Planning commission votes to enforce cease and desist order


Saratoga Sun file photo

Royce Kelley uses his sawmill in July on his property at the west end of Saratoga. The planning commission voted to fine Kelley $100 per day upon the next violation of using the sawmill on his property for uses not permitted. Kelley maintains he is not breaking any town ordinances.

The Saratoga Planning Commission voted to enforce a cease and desist order against resident Royce Kelley almost five months after the notice was written.

Per the motion, Kelley will be charged $100 per day after the next infraction of the cease and desist order, which addressed Kelley's use of a sawmill on his property.

Kelley, for the past several years, has used a sawmill on residential property classified as RD 6000 in the Saratoga zoning ordinance. Kelley said he is using the sawmill to build three structures on property he owns at the west end of town. Kelley said he has permits for all building projects.

However, the Planning Commission viewed operations on the property as a "logging operation" after a resident showed the Planning Commission members video of logs entering and leaving the property.

"This issue has been going on and we issued a cease and desist and nothing has ceased nor desisted," Planning Commission member Chris Shannon said.

Shannon made the motion to enforce the cease and desist disorder, dated July 8 and signed by Saratoga's zoning officer Chuck Bartlett, by issuing $100 fines per day after the next infraction.

"We do have authority to enforce (the zoning ordinance) through our agent (Bartlett)," Shannon said.

Bartlett said the cease and desist order issued was specifically for using the sawmill for other purposes other than permitted uses. Bartlett said he has yet to see proof of Kelley misusing the sawmill since he saw video of logs leaving Kelley's property.

Bartlett refused comment when called for an interview.

"I don't understand why you have a resistance as an agent of this board to perform what we are trying to accomplish as a board," Shannon told Bartlett in a meeting.

Board members Greg Cooksey, Bob Thrasher and Shannon voted in favor of the $100 fines. Steve Wilcoxson voted no and chairman Rory Grubb abstained.

Mayoral interruption

After the vote, Mayor John Zeiger, who had attended the meeting earlier and then left, returned to address the board.

"I left, I was almost home and I decided to come back," Zeiger said.

Zeiger said he had listened in on the meeting for about 15 or 20 minutes (the time when the Planning Commission was discussing Kelley's sawmill).

"The last 15, 20 minutes before I left was total chaos, in my opinion, and I just had to say that," Zeiger said. "I had to turn around and come back and say what was on my mind."

In a later interview, Zeiger said he apologized for losing his temper in the Planning Commission meeting, but was not sorry for addressing the board.

"I apologize for being angry but I don't apologize for addressing the commission," Zeiger said. "As far as I am concerned all of those members are my appointees and I feel they are being very ineffective."

Zeiger he said he feels the Planning Commission has been ineffective for the past eight months, and is looking into adding a provision giving the Saratoga Town Council the right to remove appointees from boards.

Zeiger said the Planning Commission's motion to issue $100 fines to Kelley will not be easy to enforce. Zeiger said proof will be needed.

Kelley's projects

Kelley was issued a building permit to build a "manufactured home" on his property after the cease and desist order was issued in July.

The building permit lists Chris Weakley as the owner and Royce Kelley as the builder.

In previous Planning Commission meetings, board members came to the consensus that, if Kelley was using the property as a staging area to build homes for others, that was against zoning ordinance.

Zoning ordinance states mobile homes are allowed on RD 6000, but does not state whether or not a mobile home, or manufactured home, can be built on the property. However, the ordinance does state a mobile home can be present on RD 6000 during construction of a residence for not more than 90 days.

Kelley told the Saratoga Sun he is within the law and any objections to his building are strictly personal attacks from members of the Planning Commission.

Mayor Zeiger walks in to Planning Commission meeting Nov. 12, 2013

ZEIGER: [Enters meeting room from side door] Can I address the board a minute? You know, I left. I was almost home and decided to come back. The issue with Royce obviously needs to be addressed. I do believe that a lot of unnecessary remarks were made towards Chuck [motioning towards Chuck Bartlett]...this is my opinion mind you... uh... and I guess what I wanna say and I'm going to press you for a minute Chris [looking at Chris Shannon]... do you know what the board first recommended about the music at the yard? And what we did to work things around to work with you... so...I just think that... you know...

CHRIS SHANNON: What does that have to do with this?

ZEIGER: Maybe not much... because I'm quite angry right now... I'm disappointed in this board.

CHRIS SHANNON: Wait a minute.

ZEIGER: No, don't wait a minute, I'm talking right now, and you can address me... the last .... The last 15, 20 minutes before I left was total chaos.... In my opinion... and... I just had to say that... I had to turn around and come back and say what I felt was on my mind.

RORY GRUBB: Do you have a suggestion for us how we can... not be so chaotic in this matter?

ZEIGER: I'd say that as... as a chairman when it starts to get out of line you need to call 'em on it.

RORY GRUBB: Well I... well maybe our discussion's out of line but... and as the chairman I don't have any dog in the hunt here but we have been talking about this for three years.

ZEIGER: And I... I understand that...

BOB THRASHER: So is it chaos because it wasn't handled or how it was handled? I guess the chaos came up because it's never been handled... it's been repetitive.

ZEIGER: You know... I've visited with Tom [Thompson] and Tom's going give Chuck a call and see what we can do with that... 'kay? But... then we can get an answer but...I just think that... I don't know... and I mean I'm guilty... I've come to the... the main reason I came by was Bill Miller was here and Tom [Thompson] was here and I felt... that it hurt me to hear what uh Bill Miller had to say because that doesn't necessarily mean the Planning Commission just[?] as the council that's why we had several members of the council here because they needed to hear it too... And so I... I just... [Rory motions] Yes, I'm sorry...

RORY GRUBB: And I apologize if I let things get out of hand... I try not to... Go ahead, Steve.

STEVE WILCOXSON: Um... under the enforcement part of this... um... can I ... I don't mean to take your thunder on this...

ZEIGER: No, nope... thank you [starts to leave]

CINDY BLOOMQUIST: Could I address that issue first?

ZEIGER: You could come outside and I'll talk to you.

CINDY BLOOMQUIST: No, I'd rather address it with [unintelligible]... You brought it up to everybody.

ZEIGER:  Yep. [Zeiger leaves]


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