the lapse, the property lost its “grandfather" right to keep the original zoning.

Evidence of weigh bills, receipts and pictures were presented by Eaton. According to Fuchs, this showed that he continued to operate his business. Witnesses were brought forward to affirm that business was conducted with Fuchs during the past year at the Osgood location.

BZA board member Maureen Sheets expressed her concerns with the evidence presented to the board. According to Sheets, tax records show that the business address was in Rushville, where Fuchs currently lives, and not Osgood. She also noted that the pictures were prior to July 2007, when the permit lapsed.

Sheets pointed out that the tickets showing the sale of scrap metal were not in Fuchs business name of Neal’s Salvage Yard. “The evidence is not definitive that you are operating a salvage yard,” said Sheets.

Adjoining property owner Sam Row challenged the statements that the salvage yard had been in operation. According to Row, the yard has not been active as claimed by Fuchs. Osgood Town Council President Linda Krinop spoke about problems with unloading on the road and blocking traffic. “There have been ongoing problems with the junkyard in the past,” she said.

Other board members had concerns over the credibility of the witnesses, who are longtime friends of Fuchs. According to testimony, one witness traveled from Peru and another from Laurel to conduct business with Fuchs at the Osgood location during the past year. Testimony also showed that business was sometimes conducted at the respective homes or at Fuch’s Rushville home.

Because the evidence did not prove the operation of a business, the board unanimously affirmed the decision made by Director Tad Brinson to not renew the permit.

In other business:

• The motion to grant the variance of required setback presented by Andy Scholle, representing the Sylvester Young family was unanimously approved.

• The motion to grant the variance of required setback for the Town of Holton was unanimously approved.

All board members were in attendance. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 28 beginning at 7 p.m. at the commissioners meeting room in the courthouse annex.