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Hearing on Baltimore salvage yard appeal continued

By Scott Rawdon

BALTIMORE- A controvercial Liberty Township salvage yard’s appeals hearing was continued to March 20 after the owner of the salvage yard site, at 145 Baltimore-Somerset Road, and his lawyer agreed they needed more time to review the appeal. A sizable crowd gathered at Liberty Union Middle School Feb. 27 to hear the East Side Neighborhood Group–a citizens’ group created to oppose the salvage yard–appeal a county prosecutor’s statement saying there were no zoning violations on the salvage yard’s property. The citizens’ group strongly opposes the salvage yard.

To review, Bremen resident Ri c ha r d Es t e p, own e r o f Lancaster’s Estep’s Auto Service, proposed an automobile “recycling salvage” operation similar to UWrench It–a self-service used auto parts store familiar to Columbus residents–for the property. He assured that there would be “no pollutants whatsoever” from the business that could leak into surrounding properties and the business would be surrounded by a six feet high privacy fence. Although the property is zoned for Rural Residential use, Estep said that the property used to be a junkyard, and a salvage operation should be a grandfathered use. Last year, Julia Hilty of the Fairfield County Prosecutor’s officeagreed with Estep, saying that a salvage yard would be a grandfathered use.

Feb. 27, Estep said he received no notice of what the appeal was actually about. “I read about it in the paper,” he said. His lawyer, T. Michael Christian, said he and his client were at a “distinct disadvantage,” adding that he believed it was impossible to defend Estep’s interests without further review of the appeal.

Attorney Mike Shannon, representing the East Side Neighborhood Group, said the process would be “tainted” if the Feb. 27 BZA hearing moved forward. All BZA members agreed to quit for the evening and continue the hearing to Tuesday, March 20, 7:30 p.m. at the Liberty Union Middle School cafeteria.

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