Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 5, 2018

OH Appeals Court Affirms Conviction of Owner of Business Operating Without a Certificate of Zoning Compliance

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq.

Larry Bagford, a planning and zoning specialist for the city of Hamilton, observed appellant operating an auto sales business. Appellant continued to operate its business despite being ordered to cease all operations and remove all vehicles for sale from the property as the city’s community development office had no record of a conditional use approval or the required certificate of zoning compliance being issued. In this case, Defendant-appellant, Marfel Motors, Inc., appealed from its conviction in the Hamilton Municipal Court for violating a zoning ordinance by operating a business without being issued a certificate of zoning compliance.

On appeal, appellant argued its conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence and was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Pursuant to Hamilton Codified Ordinances Section 1186.00, “any person, firm, or corporation who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects, or refuses to comply with, or who resists the enforcement of any of the provisions of the Zoning Ordinances and all amendments thereto, shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $250.00 or more than five hundred dollars for each offense.” Here, the record reflected that Larry Bagford, a planning and zoning specialist for the city of Hamilton, testified he took a number of steps in determining that appellant had not been issued a certificate of zoning compliance, and found neither the electronic records nor paper files associated with the property contained a certificate of zoning compliance pertaining to the operation of a car lot or auto sales business. Bagford further  testified that despite appellant being notified in October 2016 that it was operating in violation of the city’s zoning ordinances, it refused to cease its operations and continued to use the property for its auto sales business. Accordingly, the judgement was affirmed.

State of Ohio/City of Hamilton v Marfel Motors, Inc., 2018 WL 1792202 (OH App. 4/16/2018)

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