Monroe Township trustee-elect John Sadinsky will face a few challenges come January.
First, he'll be a new trustee and will have to learn the ins and outs of that job.
Second, the township is scheduled to go to court over a business he owns.
For 20 years, Sadinsky has been running his business, A-1 Reliable Towing, from his home on 7707 Green Mill Road.
From the street, it might be difficult to tell what kind of business Sadinsky runs. But an aerial view shows dozens of cars partially corralled by a privacy fence.
For most properties in the township, this would be against the law.
Sadinsky said that for 20 years, however, he's had a conditional-use permit that has never put a limit on a number of vehicles in the back of his lot.
A hearing is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, in Licking County court, with Judge David Branstool presiding. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 13, and then a jury trial is set for Tuesday, Jan. 14.
In 2009, the township alleged that Sadinsky's business had violated two aspects of the property's conditional-use permit, including that Sadinsky was not to expand his part-time business and that the number of vehicles stored in his impound lot is limited.
Carolotta Hopkins, a neighbor who has long been critical of Sadinsky's property, has said she interrupted her Florida vacation in March 2010 to attend a Monroe Township Board of Zoning Appeals hearing, which resulting in the issue being put on hold.
The BZA reconvened in May 2010 and ruled that he was in violation of the township's zoning laws.
Trustee Joey Robertson said last December that Sadinsky's conditional-use permit allows him to operate a part-time towing recovery business, with a total of six cars permitted in a designated impound area.
"The township zoning inspector conducted a site visit and inventory after obtaining a search warrant because Mr. Sadinsky refused the zoning inspector access to his property," Robertson said then. "We discovered 116 cars."
According to Sadinsky, the case is cut and dry.
"I was allowed the area out back for almost 20 years," Sadinsky said. "It's always been the same. They're trying to say I was only allowed to have six cars during this 20-year stint of business. That is totally incorrect."
According to Sadinsky, the "impound" cars mentioned in the permit were supposed to be for cars that had been impounded by police or in other situations, and Sadinsky would keep them separate from those in the back of his property.
"I gave (the number of six) to (the township), and I was talking about impound cars," Sadinsky said. "They're nice cars, and I'd put them out front, separate from the junk, wrecked cars out back."
Sadinsky said the area he mentioned would hold a maximum of six cars regardless of limits.
Trustee Troy Hendren said he still contends that Sadinsky is in violation and said it would be uncomfortable for a township trustee to be dealing with a zoning violation, referring to Sadinsky's role beginning in January.
"He's a hard-working, good guy," Hendren said. "He runs a good business. But you just can't have 120 cars in your backyard. I hope that he will get his ducks in a row because I think it's an issue for the trustee to be in violation."
Hopkins said she shares Hendren's concerns.
"He's depreciating my property value," Hopkins said. "I live on the same road. This road is only a mile long, so to me, wherever you live at on this road, that is depreciating your property value."
Sadinsky said most of his neighbors had no idea of how many vehicles he had before seeing an aerial photo showing them.
"I invite anybody to drive past my property and take into consideration themselves what they feel about my property," he said. "Anybody and everybody who's been to my place, they tell us how nice it is."
Sadinsky, who will become a trustee in January, will have to recuse himself from the township's side of the trial in January.
He said he had thought of running in the past but that this issue prompted him to run.
"(The process has) been childish, and I've been embarrassed for the township, and I hope to make things a bit more professional and head in the right direction," he said. "The attitude of how things were handled and the inability to try to truly work together (did motivate me). I though I could do a better job and that I could bring a better openness and willingness to work things out."
Some details came from previous ThisWeek staff reports.