The White River has had tremendous recovery and many of us are enjoying its wild offerings. However, there are several neighbors in Anderson, Indiana who are responding to Drews Parts which is building a threat to the water quality of the White River. Public pressure needs to be applied to make the governmental authorities take appropriate actions. Sean Smith is the person in Anderson who is pushing forward with legal action against Drews Parts. Below is correspondence that Sean has had with neighbors and letters he has written to various government authorities. I will continue to update this blog post with any new information.
There is a section on "What You Can Do"
Item #1 February 24, 2021
As always I have bcc’d you so your email isn’t public unless you want it to be. I have cc’d Jerry Jackson the IDEM inspector who conducted the 12/23/2020 inspection, Kelly Hall Section Chief of Solid Waste Office of Land Quality for IDEM, Senator Gaskill, Representative Rowray, the Indiana SoS Dealer Services group, and the Madison County Commissioners.
On December 23, 2020 IDEM conducted a site inspection of 705 E School Street and concluded there are no violations on the property. This raises numerous concerns because several items not selected on the attached report (report.pdf) are clearly present on the property. This leads me to believe the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is either incapable of performing an accurate inspection or has no problem overlooking clear violations. On previous inspections multiple IDEM staff members conducted the inspection and numerous photographs not only of violations but the overall site were included. This inspection was completed by one inspector and no photographs were included.
1. If you review page two of the inspection report solid waste "001 Tires” is not selected. There are literally mounds of tires located in several places on the property. I have pictures dated 12/22/2020 through 2/24/2021 documenting the mounds of tires. Additionally Inspector Jackson was onsite 12/23/2020 from 9:45am-11:00am, I have pictures taken while Inspector Jackson was onsite of the mounds of tires. These photographs were provided to Inspector Jackson and Ms. Hall on 2/18/2021 but I have not been provided a response.
2. I have photographs from 12/22/2020 through 12/26/2020 documenting the hazardous material visible in the pond at 705 E School Street. Once again Inspector Jackson was onsite 12/23/2020 and I have a screen capture taken from an aerial movie irrefutably showing the contaminates in the pond during the time Inspector Jackson was onsite. These contaminates were visible from several hundred feet away leading me to believe Inspector Jackson failed to adequately inspect the property. Keep in mind this was the waste that spilled into our neighborhood on 12/30/2020. Had a proper inspection been completed this discharge could have been avoided. Once again “010 Waste in Water/Wetland” is not selected on page two of the 12/23/2020 report.
3. Additionally, “003 Household Waste”, “006 Construction/Demolition Waste”, and “007 Bulky Waste” is not marked despite photographic evidence of these items being on the property from 12/20/2020 through today.
4. Inspector Jackson did not mark “009 Evidence of Burning” despite IDEM Air Compliance citing this very condition in their December 30, 2020 report.
5. Inspector Jackson stated "Complaint came in as owner was removing trees and has a lot of metal and parts on the property. This is a machinery salvage yard. Yes, there is a lot of metal and machine parts on the property. The owner said he just bought the storage area to the west and most of the material will be stored indoors. The facility is in compliance.”. Yet a salvage yard is not authorized to operate on light industrial zoning in Madison County. Despite numerous other government entities labeling this business as a salvage operation the Madison County Planning Department still classifies it as a “Parts Distributor”. This is in-addition to numerous other businesses being operated on this parcel.
Whats next? Since IDEM refuses to document and take enforcement action regarding clear violations and the Madison County Planning Department has told me they have no enforcement staff, and refuses to properly classify this business and enforce ordinances, it has left me no choice but to seek remedies through the Court. Laurie is representing me in a lawsuit against Drews Parts for violating various laws, regulations, and ordinances. This suit has already been filed. Just because state and local government agencies refuse to address this problem doesn’t mean I have to put up with it. Should any evidence demonstrate violations or complicity on behalf of a government entity, employee, or agent I will evaluate all options against them. Once this is over we should come together and bridge political parties to ensure politicians who care about our community hold office.
What can you do?
I flew the drone over the property today and the same hazards and violations still exist. Household waste, commercial batteries on the ground, mounds of tires, the list goes on. If you are also concerned about these issues you can:
I've a complaint with IDEM https://apps.idem.in.gov/complaintform/default.aspx Despite inaction to date this will properly document the violations and inaction. I fly the drone over the property almost daily to catalog the condition of the property. Some of these violations are not easily visible from off the property so please reach out if you would like drone photos or videos of a given day to substantiate your complaint and we can make arrangements.2. File a complaint with the Indiana Secretary of State Dealer Services division https://dealers.sos.in.gov/Complaint/Complainant pursuant to title 9 of Indiana law if the property has more than two inoperable vehicles, that are required by the state to be registered, on property for more than 30-days they are required to hold an automotive salvage recyclers license which they do not have. Don’t be surprised if it takes several months for them to respond to you. If you have any issues please contact Rachael Ehlich firstname.lastname@example.org she is the Director of that division.
4. Continue to email pictures, videos, or any information to me via email.
5. If so see any open burning or contamination coming from this property contact Richland Township Fire at (765)649-5851
6. Recently tractor trailers have been parking and partially blocking School Street while conducting business with Drews Parts if this poses a safety issue contact Madison County Sheriff using the non emergency number (765)646-9285
7. The drive between the salvage yard and their office crossing McArthur is in violation of Madison County Ordinances. They are frequently using ATVs to cross McArthur. ATVs are required to be registered and insured to operate on county roads I do not see any registration stickers on any of their ATVs. If this causes a traffic hazard please contact the Madison County Sheriff using the non emergency number (765)646-9285
8. If you feel Madison County is not handling this appropriately I suggest you contact the Madison County Commissioners; John Richwine email@example.com , Darlene Likens firstname.lastname@example.org , and Kelly Gaskill email@example.com (to-date Kelly is the only one that has taken a genuine interest in resolving this matter). I wouldn’t waste energy emailing the Planning Department as that's a lost cause. How Brad Newman leads anything is beyond me, his position remains that Drews Parts is a parts distributor you know like NAPA.
9. If you file a report please drop me an email so I can keep an eye out for any inspection report and add it to the pile.
Item #2 March 5, 2021
Mayor Broderick & Council Members,
I wanted to make you aware that the Madison County Government is working on a deal that would facilitate the movement of a salvage and junk yard into the City of Anderson. Drews Parts is a salvage and/or junk yard in operation at 705 E School Street in the unincorporated area of Madison County. This business is in violation of land use and has been provided notice of its numerous substantial ordinance violations by the Madison County Planning Department. Additionally this business is a horrible neighbor and steward of the land. Responsible for blight, excessive constant noise, and environmental damage, including air and water contamination-most recently a hazardous chemical spill and discharge onto neighboring parcels. In the most recent instance Drews Parts has refused to fully cooperate with remediation plans. The business has built multiple structures without permits and continues to refuse to comply with ordinances. The owner routinely lies to the Madison County Planning Department about its compliance. A trend I am sure will carry over if he moves into the City of Anderson. The owner constructed a non-permitted unlined pond, then tore down the dam flooding our neighborhood. These are very serious allegations and it’s important to note I can substantiate each and everyone of them with evidence.
It is my understanding Kelly Drews/Drews Parts recently purchased the former McClain Museum (2304 Crystal St) and plans on expanding its salvage operations to those parcels. On December 15, 2020, I filed an ordinance violation complaint with Madison County regarding the current operations of Drews Parts at 705 & 815 E School Street. Madison County has done little to address the problems and has been openly hostile towards myself and other neighbors complaining about the illegal junk yard. Most of the time it appears the Madison County Government is an advocate for this irresponsible business and not the citizens of Madison County. Had it not been for myself, counsel Laureen White, and neighbor Lindsay Brown it is clear Madison County planned on brushing these zoning violations under the rug as they have done for years. As part of the plan brokered between the Madison County Government and Drews Parts, Drews is required to shift some of their operations onto the former McClain property. Make no mistake these issues will soon become your problem. Mr. Drews has expressed, on more than one occasion, that he can do whatever he wants on his property.
The failure of the Madison County Government to ensure compliance with zoning ordinances has required me to file a lawsuit against this business and seek my own injunction. My entire neighborhood is outraged about the operation of this illegal business, however Madison County has informed me the best they can do is “work with the property owner”. Madison County has refused to take any enforcement action, issue any fines or even make the parcel record its non-permitted buildings so that taxes can be levied. Despite knowing of these issues since 2012. Instead of these reasonable actions, Madison County is giving this property 24 months to drag this salvage yard into the City of Anderson. Has the Madison County Government worked with the City of Anderson regarding their plan? Something tells me they have not. I have followed the City of Anderson’s efforts to eliminate blight and prevent new blight. The City of Anderson has done a commendable job stopping impound yards and other businesses that fail to facilitate responsible growth. Additionally, the McClain property is in disrepair and I doubt Drews Parts will bring it into compliance. A simple look at 705 E School Street shows Drews Parts will not maintain the property and plans on sucking every dime of value out, eventually leaving the mess on the lap of local government.
A review of the former McClain Museum reflects I1 zoning and this type of business appears to be prohibited in I1 zoning. I’m sure Kelly Drews and Madison County will tell you everything will be kept inside, it’ll be a "parts distributor". Keep in mind everything at 705 E School Street should be inside yet its acre after acre of junkyard. Additionally the City of Anderson ordinances would still classify these activities as a salvage or junk yard even if conducted entirely within the structure. If I can be of any additional help I am willing to provide any documents, photographs, or videos you require. Additionally, we will make ourselves available to discuss this issue upon request. We both love Anderson and Madison County and want a bright future. Please don’t allow Madison County to shove their problems onto the City of Anderson, we need to come together to foster responsible longterm development.
Attached is the complaint, supplement 1, and supplement 2 filed with the Madison County Planning Department for your review, additionally if you review cause 48C04-2102-CT-000020 it should paint a clear picture of what you’re in for.
11 Flyntwood Dr
Anderson, IN 46012
City of Anderson Ordinances
Special Exception District in which use may be permitted Requirement Designation
Junk yard I2 cl, e, h1, i4, k11, l5, m2, n3, r1, v, w, y
JUNK AND SALVAGE YARD. A building, structure, facility and/or a parcel of land, or portion thereof, that is used primarily for the storing, collecting, buying, selling, processing, dismantling, handling, discarding, salvaging or scraping of materials or things, which may include, but are not limited to, motor vehicles or parts thereof, machinery and equipment. This shall also include scrap iron, structural steel, other metals, waste paper, rags,plastics, bottles, building materials, lumber and wood products, rubber tires and other unspecified recoverable and reusable resources and materials. Animal matter and hazardous waste as defined and regulated in 329 IAC 3.1, as amended, are not permitted in a Junk and Salvage Yard. A Junk and Salvage Yard shall meet all special exception requirements and must be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).
City of Anderson Ordinances 2017 S-14