Vehicle Ordinance Violation Discussed at Knox Planning Commission Meeting

Knox Planning Commission members revisited a code-compliance matter that was discussed last month when they met Tuesday evening.

Christie and Jerry Dunn live at a residence situated on a corner lot on Roosevelt Road. They addressed the commission about their property which was discussed in February. According to Planning Administrator and Director of Building and Code Compliance Kenny Pfost, multiple complaints have come in about racecars that are often kept in the yard. The Dunns said they were told by two different mayors that their cars were exempt from the ordinance.

City code states that any un-plated vehicles must be stored out of sight. However, racecars cannot legally be plated so they cannot simply plate the vehicles in order to be in compliance. They would need to move any of the un-plated vehicles to an enclosed area, according to Attorney Martin Bedrock who cited the existing ordinance.

President Greg Matt asked them is this was a hobby. They replied that racing is a sport, and they make money off of it as their livelihood. Matt said if what they’re doing is their business, then the issue is that it’s being done in a residential area. He said they could consider getting a spot in a commercial zone to conduct some of the work on their cars that is causing complaints from neighboring residents. Mr. Dunn said that isn’t an option that is financially realistic to them at this point and emphasized that it’s not technically a business.

One issue that Mrs. Dunn mentioned was that she didn’t think the matter was followed up on sufficiently. She said she initially was notified about being in violation back in October and they took care of everything they were told to do. She said Pfost was supposed to come back for a follow-up visit but she didn’t hear anything else about it until January when she was told she was in violation again.

Mr. Dunn said they are willing to do their best to follow the ordinances and said he understands the importance of code compliance to keep the city looking nice. However, he expressed concern for some other properties in the area that he’s seen that also have un-plated vehicles and other ordinance violations that seemingly have nothing done about them.

During the meeting, Commission Member Kring stated that many people ignore the violation letters and said it’s obvious that the Dunns actually care and seem like they want to address the matters.

Members suggested that the Dunns look into making an addition to their garage or adding a lean-to in order to be in accordance with the ordinance. Matt added that since they are still in the process of buying their home, they would need to coordinate with the property owner before tackling a project like that.

After the meeting, Pfost mentioned that he treats all the violations the same – no properties are prioritized over another. All individuals found violating an ordinance are served the same kind of warnings and fees and face the same consequences if they don’t work to be in compliance.

Additionally, Mayor Dennis Estok said that the Roosevelt residence is not the only residence in the city that he’s received racecar related complaints about. He has asked the Planning Commission to look into potentially adding to the vehicle ordinance in order to specifically address racecars since they cannot be plated and they aren’t currently defined as recreational vehicles.