The Monroe Township Board of Zoning Appeals has put a ruling on hold in John and Lisa Sadinskys' appeal of a decision that they are in violation of the township's junk vehicle legislation.

The Monroe Township Board of Zoning Appeals has put a ruling on hold in John and Lisa Sadinskys' appeal of a decision that they are in violation of the township's junk vehicle legislation.

The Sadinskys have operated Reliable Towing and Recovery at 7707 Green Mill Road for more than 15 years.

The board declared "a recess" Tuesday night after a nearly three-and-a-half-hour meeting that was dominated by the Sadinskys' attorney, Terry Treneff.

The case will be continued within 30 days at a date to be announced. The BZA wants to determine whether a resolution related to junk vehicles was effective prior to Dec. 22, 2009, when John Sadinsky was sent a letter by attorney James Miller, noting zoning violations related to the number and type of vehicles being stored on his property.

Zoning inspector Bill Smith said Sadinsky was in violation, having 20 to 25 cars in a designated impound area that has a conditional use permit that allows for no more than six cars. In addition, Smith estimated that more than 100 vehicles that meet the definition of junk motor vehicles are on the Sadinsky property.

As defined by Ohio Revised Code (ORC) "junk motor vehicle" has to meet all of the following criteria: three model years old, or older; apparently inoperable; and extensively damaged, including vehicles that are missing wheels, tires, engine or transmission.

Treneff argued that the township was "deficit" in its notice of violation and that it adopted the wrong code to remove junk vehicles. He said the township adopted a section of the ORC to regulate the storage, not the removal, of junk vehicles.

"You adopted 505173 that says you can't restrict towing and recovery services, including storage and disposal," Trenoff said. "You wanted to adopt 505871 but you adopted 505173, the storage statue."

Miller, the BZA attorney, pointed to documentation that Sadinsky had been communicating with Smith to comply with junk car legislation.

"The township isn't trying to run out small businesses," he said. "In order to have valid zoning, you have to enforce zoning. Mr. Smith's zoning violation was valid."

Treneff said the notice of violation didn't identify what cars needed to be removed.

He added that Sadinsky's towing license makes him exempt.

Although Tuesday's case was an appeal concerning the township's junk vehicle legislation that imposes a $100 daily fee for violators, discussion frequently shifted to March 2009. That's when the BZA unanimously declared the towing and recovery service was not in violation of a conditional use permit granted by the board in September 1995.

Sadinsky received a zoning violation notice from Smith on Jan. 13, 2009, alleging that the towing service was violating two of six provisions included as part of the original permit. Those were that Sadinsky was not to expand his part-time business and that there be a limited number of cars stored in the impound lot.

Attorney Larry Shafer, who said he was called on by township trustees to help address issues with junk cars, said legislation went into effect in March 2008. Shafer said the statute essentially provides clearer guidelines for the identification/definition of junk cars and procedures for having them removed from property.

Shafer verified that towing and storage businesses are exempt from the statute, and noted that Sadinsky's property claims the only such title in Monroe Township.

Green Mill Road resident Carolotta Hopkins said she interrupted her Florida winter vacation to attend Tuesday's meeting.

"I'm here to save property values on Green Mill," she said. "I feel he has disrespected the neighbors.

"Coming in from (state Route) 37, you look west and can see the top of junk cars,"she said. "I think the $100 a day fine should continue for John and others."

Lee Roth, who lives adjacent to Sadinsky, said his neighbor runs a tidy operation and provides a valuable service. He has never had need to speak to Sadinsky about issues related to his business, he said.

"I've had (someone) stop, looking for Reliable Towing, and they couldn't find it because the vehicles are behind a fence," Roth said. "Letting the cat outside, I've seen John going out at 3 a.m. It could be someone's daughter who has a car in the ditch."

Neighbor Ken McClelland said he doesn't buy the claim that Sadinsky is devaluating property.

"I live half a mile down the road from John," he said. "I'm self-employed, and I drive by his house numerous times. If I didn't live on Green Mill, I wouldn't know he had a towing business. I have to take (people) to show them where he's located."

Township trustee Troy Hendren said he would start the process all over to regulate the removal of junk vehicles, if need be.

He said more of the township's residents have cleaned up their properties than not.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com