County commissioners held a nuisance hearing Monday morning on a property located on CR 100N west of the Shore Mennonite Church. The property is owned by Marlin and Mary Knepp, who moved to this location about 15 years ago.
Ordinance Enforcement Officer Jason Boggs alleged that Knepp is operating a salvage yard in a manner that is detrimental to the public health and welfare. He also said the land is in an area zoned for agriculture and that salvage operations are not allowed in agricultural zones under the county comprehensive plan.
Boggs asked for a maximum fine of $5,000 and an injunction directing Knepp to cease collection and to clean up the area.
Boggs showed a number of pictures taken at the property starting earlier this year and up until Monday morning. The pictures show a turn of merchandise with some items remaining there over the full course of the investigation. Knepp indicated that he buys farm equipment and either fixes it up for resale or cuts it up and sells the remains as scrap metal.
Knepp said at the hearing that he plans to build a 6 ft. tall fence around the entire property and apply for a land use variance to operate a salvage business in an agricultural zone. LaGrange County Plan Director Robert Shanahan said the procedure will be to apply for a land use variance before the Board of Zoning Appeals, then (if approved) go before the plat committee and plan commission for further approvals.
Commissioners ordered that the maximum fine of $5,000 be imposed (which can be abated in full or part), a cease and desist order be issued (stop bringing scrap onto property and clean up the premises), and recessed the hearing until 9:30 a.m. on May 21.