Court upholds city's position on home mechanic
A $750 fine of a home mechanic’s illegal operation was supported in Grand Coulee’s municipal court last Friday.
The mechanic, Donovan Picard, who lives at 431 W. Grand, was issued a $750 ticket by Grand Coulee police for doing mechanical repair at his home garage in a residential zone and for not having a business license.
Last September two local businessmen appeared before the city council to complain that Picard was operating in a residential zone and didn’t have a business license. They said he was siphoning off business from their shops.
The two, Mike Horne, of MPH, a mechanic shop, and Jack Madsen, of Jack’s Four Corner Service, argued that they were paying fees and taxes and invested in commercially zoned property, but Picard wasn’t.
Judge Janis Whitener-Moberg agreed Friday and let the $750 citation stand.
Two witnesses, Horne and city Councilmember Paul Townsend appeared on behalf of the city and stated that they saw a sea of vehicles at Picard’s place, suggesting, they said, that Picard was in business at his residence.
Picard countered, showing that a large number of the vehicles shown in court photos were his own.
While he didn’t argue on the zoning issue, between September and January, some of his neighbors came to his support saying that they had no objections to his working on vehicles in their neighborhood.
The city had issued the citation in the form of a letter and Picard had not responded to it, favoring an appearance before the judge. He testified Friday that no one had appeared at his residence to complain.
Judge Whitener-Moberg told Picard that if he chose to, he had 30 days to appeal the fine.
Nothing was said about ceasing his work on vehicles, but police said that they could continue to issue citations at $750 per day if it became apparent that he was still working on customer vehicles.