An auto repair shop in Spencer Township has been ordered closed.
Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Frederick McDonald agreed with township officials who contended that Michael Wymer, of 630 Mielke Rd., was improperly operating his business in an area zoned for residential use.
In addition to that allegation, the township alleged that Mr. Wymer consistently had vehicles stored in the open at the auto repair business, including "unrepaired, junk motor vehicles and junk parts.''
Also listed as a defendant in the action brought by the township is Gene Steele, owner of the property.
Kenneth Pheils, zoning inspector for the township, said he had discussed the issue often with Mr. Wymer and that he had sent numerous citations to the Meilke Road address.
The lawsuit contained copies of notices dating back to 2002 informing Mr. Wymer of the violations.
Neither Mr. Wymer, Mr. Steele nor their legal representatives could be reached for comment.
Mr. Pheils said there has been an increasing emphasis on zoning code enforcement in the township, but acknowledged that it had been somewhat lax until about five years ago.
He said there are a number of properties in the township guilty of zoning violations, "but it took years to get this way and it will take years to clean it up.''
Mr. Pheils said he would rather work with people to clear up problems than issue citations, but when violations are blatant and ongoing the township will enforce their regulations.
"There are some people who think I'm picking on them, because they see the same violation at someone else's house,'' he said.
"I'm not picking on them, it's just that this is a process where you go one at a time.'' Mr. Pheils said.
The township once allowed people to operate businesses at their homes and there was little zoning oversight, but that has changed, he said.
Now, residents may only run a business if it is contained within the home. Enterprises which have been ongoing have been allowed to continue, but they must adhere to certain rules.
Among the allegations against Mr. Wymer were the storage of more than four vehicles on his property and the lack of screening.
Mr. Pheils said Spencer Township is growing slowly, but growing nonetheless
He said zoning enforcement is a step in keeping that growth controlled and orderly.
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