Used car lot faces clean-up demands

The city has asked Bernie Opland to clean up his business on Pipestone Avenue by removing some of the cars and adding signs to show that the cars that are there are working and for sale. -Brenda Wade Schmidt

Business owner Bernie Opland has until Friday to decrease the number of cars at his lot at the Big Sioux Tire building, a city oversite board has said.
Under his conditional use permit, Opland is not supposed to have junk vehicles on the lot nor are any tires or parts allowed to be stored outside in public view. Opland’s business has cleaned up piles of scrap and tires after the city gave him 30 days to do so in July but continues to have rows of cars on the lot, said Jeff Pederson, city administrator in a letter. He was out of town when members of the city planning and zoning commission met Oct. 4.
Opland and his employee, Robert Anderson, said all but two of the cars on the lot run if a battery is put in them. They also either are for sale or waiting for Anderson to do repair work on them.
“All the cars that are there are cars that I have brought up that are fixable and sellable,” Opland said.
The planning and zoning commission members have the authority to revoke Opland’s conditional use permit making it illegal for him to operate, if necessary.
Instead the five-member board and Opland came up with a limit of the number of cars that can be parked across the front of the business and along the east fence and agreed that they would have some signage showng that they are for sale. The board will inspect the site Friday.
“We want your business there, and we want it viable, but we also want it according to what we agreed upon,” said Brian Bergjord, a commission member. The remaining cars need to be moved to a different staging area, off the lot and out to Opland’s salvage business east of town, he said.
Chairman Don Ulwelling was not as optimistic that the business would clean up the corner on Pipestone Avenue, adding that the issue likely will come back to the board in the future because it will be out of compliance.
“I feel you’ve had plenty of time to get them out of there. I just don’t feel it’s a legit deal,” he said. “It’s a mess up there. They’ve got to be out of there.
“I just don’t want to do this again in six months. I’m sure we’re going to have to,” he said.
Board member Bruce Clark warned Opland that he needs to comply. “The next time you come in here, you know what’s going to be the answer.”
Board member Dan Rose said, as is, no potential buyers would even know that the cars are for sale. “It doesn’t look like a used car lot,” he said.
“It looks like a junkyard. It really does,” Ulwelling said.
Board member David Lillibridge said a used-car lot is needed in town, but Opland should show some turnover in inventory if that is the use. “If you want to call it Miracle Motors and have a row of $800 cars and $1,200 cars … but they need to move.”
In other planning and zoning business, board members approved a conditional use permit for Big Sioux Baptist Church on Veteran’s Avenue to build its parsonage closer to the city water tower that normally allowed. The Rev. David Lillibridge, abstained from voting as a member of the board.
The parsonage is the first phase of a project that includes removal of several trailer houses that are hooked together to provide the church’s current building. Once the home is built, with use inside for church services, those trailers will be removed, and a church building can be constructed in the future, he said.


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