Dispute over Goshen property could head to court

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By Kenny Colston


A dispute over the use of a property on U.S. 42 in Goshen will likely continue with litigation after another hearing in front of the county’s Board of Adjustments.

The property in question, 9051 W. U.S. 42, is currently owned by Anthony Zeppa and only has an accessory structure on the property currently.

After receiving initial approval in May 2013 to have the secondary structure on the property without a home also on the grounds, problems arose in January about the misuse of a variance on the property.

At issue is the storing of commercial lawn equipment at the property, which wasn’t allowed at the 2013 hearing approving the accessory structure. At the January hearing, the board ordered the accessory dwelling torn down by May 31.

But at a hearing held last week, the building had not been torn down, but Zeppa applied for a new exception on the property through an attorney, Steve Porter.

Porter said miscommunication led to issues with the property and the board, but that Zeppa did not own a lawn care service and was not running the service out of the property in Goshen. A son by the same name does run a lawn care service, but not out of the Goshen property, Porter said.

But, Porter admitted, some equipment was stored on the property in December, violating the rules, but it was an honest mistake, Porter said. Zeppa had previously said no equipment was stored there, board members said.

Porter also said the Zeppas had a contract to build a home on the property, which would make any exception for the accessory building moot once the home was built.

He pleaded with the board to approve a new variance to avoid having to tear down the structure only to be able to rebuild one in a few months.

“It seems silly to tear down the accessory building when they can rebuild it in three months,” he said.

But the board, upset the building had yet to be torn down, wasn’t buying Porter’s arguments.

“Let’s be clear, what this really is,” board member Robert Houchens said. “This is an attempt at overriding the revocation in January.”

Board member Ken Hodge agreed.

“I see this as a way to usurp, a way to appeal, this is a way to work around our decision,” Hodge said. “The credibility of your client is shot. Under oath, his testimony was false.”

Several community members also railed again a new exception for the property.

“This is about them trying to circumvent your orders,” Magistrate JD Sparks said. “I hope you don’t do that. I personally feel like it shouldn’t even be on the docket.”

Even with promises of a house being built on the property and no desire to repeat past mistakes by Porter, the board rejected the new exception unanimously. And with the accessory building still standing, heading to circuit court to tear the building down was discussed.

“We’ll meet with the county attorney for our next steps,” board chair Larry Otterback said.

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