The Warren County Planning and Zoning Commission is considering a conditional use permit (CUP) for a truck and equipment seller on Highway O near Marthasville.
Curtis and Shannon Reel are applying for the permit for their business, CSR Truck and Equipment Sales, after county officials say they mistakenly began operating without one.
CSR sells heavy vehicles and equipment for farming and construction, and has a machine shed to maintain and repair vehicles for sale.
The Reels began operating in November 2018 at 17069 Highway O, about a mile north of Highway 47. They also live at the 7.5-acre property.
The business application was considered at the planning commission’s Aug. 15 public hearing.
Warren County Planning and Zoning Administrator Vickie Vohsen said the Reels took all the correct steps to establish their business, except one. A CUP is required to operate their commercial business in an area that is zoned for agricultural use.
When the planning and zoning office learned of the violation in July, CSR was directed to cease operation. Vohsen said the Reels immediately complied and sought to remedy the error.
Had the Reels known they needed a CUP, Vohsen said, “I truly believe they would have been in my office applying.”
Vohsen advised that restrictions on the hours of operation and number of vehicles at the property would be adequate conditions for approving the business. She also stated that vehicle repair facilities would not be for hire, only to repair equipment being sold at CSR or for the Reels’ personal vehicles.
One element of concern from county officials is that the Reels erected a sign on Highway O for their business, something that also needs to be approved through a CUP.
County attorney Mark Vincent advised that the sign should be covered until a CUP is approved.
“Our main focus is more machines and equipment than used cars or used trucks. Our business mainly sells to farmers and businesses,” explained Shannon Reel. That includes vehicles the size of dump trucks or grain trucks.
Traffic coming onto the property is fairly limited because customers call ahead to inquire about equipment for sale, she said.
When asked how much equipment is stored at the property, Curtis Reel said there is usually 12 to 15 pieces of equipment, mostly skid loaders.
Several nearby property owners spoke at the planning commission’s public hearing. Many of them opposed the business because of concerns about noise and traffic, and fears of chemical runoff.
“I consider it to be a dangerous place to access with heavy equipment,” said Henry Schaper. He said hills and a curve in the road block line of sight from both directions.
Robert Schaper, also at the meeting, added that Highway O already has maintenance issues, without adding regular traffic from heavy trucks at the Reels’ business.
Doug Engemann said his property with a lake is adjacent to the Reels’ property. He said he doesn’t oppose the business, said steps should be taken to limit noise disturbances and prevent chemical leakage.
“We had an incident way back in the 1980s where that lake was there once before, and it was contaminated, and we actually ended up draining it. We don’t want to do that again,” Engemann said.
One neighbor, Trei Irwin, spoke in support of the business. Irwin said he lives next door and has not heard much equipment noise or seen any traffic problems.
Curtis Reel, in response to the concern about chemical runoff, said he collects used oil into a container and takes it to be disposed of properly.
The planning and zoning commission voted to table consideration of a CUP for CSR Truck and Equipment Sales until its next meeting on Sept. 19. If the planning commission votes to approve the permit at that time, it may add certain restrictions to the business.