Cross post from HatCityBLOG
For those who have followed the history of city violations from now 2nd ward city councilman Mike Halas, this latest controversy is no surprise.
Here’s a picture of a piece of property on Route 37 (31 Pembroke Rd) owned by 2nd ward councilman Mike Halas, owner of Halas Farm.
Would you consider this the selling mulch on this property?
For those not familiar with the history of Halas, a little background is in order.
In August 2007, the zoning enforcement department issued Halas a cease and desist order for using his property on Pembroke Rd, which was zoned as a single family parcel, for commercial use. This was a violation of sections 10.B.1.a(4) & 4.A.5.f(8) of the zoning regulations on the property on Pembroke Rd.
From April 2008, here’s an interview I did with activist Ken Gucker on Halas’ violation.
Halas approached the zoning commission and asked for a request to use the property, which was zoned as residential property, for commercial use. Here’s a brief recap of the commission’s decision (note the section in bold).
News-Times May 14 2008:
The city’s Zoning Commission Tuesday passed a zoning amendment that gives Halas Farm on Route 37 permission to use land across the street from the store, provided owner Michael Halas does not allow retail sales to take place on the property.
While Halas’ original intent was to simply store mulch and farm equipment on the land across the street, Halas did acknowledge in April that some customers would be able to purchase mulch and the newly-acquired property.
That triggered safety concerns from members of the zoning commission, which is why they inserted language saying it could be used for storage and storage only.
Here’s video footage of the Zoning Commission’s amendment to Halas’ property as well as an explanation on why the amendment was necessary:
Here’s the exact wording of the amendment (via the Zoning Commission minutes: May 13 2008):
Mr. Elpern then suggested they consider adding the phrase “but not sold or picked up by customers” after the words temporarily stored. The language would then read as follows: Products intended for retail sale, as permitted in subsection (8) above, and farm machinery used for the operation of the farm, may be temporarily stored, but not sold or picked up by customers, on a lot zoned RA-40 or RA-80 which lies adjacent to but separated from the lot containing the farm and/or retail sales operation by a public right-of-way, provided the lot is under the same ownership as the owner of the existing farm and/or retail sales operation and is no less than 40,000 square feet in area. All new structures primarily used for housing said products and farm machinery shall meet the general use regulations specified for the zoning district in which they are located; all existing nonconforming structures may be used to house said products and farm machinery. No outdoor storage of said products and machinery may be closer than (1) 40 feet from a front lot line, 15 feet from a side lot line and 5 feet from a rear lot line and (2) 50 feet from the boundary of a lot containing a dwelling(s) in existence on the date of this amendment.
With all of the above in mind, here’s what Halas is doing with the property right now.
Would you call this a violation of the ruling from the zoning commission?
…more to come.