Havens v. Union Twp.

[Cite as Havens v. Union Twp., 2019-Ohio-1401.] IN THE COURT OF APPEALS TWELFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT OF OHIO FAYETTE COUNTY VERNON LEE HAVENS II, : Appellant, : CASE NO. CA2018-10-020 : OPINION - vs - 4/15/2019 : UNION TOWNSHIP, et al., : Appellees. : CIVIL APPEAL FROM FAYETTE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. CVH 20170208 Vernon Lee Havens II, 1238 State Route 38 NE, Washington C.H., Ohio, 43160, pro se Jess C. Weade, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney, Sean Abbott, Fayette County Courthouse, 110 East Court Street, Washington C.H., Ohio 43160, for appellees HENDRICKSON, P.J. {¶ 1} Vernon Lee Havens II appeals the decision of the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, which granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, Union Township and Fayette County, on Havens' complaint for a writ in mandamus compelling the defendants to enforce a local zoning resolution. For the reasons described below, this court finds that genuine issues of fact preclude summary judgment with respect to the mandamus claim, reverses the grant of summary judgment, and remands for further proceedings. Fayette CA2018-10-020 {¶ 2} Havens is a one-fifth owner of real property located at 1238 State Route 38 in Union Township, Fayette County, Ohio ("the property"). Havens' siblings possess the other four-fifths interest in the property. The Havens siblings took title to the property following the passing of their mother in 2013. Also in 2013, Havens moved into a residence on the property and began raising chickens, ducks, and geese. {¶ 3} James and Beverly Moore own land that abuts the property. James has operated what he describes as an "automobile towing and storage business" on their land since 1990. Initially, James and Beverly allowed Havens' poultry to graze on their land. However, in July 2016, a goose attacked Beverly. The Moores then instructed Havens to remove his poultry from their land. {¶ 4} Havens began complaining to the local authorities about zoning violations occurring on the Moores' land. Among other concerns, Havens alleged that the Moores were operating an unpermitted "junkyard." However, the local zoning official inspected the Moores' land and determined that it was not in violation of the local zoning resolution.1 Instead, the zoning official noted that Havens' property was not zoned for agricultural use and Havens' poultry operation violated the zoning resolution. {¶ 5} Havens filed a pro se lawsuit against the defendants.2 The complaint alleged that the defendants had failed to enforce their rules and regulations concerning junkyards and that this failure to enforce had resulted in a nuisance and a taking of Havens' property. Havens asked the court for a writ of mandamus to compel the defendants to enforce their zoning regulations against the Moores' land, for inverse condemnation, for monetary damages for the reduction in value of the property, and for injunctive relief "forbidding any 1. When this inspection occurred is not apparent from the summary judgment record. 2. Havens brought the suit individually; his siblings are not parties. -2- Fayette CA2018-10-020 more material qualifying as junk or ...

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