County BZA votes to close Drews Parts as a salvage yard

Mar. 26—ANDERSON — The Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals has determined that Drews Parts in Anderson is not in compliance with county zoning regulations.

The Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday voted to uphold the administrative appeal of county resident Lauren White of a decision made in December by Larry Strange, executive director of the Madison County Planning Department.

Drews Parts has 30-days to request judicial review of the decision and given 90 days to cease operations.

Last July the BZA denied a request by Kelly Drews for a special use designation to operate a salvage operation in the 700 block of School Street.

Strange in December determined that Drews Parts was in compliance.

He said Tuesday that Drews Parts was being fined on a daily basis for the failure to move large pieces of equipment.

The property was rezoned to general industrial which allows outside storage, Strange said.

He said Drews Parts was not allowed to disassemble machinery at the site, but could have items for sale on the property.

"It's basically an outside warehouse for parts to be sold," Strange said. "He can't disassemble equipment on the property."

White said for three years area residents have been asking county officials to enforce the zoning codes.

White said despite the denial of the special use, Drews Parts has been operating in the same manner as in the past.

"Larry Strange's decision is not consistent with county zoning laws," she said.

White said a recent inspection by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management found several leaking pieces of equipment on the property, raising concerns about water quality.

She said during a recent court hearing the attorney for Drews Parts admitted they weren't in compliance.

White asked the BZA to halt the operation until it was in compliance.

Kelley Drews said the disassembling of all equipment has been moved to G.W. Pierce on Mounds Road.

Local resident Sean Smith said Drews Parts has been allowed to bypass the special use requirement to operate a salvage yard.

Smith said IDEM identifies the property as a solid waste facility.

"Clearly he's not going to comply unless there are fines imposed," he said.

Smith said the county ordinance allows up to a $2,000 per day fine for non-compliance.

BZA member Lindsay Brown said the evidence presented indicates the decision to declare the operation in compliance was made in haste.

"Drews Parts is not in compliance," he said.

Curt Stephenson, a BZA member, said it appears there is an attempt to take the operation and call it something else.

"It doesn't fit our zoning ordinances," he said. "It is a salvage operation."

Brown said the determination means that everything has to be moved to inside a building.

"The salvage items have to be removed," Stephenson said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.