Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 21, 2020

OH Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Conditional Use Application to Allow the Sale of Commercial Trucks

This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

AMG Truck Properties, LLC (“AMG”) purchased property along Route 18 in Granger Township so that a related company could sell commercial trucks on it. As the sale of vehicles was a conditional use of the parcel, AMG filed an application with the Board to seek approval of its plans. Following three hearings on the matter, the Board denied AMG’s application. AMG appealed to the common pleas court, which the Board’s decision.

In this appeal, AMG contended that the common pleas court incorrectly determined that the Board correctly found that its application did not satisfy the screening requirements for outdoor storage. The record reflected that the Board found that not all of the proposed activity areas would be at least 100 feet from the property lines of the parcel. Additionally, the Board found that the outdoor storage area would not be properly screened, and the plan did not depict that the outdoor storage area would be paved. As the common pleas court likewise determined that AMG’s application did not comply with the Township’s 100-foot setback, outdoor storage screening, and paving requirements, it held that the Board’s decision was not arbitrary or capricious.

AMG first argued that the Board and common pleas court ignored its testimony that the outdoor storage area would be paved. Here, it was not disputed that the regulations require vehicle storage areas to be paved and that the site plan that AMG submitted to the Board did not indicate that its proposed outdoor storage area would be paved. As such, the court found that the common pleas court did not err when it determined that AMG’s plan did not meet the requirements for outdoor storage areas.

Next, AMG contended that the common pleas court incorrectly affirmed the Board’s determination that all structures and activity in the proposed use must be at least 100 feet from all property lines. Specifically, AMG argued that the sale, service, and repair of vehicles was not one of the “Certain” conditionally permitted uses subject to the 100-foot setback requirement. However, due to AMG’s plan’s failure to meet either the screening or paving requirements for outdoor storage areas, the court found that even if the common pleas court improperly determined that the property is subject to a 100-foot setback, the error was harmless.

AMG lastly argued that the common pleas court should have recognized that the Board’s decision was influenced by the active participation of one of the Township’s trustees at the public hearings. In support of this allegation, AMG reasoned the fact the Board incorporated some of the trustee’s statements into its decision established that the conflict of interest contaminated the Board’s decision. The common pleas court held that, even if it was improper for the trustee to participate in the hearings, that did not change the fact that AMG’s application did not comply with the zoning resolution’s setback, storage, and paving requirements. Accordingly, the court held that any statements by the trustee did not affect the correctness of the Board’s decision.

AMG Truck Properties, LLC v Granger Township Board of Zoning Appeals, 2020 WL 7488964 (12/21/2020)


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