CLOVERDALE -- The owner of Steele's Auto and Wrecker Service gave the Cloverdale Board of Zoning Appeals a thinly veiled lawsuit threat for unanimously approving a special exception Thursday night that will allow Jeff Everman to operate a wrecker service out of Discount Tire.
Jim Steele stopped just short of using the word "lawsuit," though he said he had retained a lawyer.
The Steeles have been vocal critics of Everman since the BZA voted in February 2006 that he was in violation of town ordinance and must receive a special exception in order to run a wrecker service in Cloverdale.
At that time the BZA required Everman to erect a building and make several other concessions in order to receive the exception. They denied his exception in December 2006 when he did not have a building to house his tires completed by the deadline. No members of the current BZA served on the board at that time.
Everman said it was done two weeks later.
The new board seems to be of an entirely different political bent and has resisted Steele's requests to crack down on Everman, who told the board he moved the towing service's operations to Greencastle.
BZA president Dave Lyons would have taken a vote on the matter without even hearing Steele's request to speak, but BZA Attorney Karen Temple intervened and suggested that the board hear him out.
Steele, however, presented evidence that Everman lied to the board and that he's still working out of Cloverdale.
Steele said it is unfair for the board to give Everman a second chance since he had to "jump through so many hoops."
The board's stance toward Everman's business is discrimination, Steele's said.
"Our attorney did advise us to let tonight's meeting happen and someone will pay the consequences," he told the board before the vote.
The Plan Commission, which met before the BZA, also unanimously voted to approve Everman's request.
The Plan Commission also heard a request from real estate investor John Setty to remove the concrete barriers at the end of Crosswinds Road.
However, when questioned, the board learned that Town Council member John Davis, who also sits on the Plan Commission but was absent Thursday night, placed the barriers there with Utility Manager Mike Gray.
Plan Commission member Terry Puffer and President Jerry Acrea suggested in light of that information that Setty take his request to the town board since the Plan Commission never voted to place the barriers there in the first place.
The commission voted unanimously to forward Setty's request to the town board.