Judges order never issued in FT zoning case

Residents of Franklin Township expressed their frustrations at the Franklin Township Board of Trustees meeting held July 10 when Trustee Don Cook said the cease and desist order issued from Judge Harland Hale’s office was not served to Gary Gordon of Brown Road immediately after his hearing.

Cook said the prosecutor’s office overlooked putting the paperwork through so Gordon did not get properly served the notice. Cook said he spoke to Paul Eberts, a Franklin County Zoning Officer.

“He (Eberts) said he was in the process of getting with the prosecutor’s office on that now and the paperwork would be filed and he (Gordon) should get a notice of cease and desist within the next few days,” said Cook.

Gordon applied to re-zone his residence from a rural district to a business district in May, after the Franklin County Board of Health and other county inspections flagged the site for investigation.

The Franklin Township Fire Department also cited Gordon in early spring  because no fire inspections had been executed despite commercial activity.

According to fire cheif Richard Howard, the fire department cannot inspect a rural district without an invitation.

Residents of the township have spoken against Gordon and his business, Outback Body Shop and Auto Repair, since that time.

Township resident Mary Neymeyer said, “One day I went by there and it looked like he just got through priming a car and then I went driving by later and I smelled lacquer, and by golly I could smell where it was coming from because it was right in front of his place.”

The case prosecutor Ron Williams was not available but prosecutor Ron O’Brien, said Judge Harland Hale issued an injunction against Gordon, which is a cease an desist order, to stop operations of an auto repair shop out of his home and the paperwork was sent on July 9.

“If he does not comply, he would be subject to contempt, which could put someone in jail up to 30 days and a fine up to $1,000 a day for noncompliance,” said O’Brien.

Cook said he believes that Gordon will get shut down unless he gets an attorney and fights the order.

“The judge could say you can operate until the decision is made. Could – I’m not saying it will. But I have a feeling he’s going to be shut down,” said Cook.

Neymeyer said one of her biggest concerns is that Gordon is not complying with Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] standards the way a normal auto body repair shop does.

“That’s a big issue because that involves the EPA and that involves all of us that live around there with the paint and that. He’s probably polluting the area, the sewers, most likely. Where’s he disposing of the stuff he’s taken off cars or the coolants and stuff he’s taking out of cars?” said Neymeyer.

Gordon could not be reached for comment by press time.

In other news, the board of trustees discussed CTL Engineering requesting to be annexed to the City of Columbus.

New trustee, Paul Johnson, said he spoke to C.K. Satyapriya to see why and he was told CTL did not want to leave Franklin Township. CLT, however, is on a well system that is outdated, which the EPA is pressuring them to correct.

The only way to correct it is to tap into Columbus sewer and water system.

Chief Howard said the only way Columbus will let them tap into their sewer and water is annexation to the city.

“And see, that’s just blackmail. I hate to say it at a public meeting but it is,” said Howard.

“And I can tell you this is a nice firm. It’s an engineering firm and we’re losing part of our tax base,” said Johnson.

Howard suggested Johnson get in touch with Tom Shockley, Franklin County sanitary engineer to see if an exception to this requirement is possible.

Cook said businesses, if they were not already set up on sewer and water, have to annex to Columbus because it is too expensive for the township to provide sewer and water services.

“That’s how we lost 60 percent of our land to the city of Columbus is because of sewer and water,” said Cook.

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