Archive for Thursday, October 15, 1998

COUNTY GETS EARFUL ON HOME BUSINESSES

October 15, 1998

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Douglas County commissioners will have a study session Monday about home occupation regulations.

Dorothy Harvey is proud of her grandson and says he's not hurting anyone by running a machine shop out of her barn on N. 1100 Road.

But his machine shop -- and the businesses of others who work out of their homes -- has been the target of complaints by Walt Spencer to Douglas County officials. Spencer believes Craig Byers violates the county's zoning regulations on home occupations.

The county visited the machine shop in 1996 and did not find Byers in violation, zoning director Keith Dabney said Wednesday evening after the commissioners met to wrangle with the county's rules on home businesses.

Harvey believes Spencer -- who alleges that since he had to comply with the county's zoning rules, everyone should follow its regulations-- should leave her grandson alone.

``I don't see how these young men are hurting anyone. They're not out on the streets. They're making something of themselves,'' Harvey said, adding her family put Byers through college so he could be an asset to the community and make a living.

And that's all he's trying to do, she said.

She said her grandson's machine shop is well-hidden in her barn and is not an eyesore. She also said that the only way Spencer could have seen Byers' shop is if he had trespassed on her property.

Later, Karen Byers, Craig's mother, became angered when Spencer described the machine shop to commissioners. Karen Byers said she would call the sheriff and pursue charges on anyone who came onto her family's property without permission.

Spencer said he believes the county must enforce its violations equally.

``The voters have trusted you elected officials to enforce the regulations equally and fairly,'' he said, telling commissioners the county has a ``blatant disregard for zoning regulations.''

The board did not make any decision about revising its regulations about home occupations, but commissioners said it's not their intent to put anyone out of business or make life difficult for anyone. They said they would like to look at regulations not based on what type of business someone does in their home but based on the number of employees and the type of equipment or structure on the property.

Commissioners will have a study session Monday about home occupations as part of their 9 a.m. meeting at the courthouse.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dgruver@ljworld.com.

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