WATERLOO — The owner of two recycling yards in Waterloo who failed to provide bonds or allow access for inspection has been denied two licenses to operate — and irked several council members in the process.
Licenses for Kevin’s Auto and Truck at 953 Fulton St., and Litzkow Auto Recyclers at 1720 Black Hawk Road, were denied, 7-0, by the Waterloo City Council during its regular Monday night meeting.
Both licenses expired April 30, and community planning and development director Noel Anderson said owners Joe and Elizabeth Litzkow, who own both salvage yards, failed to provide a $1,000 bond on either site and failed to allow staff to inspect the property, both conditions of a license renewal.
In the case of Litzkow Auto Recyclers, they also failed to pay a $50 application fee, and city staff noted a number of “visual violations,” according to city documents, including a collapsed garage, more than 300 waste tires and old appliances, blocked paths, no fire extinguishers and “multiple piles of garbage and trash.”
The owners have had business licenses denied before for violations, according to Anderson; a 2014 Courier article noted his license was denied at that time as well. Litzkow was not present at Monday’s meeting.
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City Council members asked Anderson if the owner knew he was in danger of losing his licenses.
“Mr. Litzkow operates both sites, and he’s been in the community for a number of years,” Anderson said.
The city will inform the owner of the denials via letter, and he has 30 days to respond. After that, the city could choose to take him to court.
“Has that ever been attempted before?” asked Ward 3 council member Pat Morrissey.
“Generally, we’ve come to some agreement,” Anderson said. “We try to work with existing businesses.”
“But they just keep doing it? This one especially?” asked at-large council member Sharon Juon.
“”They have had their license denied before, yes,” Anderson replied.
“Is there an advance in the fee, if they put us through all this trouble?” asked Ward 1 council member Margaret Klein. Anderson replied that was not in city code.
“What would it take to institute some penalty?” asked at-large council member Steve Schmitt.
Anderson noted the city attorney told him they would have to take the owner to court for that.
The city once sued the Black Hawk Road business, claiming it was improperly operating on agriculturally zoned property. That case reached the Iowa Supreme Court, which ruled in 1993 that the salvage yard existed prior to the city’s adoption of a zoning ordinance in 1969 and, therefore, had a right to stay.