Propaganda v. Reality: Lake Sun and P&Z

“Camden County resident Theresa Townsend, who has made complaints about P&Z following a building permit issue at her property that involved her not being allowed to construct an accessory structure at her business, attended and asked to speak on the proposal but was also not allowed to do so. She said she had submitted letters regarding P&Z issues through P&Z Administrator Don Hathaway and wanted to be on the agenda but had not been able to do so.”

Amy, you’re doing it again…. NOT printing FACT… I WAS allowed to build my storage shed … my complaints were and are:

Camden County Commissioners,

Since Mr. Franken took it upon himself to block my voice by not allowing me on the agenda, as requested TWICE by me, I am now writing a letter which will be sent by E-Mail as Mr. Franken said I needed to do and will await his “courteous response” as promised.

2002 Gidgets Opens

2004 P&Z Ordinances (ULC) went into effect

2006 The property that would later become Gidgets zoned B-2

2007 June moved into property on Friday night Saturday morning June 1 & 2 while completing purchase

June Monday June 4 Dann Haworth posted non-compliance citing R-1 zoning claiming he “noticed our business while driving past” I then asked how he had missed the FIVE businesses in this location BEFORE mine and stated he was either incompetent or blind and either way he should NOT be doing this job as he was clue-less
After asking to see the signed, notarized complaint as required by ordinace,Mr. Haworth manufactured a complaint from Jim Browne ….. AFTER the fact!!
I then provided Chris Hall with documentation as to the rezoning from R1 to B2

Tuesday June 5, Dann Haworth again posted my property as non-compliant, this time stating the need for a CUP …. when asked how he had arrived at that determination without entering my establishment or measuring anything, he replied “because of what you sell.” I pointed out that by ULC definition I was NOT an adult entertainment facility and he would have absolutely no way of making a determination since he had conducted no inspection nor had he measured anything. There were a series of letters between Planning & Zoning and my attorney at the time, Gayle Troutwine. I finally had enough and I called Planning & Zoning. I told Chris Hall that if there were one more posting, letter, phone call, ANYTHING, I was going to sue in Federal Court. I never heard another word.

P&Z proven WRONG on both counts

2013 Feb. When I called Planning & Zoning to inquire as to the permit process I was informed by the young lady on the phone that I did not need a permit for a structure of less than 400 sq.ft., which would have been correct, IF the property was residential. Since Mr. Haworth never corrected Planning & Zoning records, my address still showed in their system as residential.

P&Z incorrect records Dann Haworth FAILED to correct records or close file .. started the whole current issue

July 18 Dann Haworth KNOWINGLY posted property with what he KNEW to be incorrect non compliance, again with no inspection, measuring or recollection of rezoning

July 19 letter citing R-1 zoning and requirement to re-zone to B-3 and need for CUP

July 26 Dan Hathaway does “inspection” and advises me to fill out permit application and turn it in immediately

July 29 Turned in incomplete application to Mr. Hathaway. While I was there he kept acting as though I were willfully non-compliant and stated he did not believe that I ever called about a permit in February, basically calling me a liar. I finally asked him what it was he thought I was trying to get away with, dodging a $100.00 fee? I told him I was totally compliant and that the mis-information I had been given stemmed from a problem in HIS office and records NOT from me trying to get away with something.

letter re: “request for an accelerated review”?? I was told by Mr. Hathaway to fill out an application and turn it in, which I did … I NEVER asked for an “accelerated review” nor were those words ever used by Mr. Hathaway. This letter stated that walkways had now been determined to be part of the sq. ft. even though no reasonable person reading the ordinance would ever consture its meaning to include walkways.

Adult Entertainment Facility:
An establishment with 5% or more of total floor space or inventory used for the commercial presentation or sale of material thatis distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on depicting, describing, or displaying sexual activities. This shall include but not be limited to adult bookstores, adult theatres (whether live or film or tape),body painting studios, erotic dancing, escort services, massage parlors, nude wrestling studios, nude photography studios, and public baths.

The letter went on to reiterate a need to re-zone to B-3, the need for a CUP, a variance AND an at risk permit. The fee to ASK for re-zoning is $800.00. The fee to ASK for a Conditional Use Permit is $600.00. The fee to ASK for a variance is $500.00. I could not find the fee for an at risk permit (whatever THAT might be!) so am using the Special Use fee of $500.00. The total to ASK for things that could be denied at any point (while the fees were retained by Planning & Zoning!!) is $$2,400.00. This is money Planning & Zoning wanted from me that they had no right to request. Asking for ANY of these things would put me on record as saying I thought I needed them AND any one of them could be denied and effectively put me out of business!!

Mr. Hathaway seemed determined to find non-compliance!!! Walkways were NEVER mentioned prior to them being PROVEN WRONG about my compliance with the 5% definition.

August 1 response from us:

Gidget’s Gadgets
August 1, 2013
Camden County Planning & Zoning
1 Court Circle NW
Suite 15
Camdenton, MO 65020

Re: This letter is in response to your first letter, dated July 19, 2013 and a second letter dated July 29, 2013.

The first issue we would like to address is our zoning. In November 2006, the Camden County Commission re-zoned this property B-2. This information was given to Planning & Zoning as evidenced by the word COMMERCIAL on our Tax Bill, since the taxing Authority recieves this information from Planning & Zoning. You failed to update your records. In July of 2007, Dan Haworth, posted our business citing a zoning of R-1. He was given copies of the Commissioners decision at that time. Again, you failed to update your records, as evidenced by the fact of the letter dated July 19, 2013 citing again the R-1 zoning by Dan Haworth who KNEW this to be incorrect. We sincerely hope that you have now, after seven years and two incorrect assessments of non-compliance due to zoning, corrected your records.

The second issue we would like to address is your erroneous classification of our business as an Adult Entertainment Facility. According to ULC Article 200, an Adult Entertainment Facility is defined as :
Adult Entertainment Facility: An establishment with 5% or more of total floor space or inventory used for the commercial presentation or sale of material that is distinguished or characterized by an emphasis on depicting, describing, or displaying sexual activities. This shall include but not be limited to adult bookstores, adult theatres (whether live or film or tape), body painting studios,
erotic dancing, escort services, massage parlors, nude wrestling studios, nude photography studios, and public baths.
Our building is 28′ x 28′ which equals 784′ sq. feet. 5% of 784′ equals 39.2 sq.feet
Using those facts, our movies occupied 5.5′ + 7.5′ + 5′ (18′ total) + 14′ for our magazines coming to a combined total of 32′ sq. feet leaving us under the 5% since we opened in this building 6 years ago.

After receiving your letter dated July 29, 2013 wherein you say “We contend that the total % of inventory and or the space required for presentation and sale must also constitute the walking space necessary to conduct the sale or in this case the entire room, which appears to constitute over 5% of the total inventory of the building.”, we re-arranged our movies & magazines into a clearly defined 4′ x 9′ space (36 sq. feet) that, as you can see from the enclosed photos, INCLUDES a walking space to accomodate what we feel is your punitive interpretation of an ambiguous, two sentence definition.

This being the case, we CLEARLY do not meet the standard to be defined as an Adult Entertainment Facility, thereby negating a need for a re-zoning to B-3, as well as the need for a Conditional Use Permit or a Variance or an At Risk Permit.

Also, we would like to mention what we percieve to be selective enforcement, as it makes your position appear to be adversarial rather than helpful or diplomatic; Our understanding of your office function is that you facilitate businesses/builders in or coming to our community in understanding and complying with the county ordinances. This does not seem to us to require adversarial actions and verbiage. This also means that you cannot pick my business to pursue while blatantly ignoring obvious violations incurred by other businesses in this area. Several violations were overlooked concerning permits, use & zoning within a half-mile of our business. Of the three I pointed out (and there are more), only one has been investigated and dealt with as of this date; we wonder why.

We would like to point out that we have been in business in this county for eleven years, six of those years being at our present location. We purchased a B-2 property which was adequate for our needs. We read the ordinances and definitions as set forth in the ULC BEFORE we purchased a property and have complied with them since we moved into this building, including an immediate remedy upon receiving your punitive interpretation of a vague description SIX YEARS after we moved in. We stopped construction on our shed when we were told we needed to. We have demonstrated every willingness to be compliant at every juncture, yet, when we asked Planning & Zoning AND the County Commissioners if we could put up the last 2 trusses and enclose the shed to protect our building materials while we went through this process, we were refused even the courtesy of a response!! Within days of being notified that we DID require a permit (after YOUR office in looking at a WRONG zoning incorrectly informed us that because our shed was under 400 sq. feet we didn’t need a permit when I called in late February of this year to ascertain the permit procedure!!!) we presented your office (at your request) an Application for a building permit that was incomplete only with regard to Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District sign-off. That will be addressed as soon as you remove your incorrect designation of our business and remove us from what you term Non-compliance. At that time, we will obtain the architects drawing required by Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District, get their sign-off, update our Application for a Building Permit, remit to you the required fee and await the issuance of said permit.

Respectfully submitted,
Gidgets’ Gadgets

Theresa L. Townsend
Gidgets’ Gadgets CEO

cc: Fister

August 15 re-inspection with detectives!! Neither usual or customary and no reason as there was demonstrated, continuous compliance. At one point, Mr. Hathaway actually told me “If you just do what I say this can all go away.” I am STILL waiting to hear why detectives were needed to do a re-inspection … does Mr. Hathaway not know the code he is in charge of?? Did he need them to help him measure?? As he was pointing out genitalia to detectives I stated genitalia was none of his business since the ULC makes no mention whatsoever regarding genitalia and it was therefore NOT in his purview he responded “No, but it IS in theirs.” as though he were hoping they would find something wrong.

August 24 letter from Planning & Zoning wherein he states that P&Z requested I limit the area while NOT mentioning the punitive interpretation to include walkways (Which STILL have not been defined in any way shape or form by P&Z!!) He again mentions “genitalia” and lies out right claiming “Our only concern is the other products, located in the main retail sales area, that exhibit photographs in clear view of sexual activities or body parts that similar to magazines could be viewed as displaying sexual activities.” This sentence makes no sense, but, if I attempt to reason out his point, it would seem he is saying body parts are sexual activities….. this would be incorrect. DOING something sexual with a body part would be a sexual activity … just one … certainly NOT the “sexual activities” stated in the ULC definition. He also used the phrase “attempted to comply” & “allowed to pursue” which coming from a public servant is repugnant and offensive. He is not an overlord granting me a privilege!! He goes on to state that “We have reviewed the case conditions and follow inspection report dated August 15, 2013 with the Sherriff Department representatives and County Commission.” The typos are original and from their office … another example of the inept conditions upon which this office operates.

You, the County Commission have been asked twice now if Mr. Hathaway was lying or if you held an illegal meeting. You have yet to answer me. If Mr. Hathaway was lying, this would seem to me to be a fire-able offense as it was a deliberate lie designed to give him authority where none existed. If he was not lying, then you, indeed, held an illegal meeting which is an answerable offense from your office.

The letter goes on to state that there are seven requirements I must meet to be deemed compliant and obtain a permit.

#2 was a Wastewater requirement, even though there was no water or electricity being put into this shed.

#3 was a requirement for parking pursuant to Article 1300 (of the ULC I’m presuming) which I was already compliant with.

#4 refers to 10 cars per day, 5 days a week, which is nowhere to be found in the ULC. This requirement also includes a handicapped parking space. I installed a handicapped parking space ($2,400.00 ) on October 7, 2013. This is the FOURTH Handicapped parking spot between my store and the Camdenton city limits. Why this has not been a requirement for ALL commercial permits that have been issued this year.

#5 refers to paved approach standards. When my contractor called Mr. Hathaway to inquire as to where in the ULC these standards were found, he was referred to MODOT. Again, trying to enforce code that doesn’t exist and costing me thousands of dollars in the process. Nor have similar requirements been made for other commercial permits issued this year … why not??

#6 was a Storm Water Management. A review of downstream properties and systems capacities, as a minimum … for a less than 400 sq.ft. shed!! And again, similar requirements have not been made of ALL commercial permits issued just this year … why not??

#7 was Erosion Control Measures. And again, similar requirements have not been made of ALL commercial permits issued just this year … why not??

October 21 I presented COMPLETED application to Mr. Hathaway and Dann Haworth was present. After paging through the application, Mr. Hathaway asked me about the handicapped parking space. I asked if he was this inept in ALL aspects of his job as there was an 8 1/2 x 11″ color photgraph of the handicapped parking spot in the application he had just “reviewed”. As I was writing out the check for the application fee, which had been doubled as construction had already begun, I told Dann Haworth that if he had done his job properly to begin with, we wouldn’t be here today, he replied “I don’t have to listen to this shit!” and “you can kiss my ass” as he stormed out of Hathaways office.

I must say I am appalled at the lack of reaction by Mr. Hathaway. I would believe that reprimand should have been swift & serious. I must also mention that no-one seemed surprised at a public servant swearing at a taxpayer … does it happen so often that it no longer raises eyebrows? Is this an example of “accepted behaviour” by county employees?

Had we been given correct information by P&Z in February of this year, we would NOT have enclosed the existing slab, we would have purchased a pre-built shed and put it on the back slab, no permit necessary. Don Hathaway & Dann Haworth have deliberately cost us THOUSANDS of dollars through willfull ignorance and incompetence; They have set themselves up to be punitive and adversarial and need to be removed from the positions they continue to abuse.

To that end, I requested to be put on the agenda of the Camden County Commissioners meeting of October 24, 2013. Instead, I was put off until after the “regular” meeting had concluded before I was granted audience. I requested the meeting be taped. Mr. Franken lied and said this was not possible. I then spent the next thirty to forty-five minutes advising the Commissioners of everything that had transpired with Planning & Zoning. I was given a permit by Mr. Franken with the assurances there would be no further inspections or issues with regard to this shed. I then told him to make no mistake, that I was not pacified by being given a permit I should have had FOUR MONTHS and THREE THOUSAND dollars ago. I would be returning to see what changes had been made in light of these documented allegations

On November 15, 2013 several concerned taxpayers staged a protest. I would like, Mr. Franken, to express my dismay at your response …people care!, we sent you notice & rather than be concerned, you thought it better to set up in opposition to us rather than do us the courtesy of hearing us out and trying to correct REAL problems that YOU KNOW exsist! How can you POSSIBLY be in support of people who blatantly & deliberately abuse & mis-use their position in county government?? How can you NOT listen to those taxpaying voters who actually got up to bring attention to these concerns? How can you denigrate & belittle people who OBVIOUSLY care about what is going on and are demanding YOU do your job & FIX it??

On November 21, I requested for the SECOND time to be put on the agenda of the regular meeting of the Camden County Commissioners. Let me take a moment here to remind you that the “agenda” is the list of items to be discussed; I mention this as you seem to suffer confusion as to the definition of agenda as, THIS time, I was allowed to speak in the Public Comment portion and was limited to three minutes by Mr. Franken. When has this been done in the past? Are YOU, Mr. Franken the example Planning & Zoning have been following in selective enforcement and acting in a fashion that is punitive & adversarial??

I again advised you AGAIN that Don Hathaway and Dann E. Haworth had been deliberately and continuously abusing their positions on the county taxpayers payroll with respect to issuing me a building permit for a storage shed. You were AGAIN advised that they called detectives in to conduct a re-inspection & you were asked WHY. You were AGAIN told they invented ULC ordinances. You were AGAIN told of inept record keeping. You were AGAIN told of the Adminstrator not reacting when a subordinate SWORE at me. You were AGAIN told of selective enforcement. You were AGAIN told the Adminstrator had put into a letter, a claim that he met with the CCC… you were AGAIN asked if he was lying or if you had held an illegal meeting.

You were asked if there was an investigation into my allegations? And, if so, who conducted the investigation and what were the results? You were advised that you CAN tell me as this would have NOTHING to do with a Personnel Issue; what YOU DO with the results of an investigation would be a Personnel Issue. You were also asked if an investigation has NOT been conducted, “Why not and when are you going to conduct one?”

What ARE you going to do to FIX P&Z to prevent these types of things from happening in the future??

I for one am tired of having to ask these questions a THIRD time!! You, who asked for transparency during your campaign, now seem to endeavor to create smokescreens and layers of obscurity. I want answers to ALL of the questions in this letter and YOU promised them. I look forward to your timely response.

Theresa L. Townsend

HERE is the ONLY response I have recieved :

Kris Franken (kris_franken@camdenmo.org)
Add to contacts
12/05/13
[Keep this message at the top of your inbox]
To: Terri Townsend
Cc: Don Hathaway
Picture of Kris Franken

Teresa:

I apologize, once again, for the incorrect record keeping in Planning and Zoning regarding your property. We have gone through a series of software updates on our GIS system and sometimes data does not transfer from system to system as we would like. We will do our best to make sure that the zoning map issue does not occur again.

I understand from your email that there are things that you do not like about the rules in Planning and Zoning and would like to encourage you to be a part of the process whenever we have public hearings to take input on proposed changes.

I am not aware of any “selective enforcement” in Planning and Zoning as you have alluded to, but some of that perception may be from variances that were requested and granted to certain applicants by the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Board of Adjustments. As far as incorporated municipal boundaries are concerned, Camden County Planning and Zoning laws do not apply within the city limits of any city or village located within the borders of Camden County.

Finally, you allude to an “illegal meeting”. We have had no illegal meetings. The commission never voted on any action regarding your property. The job of the Planning and Zoning Administrator is to uphold and enforce the laws of Camden County. The action of that enforcement does not, and should not, require authorization of the County Commission. Any “meeting” that you would be referring to would simply be a staff update where the Commission was being made aware of the cases currently being acted upon in Planning and Zoning. These updates help to keep us properly informed should we need to answer questions on case statuses that we may encounter either from the applicant or a concerned citizen.

I appreciate your concerns with Planning and Zoning and will work to improve the program.

Sincerely,

Kris Franken

Presiding Commissioner Camden County

You’ll note this was cc to Don Hathaway and NOT the other two Commissioners.

Amy, I would appreciate if, in the future, you could at least get your facts straight.

Theresa Townsend

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