The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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August 16, 2013

Car business shut down


“What it looks like today is not the issue here before you. It’s what it’s looked like since 2008 — actually since 2005. Specifically, what it’s looked like for the three years I’ve been investigating it,” Harmon said.

Walker showed the members of the board his recycler and rebuilder permit from the state, which was issued in 1987 and transferred from his former property in South Clinton to his current location on Camanche Avenue. The city is trying to have the license rescinded based on the storied history of violations.

Walker argued that he was told by a local authority he could sell parts from used vehicles, but didn’t provide any evidence that he was ever granted permission.

To operate a salvage yard in Clinton, Walker would have needed a special use permit from the city, which there is no record of Walker having. Further, Harmon told zoning board members, the property doesn’t meet the requirements for the special permit, nor is a salvage operation allowed in the Liberty Square area.

The board also reviewed pictures of the property with Walker, showing vehicles and parts scattered about in the front.

Walker said the cars in the front were not junk vehicles, but for sale.

Members of the board did not agree.

“The appearance of this is that it is a junk yard. That’s what it appears to be,” ZBA Chairman Les Shields said.

The board ruled 3-0 to uphold Harmon’s decision.

“So how do I get my business back?” Walker asked.

Walker can appeal the decision to Clinton County District Court within the next 30 days. In the meantime, the city will placard the property, forcing Walker to cease operations.

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