Neighbors in Delaware subdivision upset over giant wall of dirt

Local News

A giant wall of dirt more than 30 feet tall and 1,000 feet long was constructed on property bordering a Delaware subdivision, and a homeowner’s attorney alleges it is violating the zoning code, neighbors said it is also an eyesore.

Jay and Ginger Sunderland built their home in the Olentangy Falls subdivision in 2014 and said they use to have a beautiful view. That was until eight months ago when he said a giant wall of dirt was built, butting up to his and several other homes.

“It is horrendous! It is just ugly, you know it is just awful,” Sunderland said.

Sunderland filed a formal complaint through his Attorney Christopher Rinehart with Liberty Township officials in April. The complaint alleges the dirt wall is a zoning violation, because it was built without a zoning permit. Sunderland said the contractor Martin Savko Jr., who put the dirt berm in also owns a farm on the other side of the dirt mound. The Delaware County Auditor’s web site confirms he is the owner of a home on Taggart Road opposite the berm.

NBC4 sent his business an email but did not get a response.

“We are basically spinning our wheels with regards to any progress, and this has been going on since December of last year,” Sunderland said.

Township Administrator Matt Huffman who was named in the complaint, said the township received the complaint. “The situation has been under review and we are in the process of addressing it,” Huffman said.

The property with the berm is owned by a Limited Liability Corporation called Thornwood Taggart, according to the County Auditor’s GIS website.

Huffman referred me to the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office for any other information.

Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said she has also seen the complaint and said it is up to the zoning inspector to decide if it is a violation. O’Brien said she cannot talk about any advice her office has given to township officials about the zoning issue.

Sunderland said, “Liberty Township declared it is a structure as defined in their rules and regulations.”

His complaint states township zoning code deems any construction is a structure and needs a zoning permit if it is more than 16 inches tall. O’Brien said landscaping construction more than 18 inches tall needs a permit. Sunderland and his attorney Rinehart claim the dirt wall has never been permitted.

Homeowners said they just want to see the wall of dirt go away and are worried it could affect the property values of their homes.

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