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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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In May of 2016, I shared with you an issue facing historic Harmont Drive in Glendale. It is an older, historic neighborhood of large lot properties established in 1953, over 60 years ago. Their CC&Rs prohibit commercial use of the properties in this SR-17 (17,000 square feet) neighborhood.

As soon as a Mr. Don Olson moved into a home located on the northeast corner of 59th and Northern Avenues, within this subdivision, he used this location as a commercial tree farm business. He accepted retail customers at the location and also stored trees for disposition and sale at other locations in the Valley. Here’s a link to his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Shamus-OLearys-Tropical-Fruit-Trees-469661096392272/ .

When he purchased the property he, like any other buyer in this subdivision, received the CC&R’s prohibiting his use of his property for commercial purposes. Apparently he chose to ignore them and promptly began his retail business. When it came to the attention of the city via the neighbors, he claimed ignorance.

The neighbors couldn’t help but notice the increased commercial activity and notified the city’s Code Enforcement Department. Eventually Mr. Olson was told by the city that he had to stop his activities and he would have to apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). On Thursday, May 5, 2016, Mr. Olson’s Conditional Use Permit request went before the Planning Commission. Fearing a denial, Mr. Olson requested that the item be tabled as apparently he had hired a zoning attorney to represent him when the CUP was scheduled for a rehearing on August 4, 2016.

On August 4th, 2016 the following occurred at the citizen Planning and Zoning Meeting: “CUP16-01: A request by Don Olson for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to operate a home occupation (Class II) business in a private backyard of a residence, which will mainly consist of growing trees and selling trees to customers with appointments on a property in the SR-17 (Suburban Residence) Zoning District. The site is located north of the northeast corner of 59th and Northern Avenues (5841 West Royal Palm Road) and is in the Barrel District. Staff Contact: Martin Martell, Planner.  COMMISSIONER HIRSCH MADE A MOTION TO DENY CUP16-01.  COMMISSIONER MORENO SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH WAS APPROVED WITH A VOTE OF 6 TO 1 (GALLEGOS).”

The neighbors had won. Mr. Olson was denied his CUP request and would not be allowed to operate a business at this location. Then what are these semis doing at Mr. Olson’s residence? It’s not just a single occurrence but seems to happen frequently and with regularity.

Apparently these semis are dropping off trees…lots and lots of trees, which are then distributed by Mr. Olson to other locations for commercial sale. This is a commercial activity that had been strictly prohibited by the August 4th decision of the Planning Commission.

olsonoct23

Mr. Olson is gaming the system. As we residents of Glendale know all too well it’s well nigh impossible to expect Code Enforcement to check out anything on a weekend. Yes, they have an inspector on call from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays. Guess when these semis arrive at Mr. Olson’s. You would be correct if you guessed after 5 PM on a Saturday evening. You would also be correct if you guessed that the trees would be gone by 9 AM on a Monday morning.

The neighbors notified Code of Mr. Olson’s activities (he uses the commercial name of Shamus O’Leary) and the response from Code to date? Nothing. Two months later, in October, 2016, neighborhood complaints are now arriving in a steady stream at Code Enforcement’s desk. Witness this October 15, 2016 email trail to Code (names and sensitive information reacted):

“From: XXXXXXXX Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2016 1:44 AM To: XXXXXXXXX (Code Enforcement)

Subject: Don Olson loading up fruit trees on Fri. 10/14 @ 7:45pm

 XXXXXXX,

Here are some pictures of Don Olson loading up a rental truck with fruit trees and supplies.  According to his FB page, he is selling his stuff at Mesa CC on Sat. morning.  XXXXX, my wife, called the Code compliance phone number and left a message.  I am sure that Don waited until after 5pm to load the truck knowing that there would be no code compliance officers on duty.  This is what I was talking to you about last week.  Did you ever get a chance to talk to someone in the police dept. to see if there is someone we can call on the weekends?  These pictures were taken on Fri. night around 7:45pm.  He is loading the truck from the driveway/easement on the back of his property.  The truck is facing 59th Ave.  The bottom picture is a house facing 59th Ave. and is not Don or his wife/girlfriend’s property.”

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Then a few days later, October 20th, another advisory email is sent to Code Enforcement:

“From: XXXXXXXXXXXX Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 3:25 PM To: XXXXXXXXXX (Code Enforcement) Subject: Shamus O’Leary

 XXXXXXXXX,

Just wanted to follow up with the e-mail I sent you last week.  According to Don Olson’s business FB page, he will be loading up another truck and heading out on Sat. morning to sell his trees in Apache Junction.  If he is loading his truck on Fri night or Sat morning, is there anyone to call that might catch him in the act?  It also appears that some of his customers are upset with him because he is charging sales tax of 9.6%.  Shouldn’t he be paying that sales tax to the city of Glendale?

 Thanks, XXXXXXXXXXX”

An email is sent to neighbors on the same day:

“From: XXXXXXXXXX Sent: Friday, October 21, 2016 7:55 PM To: XXXXXXXXXXX Subject: Fw: Shamus O’Leary

 Don is loading up trees again tonight for a big sale Sat. morning in Apache Junction.  I told Code Enforcement that he would be loading up a truck tonight but, you know the drill, nobody in Code Enforcement is available after 5 pm Fri until Mon. morning.  He pulled a Penske box truck into the front driveway around 6:10 pm, then started loading it up.  XXXXX (Code) said that XXXXXX (Code Inspector) would be available on Sat. morning if anyone sees Don, but I am sure he will be long gone by then.  The cell # is XXX-XXX-XXXX.  According to the Shamus O’Leary FB page, he is selling his trees in AJ from 9-11 am on Sat.  He also responded to one of his customers who asked why he charges 9.6% tax on fruit trees when Lowe’s doesn’t charge any.  He said his accountant advised him to and that he isn’t familiar with the tax codes.  He also said that he pays his taxes monthly?  Who is he paying them to?”  

By now, the City’s Code Enforcement and License & Tax Division knows what Mr. Olson is doing. Why are they not acting with alacrity? Code’s traditional response is that they have to catch the act itself and cite. That is impossible when the activity occurs outside of regular business hours. You would think that Code being aware of this situation would provide the neighbors with a contact inspector who would come out especially to deal with this illegal activity outside of regular business hours. So far…no.

I know that many in Glendale government read this blog. Hopefully, it will spur some sort of immediate action. After all, Code’s prime directive is to ensure the health and safety as well as the property values of Glendale’s residents. To date, this is yet another example of the city’s lack of response and ineffectiveness. It’s what drives residents nuts.

© Joyce Clark, 2016          

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

CHECK OUT A VIDEO ABOUT SAMMY CHAVIRA’S USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN

It has been 18 years and 147 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On March 3, 1953 a lovely, now historic, neighborhood was born in Glendale. It is known today as Historic Thunderbird Estates. This is a neighborhood of large lots, with mature trees and vegetation, many of which said properties still rely upon irrigation water.

The people who created this neighborhood lived in it for many, many years. Many of these people contributed a great deal to the rich history of Glendale. You may even recognize a few of the names. They were Philip and Bessie Rice, Opal and Earl Moore, Patsy Woods, Stanley and Gwendolyn McDonald, Ralph and Margaret Baskett, James and Sarah Sharpe, C.E. and Gladys McDonald, and Elias and Gaeta Coury.

Here are just a few of the accomplishments of the residents who formed Thunderbird Estates in the 1950’s. The Ira Moore building was used for Glendale Union high school’s very first classes. W. F. Moore was a Glendale councilmember from 1930-34. Willis Moore was on the Glendale Union High School’s first baseball championship team of 1923. R.E. Moore was manager of the Valley Bank, across from Murphy Park, in the 1940’s. Dr. Philip Rice was one of the very few medical doctors practicing in Glendale in the 1950’s. His wife Bess, was prominently involved with the Glendale Women’s Club and was known for her support of cleanup projects and tree planting throughout Glendale. The Coury family is remembered as prominent downtown Glendale merchants of the 1960’s with the Coury Market, also across the street from Murphy Park.

They created their Covenants, Codes and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for this historic neighborhood. Here is what they said and what they intended for this neighborhood …their land:

“The stipulations, restrictions and covenants herein contained shall be taken and considered as covenants irrevocable and restrictions running with the land, and with each and every part, parcel, lot and subdivision thereof, no made or hereafter to be made; and shall not only be binding upon the parties hereto, their respective successors and immediate assigns, but the same shall be binding upon each and every person, persons or corporation on who may hereafter become owners of or interested in said premises, or any part, parcel, lot or subdivision thereof, by or through conveyances, leases, permits or licenses, from or through any of the parties hereto.

“Further, all conveyances made by the parties hereto shall by apt words convey said lands and each and every parcel thereof, subject to the said restrictions and provisions. But in case such restrictions and provisions shall be omitted from any such deed or deeds, the same shall nevertheless be binding upon the grantee, his heirs and assigns, the same as though specially set forth in such deed or deeds and each and every such deed or deeds shall be taken by the grantee therein named subject to the covenants and provisions of this agreement.

“The stipulations, restrictions and covenants to which said premises are subjected are as follows, to- wit:

  1. Each parcel of land shall be used exclusively for residential purposes.”

There is nothing ambiguous about their words put to paper. We know exactly what their desire and intent was…to keep their land, in whole or in part, for residential use exclusively and in perpetuity. The residents of this subdivision have relied upon the CC&R’s for over 50 years.  When these residents purchased their parcels over the years they relied upon the character of their historic neighborhood to remain for residential use only.

Until Mr. Don Olson arrived upon the scene. For you see, Mr. Olson purchased one of the parcels within Historic Thunderbird Estates. He is using his newly acquired property within Historic Thunderbird Estates for commercial purposes – the sale of trees, big trees, little trees, all kinds of trees…and now he wants the city to grant him a Conditional Use Permit to bless his apparent violation of the Historic Thunderbird Estates CC&Rs.

5841 W. Royal Palm Glendale, AZ

5841 W. Royal Palm
Glendale, AZ

So what has the city done to protect this lovely, old, historic neighborhood?  On Thursday, May 5, 2016 Mr. Olson’s Conditional Use Permit request went before the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is composed of citizens. The current members of the commission are : Chairperson Steve Johnston;  Vice Chairperson Arthur Dobbelaere;  Commissioner Jack Gallegos;  Commissioner Rick Harper; Commissioner Gary Hirsch, Commissioner Al Lenox; and Commissioner David Moreno. They would decide the fate of this historic neighborhood by making an advisory recommendation to the city council.

The minutes of the Planning Commission of May 5, 2016 reflect the following: “CUP16-01: A request by Don Olson for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to operate a home occupation (Class II) business in a private backyard of a residence, which will mainly consist of growing trees and selling trees to customers with appointments on a property in the SR-17 (Suburban Residence) Zoning District. The site is located north of the northeast corner of 59th and Northern Avenues (5841 West Royal Palm Road) and is in the Barrel District. Staff Contact: Martin Martell, Planner. VICE CHAIRPERSON DOBBELAERE MADE A MOTION TO CONTINUE CUP16-01 TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING OF AUGUST 4, 2016. COMMISSIONER GALLEGOS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH WAS APPROVED WITH A VOTE OF 4 TO 3 (HIRSCH, HARPER, AND LENOX).

Mr. Olson requested that the item be tabled as apparently he has hired a zoning attorney to represent him when the CUP is heard on August 4, 2016. The motion to table was granted on a vote of 4-3 with only Commissioners Hirsch, Harper and Lenox willing to deny the motion to table the action and ready to decide the CUP without the benefit of Mr. Olson’s acquisition of yet another attorney…a  zoning attorney.

This neighborhood is upset, concerned and angry. They don’t have a slick, fancy, new homeowner’s association to protect their interests. As a historic neighborhood they must rely upon the city staff, the citizen planning commissioners and city council to protect them. This becomes more and more difficult as historic memory of what Glendale was and who contributed to shaping Glendale is forgotten by a younger generation.

Will they protect the legacy of Glendale or succumb to a commercialism that slowly eats away at older neighborhoods such as this one? This neighborhood hopes that it can be preserved  as do other historic neighborhoods in Glendale. If we don’t speak for them…if we do not value their legacy…then what is Glendale’s destiny? To become just another ‘burb in the Valley of the ‘burbs??

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On Thursday, March 6, 2014 the Glendale citizen Planning Commission voted to deny a Conditional Use Permit for USA Pawn Shop. Thank you to the citizen members of the Planning and Zoning Commission for your decision.

Recently I received an email from a Glendale resident who told me it’s not over yet. USA Pawn, as is their right, has appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the Glendale City Council. It will be heard before council at their Tuesday, May 27, 2014 meeting at 6 PM.

USA Pawn is asking to locate a mere 300 to 500 feet away from another pawn shop, Go Daddy Pawn at 59th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, in zip code 85301. It’s time to give south Glendale a break. There are at least a half dozen pawn shops within spitting distance of one another in the area.

Whether you live in the immediate area or not, you have the right to let your voices be heard. Share your opinion on the granting of yet another pawn shop in south Glendale by emailing the Glendale City Council. Here are their city email addresses:

You can let them know that you oppose the granting of a conditional use permit for the USA pawn shop and your reason(s) why you oppose it.

Or you can speak to the issue on the night of May 27, 2014 by appearing before the city council and speaking when it is presented on the agenda. Either means is effective but only when there are many voices. It doesn’t take many to persuade council. I have seen 20 or 30 people mount a charge on an issue and succeed. The danger is that you assume someone else will participate so your voice isn’t necessary. Never make that assumption for then no one comes forward. Silence indicates to council that there is tacit public approval. I am always reminded in these situations of a poem in which the author says, paraphrasing, they came for others and I said nothing. When they came for me there was no one left to speak for me. Public silence and apathy are the hallmarks of bad ideas that are allowed life. Another pawn shop in south Glendale is a bad idea that should not be given life.  

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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