Oskaloosa mayor looks to shut down local businessman

by Dennis Sharkey

The Oskaloosa City Council has directed the zoning administrator to investigate a local business after Mayor Mike Paavola made a complaint.

Paavola brought up the issue at the regular council meeting on June 7 after he said the city received a complaint about Jim’s Tow and Tire located on south U.S. 59 Highway. The business is owned by former McLouth mayor Jim Schonherr. He also operates a pawn shop and storage unit on adjoining property.

Paavola said the city received a phone call complaint but after further research he is ready to file the complaint himself after a confrontation with Schonherr.

“It’s also personal to me,” Paavola said. “After the words that were spoke I would sign anything.”

Paavola is complaining that Schonherr is operating the towing service without a conditional use permit. Paavola claims that the permit was issued to the prior owners and is void.

He also had complaints that conditions set within the permit were not being followed.

“Even if he did have a conditional use permit he is violating it so many ways it’s not even funny here,” Paavola said. “We need to take action.”

The council voted unanimously to move forward with an investigation but some council members wanted many more questions answered first.

Councilman John Norman wanted to bring Schonherr in for a discussion first. Councilwoman Emily Malsbury disputed Paavola’s claim that the permit was void.

“I don’t agree that he doesn’t have a conditional use permit,” Malsbury said.

City Attorney Mike Hayes disagreed with Malsbury and said the permit is issued to the property owner and does not follow the property. Hayes also alleged that Schonherr is violating health laws and accused Schonherr of dumping oil into the water system.

“That could be serious,” Hayes said. “You got oil going into a water supply. That’s not good.”

Paavola disclosed that he and Schonherr got into a “heated” discussion at Paavola’s business.

However, Schonherr said the confrontation began over the phone. He said Paavola called him angry and used several curse words toward him before hanging up. Schonherr said he tried to call Paavola back but that he would not answer the phone. At that time Schonherr went to Paavola’s business where the argument continued.

Paavola did not disclose what was said in the argument other than Schonherr said that everyone has to follow the same rules. Paavola spoke in a sarcastic tone and said that he agreed with Schonherr.

Schonherr said he did tell Paavola that everyone should follow the same rules and reiterated the same to the Independent. Schonherr said Paavola’s anger stems from an inquiry that he made with the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission about a towing service Paavola is operating outside the city. Schonherr said he questioned whether or not Paavola had a permit to operate the business. He claims this angered Paavola.

Schonherr said Paavola is using his position of mayor against him. He said Paavola told him he would be finished in Oskaloosa.

“If they want to push me out they can come up here with a checkbook and take over,” Schonnherr said on Monday.

Paavola wanted to shut down Schonherr’s business immediately until he came into compliance. Hayes said Zoning Administrator Danny Dodge has the authority to shut down the business if his investigation determines a violation.

Short URL: http://www.jeffcountynews.com/?p=13274

Posted by on Jun 24 2012. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Oskaloosa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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