For a number of years the heavy road construction company of Koontz Construction has operated illegally out of a residentially zoned area just off hiway 41 out side of the town of Coarsegold.
The company has been cited for this and has been denied requests for rezoning to industrial.
This is public record, and is confirmed in the emails below, between the Madera county supervisor for this area and various residents.
Most recently (OCT 19, 2009) Mr. Koontz was issued a permit after he got a job with Cal-Trans to sub-contract for a project, that continued to allow his company to operate in outside of the zoning laws, irrespective of this company's history. This permit specifically allows the removal of rocks that MR. Koontz dumped on the property, but does not appear to allow for the operation of jack hammers to break up rocks which is creating a huge nuisance fro all the residents of this normally quiet community.
When pressed as to why this permit was even issued, and why (even though it was only to 'move' the rocks ... not to operate the huge "crane-like" tracked vehicle jack hammers) which has been going into the third week, of every week day, all day ..... the area Supervisor 'Tom Wheeler' responded with the nebulous email (attached below) that contains nothing but double talk, and no commitment whatsoever.
Something is very wrong here .
The following are emails between some of the local the residents that are up in arms over this, and the county.
They certainly raise a lot of questions that are so far left to be answered, as to why the Koontz construction company is allowed to continue to run huge, tracked jack hammers to break up boulders in a residential zone from dawn to dusk with nobody from the county zone enforcement making him remove them they same way he brought them in.
From: Gary Heath
To: Norman Allinder
Cc: County Counsel
Subject: Koontz Construction illegal operation
As you are very well aware, Mr. Koontz has long been conducting an illegal operation of a heavy construction business in a residential zone, off of Hwy 41, across form Veater Ranch road, in Coarsegold.
He has been cited for this a number of times, yet the county issued him a permit to continue this type of business, most recently .... one that is allowing him to break rocks with a tracked jack hammer, every day, all day, for the past two weeks, and we are now in the third week of this very annoying practice.
It makes one wonder what relationship Mr. Koontz has with the county that allows him to continue this practice with the county's permission, irrespective of the number of times he has been cited, and after being told he will not receive a rezoning to his property to allow for this exact kind of industrial business.
So ...... if this action does not stop 'immediately' I will propose to an ad hoc committee of local residents meeting in the next few days, that we proceed with two avenues of action to protect our property values, our peace and quiet, and legitimate right to pursuit of happiness that we paid for when we specifically purchased our properties in an established residential 'only' zone.
These recommended actions will encompass both seeking an attorney to effect a class action suit against both the county of Madera and Mr. Koontz, with possible other persons to be named as investigations may discover, and the hiring of a private investigator to look into the relationship between the county and Mr. Koontz, in order to make any discoveries that may offer other persons to be named in the class action.
Let me begin by apologizing for the late response. I did receive your emails regarding the Kris Koontz project and I have been following your dialogue with John Slater, the County’s Senior Civil Engineer. I can certainly understand your frustrations with the ongoing issues.
As you are aware, the Board of Supervisors did deny Mr. Koontz’s request for a General Plan Amendment in June. During that discussion, many speakers voiced concerns over the status of the site, Code Enforcement violations, and the existing rock piles. The County’s Planning Director, Norman Allinder, has directed clean up of the site in response to the complaints.
Mr. Koontz applied for a grading permit and was approved on Oct. 19, 2009. This permit is valid for six months or until 3,000 cubic yards are cut. No other permits/plans have been submitted for this project. Mr. Koontz will need to reapply for another permit for any additional work. At that time, the Planning Department will consider adding special considerations to any permits to curtail similar issues.
Generally, permits are not required for removal of temporary stock piles. However, due to the length of the time, the complaints, and the size of the project, Mr. Koontz is being held to a higher standard. The current permit is legal and the use of construction equipment is temporary. Mr. Koontz informed the County he will have completed the work specified in a short period of time. This permit is for export only. At this time, the County does not have any documentation stating that importing is taking place. If you have pictures or any other type of documentation showing such, please send it to John Slater and Norman Allinder. Such activity is outside of the purview of the existing permit. In addition, staff’s site visits have shown that Mr. Koontz is breaking down the rock for removal for a Caltrans’ project and not crushing the rock.
Again, I understand your concerns and the County will continue to closely monitor the site’s operations.
Supervisors, District 5
Mr. Supervisor, The permit is for the express reason to meet a business obligation as a subcontractor to Cal trans. Cal trans job #06-416104.
You stated that, "Generally, permits are not required for removal of temporary stock piles." Permits are required to conduct BUSINESS. Mr. Koontz didn't have a permit when he illegally dumped the rock. Mr. Koontz was cited for it in 2003, but no enforcement action was taken because Mr. Koontz submitted another plan. Enforcement has still failed to materialize even today. Mr. Wheeler, I would also like to know what you consider a "TEMPORARY STOCK PILE".
You are quoted as saying and documented in this email; "In addition, staff’s site visits have shown that Mr. Koontz is breaking down the rock for removal for a Cal trans’ project and not crushing the rock."
Then you agree and your are aware that Mr. Koontz's is using residential zoned property to conduct a Heavy Equipment Business Operation to meet a Contractual obligation with Cal trans. In essence, he is doing what the Madera Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors told him he couldn't do by unanimous vote.
Mr. Wheeler, when we spoke about this issue in June of 2009, you had been to the site and had seen the condition of the property. The condition of the property has not changed, except that now Mr. Koontz is producing a commercial product to supply and satisfy a business contract. He is operating 2 Industrial Hydraulic Hammers, an Hydraulic Shovel and a Cat Front Loader as well as dump trucks and water truck. Not counting the additional grading. Exactly what you and the entire Board refused to allow him to do by Democratic Vote.
The POINT is that Mr. Koontz is not moving the material because he was required to by the County. He is moving SOME of it because it benefits HIM and his BUSINESS and satisfies a Cal trans contracted job. He will leave the rest of the debris right where it is until the next job comes along.
You don't have to hold Mr. Koontz to a higher standard, just hold him to THE standard, the one we are required to live up to. Do the Right thing, Just make him conform to the Law.
There is more to this to support concern that something is very wrong here, but this should cause people to take pause with what is going on between the county of Medera, and the Koontz Construction Company.