Kremmling shuts down garage door business
After a heated hearing, the Kremmling Board of Trustees went against a recommendation made by the Kremmling Planning Commission to grant a resident’s request to operate a garage door business in a residential area.
John Van Grinsven’s plan was to run his business out of a newly constructed 1,200-square-foot oversized garage at 565 Kinsey Ave. The planning commission OK’d the project.
During the hearing, Kremmling Manager Ted Soltis, who doubles as the town’s planning director, listed four areas where Van Grinsven failed to meet Kremmling municipal code.
The trustee vote was based on part of the code that states “the occupation shall not utilize more than 20 percent of the dwelling unit floor space, and all activities, including storage of supplies or materials associated with the home occupation shall be conducted indoors.”
Trustees Jason Bock, Ken Bentler, Erik Woog and Mike Music said the business could not meet that requirement. Trustees Isaac Schonlau and Grant Burger III believed it was possible. The final decision was make after an hour and a half of discussion.
During the special hearing appeal, the trustees could question the planning director, applicant and witnesses. The audience was not allowed to participate. At the end, the applicant and planning director made closing statements.
The board of trustees was to act as fact finders of the town code to determine if the planning commission decision was correct, said Mayor Thomas Clark.
The residential business request was also denied based on part of the municipal code that said no unreasonable noise, dirt, odor, vibration or glare should be observable off the premises.
“Van Grinsven in his operation of working on and putting together garage doors, would be required to operate saws and hammers, and sanders,” Soltis said.
Another part of the code said deliveries must not exceed volumes that would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood and shall not be delivered before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
“It is my understanding that there are occasions where he has garage doors delivered on semi trucks, this is not normal type of activity for a residential neighborhood,” Soltis said.
Van Grinsven said he gets a delivery every one to six months depending on the economy, and that he has gone six months before without deliveries.
“I’m going to get a couple here and there,” he said. “I can’t get everything myself. And especially if it’s coming from Chicago or some other part of the country.”
The code further states that a home occupation whose primary activity is retail sales shall be prohibited, except for catalog sales and Internet sales.
“Van Grinsven is operating a business,” Soltis said. “And in this business he is producing garage doors, or putting garage doors together, modifying these garage doors, and then he’s selling these garage doors. So, he’s primarily operating a retail business.”
“That’s not my primary activity,” Van Grinsven said. “Most of my work is labor. I’m not selling anything. I’m just fixing stuff.”
He also said he does not hire anyone to help him. “I am a sole provider. I’m not a business, I’m a subcontractor.”
As a witness, Soltis read a letter from a neighbor, Kris Moore, who said Van Grinsven receives deliveries from semi trucks early mornings; works “odd” hours; uses loud power tools; has lot of junk sitting around; and burns his trash (and smells “horrible.”)
“Just because I don’t have a trash can there, doesn’t mean anything,” Van Grinsven said. “I go to job sites that have trash cans all the time … I have to burn wood to stay warm ” not trash.”
Van Grinsven’s friend Jason George was one of his witnesses. “To single a guy out, and make him go through this entire process … seems to be to me to be if anything, limiting,” George said.
Kacey Beres, Kremmling Chamber of Commerce event director, who did not speak on the Chamber’s behalf, was also a witness.
“From living here 14 years, I feel like everyone’s trying to make a living. And there are a lot of businesses in this town that are run right out of their garages or basements,” she said. “As a single person in this town I know it’s very hard to make a living on the wage that I have.”
“Most of my business starts this time of year,” Van Grinsven said. “There’s nowhere for me to stand inside of that garage … to stay warm,” he said. “I hope people look at their heart in this situation. I’m just trying to make a living.”
” Katie Looby covers Kremmling and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or email@example.com.
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