Rock display causes controversy in Franklin

Mayor: Rocks create zoning, safety issue

FRANKLIN, Ind. - A central Indiana family has found themselves in a battle with the City of Franklin over a rock display that  borders their property.

About five years ago, Rob and Jill Hoverman added rocks to their yard as a natural barrier from the street to their property.

The homeowners said the landscaping was not an issue until June when a motorist ran their vehicle into one of the rocks.

A neighbor swerved to miss a dog and ended up running his car into the decorative rocks at the edge of the yard.

"The driver of the vehicle knocked on the door with a police officer and said, ‘Are you going to give me some money for this or am I going to take you to court?’ and I said no we're not going to give you any money for this," Hoverman said.

The driver took the matter to the City of Franklin and the city sent the Hovermans a letter that said the rocks are in the street's right of way, they pose a risk to public safety and should be moved back onto private property.

"I have no desire to meddle in people's personal business or their personal property, but when we had a public safety issue arise from someone hitting them and causing damage to their vehicle, that certainly becomes an issue," Mayor Joe McGuinness said.

The Hovermans have remained unmoved in their commitment to leave the rocks where they are.

They hired a lawyer to fight their civil case and appeal the city's violation notice.

"I mean all we really want is to have a neat and tidy yard in a neat and tidy neighborhood where people take care of their property," Hoverman said.

Franklin officials noticed rocks lining two other neighboring properties during their investigation. Those homeowners have received the same zoning violation notice.

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