When David Oglesbee looks out at his yard in Greenacres, he sees fixables, raceables and collectibles.
“I grew up with old cars in the yard,” the 46-year-old said. “That’s all I know.”
When some neighbors look at the yard, they see rusting junk.
Sitting on Oglesbee’s property on 17718 E. Indiana are about a dozen cars - most clear-coat shiny, some rotted-out rusty. His business, Oglesbee Paint & Body, operates on residential land without a necessary conditional use permit.
County zoning inspectors want him to get permits or clear out the cars. Some belong to him, others belong to friends. Oglesbee said he didn’t know he needed a permit, and that the neighbor who reported him, Sam Garvin, is the real nuisance.
Some neighbors are annoyed by Oglesbee’s car hobby. Others say they’re vexed by Garvin’s hobby, which they claim is reporting folks to the county for anything and everything.
This brouhaha started when Garvin filed a complaint June 10. The cars, he thought, were an eyesore.
“(Zoning) applies to him as well as anyone else,” said Garvin, 74. “Why should he get a free ride?” Garvin said he has nothing personal against people he reports. He just believes everyone should follow zoning codes, he said.
When zoning inspector Allan deLaubenfels went to take a look at Oglesbee’s land, he found a storage garage built without a building permit. He also discovered a trailer a friend stays in, parked on Oglesbee’s property.
The parcel isn’t zoned for more than one dwelling, county documents show. Oglesbee said he doesn’t view a moveable trailer as a dwelling. His friend has stayed there for 18 months.
Combined, the incident is “one of the biggest zoning violations” in recent memory, deLaubenfels said.
After deLaubenfels’ visit, Oglesbee did some cleaning up. He got rid of $3,000 worth of old cars and moved a few others in his garage.
He also obtained a building permit last month, records show. Oglesbee said the contractor who built his storage building was supposed to get a permit, but didn’t.
As for the cars, Oglesbee said he’ll apply for whatever permits he needs. When he obtained a business license, no one told him he couldn’t use his home for the business, he said.
Oglesbee said he doesn’t advertise, and that most of his work is done for friends.
“It’s no different than guys with a pottery collection or wagon-wheel collection,” Oglesbee said. “The fairness in this is - there is none.”
When deLaubenfels inspected the property last month, Oglesbee swore at him, deLaubenfels said. The inspector said he was afraid to get out of his car. He thought Oglesbee was capable of violence.
“He’s an in-your-face guy,” deLaubenfels said.
Oglesbee denies he’s ever violent.
“How violent can I be on Prozac? I’m as mellow as a kitten,” he said. He has a Prozac prescription for anxiety attacks, he said.
Oglesbee isn’t the only neighbor who tells of being reported by Garvin.
“He drives around looking for people to turn in,” said Bette Ellis, 62. “He’s been hassling us for 22 years.”
Ellis said Garvin recently turned her in for having trucks, an RV and a boat with expired tabs. She said Garvin was also upset she uses huge tires as flower planters in her yard.
County officials allowed her to keep the planters, she said. She now has a toilet filled with flowers in her yard. The next time Garvin reports her, she said, she’ll add more toilets and maybe even bathtubs.
Ellis, who lives on Mission directly behind Oglesbee, doesn’t mind the cars. “More power to him,” she said.
Another neighbor on Mission, Aaron Carpenter, said he has been turned in three different times by Garvin. Carpenter claims an inspector Garvin called to check his property for noxious weeds last year found specimens on Garvin’s property, too.
“I’d just like to see peace around here,” Carpenter said.
74-year-old Marguerite Hancock, who lives on Mission, said Garvin once complained to county officials that she had too many cows. She has five. The county did nothing, she said.
Is Garvin going overboard?
“He’s a hard-working man, he tries to keep his place up,” said Gayle Crockett, a neighbor living on adjacent Long Road. “I find real difficulty in finding that people don’t mind (Oglesbee’s cars) … quite frankly, I do object to looking across the pasture” and seeing them.
Others want the wrecks to roll away, too.
“It seems like people come to Greenacres just to grow cars,” said Janet Piger, whose backyard faces Oglesbee’s lot. “It gets old after a while.”
Laura Henke, who lives across from Oglesbee on Indiana, said the business creates traffic. And sometimes, neighbors said, Oglesbee or his visitors hot rod around the sleepy, rural neighborhood.
Rod Davenport, who lives just west of Oglesbee, just thinks the whole thing is a mess.
He said while Garvin is known as the “neighborhood pain,” Oglesbee’s cars are an eyesore before they’re restored. Once finished, though, Davenport enjoys looking at the vintage roadsters.
“I think if (Oglesbee) is violating the zoning, the county should do something,” Davenport said.
“If not, it’s none of (anyone’s) business … I live and let live, that’s my philosophy.”