Zoning dispute one reason for tank attack
(Originally published June 10, 2004 in the Sky-Hi News)
Marv Heemyer’s differences with the town of Granby originated over zoning changes that were proposed for a concrete batch plant in western Granby.
Heemeyer, the owner of Mountain View Muffler, attended zoning change hearings for what ws then a proposed new concrete batch plant, owned by Mountain Park Concrete.
Mountain Park Concrete was proposing to build a new, indoor concrete batch plant on a parcel of land next to the Mountain View Muffler two-acre parcel.
Cody, Susie and Joe Docheff, the owners of Mountain Park Concrete, wanted to move their longstanding concrete operation to land that they owned. For years they had operated on leased land owned by the Thompson family on the mesa above the batch plant site.
But in order to place a concrete batch plant on its current site in the Granby West Industrial Park, the Docheffs needed town approval of a PDO (planned development overlay) zoning change for the batch plant. They also wanted light industrial zoning for the subdivision they had purchased adjacent to the batch plane property.
All that requires hearing before the town board.
Heemeyer attended all the hearings, at first backed by a crowd of supporters who had many questions about the impacts of a concrete batch plant in that area.
People expressed concerns about dust, noise, light, pollution and traffic to the Granby Planning Commision and the GRanby Board of Trustees. WHile several people voiced concern and some opposition to the plant, it was clear that Heemeyer was the person organizing the effort to stop the batch plant.
He circulated petitions and he went door-to-door to stoke public opinion against the plant. He wrote letters to the editor of this newspaper raising questions about the environmental safety of the proposal plant.
Heemeyer’s vehement and persistent opposition to the batch plant operation stemmed from ongoing property disputes with the Docheffs. Attempts to buy and sell land between Heemeyer and the Docheffs ended in disagreements. The end result of those earlier disputes was that Heemeyer promised to fight the batch plant proposal at every step of the way.
He lived up to that promise.
As the town planning commission and board of trustees moved the Docheffs’ request along, the town board discovered it had made a mistake in its approval process and repeated a series of hearings and approvals for the project.
Granby Town Manager Tom Hale and the town board knew it was facing a contested zoning issue and they found it was prudent to repeat the hearings and approvals that were flawed, a move auctioned by the Granby town attorney, Scot Krob.
That caused a delay of six months in the Docheffs’ lengthy hearing process.
Finally, when the town gave the final zoning approval, Heemeyer sued the town and the Docheffs, alleging improper procedures and other problems. But in court hearings the court determined the town’s procedures and the hearing changes were within the town’s rights. Heemeyer’s suit was rejected and the approvals stood.
Slowly but surely, as the hearings continued, the number of people who attended and voiced opposition to the batch plant decreased. By the end of the process Heemeyer was the only person showing up to urge a “no” vote on the batch plant.
Finally, after two years of hearings, the Docheffs got final approval of the batch plant. But this didn’t mark the end of the dispute with the town.
Two new issues cropped up. One concerned apparent junk violations at the Mountain View Muffler site and the other concerned a violation of town code that requires properties with water to be hooked on to the sewer system.
Heemeyer cleaned up his site, as the town requested. But he never complied with the town’s code to hook on to the sewer line.
One reason Heemeyer resisted hooking to the line was that the easement needed for that hook-up crossed the Docheffs’ property. He could have put in his own lift station to get the savage to another line, but that would have been costly.
So Heemeyer did nothing.
When it became clear that Heemeyer was going to try and sell the property, the town continued to notify Heemeyer of the town code about the need for a sewer hookup. Finally, when Heemeyer continued to refuse to hook-up, the town took Heemeyer to court. Then, Heemeyer agreed to sign a restrictive covenant on the property for commercial purposes, or to sell it for such purposes, until it was hooked up.
Heemeyer even tried to dodge that requirement when he was in the process of selling the Mountain View Muffler land to The Trash Company and he still hadn’t obtained the required sewer hookup.
The town then notified the court of this and Heemeyer was found in contempt and fined $2,500, as well as being ordered to pay attorney fees and expenses.
Heemeyer didn’t pay that until after the land was officially sold, sending a check to the town which was signed to “town of Granby / cowards.” Heemeyer’s attorney, Ben McClelland, then corrected the check, scratching out “cowards,” and the town cashed the check.
By then, the new owners of the property had gotten the required sewer hook up that Heemeyer had managed to dodge for so long.
That was about nine months ago and was the last contact of the town with Heemeyer until he came calling with his armed and armored bulldozer, wrecking the town hall and damaging many other private buildings in town.
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