Neighbors appealing Wayne County Board of Zoning Appeals decisions that permit an auction facility indicate in a court filing they expect reduced property values and a decline in quality of life if the facility operates.

John and Tammy Tackett of the 1700 block of Bockhofer Road live immediately south of the property on the east side of U.S. 27 north of Fountain City where Omer Kauffman and Midway Auction Barn LLC received a variance of use and a special exception to operate the facility, which would have Wednesday livestock auctions in addition to other equipment and general merchandise auctions. The facility’s plans include a 300-seat building, animal barn and on-site parking. 

The Tacketts originally filed in October with Circuit Court their appeal of the Sept. 14 BZA decisions; however, Judge April Drake found the filing deficient of legal requirements. The Tacketts filed their more detailed appeal on the Dec. 15 deadline Drake set. In a Dec. 21 order, though, Drake indicated no further action will be immediately taken, because the defendants were not served with the Tacketts’ complaint.

When making its decisions, the BZA members vote on multiple, specific findings of fact. Whether the findings are accepted or denied determines whether the BZA will accept or deny the petition.

The Tacketts’ appeal addresses the BZA’s findings that the facility would not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community and that the applicable zoning creates a practical difficulty using the property.

In the appeal, the Tacketts indicate the facility would be injurious because of financial impacts and because of evidence they supplied the BZA of expected damage to the soil and drinking water. They also say there is no practical difficulty using the land because it’s prime farmland.

The appeal further states that the BZA failed to consider evidence, much of which was not contradicted, against the facility and made decisions that are “arbitrary and capricious.”

John Tackett was one of five people speaking against the auction during the 1.5-hour BZA meeting Sept. 14. The BZA approved the facility on about 20 acres, restricting auction hours to Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday ending at 9 p.m. It had previously denied a petition that would have located the auction facility along Helm Road south of Williamsburg.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 3 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.