MEDINA -- Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler has ruled in favor of Bill Doraty and his Kia dealership on its appeal from a decision of the Medina Township Board of Zoning Appeals.
It's a back and forth battle that has gone on for years.
Kimbler ruled that inflatables are designed not to move and, therefore, are not restricted by the zoning code.
For the last few years, Doraty has adorned his dealership's roof at the corner of Interstate 71 and state Route 18 with seasonable inflatables, everything from shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day, giant gorillas, hamsters and patriotic eagles.
Doraty had been repeatedly cited for displaying those inflatables, saying they violated the township zoning code.
He appealed and then a federal court advisory jury and U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent ruled against him.
Doraty then applied for a temporary sign permit from the township's board of zoning appeals and was denied on the grounds that moving signs are not permitted.
It was that decision that he appealed to Kimbler and won.
Ohio law requires that trial judges construe zoning legislation strictly against the zoning authority and liberally in favor of the property owner.
Kimbler said the ambiguity in the code required him to rule in favor of Doraty but added that any inflatables that moved were banned by the township.
Kimbler ordered the Board of Zoning Appeals to have the Zoning Inspector consider whether the temporary permit should be denied for any other reason. The board agreed to issue temporary permits.