An auto salvage yard visible from Route 100 in Pasadena has lost the first round in its appeal to stay open, but owner Tom Redmond said he will take his fight to Circuit Court.
The county Board of Appeals denied Mr. Redmond a zoning exception on Aug. 27 to remain open in an area designated for commercial use. He has operated the salvage yard on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard for 22 years.
The board found that Mr. Redmond had not complied with a previous zoning exception granted last summer, by not planting trees and building an eight-foot opaque fence to screen his operation from view by a Dec. 31, 1992, deadline. He also did not submit a plan to recycle oil and other fluids or install a device to capture grit and oil from storm water runoff on time.
"We were moving slowly" in part because of the enormous cost of meeting the requirements, Mr. Redmond, president of the Pasadena Business Association, said this week. He estimated the total cost of complying at $60,000.
"I felt they wouldn't be as strict as this," he said, adding that he has since complied with more than 70 percent of the requirements. He said he must wait until the fall planting season to bring in 300 additional trees.
Mr. Redmond, campaigning for the County Council seat held by Republican Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, said he believes the appeals board, the administrative hearing office and the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement are under political pressure to single him out for enforcement.
"If you look between the lines, there are a lot of political overtones here," Mr. Redmond said.
Mr. Holland has denied any pressure has come from his office.
A 1989 ordinance requires new and existing salvage yards to meet certain standards and to obtain a zoning exception. The county has 12 operating salvage yards, six in Mr. Holland's 3rd District.
Mr. Redmond's yard is directly across Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard from Smitty's Auto and Truck Parts, the only other salvage yard to receive a zoning exception.
Many of Mr. Redmond's neighbors rallied to his defense last week. If he closes down, "it's going to hurt us, in a way," said Duke G. Aaron Sr., a Waterford Road resident. "He cleans up Annapolis Boulevard sometimes. He helps neighbors with trash pick ups. If it weren't for him, we'd probably have a lot more junk cars scattered around."
Administrative Hearing Officer Robert Wilcox had granted Mr. Redmond a zoning exception on June 15, 1992, but stripped him of it last spring when he had failed to meet the standards. Mr. Redmond then turned to the appeals board.
Zoning enforcement officials said Mr. Redmond will be asked to shut his operation down unless the courts reverse the appeals board decision.