The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 20, 2013

Car business owner appeals

CLINTON — The owner of the car business the city of Clinton decided to shut down is asking the courts to review a city board's decision, claiming it was unreasonable and not supported by any evidence.  

Donald Walker, owner of Walker's A to Z Auto, last week filed a petition for the court to review the ruling made by Clinton's Zoning Board of Adjustment in August that upheld Building and Neighborhood Services official Mike Harmon's decision to revoke the certificate of occupancy for Walker's business.  

When a certificate of occupancy is revoked, a placard is placed on the front of the building stating that no occupancy is allowed and any attempt to occupy the building illegally will result in citations.

Walker’s A to Z has operated at its current location since November 2005. The property is zoned C-2 commercial and allows Walker to run a car sales and service business.

Harmon contended the property has been used as an illegal salvage yard and vehicle recycler rebuilder for several years, a violation of the zoning ordinance. Walker disputes the allegation that he illegally operated a salvage yard.

In July, Harmon informed Walker the city would revoke his certificate of occupancy, a move that would essentially shut down Walker's business.  

Walker appealed Harmon's decision to the ZBA, but the quasi-judicial body voted 3-0 to uphold Harmon's decision to revoke the certificate of occupancy based on the allegations that Walker was operating an illegal salvage yard, operating a an automobile recycling and rebuilding facility in a prohibited district, without proper zoning compliance and without a special use permit.  

Walker claims revoking his certificate of occupancy is not required by law and has a negative impact on his private rights that is "so grossly disproportionate" to the benefits reaped by the public interest that they lack "any foundation in rational Zoning Board policy."  

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