City annexation plans, county zoning leave lot owner angry

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

The tract a Fort Scott developer wants to use as a tow lot sit close to U.S. 69 Highway. While Linn County officials are wrestling with whether it should have a conditional-use permit, Pleasanton is working to annex the property to halt the plan. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Sept. 14, the Linn County Planning and Zoning Board voted to recommend that the Linn County Commission approve the conditional use permit for Dave's Towing, owned by David Saker, on Tucker Road in Pleasanton with the following conditions:

  1. All wrecked or incomplete vehicles must be stored inside a building.

  2. No junk will be loaded outside the fence.

  3. No burning on the property.

  4. The property will be kept in a presentable manner and mowing will be kept up.

  5. Security lighting shall be focused on the tow lot.

  6. Will have gravel throughout the lot.

  7. A 40 foot by 60 foot minimum building will be started in the next six months.

  8. The building will be built on the east side of the fenced lot.

  9. The CUP is for five years and shall be renewed by the governing body having authority at that time.

The Linn County Commission is expected to take action on the board's recommendation on Monday, Sept. 20.

MOUND CITY – A proposed tow lot on Tucker Road just outside of Pleasanton northern city limits continues to be a zoning problem for both Linn County and the city. While the city moved to annex the property owned by Greg Schick last week – with or without his approval – the Linn County Commissioners decided to send the application for a conditional-use permit (CUP) back to the county planning and zoning board for changes.

That board is expected to meet Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The county commission decided to send the application back to the zoning board because commissioners felt there were not sufficient conditions to issue the permit.

Pleasanton did decide to start involuntary annexation last Tuesday night, Sept. 7, because owner of the property, Greg Schick, Fort Scott, did not agree to a voluntary annexation.

Schick was obviously angry and frustrated by the delay when he told the commissioners on Monday that he did not think that the government represented the people anymore. He said that he was not given any options to think about the annexation.

The lot owner claimed that involuntary annexation is only allowed in four states, however, many states use an annexation policy that does not require full consent of the property owners within the area being annexed.

Schick, the owner and representative for Dave's Towing, said that the Pleasanton City Council said that they were going to annex his property to keep the tow lot from going in there. He also threatened to not move forward on his plan to build an apartment complex in Pleasanton, saying it would be the county’s fault.

Linn County Counselor Gary Thompson told the commissioners that they had three options. One was to accept the planning board’s recommendation and approve the CUP, the second was to reject it, and the third was to send it back to the planning board to add conditions.

Since no resolution had been had been written for this CUP, Thompson attempted to go through the minutes with Linn County Public Works Director Shaun West to develop some form of resolution for the commissioners to vote on.

Thompson asked West what the conditions were because they were not stated in the minutes.

West said that the main condition was the five-year limit on the CUP before the county would require renewal.

Commissioner Danny McCullough said that he would like to see a condition about it not looking like a salvage junkyard. He said that he had talked with a neighboring property owner who was concerned about that.

Schick said that he was willing to build a building to house wrecked vehicles so that they could not be seen from the road. McCullough said that he would like to see that added as a condition to the CUP.

Currently the lot has a high fence around a little more than three-quarters of the lot and a pile of unspread gravel inside the lot. It is easily seen by passersby on U.S. 69 Highway.

In a separate interview with Pleasanton City Administrator Teresa Whitaker, she called on the county not to approve a CUP for the property.

“That’s our growth area,” she said. “We’ve invested $1 million in development, and that’s not the intent for that area.”

Whitaker said that an additional concern about the tow lot was that oil- and fuel-tainted runoff from the facility could compromise the city’s East Lake and its water supply to residents.

Whitaker said she wasn’t sure what the city council would do if the county approves the CUP, nor was she sure if the council would proceed with annexation.

She said earlier this year Schick was quoted as wanting the property to be annexed to be able to take advantage of the city’s tax abatement program. However, she said, he has yet to follow through on that claim.

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