Commission delays decision on permit for vehicle tow lot

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commission on Monday, Aug. 30, postponed making a decision for a conditional use permit (CUP) for the Saker tow lot on the outskirts of Pleasanton.

Public Works Director Shaun West, who had started working on this with the Linn County Planning and Zoning Committee before Zoning Director Bobby Johnson took over the zoning position, presented the CUP for approval. The property is on Tucker Road, the road just west of US 69 Highway.

Commission Chair Rick James asked if there were any homes nearby.

West said that there was a home within 261 feet of the fence line.

In recommending granting the CUP, the county planning board put conditions on the tow lot, including recommending mesh type screening for the 6-foot fence around the property and also a five-year time limit, he said. The renewal after five years would be up to either the county or the City of Pleasanton, whichever is in control of the land at that time.

Despite recommending granting the CUP, planning board members said that it was too close to a residence and also brought up the zoning issues with the property. The property is still zoned agricultural after the highway split the land, and then there was another split following that, West said.

At that time, the small lots, this one being 3.58 acres, should have been rezoned to agriculture-residential, which may have discouraged the application for the tow lot.

Planning board members also expressed reluctance to approve it because the City of Pleasanton was concerned that it was in their retail highway corridor and would detract from other businesses locating there, West said. The city also had listed possible contamination of Pleasanton’s water supply and daytime and nighttime traffic as potential problems.

He said that the city of Pleasanton has plans to annex the property in this area, but that process has not completed.

Seeking to find a solution to the problem, West said he suggested the possibility of the owner placing his tow lot in the county industrial park.

However, Greg Schick, owner of the property, said that there was a problem with placing the business at the industrial park because it was not along the highway and there was nothing around that area for security.

Schick said that Saker would be keeping his $200,000 semi truck there and that there was no way to guarantee it would be safe. He said that a 10-foot fence with barb wire on the top was not good enough to protect it.

He said that he had an accident with his truck in the city, and that the tow lot it was taken to was fenced with a 10-foot fence and barb wire. It was supposed to be secure, but the next day all of his tools had been taken out of his truck.

County Counselor Gary Thompson said that Pleasanton had sent some written materials that the commissioners will need to study over. There were three pages of detailed information.

Thompson suggested that they all take copies and, since Commissioner Danny McCullough – who represents that area – was not there because of illness, they could review the copies and reconvene the case next week or in the near future. He said by reading that information, the commissioners would better understand the city’s position.

County Clerk David Lamb mentioned that the city had sent him an email because they wanted to have someone at the commission meeting and asked what time this was coming up and he said that there was not a specific time scheduled but probably would come up around 10:30 a.m.

James said that he wanted to hear from Pleasanton and encouraged Schick and Saker to call McCullough.

At 10:30 a.m., Pleasanton City Manager Teresa Whitaker, arrived at the meeting and pointed out that this piece of ground was supposed to be annexed but that the city did not want to annex it if it had a CUP from the county.

Commissioner Jim Johnson asked what they had to do to annex.

Whitaker said there had to be a hearing and a waiting period.

Thompson said that if it was a voluntary annex that it could be annexed tomorrow.

James asked if the city had another place for this business.

Whitaker replied that most of the area available in the city was residential and there wasn’t much to offer them. Whitaker also said that there were also some things they would like to have in place if the business did locate in the city. Some of those things included a fence with 90 percent to 100 percent opacity and a berm to protect the water supply.

Whitaker said she would go back to the city council next Tuesday about speeding up the process of annexation. She said she had not wanted to proceed with it while the CUP was in process.

She said the city doesn’t want to be unfair to the owners. The city would welcome the business in Pleasanton, just not in a residential or a location that was visible to the highway.

James said the commission would revisit this in two weeks after Whitaker talked with the council. James said he wanted to know Pleasanton’s viewpoint and he also wanted to talk with the people who lived in the nearby residence.

In a separate interview with Whitaker, she said that a letter about annexation had been sent out by the previous city manager to the owner of the land at that time. Apparently that information had not been given to Schick, who bought the land.

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