Kilroy’s given until May to clean up
For 12 years, Kilroy’s wrecking yard on Highway 49 has marked the southern entrance to the core of western Nevada County, providing an important service and causing headaches for planners.
Sometimes, the salvaged cars have been stacked so high that motorists can view them from Highway 49 and LaBarr Meadows Road.
Following a county decision Thursday, Kent and Kim Kilroy can keep their yard open another six months, but must correct its scenic flaws or face closure.
Nevada County planning commissioners considered in a public hearing whether to revoke the business-use permit of Kilroy’s Auto Dismantling. County staff members said they have been trying for more than a decade to get the Kilroys to keep salvaged vehicles inside a fenced area and not visible from nearby roads.
Kent Kilroy said junk cars constantly stream to his business. So, whenever his car crusher breaks – which it did recently for four months – he gets behind on processing them.
“If I don’t accept them, (people) come and drop them in the middle of the night,” Kilroy said. “I try to comply all I can, but sometimes my hands are tied.”
According to county documents, historically the Kilroys stay in compliance for a while, and then they revert to leaving wrecked cars strewn about the 2-1/2 acre lot.
“There has been no indication of complying with the use permit over the past couple of years,” said Brian Foss, the county’s principal planner. Violations, he added, have continued “since 2001 or 2002.”
Taryn Evans, the county’s code compliance manager, said she has not cited the Kilroys in the past few years because she felt a $379 fine would not sway them.
But some commission members thought the Kilroys should have been fined before letting the situation deteriorate into the permit revocation hearing.
“The fines are missing,” said Planning Commissioner Paul Aguilar. “If I get a ticket for speeding, I don’t speed again for a long, long time.”
City of Grass Valley Planning Director Tom Last suggested Kilroy put a fence around the north end of his property next to the city limits to shield the view of Highway 49 drivers as they enter town. That idea caught the commission’s ear, and became part of their motion they made to continue the permit revocation hearing.
Kilroy said he might put up a large concrete wall there as part of the overall screening and landscaping plan the commission ordered him to come up with by May 10, 2007. Prior to that, Kilroy will meet with city and county representatives to get their input.
“Mr. Kilroy, this is an opportunity to turn this into a real positive,” Aguilar said. “You can screen better and make your cars go up higher.”
Kilroy said he would return with a plan, but was worried that fencing along La Barr Meadows Road might be troublesome to construct. He also said he may end up moving one day anyway because of space constraints and the planned SouthHill Village development south of him.
Various community members defended Kilroy, including several past and present competitors who said shutting him down would increase the problem of derelict vehicles.
“There’s not enough places up here to handle what comes in on a daily basis,” employee Jerry Ridout said. “We are a throw-away country.”
Neighbor Orson Hansen said vehicles that aren’t brought to Kilroy’s business “get pushed over a bank or get set on fire.
“Every one of us came here in a car that will end up in a yard like Kent’s,” Hansen said.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4237.
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