Community Issues - Code Enforcement

The 3rd Mess in Kingsville (12639 Belair Rd)

Property history
Purchased by Thomas Brandt in 2000 for $200,000 from Daniel Moore, who had owned it since 1974.

Update, as of Feb 2019, owned by Zuckerburg Management, LLC since Aug 2016. The resident agent and sole member is David Schouster of this address (see below). When formed May 18, 2016, it was Schouster and Brandt, with Brandt being removed on Dec 5, 2016. This is a standard trick to avoid property transfer fees. When the property was transferred from Brandt to Zuckerburg Management on Aug 12, 2016 for $0, it was "non-arms length" and the deed show zero transfer fees.

Past Zoning History
There was a zoning hearing and order from 1974 when the allowed use was changed from "hardware store" to "service garage." The site plan from that hearing allowed for parking 5 vehicles (including the 2 in the bays) as well as 4 additional spaces for storage behind the fence. No parking or use of the area alongside Belair Rd is indicated.

Other zoning case: 1984-0231-SPH - amended site plan
This is the currently valid site plan that is supposed to govern the use of the property. It is interesting to note that many of the present day problems were there in 1984, even though the owner has changed.

Zoning Plan Advisory Committee's comments in a letter to Daniel James Moore, petitioner: "at the time of inspection, the site was occupied by a number of junked vehicles parked in the front of the existing building, a school bus filled with firewood parked at the southern entrance and storage containers were used for screening of disabled vehicles along the southern and eastern property lines. From our telephone conversation, you indicated that these situations would be cleaned up as soon as the proposed addition is constructed. It should be noted that this must be done regardless of the outcome of your request."

SHA comments: "all deteriorated curb sections to be repaired or replaced through SHA permit prior to release of building permits.
It appears that this was done sufficiently.

Zoning Advisory Committee comments: "Motor vehicle repair shops shall take special note of Section 616.0 which lists some specific requirements." (It is unknown what this refers to - there is no Section 616 in the current BCZR or the County Code.)

Comments by Health Department - Bureau of Environmental Services: "This facility is served by a drilled well only, which is in poor physical condition. The existing waste disposal fixtures are not connected to the abandoned sewage disposal system. Offsite waste disposal systems are being used. Prior to consideration for approval of a building permit for this reason, the following conditions must be met:

  • Satisfactory soil percolation tests must be ordered and a sewage-disposal system installed.
  • The existing well must be brought up to current Balt Co standards.
  • Miscellaneous auto parts laying about must be properly stored or disposed of.
  • Oily solid and liquid wastes as well as oil soaked soils must be removed and properly disposed of.
  • The owner and Northeastern Environmental Services have been verified (notified?).

Order issued 14 March 2984: "No building permit shall be issued until such time as a final site plan is submitted ... proving compliance with all comments made by the Baltimore County Zoning Plans Advisory Committee." (Wonder if this was ever done.)

Case CC99CO0041634, Feb 4, 2008
Complaints: Belair Auto Service Temp Signs

No actions noted

Case CC99CO0080205, June 25, 2010
Complaint: Junkyard (originally filed by MDE)
My follow-up complaint letter (check the photos!)
At the time, Google searches on the address came up with the following:

  • Shanahan's Car Care North, 410 817-0001
  • Bel Air Auto Svc II, 410 510-3026
  • Steve's Auto Repair, 410 817-9598
  • Roger's Auto Repair, 410 817-6773
  • Eastside, 410 510-7231

"Eastside" was the name of a vehicle "recycling" service on Erdman Ave. For a short time, a sign for "Eastern" was on this building.

  • June 28, 2010 Correction Notice
  • July 14, 2010, Re-inspection
    Inspector's note: "Good clean up has been done, However more clean up of the property is needed. Continue to monitor"
    This is sad. Nothing had been done to clean it up, as later photos show. This was a totally inept inspector.
  • July 21, 2010, New complaint letter filed
  • July 27, 2010, Re-inspection
    Inspector's note: "More clean up of the property needed, spoke with owner's mother. She states that she will inform her son of my concerns about his property. At that time the other issues regarding the property will be addressed. Monitor"
    If "more" cleanup is needed, then the inspector is supposed to issue a citation!
  • August 16, 2010, Re-inspection
    Inspector's note: "Observed several damaged vehicles on the lot, along with auto parts. Will contact owner on this issue, photos taken"
    Here's the photos that I took the same day (Aug 16) of "some" of the vehicles. You be the judge - does this qualify as "several"?
  • August 17, 2010, I wrote a letter to Mike Mohler (chief of Code Enforcement) asking that action be taken (and that the inpector be replaced).
  • August 31, 2010, Re-inspection
    Inspector's note: "Most of the damaged vehicles are in the screened area. Tires will be removed this week. Monitor"
    So why the hell does the inspector think that "most" justifies not issuing a citation?
  • Sept 21, 2010, Re-inspection
    Inspector's note: "Spoke with garage owner (Dave) on site. He informed me that he will have the remaining damaged vehicles behind the screened area within a week. Monitor"
  • October 12, 2010, Re-inspection
    Inspector's note: "Spoke with owner - would remove damaged vehicles by weekend"
  • October 20, 2010, Re-inspection
    Inspector's note: "Will remove within 2 weeks"
  • October 27, 2010: I spoke with Mike Mohler who assured me that a citation would be issued within 2 weeks if it was not in compliance. A citation was finally issued in November for a hearing on November 30.
  • November 4, 2010, Re-inspection (this was probably when a citation was issued)
  • November 27, 2010, I observed the condition of the property as substantially the same as it was at the beginning (See photo on right). Throughout this whole period, there was never any appreciable improvement
  • Nov 27-Nov 29, the entire site was "cleaned up" after my visit (when I had the unfortunate opportunity to speak with the business owner).
  • November 29, 2010, Re-inspection, inspector found to be in compliance, and cancelled the hearing, thus the violators ended up paying no fine for the lengthy violations."
  • December 1, 2010, Re-inspection, "in compliance"

Note: It's pretty clear from the inspector's own comments that he did not do what he was supposed to do. One can only surmise what caused him to continually put off the required further action of a citation, until his boss forced him to do it. One might suspect that he was being paid off by the owner, except this was this inspector's modus operandi in every other case he had. He no longer works for the County, as an inspector or as anything.

Case CC99CO0102420, Oct 11, 2011

My complaint letter. Note that the removal of the shipping containers had been ordered back in 1984.

  • Oct 12, 2011 Correction notice issued
  • Oct 27, 2011 Re-inspection
  • Non 22, 2011 Re-inspection
  • Dec 14, 2011 Re-inspection
  • Jan 5, 2012, Re-inspection
  • Feb 6, 2012, Re-inspection
  • Feb 8, 2012, In compliance

So, once again, this inspector wasted the tax-payer's money by making 6 unnecessary trips. Because of the prior action, this time it should have been an immediate citation on October 12, not a correction notice, with no further visits until after a hearing. The owner had already demonstrated in the previous case that he didn't think the County was serious until a citation was issued. This inspector should be fired! I don't remember if the shipping containers were actually removed at the time or later.

Case CB99CO0106789, Feb 24, 2012

  • Feb 28, 2012 - Initial inspection - no violation

The following shows the conditions on Oct 20, 2013, courtesy of GoogleEarth.

But this is what it looks like inside the fence at the same time! Only 900 ft from the Little Gunpowder!

Case CC1609268 - Aug 9, 2016

I would like to report the business at 12639 Bel Air Rd, Kingsville. If headed northbound on Bel Air Rd it is on the right just before the entrance to Gunpowder state park. There is no sign but according to google maps it is either Eastside Automotive or Shanahan's Automotive. It is an automotive facility of some sort which resembles a chop shop. My 1st reason for this email is that the exit from their property extremely dangerous with no visibility due to the way they park cars there. It is only remotely safe to come out that exit at night in hopes that everyone has their headlights on, impossible during the day. Also they built a retaining wall right at the road that I am sure is on the right of way. My 2nd complaint is due probable environmental hazards due to automotive work being done in such proximity to the gunpowder,cars in various states of disarray likely leaking fluids. It is my hope that by filing this complaint someone can look into the zoning issues, hazardous road conditions, and environmental issues that are likely stemming from this business. Please be aware that I am not a disgruntled customer or anything like that. I am merely a concerned citizen and have grown tired of looking at the mess and hearing people talking about close calls pulling out onto belair rd all related to this establishment. I would prefer that this complaint be kept confidential as I do know a few people that are doing honest work at this site (mason contractors), and I do not wish to cause them any trouble. The owners should however be responsible for the condition of this property, acting respectfully to the gunpowder river and environs, and public safety. Thank you, Beth Hartka.

The case was marked as "no violation" on Aug 18 and closed.

Other action
In 2014, there was a fire at this location (which appears to have been "self-inflicted"). While responding, the fire fighters found marijuana growing in the basement. No charges ever resulted.

More recent situation
There is now some unknown business going on here again, with many vehicles parked around the building - many illegally. It appears that an addition has also recently been put on the building without a building permit. There is still no sign indicating the business or what is going on, but a Google search still shows things like:

  • Motor Company, Inc (no record in SDAT)
  • Kingsville Auto Group, Inc., formed 12/5/2016, resident agent was Oliver Wegener, 7808 Daniels Ave, Parkville, now forfeited - purpose was auto repairs, parts sales, and auto sales
  • Roger's Auto Repair, formed 4/9/1999, Roger Pritt, principal office 1014 Winfield Dr, Bel Air
  • Shanahan's Car Care North (no record in SDAT)
  • Bel Air Auto Service II (no record in SDAT)
  • Eastside (Motorsport), formed 5/22/2001, David Schouster, 1305 Rosewick Ave, Baltimore, forfeited

There are once again too many vehicles parked around this propetry and on the roadway back to the parcel in back and apparently on the back parcel, which is zoned RC5. There aren't a lot of partially dismantled vehicles as before, but many are obviously inoperable, which requires that they be screened from view.

Case CC2114011, Aug 27, 2021
Complaint: Illegal chop-shop, junk yard

An inspection was apparently done on Sept 13 and declared to be "no violation".

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Updated 16 Sept 2021