(Originally published June 24, 2004 in the Sky-Hi News)
I’m reading and hearing it frequently.
Those who are inclined to sympathize with Marv Heemeyer’s bulldozer rampage in Granby June 4 frequently say or write something like this: ‘The town and the community must have done something really bad to Marv, causing him to go berserk.”
The implication is that Marv was wronged by the town of Granby and treated unfairly. The community of Granby — a repressive gang of “good ol’ boys” — somehow hurt Marv so bad that he went off the deep end.
These statements and comments are being made by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re assuming that the extreme nature of Marv’s rampage was in turn caused by some sort of extreme action in the town.
It’s time to defend the town and the community of Granby in the face of these unfair and uninformed attacks.
When it comes to all the hearings and governmental processes concerning Marv’s opposition to the Docheffs’ concrete batch plant, I was there. I attended every single hearing. I sat through countless hours of deliberation, both in hearings and in open meetings, concerning the batch plant. I read Marv’s lawsuits and the town’s responses. I was there when the batch plant zoning, and finally the plant itself, were OK’d by the town.
I saw how the town of Granby’s board of trustees and many of its citizens, at first, shared many concerns about the batch plant proposal. I saw how the town had trustees and planning commission members who, at first, were essentially on Marv’s side when it came to questioning the concrete plant proposal.
I saw how there were many citizens who showed up to voice their concerns about the concrete plant proposal. I saw how the town’s planning commission and board of trustees listened to their concerns. I saw how the town responded to the concerns of Marv.
I saw the town respond to Marv’s concerns. I believe that because of Marv’s initial opposition, and because of his concerns, the Mountain Park Concrete batch plant actually ended up being a better project.
The truth of the matter is this: The town trustees and the town’s planning commission were actually deferential and considerate of Marv, almost to a fault. That’s because the town knew that Marv was serious about his opposition and that he was litigious. He intimated his intentions to sue early on.
It’s important to remember that Marv wasn’t the only person voicing concerns. Many other people who live near the plant had many concerns. Slowly but surely, however, as the hearing and approval process advanced, the amount of public opposition, other than from Marv, dwindled. It dwindled because people saw that the town and the Docheffs were responding to many of the concerns they voiced. Slowly but surely, many of the reasons for people’s opposition went away.
By the end of the process the Docheffs’ concrete batch plant was a much better project than what was initially proposed. Dust, noise, light traffic and other environmental issues had been confronted and resolved.
By the end, Marv was the lone voice leading the minimal opposition. Marv didn’t stop the plant. But he did push through many improvements to it. But Marv wanted to stop it. In that area, he didn’t get his way. That’s why he thinks he was wronged by the town when in fact the town did listen. The town did treat him well in that entire process.
Then came, much later, concerns about junk and a sewer line. The town warned Marv about the junk and he cleaned up the mess. But when it came to his noncompliance with a sewer line hook-up, Marv never complied. After warnings and after getting a ticket, he flat-out refused to hook on to the sewer line.
Joe Docheff said after all the batch plant hearings, Heeymeyer never even asked the Docheffs if he could hook on to a sewer line on their property. Docheff said they would have let him hook on. He just never asked.
Marv’s steadfast refusal resulted in a court judgement against him, which he must have felt was extreme. But I can assure you that if my business wasn’t hooked up to the sewer, as required by town and sewer district law, I’d be in trouble, too.
The property was finally hooked up to the sewer, but only after Marv sold the property.
Some people assume that “government” somehow kicked a “good” man and overextended its power. From where I was sitting, the opposite was true. The town deferred to Marv, responded to his concerns, and he turned around and sued the town.
To suggest the town board is hungry for power and abuses its perrogative insults the good intentions of our elected board members and appointed planning commission member who serve for little or no money and who take a lot of grief for making tough decisions in what they think is the best public interest.
Our officials served Marv well and he responded by attacking them and the town. That’s how I see it. I was there.
(Patrick Brower is the former editor and publisher of Sky-Hi News.)