from the Franklin County C.P.C. No. 15CV-7417 Court of Common
P. Shuler, for appellant.
Klein, City Attorney, and Alexandra Pickerill, for appellee.
1} Plaintiff-appellant, Pro-Tow, Inc., appeals from
a decision of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
affirming an order of appellee, the City of Columbus Board of
Zoning Adjustment ("BZA"). The BZA order denied
appellant's application for a special use permit and
variances. For the following reasons, we affirm the common
pleas court judgment.
Facts and Procedural History
2} On October 18, 2013, appellant purchased the real
property located at 1669 Harmon Avenue. The property is
approximately five acres, located on the west side of Harmon
Avenue, approximately 700 feet north of Hart Road. (July 28,
2015 Tr. at 2; Exs.) The property's frontage which faces
Harmon Avenue is 225 feet and zoned M-2, manufacturing. This
includes a paved parking lot and an office building. The rest
of the property is zoned M, manufacturing. Appellant began
using the property as an impound lot on the M zoned area,
surrounded by a fence. On December 18, 2014, a zoning code
violation order containing several violations was issued.
3} On February 19, 2015, appellant applied to the
BZA for a special permit to operate the impound lot and
sought several variances from development standards.
Appellant has since withdrawn all the variance requests. On
June 23, 2015, the BZA conducted a public hearing on
appellant's application for a special permit and
variances. The city staff recommended approval of
appellant's application, subject to certain conditions
with which appellant was willing to comply. The Southwest
Area Commission also recommended approval of appellant's
application. However, the property owners of 1685 Harmon
Avenue, Hubert and Diana West, which is the property
immediately south and adjacent to appellant's property,
testified in opposition to appellant's application during
4} The West property is a single family home sitting
on approximately one-half acre. The property is zoned M-2,
but the Wests have lived there approximately 20 years.
Currently, Hubert and Diana, their adult son, Hubert West,
Jr., and young grandchildren live at the residence. The West
property is the only residential property in the area.
5} The impound lot is required to be open 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, because appellant has contracts to
tow vehicles that have been seized by the city of Columbus,
the city of Grove City, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The owners of towed vehicles attempt to retrieve their
vehicles at any hour of the day and are frequently angry.
6} Hubert West, Sr. testified regarding the negative
impact that the impound lot has had on his property and the
area. He related that there is significant traffic at all
hours, the smell of gasoline, racing on Harmon Avenue, people
yelling, and car horns. (June 23, 2015 Tr. at 8.) He
testified that people enter his yard to climb the fence
between the two properties to retrieve their cars. (June 23,
2015 Tr. at 9.) He complained that people mistake his house
for the impound lot office and knock on his door at all hours
to demand the return of their cars.
7} Diana West testified that she did go over to the
impound lot at one point at approximately 2:00 a.m. and
complained about the trucks running and lights on during the
night and was assured it would not happen any longer.
However, it continues. (June 23, 2015 Tr. at 14.) Diana
telephoned the police regarding the motorcycle racing along
Harmon Avenue. However, when asked, Diana testified she was
not sure the racing was related to the impound lot, but she
had seen the motorcycles on the lot. (June 23, 2015 Tr. at
15.) She explained that she could not open her windows