Ferron City follows up on the junk debate
Ferron City Mayor Gil Bowden opened the regular city council meeting to a full house. Following several regular agenda items, the tabled agenda item to consider revoking the business license of C&S Wrecking and Recovery was addressed.
Mayor Bowden stated the history of the issue of this considered revocation. "We sent a letter to Mr. Hurdsman informing him of the considered revocation. In our ordinances, it says the business owner must be given the opportunity to come into compliance with the ordinances. That business owner has the right to work out the problem," said Mayor Bowden.
"At our last meeting, we talked about these issues and there were too many to agree on. Finally, one council member made a motion to revoke the license of C&S and it was seconded. When I called for a vote, there were two in favor of the revocation and two against. That left my vote as the tie breaker. I felt I needed more information before casting that vote, so I tabled the motion until I could do more research.
"I have since received legal counsel from the state and our city attorney. I have also been in contact with the Utah Department of Transportation's Dale Stapley due to the fact that this business is located on a state road. Stapley has written a letter stating that UDOT cannot make any recommendations until Ferron City has acted. We need to take care of this issue. The Utah State attorney general also made some recommendations.
"We need to decide if Mr. Hurdsman is in violation of any city ordinances. I have also learned that when I tabled the motion at our last meeting, it killed that motion. We must have a new discussion and motion.
"When Mr. Hurdsman came in last Oct. 27 to apply for his business license, he stated he wanted to put in a parts store, small engine repair shop, and have some vehicle storage for a state impound lot. He specifically stated that he was not putting in a junk yard. He stated that if anything was salvageable in the laundromat, he may revive it. He stated that the business would be neat and orderly.
"On these statements, the city approved his business license. We are at a point now where we have differences of opinion in the definition of a junk yard," said Mayor Bowden.
Councilman Rod Toomer informed the council that he has done extensive research over the past two weeks and had learned that the property owned by Mr. Hurdsman is two different parcels of land, purchased from two different individuals. Each parcel has different zonings attached. The portion on which the business license was issued is zoned commercial, and the other parcel is zoned residential. Mayor Bowden added that the city has assumed the property was one piece and therefore all zoned commercial.
"It is not right to take someone's business license because an adjoining piece of property is bad," said Councilman Toomer. "The real issue we have had to do with his personal private property, not his business. His business land is in compliance. In the letter Mr. Hurdsman was sent from Ferron City, there were five charges of ordinance violations. I have researched each charge and this is what I found.
"The first issue was that he did not have a business license. He was originally issued a license and has in fact renewed that license so this charge is false. The second charge was that he did not have clearance from our planning and zoning committee. At the time of his business license approval last October, our planning and zoning committee was not up and running yet. So he cannot be held to that charge.
"The third charge deals with our nuisance ordinance. I went to the property where the business is located and found an infraction due to weeds and some trash. This nuisance law applies to everyone in Ferron, and there is no one in Ferron who is not in violation. The fourth charge in the letter was a drainage problem. This drainage problem is on Mr. Hurdsman's personal property lot and not the business property.
"The final charge was he had no building permit to install a sign on his state impound lot located on the business property. He was not informed or given notice that he needed a building permit from our planning and zoning committee, so I don't think he can be held responsible on this charge," concluded Councilman Toomer.
Council person Jo Sansevero explained that when the initial business license was approved, the council was under the assumption that the property in question was one unit and zoned commercial.
Mayor Bowden added that Mr. Hurdsman is in compliance on the property for which the business license was issued. "Dave Church our attorney said that all these misunderstandings are just that, misunderstandings. My recommendation is that we move on, he is not in violation of the things we have accused him," concluded Mayor Bowden.
Council person Melinda MECCAriello stated that the problems that need to be addressed are with Mr. Hurdsman's private property.
Brent Langston was on hand to inform the council of state laws concerning junk yards. "I did research into state and city codes concerning junk yards. They cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a state road. Law says that any undriveable car is a junk car. Do not do selective enforcement of this ordinance. I recommend you give all residents with undriveable cars in their yards the opportunity to move them," said Langston.
"My responsibility is to enforce the ordinances of Ferron City," said Mayor Bowden. "We have already sent many other notices to property owners who are not in compliance and this private property of Mr. Hurdsman's will be added to the list of nuisance properties. Price Salvage will be in town in August to haul away any cars for residents."
Councilman Toomer added, "We are not singling you out Mr. Hurdsman, we want everyone to comply with the ordinances of Ferron City. The worst complaint we have received is about the non-running wrecked cars."
Mike Hurdsman said, "It is not my intent to deceive anyone. It is my intent to store vehicles on that property temporarily. We have another property outside the cities, in the county, to store vehicles permanently. We will begin to remove vehicles tomorrow. We want the citizens of Ferron to know that we will also be available to remove any vehicles from their private property if they have a title."
Kevin Hurdsman added, "State law requires impounded vehicles remain in the lot for 90 days. So we will move those that we can move."
Mayor Bowden concluded this discussion with comments about the difficulties the council has with getting any residents to help with problems that arise. "A people complain but no one is willing to volunteer to help their neighbor. If those 100 people would help instead of complain, problems would get solved."