Fords Sue County Over Zoning Issue


A Grovertown couple who was ordered to remove an improperly placed structure from their property are suing the county for damages as a result of their ordeal. Walter and Julia Ford’s lawsuit names former Starke County Building Commissioner Bruce Williams, the Starke County Board of Commissioners and Board of Zoning Appeals of Starke County as defendants.

The Fords placed a mobile home on their property at 6690 East 250 North in Grovertown in 2011. Neighbors George and Betty Dotlich filed a BZA appeal in October of that year claiming the structure the Fords placed on the property is not a mobile home. The BZA revoked that permit and issued one for a site-built home. The matter has been tied up in court since. On Feb. 21, 2013 the BZA adopted the findings issued by a special judge in the case in January of 2013 and ordered the structure removed from the property.

The lawsuit contends the Fords have suffered harm as a result of the negligence of the defendants. It claims they breached their duty by improperly issuing a building permit for the structure, improperly interpreting the court’s findings and not holding a new hearing to give all parties due process. According to the lawsuit, the Fords spent more than $40,000 to build the home. The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages for costs to construct and remove the home, interest, closing and loan expenses, loss of value to the home, emotional distress, attorney fees and other damages.