City to take closer look at abatement ordinance

Hays Post

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A decision to review the removal of inoperable vehicles from a local mechanic’s business was tabled until next month, but not after discussion at Thursday’s Hays City Commission meeting.

Chris Miller, owner of Auto Tech, 600-602 Vine, is involved in an abatement issue with the city after officials found Miller was in violation of a city ordinance that states operable vehicles can’t be parked for months at a time unless hidden from within a building or behind a fence.  As of Thursday, Miller had removed one of the vehicles in question and just one truck remained on the property.

Commissioners commended Miller for cleaning up his property,  but Miller said he — and more than 30 of his peers — were asking commissioners take a deeper look at how the ordinance effects auto mechanics like himself whose job it is to work on inoperable vehicles.

“This ordinance has bad effects on all of us,” Miller said, “and it should go away.”

The abatement process between the city and Miller began in October when city officials received a complaints from community members regarding the inoperable vehicles on Miller’s property.

Commissioner Ron Mellick stressed the the city was not “picking on” Miller, but city staff is just doing their job by following up on complaints from community members.

Mellick compared Miller’s business to the “front porch” of Hays and said it was a business owner’s responsibility to follow city ordinances.

Mayor Kent Steward added that as elected officials commissioners are “advocates” for the city of Hays, “And that is what we are trying to do.  I appreciate that you have brought up some of your concerns.  I think a lot of them are well founded and I think ultimately this is a good thing that this all came up.” Steward also said he was in favor of making some revisions.

City staff is preparing a report on the ordinance and its effect on commercial businesses.  The report will presented at a Feb. 4 work session.

  • Curious

    How long have the 2 vehicles sat inoperable on the property is what I’m wondering. Was it 2 months or 5 years?

  • Come on

    Just build a dang fence and follow the law like the rest if us. Move your businesses into the county if the city laws are too burdensome. Both Chris and Scott earn a hefty living and can easily afford to comply with the ordinance. Rich peoples’ problems, Sheesh!

  • bosco

    in other words chris–clean up your stuff. quit belly aching. if more citizens acted like you our neighborhoods would have junk and trash laying all over the place.

  • Curious

    I wish the city would’ve allowed Mr. Miller to put the stack of pictures he brought of other ordinance violators throughout the city on the viewer . One of which was the city’s P.I.E. dept.. After they were passed one commissioner became very silent!

    • Curious

      Maybe Kari Blurton can post Mr. Miller’s pictures on Hays Post? Please!

    • Uncle Thomas

      They all took the time to peruse the pics, but Schwaller passed them right along as if he didn’t want to dirty his hands with such an issue (or maybe his plaid sport coat). I enjoy watching individuals such as this who enjoy fashion for the public view.

      • joe

        I saw those pictures. Anyone who wants to see a real dump with an old couch, plastic buckets, 55 gallon drums thrown around, old bricks, broken down fencing & trash in general only has to drive by the compost site to see all this in the back yard of the City Inspection & Enforcement location. I don’t know if it is city owned or not but the old Frontier City out by the I70 & Hwy 40 bypass is a train wreck for sure! “Front porch of our city”, hmmmmm. PS….Wise guys like Come on and Bosco need to educate themselves before crap comes out of their mouths.

        • Uncle Thomas

          Joe unfortunately the old Frontier City was inherited by a city commissioner as you well know…it lies in the county and if it was in the city “we the commish” wouldn’t want to address it.

          • joe

            So you are a commissioner?

          • Uncle Thomas

            No Joe I am not…play with words. Instead of “we the people…” oftentimes the commish themselves are above it all if it impacts them or their friends personally. That is why I stated “we the commish…” or “we the almighty…”.

          • joe


          • Urka Durka

            Perhaps you should take your own advice…

  • Curious

    Calling on Kari Blurton. Any response to any of this? Did you see pics?…you article didn’t even mention them! Easy to see you where you stand. We’ll just skid your reports in the future.