Thursday, April 15, 2004

Homeowner continues fight vs. gun club

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MILFORD TOWNSHIP - From 800 miles away, Mike Loriz continues to fight the Somerville-area bird-shooting operation that forced him to move to Long Island.

Loriz moved his wife and two daughters from their $700,000 home on Oxford-Middletown Road in June after losing a court challenge against the neighboring Ridgewind Quail Hunts preserve, 6508 State Road.

Loriz, 41, a Delta Air Lines pilot, has filed a federal lawsuit in New York seeking $10 million in damages and a permanent injunction against the Butler County preserve.

"My home there is uninhabitable and worthless. All the trees are shot up. Our property has had a rain of lead on it," says Loriz from his home on Shelter Island, N.Y., two hours east of New York City.

Loriz filed the suit Mach 31 in the Eastern New York U.S. District Court against Butler County Board of Zoning Appeals members who authorized Charles and Christopher Keller of Somerville to operate the licensed hunting preserve.

The suit also names county zoning inspectors Bill Balsinger and Jim Fox; Assistant Prosecutor Roger Gates; Steven Gray of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; and Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals Judges Anthony Valen, William Young and Stephen Powell, who rejected Loriz's suit last year.

Loriz claims they denied him due process in attempting to shut down the shooting range.

After Loriz lost his Ohio court appeal, the Board of Zoning Appeals in February last year upheld an operating permit the county had issued to the Kellers.

The approval included 20 conditions, such as requiring a 100-foot buffer along property lines, fencing and an annual review by the zoning appeals board. The first review since operation resumed will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Government Services Center in Hamilton.

Charles Keller said this week that he has operated within the limits established by the board.

Fox, the Milford Township zoning inspector, said residents attending will be allowed to comment only on whether the Kellers have met conditions set by the board.


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