Zoning violations end up in court

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Citizens served with civil warrants alleging violations of Carter County property zoning appeared in Sessions Court Tuesday with two cases dismissed at the county's request and several others continued until August.
   "Most of the cases were continued and given an opportunity to get into compliance," said George Dugger, county attorney.
   The county commission voted in June to initiate legal action against several county residents cited for non-compliance in county zoning codes.
   A complaint against Dan Burkner was continued until Aug. 28 by Judge John Walton. The court ruled Burkner had 28 days to comply with zoning standards or pay a fine of $500 per day thereafter.
   Violation complaints filed by the county against Dan Burkner's brother, David Burkner, and Kenneth Hambrick were dismissed when the county requested a voluntary non-suit in both cases.
   Court costs pertaining to both cases were taxed to the county, according to Sessions Court records.
   Citizens Jerry Cox, Louise Clawson and David Stewart cited by the county were granted a court continuance until Aug. 28.
   Those property owners also submitted a request to meet with the county Planning Commission's zoning appeals subcommittee regarding their cases.
   The county's zoning complaint filed against Barrett Swecker as well as Vival and Daniel Tolley were granted a continuance until Aug. 28 by the court.
   Violations issued against citizens were primarily the operation of auto junkyards and mobile home parks, which were not in compliance with the county's private act regulating junkyard and mobile home park developments.
   Automobile wrecking, salvage and junkyards are permitted under the county's M-2 industrial zone provided these facilities have state permits, are set back 50 feet from all property lines and maintained in a sanitary condition.
   A fence or buffer must be provided around a junkyard if the wrecking yard is within 500 feet of a county road or dwelling, according to the private Carter County Junkyard Control Act passed in 1992.
   Property owners who develop mobile home parks are also required to meet zoning guidelines for structure setbacks from adjoining property lines, property roadways inside the park and a buffer area along the side and rear property lines.