City to take closer look at abatement ordinance
By KARI BLURTON
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.