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Archive for Wednesday, December 14, 2011

City sides with residents who say 12th and Haskell Recycling Center violates zoning laws

December 14, 2011

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One of the city’s larger recycling centers is in jeopardy of being shut down by City Hall.

Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting primarily sided with a group of east Lawrence residents who said the 12th and Haskell Recycling Center is operating in violation of city zoning laws and has become a neighborhood nuisance.

“Who wants to live next to a dump?” asked Byron Wiley, who lives near the recycling business that takes everything from paper to junk cars. “We have a right to enjoy our property both inside and outside, and that is not happening now.”

City commissioners on Tuesday did not issue a formal order for the business to shut down, but it did direct staff members to move forward on enforcement action against the business, which may result in a cease and desist order.

Agitated after Tuesday evening’s meeting, owner Bo Killough said he was immediately closing the facility to all curbside recycling companies and residents who routinely bring their household recycling to the business.

Killough indicated that he would shut out six curbside recycling businesses that routinely use the facility, and he expected that the closing would make recycling in the community more difficult.

The city’s largest curbside recycling operation, run by Deffenbaugh Industries, does not use the facility. Smaller recycling companies, including Curbside Recycle, Sunflower Curbside, Tree Huggers, Ball Recycling, Honey Creek, and Home Recycling Service do use the facility, according to Killough. It wasn’t clear late Tuesday how the operations of those companies would be affected by Killough’s sudden decision.

City commissioners heard more than an hour’s worth of public comment against the operation that included video of car crushing, fires, excavation equipment and other industrial activities taking place at the site.

Commissioners generally expressed concern that such uses were happening right across the street from a neighborhood.

The property is zoned for residential use. But when the property entered the city in 1966, it was home to a salvage business. The business had some rights to continue to exist under a grandfather provision of the code.

But neighbors argue that the property long ago lost its grandfather status and that it has been operating in violation of the city’s zoning code. Killough and his attorney dispute that assertion.

Comments

thirdplanet 2 years, 7 months ago

What job is safe from the city commission. We already have the construction workers out jobs with numerous plans either denied or on hold. You'd think that of all cities, it'd be safe to operate a recycling business here. But under the rule of the despotic Republic of Lawrence and they're tyranny of zoning codes, I guess not.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 7 months ago

Look who is on the commission! One has to wonder if Shorty Cohen were alive today running his salvage yard at the end of 9th street if the neighbors would fight him. They sure did not during the war. Did the neighbors downtown hate John Stavros?

If the city is going to enforce zoning, then are they going to enforce the blight that the neighboring houses are in violation of?

One has to wonder again, if this is not a plan by the city to keep Bo's residential zoning, thus making the property worth less, take it eminent domain, then use it for City buildings and trash service. Defenbaugh sadly is in the works for the City of Lawrence. Curbside recycling will result in more trash in dumpsters and not in recycling containers. Mayor Cramwell will wake up one day and see the damage he is doing. Mr. Schumm may very well wake up one day and find that is bar b q is not selling so well. People don't have to eat downtown. Bo's business had thousands of dollars going out of it daily to those selling scrap. What other business in town hands money out? None!

This action by the commission is a very direct example of not being friendly to business. The City staff has been at the center and has plenty of time to decide if Bo was in violation. Isn't it interesting that again, the "neighbors" .

How come the Journal World does not report about the charities that have benefited from the sale of cans by one group that takes them to Bo's.

The Journal World is a pitiful excuse for a newspaper. It ranks right now right along with Murdoch!

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windjammer 2 years, 7 months ago

If The Journal World is that pitiful one eye I wouldn't read it.

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Catalano 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh geez, Wilby, can't you come up with anything new?

If there is "blight" in Brook Creek neighborhood, I seriously doubt it's the Fritzel/Werner/yadayada Oread demolition by neglect blight. Clean up your own neighborhood first before complaining about others in town.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 7 months ago

"Bo's business had thousands of dollars going out of it daily to those selling scrap. What other business in town hands money out? None!"

That is a good point. I don't see who they are hurting. I don't think they make noise late night. Lot of truck traffic, but you get that in the area anyway with the city garbage trucks nearby anyway.

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Catalano 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh, thirdplanet, you make me laugh. Thank you.

I think the "poor guy" has already spent thousands (on a top-flight local law firm, no less). He should get a refund. His attorney was woefully unprepared to "defend" him last night.

Oh, and I think the neighbors DID occupy city hall last night.

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SofaKing 2 years, 7 months ago

Thirdplanet, you should be using "their."

Simple rule: they're is the contracted form of "they are" so if you say "they are tyranny" and it doesn't sound right, use their.

"There" is for when you are saying something like "I went over there."

Example: "They're taking their recyclable goods over there to that junkyard in the middle of a residential area."

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Jeff Supernaw 2 years, 7 months ago

So, this wasn't an issue when people moved into the neighborhood, just when they're trying to sell?

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windjammer 2 years, 7 months ago

All and I say all of those complainers were living in the neighborhood before the illegal industrial salvage yard opened. Check your facts.

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windjammer 2 years, 7 months ago

I know the facts and if you had been to the commission meeting last night you would of also learned the facts. The property is zoned residental and can't be used for a illegal industrial salvage yard. It's continued use was not beacause of a grandfather clause rather the lack of enforcement of city codes. Once a non conforming business as Rays was is closed for six months it can no longer be opened by another non conforming business again by city codes. Rays was a auto salvage yard not a illegal industrial salvage and recycle yard.

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flux 2 years, 7 months ago

They should be shut down for knowingly buying stolen scrap copper and keeping every junkie and criminal in town in buisness

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

The city commission really had no choice on this. There is really no defense for the operations that are being conducted there considering the zoning that it has.

And has been pointed out, many, if not most, of the neighbors living there have been there much longer that the current operations on that site have been.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

I wonder who's going to be responsible for the cleanup on that site-- it's pretty clear that operations have been extremely sloppy when it comes to containing various automotive and other fluids.

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Catalano 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the same city staff that's cleaning up Farmland? They're getting good training. :)

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irvan moore 2 years, 7 months ago

i have to think the city wants the property to expand the city holdings in the area

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Catalano 2 years, 7 months ago

Seriously? You think they want to go up against a group of neighbors who obviously know and understand the zoning code better than their own planning director? Whose salary your tax dollars have been paying, btw. Just like they paid Linda Finger's until she screwed up one too many times and got fired.

Corliss ought to kick McCullough's a$$ into the next universe today. Never in all the years I have lived here have I ever heard a city manager apologize to the city commission for a shoddy staff presentation. Glad I set the DVR to record when I sat down to watch this last night.

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Kaw Pickinton 2 years, 7 months ago

She's too busy going door to door in your neighborhood looking for anyone with brains.

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Catalano 2 years, 7 months ago

I got the impression they were concerned because because of all the noise and pollution and various other health and safety issues associated with the recycling center. I'm pretty sure any junk cars in the neighborhood are fairly benign in that regard.

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pizzapete 2 years, 7 months ago

Where was the zoning enforcement when someone built a 7 story apartment building with no additional parking added? Where is the zoning enforcement when a developer builds a highrise hotel in a residencial neighborhood? Our zoning rules need to be enforced equally.

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Ockhams_Razor 2 years, 7 months ago

It is no longer "just a junk yard." It has morphed. Which was the neighborhood's point, which you obviously don't care about. The significant noise, traffic infractions, the smells, the fires, the litter. The neighbors had much less problem with the "junk yard" of the 1970's.

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neolib 2 years, 7 months ago

The City may be able to shut it down but as for building on it, as one of the posters said above, the ground has decades of rain soaking mercury and who knows what else into the soil from electronics , so I don't see how a cumbersome EPA remediation could be avoided. Set up noise and visual barriers, have KDHE make sure they aren't contaminating any potable water and let cash keep circulating in the local economy.

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kansanbygrace 2 years, 7 months ago

Joe doesn't steal those cans. He collects them. He's also not an alcoholic, though, just like a large number of Lawrence residents, homeless and homeful, too, drinks alcohol sometimes.
Salvage is good for business and for the environment.
The solution to this is to rezone that property consistent with its prior use, enforce quiet hours and the environmental regulations that exist.

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53girl 2 years, 7 months ago

Wow! I was astounded when I read this article! That neighborhood over there is scary; junk in all the yards, including dangerous stuff everywhere. The scrapyard cleaned it up really well when there was an issue regarding the cars being recycled with gas tanks, etc. Have the "powers that be" even bothered to go over there and look at it??

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53girl 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh wait a minute! I have a fabulous idea!! Let's move the recycling place out by the jail so the homeless people with their new shelter won't have to go so far!

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Kaw Pickinton 2 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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gr 2 years, 7 months ago

So is this how Lawrence is fighting "Peak-oil"?

Interesting how this was in the list right after the article on bullying.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Somehow, reading the past few posts, I get visions of brazilian maternity wards.

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Centerville 2 years, 7 months ago

And pity the taxpayers in Washington DC. They have mandatory recycling and trash checks. Anything in regular trash that could be recycled is thrown on the ground so the whole town is becoming a dump.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 7 months ago

I think my favorite part of the presentation by the neighbors was the recording of the chat with the elderly couple.

the interviewer was quite leading.
the hubby kept interrupting his Mrs.

just missed the popcorn.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

City is guilty of not enforcing codes by what authority? This center should cease and desist.

For decades this location was an auto repair business. The property was maintained to an impeccable level beyond belief. Prior to new owner the storage lot to the rear NEVER was full of vehicles or any type of salvage.....NEVER.

The fence now has much damage all of which has been at the behest of the new owner. In general the property is going downhill rapidly

  1. Years of multiple code violations = owner chose to do so = this center should cease and desist. No one necessarily authorized the owner to violate codes.

  2. Violates many aspects of "noise codes"

  3. Violates the property across the street as tire tracks indicate

  4. This is an industrial operation not a commercial operation. Industrial operations are not allowed in neighborhood scenario's.

  5. Since being advised of violations owner has had more than sufficient opportunity to comply however has chosen not to. This center should cease and desist.

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Hudson Luce 2 years, 7 months ago

Just take your recyclables to City Hall, let them figure out what to do with it. Not only does the closing of this scrap yard put it out of business, it's going to take six other local businesses down with it, and nobody in their right mind will consider starting a recycling business in Lawrence again.

The place is probably a Superfund site now as it stands, looking at an aerial view in Google maps, it looks like an industrial area and probably should be zoned as such. The eastern part of the property looks like it had a lot of junk cars on it at one time which have been mostly removed.

Perhaps the answer to the problem would be to get the remaining cars removed from the eastern part of the property to the northern part of the western part of the property, clean up the remaining junk from the eastern part of the property, zone it residential and reclaim it, then have the operator clean up the mess on the remaining part of the property so that it doesn't look like a disorganized junk heap, and have the western part of the property rezoned as light industrial so he could continue to stay in business.

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Catalano 2 years, 7 months ago

A few problems with your proposed scenario:

1) It already IS zoned residential. RS-10. Single family. (You cannot rely on the LJW for all your information, even though Chad does try to get the basic info out there...have you even read the zoning code? Just curious. Because it was apparent that many of the neighbors had, and I believe that one person who spoke actually is a planner.)

2) I don't think light industrial zoning would allow the use of all the heavy equipment this guy apparently uses, based on what I saw last night.

3) Apparently the other six local recycling businesses have other options and plan to use them. They should be pissed at Bo for screwing them up. (See other LJW article on what the local recycling businesses are planning to do.)

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

-*"it's going to take six other local businesses down with it" How?

-*"nobody in their right mind will consider starting a recycling business in Lawrence again."

That may not be true. Someone has expressed interest in this location as a neighborhood friendly recycling center only.

-* rezoning to light industrial would not necessarily be acceptable. That opens too many doors depending on the owner(s) over the future years.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

What if any toxic matter is found in the soil and/or running into the neighboring creek the owner should be held responsible for all expenses related to clean up. Plus fines. NOT THE TAXPAYERS!

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Hudson Luce 2 years, 7 months ago

Merrill, "Smaller recycling companies, including Curbside Recycle, Sunflower Curbside, Tree Huggers, Ball Recycling, Honey Creek, and Home Recycling Service do use the facility." Where do they take their stuff now? Deffenbaugh? Their competition? Lawrence could easily end up with an enforced monopoly for recycling.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

They can take their recycling to Wal-Mart...... I suppose.

Had he operated according to code(s) the city would not be in this position. There is no logic in allowing an operation to remain open that is in violation of multiple codes and has been for some time.

It's time for someone else to step in and run this operation.

The city commission could have ordered city staff to enforce the codes thus shutting the operation down. Then again why should the city commission need to ask city staff to enforce codes that are on the books? This has put the city commission in a rather curious position.

Owner Bo Killough is the primary culprit? Another question comes to mind is why did owner Bo Killough think he could operate against city codes? Owner Bo Killough had to know he has been in violation after all he may be on his third attorney as a result of his multiple code violations.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 7 months ago

"Wal-mart?!?"

... reeeeeally?

WM closes their recycling ctr on tuesdays, and they just can't handle a lot of the stuff.

c'mon Merrill, when you diverge from mindless cut-and-paste, you really show your shallowness.

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Staci Dark Simpson 2 years, 7 months ago

Whats even more scary is I have heard of 2 more businesses that have received letters about zoning issues, one of which the city persuaded to move into their current location. The city picks and chooses who to hassle. There has been a salvage business in that location for years. If you didn't want to live by a salvage yard you should have moved elsewhere. This opens the door for the city to "strong arm" anyone they want when they become a nuisance. Be wary, it could be your business or home on the chopping block next.

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windjammer 2 years, 7 months ago

spacystaci8 have you not been paying attention. No one is disputing there was a salvage yard there 20 years ago. Are you so spaced out you haven't noticed the word Industrial?

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

"If you didn't want to live by a salvage yard you should have moved elsewhere."

Most of the residents have been there much much longer than Bo Killough. It's time for Bo Killough to move.

Isn't it odd that previous owners did not encounter the same concerns that Bo Killough has brought on himself?

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Staci Dark Simpson 2 years, 7 months ago

WJ and Merrill- So everyone in that hood has lived there since 1966? Would you not say to your self, "Self, I don't think I would like to live next door to a salvage yard. It might be noisy, and dirty, with large trucks and wreckers coming in and out?" Thanks WIndjammer, er, Captain Obvious, but I think the only thing on this board people agree with is that the site has always been some kind of salvage business. I was meaning that not everyone in that neighborhood has lived there since 1966. Unless you lived there before 1966 you would have noticed you were moving in by a salvage yard and you may not like that as a neighbor.

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windjammer 2 years, 7 months ago

You need to get your facts straight. It has not been a continuous salvage yard since 1966. Again are you so spaced out you don't know the difference between a salvage yard and a industrial salvage yard? The industrial savage yard has been operating since 2005. The neighbors did not worry about a common salvage yard. This industrial salvage yard operates against every city code for salvage and recycleing. I guess every neighborhood could be called a hood. Which one are you from or are you from Ottawa?

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Staci Dark Simpson 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh you got me windjammer, I am so spaced I can't even function. Hood is short for neighborhood, which everyone lives in one, not meant in a derogatory manner. As previously stated, I was implying some kind of salvage business in which a common salvage and industrial salvage yard both are. I personally feel like the neighbors are looking for something to complain about. The city shops are down there too. The neighbors don't complain about them and their loud equipment entering and exiting.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 7 months ago

yeah! support north lawrence Blue!

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

The 1966 owner provided a taped history and commented on the current situation as well.

Bo Killough was not there until 2003.

According to documents presented last night this location was never a salvage yard per se. It has been a location for auto repair certainly until Bo Killough arrived. This lot never had mountains of material stacked until Bo Killough arrived.

There has not a ton of wrecker traffic or salvage yard traffic until Bo Killough arrived.

What we have here is many code violations and lack of enforcement of the codes.

And Industrial use is not permitted by code in neighborhoods and Bo Killough knew of this and his property is zoned residential which Bo Killough was also aware.

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Centurion 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm guessing 12th street is closed? I called them today and there was no answer.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

Bullpucky: This site has been a car recycling/recycling center for years; formerly as Ray's Auto Salvage; in fact I hauled my junk 1938 Ford down there in 1956, so I don't understand this "neighborhood" idea. It's not like the houses in the area are maintained very well anyway; and what about the "grandfather" issue. It's like the City is bullying the business owner, just because the City decided to incorporate years ago. By-the-way, the City with it's vehicle maintenance and other operations adjacent to this property does not present a neighborhood quality example anyway.

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Kaw Pickinton 2 years, 7 months ago

blindrabbit has a great point!

Those people that live over there that bought their home before 2005 and / or are poor so their kids that play in the city park behind this place deserve to be exposed to toxic waste!

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

"It's time for someone else to step in and run this operation. "

If it can be operated within the walls of the structure....

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

A Grandfather Clause must be applied for and/or enacted within a certain time frame in this case. Neither of which took place. Time frame expired.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 7 months ago

indeed None2, some of Merrill's pals wanted to burn down (posted on these comment threads) or shut down the WM's.

if they got burned down or shut down, that recycling center would go, too!

yes, it is funny: demanding recycling but of course "not in my backard!" lol.

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Kaw Pickinton 2 years, 7 months ago

"A snob is someone who believes that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect, wealth, education, ancestry, taste, beauty, nationality, et cetera." -Thanks Wiki

" and even loose another place to clean up their own yards (which are nothing to brag about in that area). Go figure." - none2

Ironic hu?

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Catalano 2 years, 7 months ago

Bo didn't put up that fence.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 7 months ago

According to documents presented last night this location was never a salvage yard per se. It has been a location for auto repair. For decades as an auto repair business the property was maintained to an impeccable level beyond belief. Since Bo arrived the fence has sustained much damage and is falling into disrepair.

This lot never had mountains of material stacked until Bo Killough arrived.

There has not a ton of wrecker traffic or salvage yard traffic until Bo Killough arrived.

What we have here is many code violations and lack of enforcement of the codes. Had Bo operated according to code(s) the city would not be in this position. There is no logic in allowing an operation to remain open that is in violation of multiple codes and has been for some time.

Industrial use is not permitted by code in neighborhoods. Isn't it odd that previous owners did not encounter the same concerns that Bo Killough has brought on himself? Again there is no logic in allowing an operation to remain open that is in violation of multiple codes and has been for some time.

Again what we have here is many code violations and lack of enforcement of the codes. This placed the City Commission is quite a curious position. They would have been well within their authority to issue a cease and desist order based on the facts presented.

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