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|10/11/2017 ||Email this article Print this article |
OKs plan for
Expansion wins approval over neighbor objections
By Tom Pantera
GRAND MOUND - Eric and Nancy Daehn's fight against C&J Trucking's expansion plans in Grand Mound is over.
"The city, no matter what happens, they've made up their mind on what they're going to do," Eric Daehn said, "and nothing we could do is going to change anything."
He was speaking Monday night after the Grand Mound City Council approved a zoning variance sought by the trucking company to expand its business on land next to the Daehns' home.
It was a move the Daehns had fought hard against, and Monday night's meeting was no different.
In a public hearing conducted before the regular City Council meeting, Nancy Daehn held up a thick sheaf of papers - the entire Grand Mound city code.
"Not once has this said anything in favor of what they're trying to do to us," she said. "We shouldn't be next to a dirty business, and it is a dirty business."
The Daehns have maintained the project - an expansion of C&J's business that will include a truck-painting booth - would violate a city ordinance. That specific part of the code bars buildings that cause noise, odors, refuse, smoke, fire hazard, an unsightly appearance, traffic congestion, and "any effect which will be obnoxious, offensive, dangerous or injurious to the health, welfare and safety of citizens."
During Monday's hearing, Nancy Daehn said the expanded business would produce dust and odors.
"Everything they're going to run in and out of that business is going to be toxic," she said.
City Council Member Matt Beuthien told Daehn she was making assumptions about the effect the business would have.
That caused Daehn to bristle. "Everybody [on the council] is being argumentative with me," she said.
Beuthien noted that nearby farm operations spray agricultural chemicals that could drift onto the Daehns' property.
"Once or twice a year," Daehn replied.
She said C&J owner Jay Hawthorne, who was not present Monday, had admitted that he would not want the facility next to his own house, which is near Daehn's.
C&J Manager Guthrie Waechter said the company would do whatever was needed to screen the business from neighbors.
"We'll put up trees, shrubs, 20-foot walls," he said. He also said little, if any, work would be done outside the building.
"We're not putting up a building to work outside," he said.
Eric Daehn said that while he had not hired an appraiser, he had talked to two, and both said the business would decrease his property's value.
"We're assuming a lot of things," he said. "You're right. The point is, ... we have no recourse once it happens."
"You're also assuming they'll do what's right," Nancy Daehn said. "They do what they want. You all know that. We shouldn't be swallowed up by a dirty business just because they're going to pay more in property tax."
Shane McClintock, Clinton County's director of Environmental Services, said he had no position on the issue, but "I do have some concerns after reading up on these kinds of businesses."
He said he asked the county zoning administrator, Thomas Barnes, whether he would approve such a permit out in the county, and Barnes said he would not because it involved putting a commercial business in a residential area.
"It wouldn't be allowed in the county," McClintock said. "Why is it being allowed in the city?"
City Attorney David Pillers said the city was governed by its own zoning and did not have to follow county zoning code.
"We're such a small town that we can't take 30 acres that way and make it industrial," Beuthien said. And the building is not in a residential neighborhood but "next to a residential neighborhood."
After the hearing, council members voted 4-0 to approve a zoning variance that will allow C&J to expand. Council member Dan Figley, the only member to previously vote against the variance, was not at Monday's meeting.
In a related matter, the council voted to table - until after the Nov. 7 city election - consideration of forming a planning and zoning commission and a board of adjustment. At least two new members will join the five-member board.
The discussion of forming a zoning panel was spurred in part by the controversy over the C&J project.
In other business Monday, the council:
Awarded a contract for the Sunnyside Storm Sewer project to BWC Excavating Services of Solon, which bid $145,900. The project will increase the capacity of some of the city's storm sewers.
Set trick-or-treating for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Halloween night.