Presented with an update on Collision Corner’s compliance with their conditional use permit, the Maple Plain City Council discussed taking action on the matter at its March 28 meeting.
“We’re doing monthly checks on the compliance of the CUP,” said City Administrator Tessia Melvin. “As of today, they had 95 cars on their property…their limit is 60 cars.”
Melvin said the owners of the business had been out of town, and relayed that the owners had said they had not intended to surpass the 60-car limit.
“They are disgusted that they’re over,” said Melvin.
Of issue in addition to the extra cars, however, was scrap metal and other material that the business has been required to remove, but hasn’t.
“I said that stuff has to be moved,” said Melvin. “It’s just getting bigger and bigger.”
Before turning the discussion over to the council, Melvin noted two possible courses of action for them to take on the matter.
“The one thing we can do is continue these checkups and hope they get into compliance,” said Melvin. “The other this is we can begin the revocation process. They can only operate their business based on the conditional use permit.”
“That’s a longer process, and definitely more aggressive, but it is something the council can consider,” added Melvin.
The council agreed some sort of action was needed to enforce the terms of the conditional use permit.
“One thing I think we really need to do is enforce it,” said Councilman Dave Eisenger. “The developer of the townhomes did come and talk to us, and say that if it was enforced, he indicated legal action.”
“Would that be against us, would that be against Collision Corner, or both?” he asked.
Melvin supplied that this legal action could apply to both parties.
“I think we also owe that to our residents,” said Councilwoman Julie Maas-Kusske. “We have continued to give [Collision Corner} grace and second chance after second chance, and at some point, we have to have some type of follow-through.”
Added Maas-Kusske, “There need to be consequences when they aren’t following agreements that we’ve already compromised on more than once.”
Councilman Mike DeLuca brought up another aspect of the issue. “They seem to also be violating the lease agreement that we have on Oak [Street],” said DeLuca. “Is there a vehicle to enforce our lease, and/or revoke the lease?”
Collision Corner leases a small adjoining parcel from the city.
Melvin explained that, after supplying notice, the lease could be revoked.
“If they are in violation of it, we can give them a 30-day notice, and then take that back,” she said. “That’s definitely easier because it’s our property.”
“Well we need to start some process, because we’re just spinning wheels,” said Mayor Jerry Young.
Other members of the council agreed that they needed to take action.
“I believe that we do have to start proceedings on almost every avenue that we have,” said Eisenger.
The council decided the CUP revocation process, however, did not seem to be the ideal course of action.
“I would be pushing them more, but not starting the revocation process,” said Councilman Justin McCoy. “That’s going to cost us an arm and a leg as well.”
“But we have been pushing,” said Maas-Kusske. “What leverage do we have?”
“Every conditional use [permit] we have in the city is out of compliance,” responded McCoy. “If were going to start revoking over issues like this, we have to look at all of them.”
DeLuca once more brought up the topic of the lease.
“I tend to agree with Justin, I’m not sure the revocation process, here, is our route,” said DeLuca. “We have the biggest stick, which is our lease on Oak Street. They’re not following even the basic lease agreement with things.”
Discussion continued, and the council agreed that city staff should meet with representatives from the business to discuss the matter.
“If I understand correctly, what you’re directing is to meet with them and say, ‘We’re going to give you 30 days — that is the time we can pull out of our license agreement,” said Melvin. “You have 30 to get into compliance, and you need to maintain that.”
The council agreed that this was the best course of action.
“There’s no negotiating with the 30 days this time,” said Maas-Kusske. “They need to know that we’re serious.”
Contact Sean Miner at [email protected]