A complaint filed by Loudon County against a Lenoir City man for a violation of zoning regulations will soon go to court.
The case against Beals Chapel Property LLC Manager Mark Matlock is set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 17 at Loudon County Chancery Court in front of Chancellor Frank V. Williams III.
Jim Jenkins, county codes enforcement director, spearheaded the complaint on the county’s side.
The issue stems from a September 2018 complaint that an accessory building owned by Matlock was constructed too close to the side of a property line.
“Mr. Jenkins made a site visit to verify the complaint,” according to the complaint. “During his inspection, he noted that there is a structure, which had been allowed to be constructed at an earlier date without a roof covering, located within the 5-foot setback. Mr. Jenkins found that this same structure now has a roof covering added to it.”
Jenkins sent a notice letter to BCP on Sept. 19, 2018, informing Matlock that the building did not meet the minimum required setbacks and needed to be moved.
According to the complaint, Matlock began constructing a pool house in 2009 and complaints from neighbors were initiated in 2013. Matlock also constructed a privacy wall.
Matlock appeared before the Loudon County Board of Zoning Appeals on Nov. 13, 2018, and the board upheld the decision that the structure with a roof covering was in violation and needed to be brought into compliance.
W. Edward Shipe, Matlock’s attorney, filed a motion to dismiss in October 2020, stating through the Revised Limited Liability Act, “a member, holder, director, manager, officer, employee or other agent of an LLC does not have any personal obligation, and is not otherwise personally liable, for the acts, debts, liabilities or obligations of the LLC.”
“Because the complaint alleged that Beals Chapel Property LLC is the owner of the property, and only that Mr. Matlock ‘resides at the subject property and is a managing member of BCP,’ Mr. Matlock cannot be held personally liable for the ‘for acts, debts, liabilities or obligations’ of Beals Chapel Properties LLC,” Shipe wrote in the motion. “... Accordingly, the plaintiff has no right to a judgment against Mr. Matlock for the alleged zoning violation on the property and Mr. Matlock must be dismissed from this action. Even (if) Mr. Matlock is deemed to be a necessary party, the plaintiff still has no right to a judgment against Mr. Matlock, and all claims of affirmative relief as against Mr. Matlock must be dismissed.”
Shipe said the plaintiff is “barred from recovery because the decision of the BZA was arbitrary and capricious.” The zoning regulation is also “vague and unenforceable both facially and as applied.”
Matlock and Shipe could not be reached for comment by News-Herald presstime.
Bob Bowman, county attorney, declined comment other than verifying the court hearing date.
According to the lawsuit, Matlock could be fined $5-$50 per day for the continued violation.