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County threatens to close Kilroy’s

Nevada County is threatening to close a vehicle salvage yard on the outskirts of Grass Valley, alleging continuous business use permit violations the past 12 years.

Kent Kilroy, who owns Kilroy’s Auto Dismantling between Highway 49 and La Barr Meadows Road, said County Planning Director Randy Wilson has a personal vendetta against him and blamed equipment failure for his problems. The permit to run his business will be up for revocation at a 9 a.m. hearing Thursday with the county Planning Commission.

“It’s not personal,” Wilson said Tuesday. “It’s about keeping in line with the permit. We have never been able to keep the cars clear from in front of his building.”



The 1965 use permit Kilroy inherited when he bought the business in 1993 said that all junk vehicles must be stored behind a fenced-in area at the 5-acre site just south of McKnight Road. It also calls for vehicles inside the fenced area to not be stacked higher than the fence for esthetic reasons.

But in a flurry of letters and complaints from area residents, the city of Grass Valley and the county since 1994, Kilroy has been cited for consistently placing vehicles outside the fenced area, stacking them above the fence and creating visual nuisances.




Kilroy said the problem did become acute for him earlier this year when his car crusher was down for four months. Because he does not charge to pick up or have junk cars brought to his business, Kilroy has a steady supply he said he could not keep up with.

“If we can’t crush them, they stack up,” Kilroy said. “We’ve always tried to comply, but the cars just keep coming.”

Indeed, three showed up during The Union’s interview with Kilroy in front of his business. Kilroy said he takes the cars partially as a community service.

“Basically, it’s cleaning up the county,” he said. “This year, we’ve done 2,000 cars, taking them off people’s property and recycling them.”

Kilroy also admitted he’s taking the vehicles for no charge because “scrap metal’s pretty fair right now.”

If his permit is revoked, Kilroy said he and his wife might open another business involved with weddings. But he said he wants the salvage yard to remain open.

“This place supports 11 families,” he said.

The staff report for Thursday’s hearing is recommending the salvage yard’s use permit be revoked to take care of an ongoing visual nuisance.

“If the permit is not revoked, the violations are likely to continue as shown by the continuing complaints received over the past 12 or more years,” the report said.

This is not the first time Kilroy has had a run-in with area officials. Kilroy sued the county, the California Highway Patrol and the county’s District Attorney’s office for slander, libel and false arrest after beating various charges filed against him in 2000. The charges stemmed from an alleged falsification of sale documents by Kilroy for a truck he sold.

A subsequent search of his home turned up some guns, and Kilroy was indicted on weapons charges. But a federal judge threw the charges out when he ruled the guns were illegally seized.

The Nevada County charges stemming from the original vehicle sale were also dismissed in Superior Court here because of insufficient evidence. Kilroy’s suit was thrown out when a judge ruled law officers were doing their job when they investigated him and were immune from being sued while doing their duty.

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To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

Know & Go

• What: Use permit revocation hearing for Kilroy’s Auto Dismantling.

• When: 9 a.m. Thursday

• Where: Nevada County Planning Commission meeting, supervisors chambers, Rood Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City.


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