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August 19, 2014 | 03:10 PM
WALWORTH — After two hours of testimony Monday night, the Walworth Plan Commission said Jon’s Auto had violated its conditional use permit. At the end of the meeting, the commission agreed to delay making an amendment to the permit until the September meeting.

The hearing was scheduled after residents near the business complained about the number of cars in the parking lot and lack of landscaping. The commission is allowed to revoke or amend a permit if it finds that the complaints against a business are valid.

Business owner Juan Colin, building owner Jack Kozar and neighborhood residents testified, after being sworn in by a court reporter. After the testimonies, the commission agreed that Jon’s Auto had violated the conditional use permit set in November 2011, which limited vehicle parking around the building.

The commission agreed to delay further discussion on finding “reasonable modifications” to the conditional use permit until the next meeting, Sept. 15. They asked Kozar, attorney Tony Coletti and Colin to present suggestions for an amended permit.

Colin rents half of the building at 112 Knoll Road from Kozar. He’s occupied the space for three years, but residents say it’s too successful for the space.

Village President and Plan Commission Chairman David Rasmussen said Colin’s business is outgrowing the location.

“I think you’re going to have to start looking (for another business location),” Rasmussen said.

The testimony

Village Trustee Rick Novak submitted a complaint form to Donna Schut, village clerk/treasurer, on July 22. He spoke briefly during the hearing Aug. 18.

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Novak said there were dead trees on the property that weren’t taken care of, the fence surrounding the side parking lot was falling apart and more than the allowed cars were parked at the business overnight.

Novak gave a petition to the commission, which he said had signatures of residents around the business.

Kozar objected to the petition, saying he and his attorney hadn’t heard about the petition prior to the hearing and didn’t have time to review it. Kozar also said residents had two months prior to the hearing to file complaints with the village.

Rasmussen said the commission wasn’t going to weigh the petition more than other arguments given during the hearing.

The petition had signatures dated from the first two weeks of August.

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Novak first said the petition had been turned in three weeks ago, then he said he had turned it in the day after the last signature on the petition.

Diana and Michael Bromeland also spoke, sharing most of what they’d submitted in a complaint form to the village earlier this summer.

The Bromelands said they frequently saw more cars than allowed by the permit parked in the front parking lot of Jon’s Auto.

Diana Bromeland said she wanted to keep the street the way it was, not add to traffic.

Colin also spoke to defend his business.

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“I have over 30 letters from neighbors supporting me and my business,” he said.

“I’m not here to make anyone mad, I’m just trying to make a living.”

Colin said residents living near his business keep complaining, though he’s done everything he can to make them happy.

“I’ve been doing landscaping,” he said. “I’ve done everything they wanted.”

Kozar said he hadn’t heard any complaints about the property until the last plan commission meeting.

He said he gave his cell phone number to the residents around the business when it opened, and he asked them to call him if they had any problems.

“I still have the same number,” he said, giving it out to the audience. “I’m happy to remedy any issues. I need to know about them to do something though.”

Kozar said he doesn’t hear any complaints about the 12-unit apartment building across the street.

“They often have cars up on blocks over there,” he said.

Final arguments

Coletti said there was no basis for revoking the conditional use permit.

“The suggestion is that because his business is thriving, we should restrict him,” Coletti said. “This lot is zoned commercially. It’s near Highway 14.”

Commissioner Laurie Larson said she had driven by the business earlier in the day, and the landscaping looked much better than earlier in the summer.

Though changes have been made, the commission still agreed that Jon’s Auto had violated the parking limit amendments set in the conditional use permit. Five of the six present commissioners agreed with the violation. John Bromfield, the newest commission, abstained, saying he was too new on the commissioner to decide something of this nature.

Because of the agreement on the violation, the commission is allowed to revoke or amend the permit.

The commission requested Kozar and Colin bring parking plans to the next meeting, and the commission would discuss amendments in September.

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