Thursday, April 27, 2000

Clearcreek zoning ordeal ended

Man battled township over homestead

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A 71-year-old Clearcreek Township man at odds with zoning officials for almost a decade over a ramshackle stockade he built on Bunnell Hill Road is finally off the hook.

        Judge Neal Bronson ruled Wednesday that William Redmon had sufficiently cleaned up the property and torn down illegal roofing that covered much of the compound, as well as catwalks and lookout towers.

        Even though the case was closed, Mr. Redmon said he was soured by the ordeal that started around 1991.

        “I wouldn't give a quarter to live out there if I wasn't already there,” Mr. Redmon said after the hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

        “They've been tearing my liberty all to hell.”

        Mr. Redmon maintained he built the structures and walled in the compound for safety after beer bottles were thrown through his front window and his porch light was shot out.

        The property is surrounded by 10-foot walls and fences patched with plastic, metal and other salvage material.

        Those structures can stay because they were built before zoning laws prohibited them in the 1970s.

        Clearcreek Township officials said Wednesday that if the judge is satisfied, they are ready to leave Mr. Redmon alone — unless he builds anything else that violates the township's zoning code.

        “The neighbors keep us pretty well posted,” Township Administrator Dennis Pickett said.

        The latest court battle over conditions on Mr. Redmon's property started in 1997, when Judge Bronson, acting on complaints from the township, ordered Mr. Redmon to remove everything but the original house, garage and fence.

        Enforcement of the order was postponed until last spring, after Mr. Redmon exhausted his appeals.

        In August, Judge Bronson found Mr. Redmon was in contempt of the clean-up order and again ordered him to dismantle the illegal structures or face fines of $100 a day for each day the property was out of compliance.


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