The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Martin
The Times 

Council Considers Lot Lease

Towing business requests to use lot between Midway Food Mart and Waitsburg Mini Storage


August 10, 2017

Times File Photo

Trevor Johnson recently opened Johnson Family Towing in Waitsburg and is looking to lease an unused strip of city land as a parking area for State Patrol unauthorized tows.

WAITSBURG – Trevor Johnson, owner and operator of Johnson Family Towing, approached the Waitsburg City Council about the possibility of using an unused plot of land, between Midway Food Mart and Waitsburg Mini Storage as a specialized storage lot for his business. The council agreed to look into a lease of the property.

City Manager Randy Hinchliffe said the parcel of land, approximately 60 feet wide, was reserved for an undeveloped street and there is already at least one shed over the right of way.

"It's never been developed and I'm not sure there will ever be any intention of developing it," Hinchliffe said. He said the city has control of the land, it has direct access to the highway, and it's not being used for anything.

Johnson explained to the council that he needs a small parcel of land in order to provide State Patrol "authorized tows." He said an unauthorized tow is anything that the state, county, or local law enforcement calls the operator to tow, as opposed to the owner calling and requesting a tow.

Johnson said owner-requested "authorized" tows can be requested at the lot he currently uses. He said the county was asking an "exorbitant fee" to allow him to park unauthorized tows at his current lot. He is hoping to find a lot inside the city limits where he can park vehicles that have been abandoned or that were in an accident and the owner doesn't give permission for the tow.

"I'm really only looking at an area of about 30 x 30 feet. Not a huge spot. It's all smaller vehicles.

Johnson said he would follow state regulations which require a 6-foot tall privacy fence and would prevent the area from being an eyesore. Johnson said he would install a cedar fence, rather than a chain link/slat fence. He said he also has spill mats for any vehicles that may require leak containment.

When asked, Johnson said he would back vehicles into the lot from the Midway lot rather than backing in from the highway.

"There is ample space in the Midway lot that I can pull into the lot and be lined up to back into the parking area," Johnson said.

Johnson said another requirement by the state is that he has "storefront hours" and that the lot is "manned" during the day. To satisfy those, he said Midway owner, Sam Kumar, has agreed to partner with him by providing a building and staff that are available during regular working hours.

Mayor Marty Dunn requested that Hinchliffe look into a renewable lease program for the property.

"I'm not too strong on deeding ground as we've done in the past. Write the contract so that if he wants to purchase within so many years, we can find out what the market value is," Dunn said.

The council agreed, unanimously.

"I don't think the city ought to be tying up ground, especially commercially-zoned highway frontage. Let's get it into production;give it to a small business owner," said council member KC Kuykendall.


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