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Saturday, November 05, 2016

Judge denies claims against Harbeson garage

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This is an update to an article we posted on October 15th.  Click HERE to see the original article

A Chancery Court judge has denied all claims against a Harbeson man whose neighbors say he is operating an illegal car repair shop.

In an opinion released Nov. 4, Chancery Court Judge Sam Glasscock addressed what he referred to as “officious intermeddling” by neighbors of Charles Williams who filed suit asking that Williams’ garage be torn down because of violations with county and building codes.

In the judge’s latest opinion, he denied plaintiff’s request to tear down the garage and affirmed, as the judge did in a previous opinion, that Williams can use his garage for his auto repair hobby. The judge also said Williams is allowed to have ornamental signs on his property and denied the request by plaintiffs Robert Walker Jr., Margaret Foulke and John and Carol Kane for payment of their legal fees associated with the lawsuit.

The three sued Williams in 2014 saying Williams was operating a car repair shop out of his home, causing noise, heavy traffic and unpleasant odors that affected their way of life. They contended the garage was illegal and larger than Sussex County code allowed – violation of building codes, zoning codes and land-use policy.

Judge Glasscock said Delaware state code gives Sussex County authority on zoning and the county, in turn, hires a building inspector to determine whether building codes have been enforced. While acknowledging that the ceiling trusses or floor slope of Williams garage may not be up to code, Glasscock said the plaintiffs failed to prove how the garage has injured them. He also said state statute leaves enforcement of building codes to a county director of assessment. “I conclude no statutory standing exists with respect to enforcement of the building code as adopted by Sussex County,” he wrote. “To find, as the plaintiffs argue, that all property owners in Sussex County have standing to enforce the building code would, I fear, result in inefficient and pernicious litigation.”



Anonymous said...

Hell yeah!

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo, nasty neighbors!

Anonymous said...

Finally a judge who used common sense and the law in his verdict. I am so happy for the defendant. There are a lot of people who work on cars for the shear enjoyment it brings them to take something not working and make it work properly!

Anonymous said...

I can see complaining if its a junkyard or rats, vermin are infesting it ,loud music, parties or badly overgrown bushes and trees, or the place is falling down and dangerous...other than that leave your neighbors alone!!!People have a right to live the way they wish on their property as long as it isn't a extreme case of one of these above.. No one wants anyone telling them what to do with their wouldn't like it..if it isn't severely disturbing your property or life, then mind your own business!!! I deal with people calling when I repair something or burn in my burn barrel, just because they are old and have NO LIFE other than to call on neighbors for excitement...most of the time the inpsector/cops are pissed because they do it to everyone all the time..its annoying.