A question about zoning enforcement resulted in a heated exchange between Kenny Cowell, councilman, Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, and Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, at the Monday, April 19 council meeting.
Cowell said a constituent had received a notice about a travel trailer that was improperly parked on his property, and wondered if the constituent was being singled out for zoning enforcement.
Howell told Cowell no one is singled out in zoning enforcement, but Cowell said, “We can go right now and take a drive in about a threeblock area. If there weren’t three or four others who didn’t get letters, he (the constituent) is getting singled out.”
Howell and Wyse said Carma Grime, village zoning inspector, notifies property owners either when she sees a violation, or when a violation is pointed out to her.
“If it gets pointed out, or if Carma sees it, they get a letter,” Wyse said.
Wyse likened zoning violations to speeding; everyone has exceeded the speed limit at one time, but not everyone is caught speeding.
“We do the best we can,” he said.
Cowell said several times the village zoning code needs to be applied fairly, and everyone should be treated identically.
“All I’m saying is I want to make sure we’re treating everyone the same,” Cowell said.
Cowell suggested going to the village engineering department to see how many letters of zoning violations were sent.
Cowell and Howell traded several barbs during the roughly six-minute exchange.
Howell told Cowell he didn’t appreciate the accusation that the village zoning laws are being improperly enforced. Cowell said he didn’t care if Howell appreciated the question; he was bringing up the question as a councilman.
Howell accused Cowell of bringing the issue up in council merely to get his name in the Archbold Buckeye.
“You could have called me and asked me that question privately if you wanted to,” Howell said.
“What’s the difference? It’s public information,” Cowell said.
Contacted Monday, Grime said several letters concerning zoning violations were sent to village property owners.
She spotted some violations, while others resulted from complaints, she said.
No one was singled out for special enforcement, she said.