Downtown dispute lands in county court

LISBON – An expected injunction was filed in Columbiana County Common Pleas against a Salem business alleged to be violating city zoning ordinances.

Salem Law Director Brooke Zellers filed the injunction on behalf of City Council against Robert A. Courtney, the statutory agent for Downtown Metals and Recycling LLC. The injunction is an attempt to force Downtown Metals to comply with zoning ordinances forbidding them from operating a junk or scrap yard on its property on West Wilson Street, formerly the Pittsburgh Foundry property.

The property is currently zoned M2 heavy industrial, which permits the manufacturing or making of items or products. However, that does not include the operation of a scrap yard, which is not a permitted use.

According to the lawsuit, on Sept. 17, 2013, council went a step further and passed an ordinance which specifically excluded M2 heavy industrial areas from all auto wrecking, scrap yards or junk yards, including but not limited to the collection, sorting or processing of scrap or salvage material.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims two letters were sent to Courtney, first warning him the property was not zoned for a scrap yard and then six months later ordering him to cease. The court documents claim Courtney has not complied with those letters.

Following the second letter, the fire department was reportedly called to the location after a fire reportedly started while a vehicle was being cut up into scrap.

The injunction requests the court to order Courtney and restrain him from conducting any further operations not permitted by the zoning and the city ordinances.

City Council had unanimously approved a resolution in early June for Zellers to file the injunction.