The 2nd Mess in Kingsville (aka JSI Auto) - 11854 Belair Rd
While this business provides a valuable service for many in the Kigsville area, it has been on ongoing problem, partially because of the owner's attitude that he can "do anything he wants" (his words to me). The parking lot configuration has been the cause of a dangerous situation on Belair Rd, mostly by not complying with a zoning hearing order of 25 years ago before the current owner bought the property, when it was "grandfathered" as a service garage.
Back in 1991, before Jeff Insley bought the property, a zoning hearing was held to verify that a service garage was a "legal non-conforming use", usually called "grandfathering". (He was present at that hearing.) The hearing concluded that it was, but resulted in a site plan that set restrictions on future use. There was also, supposedly, an agreement between the owner and GKCA that was the basis of GKCA support for the request. Does anyone have a copy of that agreement so I can post it here? Full Hearing result.
The order granting the "legal non-conforming use" as a service garage also set the following conditions:
- The petitioner shall not store damaged or disabled motor vehicles overnight in front of the subject building.
- The petitioner shall store all automotive parts, tires, and recyclable material inside of the premises or in an enclosed are behind the building.
- The privacy fence located to the rear of the property shall be maintained and kept in good condition by the Petitioner.
It is important to note that the SHA comments in that hearing, which one must understand to be a part of the agreement and conditions, was that the "number of entrances along Belair Rd" was a concern and that "one entrance is adequate .. and will require closing of the other two." Their revised comments, in a letter of Jan 25, 1991, was that "we will require two of the three entrances onto Belair Rd to be closed and reconstruction of the third one". This is the revised plan dated Jan 22, 1991 that SHA included with that letter. It shows one 35' driveway at the south end of the property, with a continuous curb along the rest to close off the other 2 driveways. Closing of these driveways was never done, in fact, it became one, long 230 ft driveway the entire length of the property, which leads to the dangerous situation we have today, with vehicles entering and exiting willy-nilly, and even backing out onto Belair Rd. The SHA comments also noted that "parking spaces are too close to the existing entrance onto Belair Rd causing a traffic conflict. Today, vehicles are still parking too close to Belair Rd, even within the road right-of-way.
In addition, the Baltimore County Zoning Regulations prohibit a "junk yard". The definition of "junk yard" in the BCZR, as well as in any dictionary, corresponds with what one finds in the rear of this business. Unfortunately, some inspectors seem to think that "anything goes" for a service garage, as long as it is hidden behind a fence. The best overview of the situation can be seen on this aerial photo from the County's website.
The approved site plan shows only 4 parking spaces in the front, being head-in to the side of the liquor store. The SHA comments require that they be moved. All other permitted parking spaces are on the side and rear (which have now been taken up by the addition of a "temporary" storage shed and an expansion of the fenced-in area (for the junk yard). These additions are illegal, since they were not a part of the plan and not approved by later action.
I should note here that my interest, and concern, is partially because the drainage from this "junk yard" flows into a stream which then flows through my property.
Here's the sad history of mostly unresolved complaints:
Case CC99CO0003283 - May 5, 2004
"Service Garage w/UTV (untagged vehicle) parked in R/W"
July 9, 2004 - Complaint letter filed.
The online record does not include a list of actions taken.
(A similar letter was sent to State Highways asking that they look into this matter. No action resulted.
Oct 4, 2004 - Complaint letter filed. No action resulted.
In this letter, the inspector addresses the "6 violations" she had listed in her August 22 letter, and states that she did not issue a citation following receiving a call from GKCA "asking us to not pursue the violations", but that she would if not corrected by Dec 15. The inspector explicitly refers to the County Code requirement that the parking lot be striped, in spite of the request from GKCA to the contrary. Nothing further seems to have been done about the 6 violations. Pretty sad that a community association would side with JSI against these attempts to get the place cleaned up! Striping is the only way to even begin to enforce the parking restrictions. There is no evidence that a citation was issued after the (new) Dec 15 deadline.
Case CC99CO0026411 - Aug 14, 2006
Aug 9, 2006 - complaint filed (for unlicensed, non-operational vehicles, trash)
Untagged vehicles on property
2nd week of Aug, 2006 - the inspector called me and stated that a flat tire does not make a vehicle "inoperative"!
Here's how the Zoning Regulations define "Inoperative motor vehicle": "Any motor vehicle that cannot be operated in its existing condition because the parts necessary for operation, including but not limited to tires, windshield, engine, drive train, driver's seat, steering wheel or column, or gas or brake pedals, are removed, destroyed, damaged or deteriorated." Decide for yourself!
The online record shows no action taken.
Case CC99CO0029628 - Jan 9, 2007
The online record does not show any action taken, but the signs disappeared.
Temporary portable commercial advertising sign
Case CC99CO0042453 - Mar 11, 2008
March 7, 2008 - Complaint filed
Flashing advertising sign, unlicensed vehicle on sidewalk
There is no indication of any action taken. Apparently it was ignored, but the status is "closed".
Case CC99CO0052292 - Oct 16, 2008 - Complaint: "Unlicensed vehicles, junk yard"
- Oct 6, 2008 - complaint filed
- Oct 20, initial inspection, no violation (Maybe that car with no engine really was operable! Wouldn't that be a break-through in gas efficiency! This photo shows it there on Oct 5 and I have another photo on Oct 14! The inspector should have been required to drive this sleek gem back to Towson! This is the same inspector that once told me that a flat tire does not make a vehicle "inoperative" - in regards to one sitting in this same spot!)
- Oct 23, 2008 - re-inspection
- Nov 5, 2008 - re-inspection, in compliance (I think he re-inspected at my insistence - the fact that he went back twice implies that he found a violation on the first re-inspection and issued a verbal warning. I have found that this inspector hates to issue any written anything.)
Case CC99CO0103320 - Nov 2, 2011
"Too many cars parked on Jerusalem Rd" (can't imagine what this means, as the property is not on Jerusalem Rd. Maybe they meant Davies Rd.)
- Nov 1, 2011 - Correction notice issued - unknown content
- Nov 7, 2011 - Complaint filed (to add to already opened case)
- Nov 22, 2011 Re-inspection
- Dec 7, 2011 - Re-inspection
- Dec 29, 2011 - Re-inspection
- Jan 23, 2012 - Re-inspection
- Feb 14, 2012 - Re-inspection
- Feb 22, 2012 - Re-inspection
- Mar 27, 2012 - Re-inspection
- Apr 12, 2012 - Re-inspection
- May 1, 2012 - Re-inspection
- May 17, 2012 - Re-inspection
- June 13, 2012 - Re-inspection
- July 11, 2012 - Re-inspection
- Aug 2, 2102 - Re-inspection
No kidding, the above is straight out of CE's own records. ( The data online now was converted from the old system in Feb 2014, and it seems that all the detail about what was done each visit was lost.) This is this inspector's normal procedure - keep going back (or saying that he did) and, claiming that there is always a little progress being made to comply, never gets to issuing a citation or forcing action by making the violator think he's serious.
Feb 16, 2012, Complaint filed
This was hand delivered to Arnold Jablon and discussed with him. He insisted that used vehicle sales is allowed as an "accessory use" as a service garage. He agreed that, if I could show that the service garage was a "non-conforming use", then this expansion to sell cars would be illegal. (See description above of 1991 hearing.) I sent him this information on March 5, but nothing was done to correct it.
Case CC99CO0139387 - Nov 5, 2013
Complaint: "Violation of site plan - contact Officer Donavan for questions #5439" (unknown what this means)
- November 8, 2013 - Initial inspection, Inspector's comments: "11-8-13 no cars for sale, minor debris, photos, instructed owner to remove debris, no notice issued"
- Nov 12, 2013 - Complaint filed (to add to already opened case)
- Mar 6, 2014 - Correction notice issued
- Apr 7, 2014 - Citation issued - outside storage of damaged/disabled vehicles, remove non-permitted shed
(Note: This was a different inspector from the previous case, so there was no long series of "re-inspections" - just go a month later and take many photos and issue a citation like an inspector is supposed to do.)
- May 7, 2014 - Pre-hearing inspection, in violation
- about May 10 - Hearing - There is no evidence of a hearing being held or of any order being issued, but it must have been.
- July 29, 2014 - "In compliance", but shed and other disabled vehicles still there 2 years later. There are no photos posted online to show that it was "in compliance".
Case CB1400260 - May 12, 2014 - Complaint: "Building fence on neighbor's property w/o permit"
May 13, 2014 - inspection scheduled (by building inspector) - apparently never done.
Case CC1403099 - May 12, 2014 - Complaint: "Building fence on neighbor's property w/o permit"
May 22, 2014 initial inspection, "no violation"
(Code Enforcement will never deal with a property line dispute. But they probably should have issued a citation for building a fence without a survey.)
Case CC1404268 - May 23, 2014 - Building fence w/o permit
No indication online of any action taken.
Case CC1405874 - June 12, 2014 (recorded under 11864 Belair Rd - the complainant's address)
Complaint: "Auto shop dumping trash into residential location at 11846 Belair Rd - reported by Health Dept."
June 23, 2014 - initial inspection, "no violation"
The online files contain one photo taken by the inspector that shows a nice clean area. However, inspectors have been known to turn their back to the violation, or leave it out, when taking a photo. Or maybe the property-owner had already picked it up.
Complaint October 10, 2015, no case opened
Another Kingsville resident sent in a complaint letter detailing violations for
- Massive amount of tagged and untagged vehicles in front, side and rear
- Piles of metal debris on side and rear
- Numerous vehicles for sale - does he have the proper license?
See full letter here - this is obviously from someone who is really mad and doesn't want to take it any longer! Although the letter goes a little off-topic (for Code Enforcement) with a recommendation to boycott the business, I think it accurately reflects the frustration of many residents with this constant eye-sore.
Case CC1601224 - March 3, 2016
- New complaint mailed Feb 29, 2016 for junk, storage of disabled and damaged cars, selling used cars, improper parking, non-permitted shed, and a pile of tires improperly stored.
- March 8, 2016 Inspection, inspector says "no violation". The junk has been cleaned up, so he obvioulsy knew that the inspector was coming. The inspector's 3 photos do not show the area where the junk pile was, nor the pile of tires that was just there a couple days ago, but they do show other violations. Obviously, the inspector went by on March 4 (which the CE website said was when the initial inspection was scheduled) and gave a verbal warning, then returned 4 days later.
Case CC1700687 - January 26, 2017
Case CC1815657 - October 3, 2018
- New complaint, same as previous two, just a different pile of junk.
- Oct 17, 2018 - Correction notice (This should have been an immediate citation bacuase of the previous 2 cases.)