What happens when you're a Mount Pleasant liberal activist named Kelly Gallaher and you don't like what another community member said about an assessment for a water and sewer project? You try to shut down that person's business.
From the Racine Journal Times:
For 46 years, Ron Primuth has operated his home-based cabinet-making business at 8312 Gittings Road.
But now his business is in jeopardy thanks to an obscure 1992 zoning decision and a complaint filed by a resident earlier this year, which have resulted in an order to close.
The order stems from an unusual decision the Mount Pleasant Zoning Board of Appeals made in 1992 when it directed Ron’s Custom Cabinets to cease operations by 2005, as part of a case involving an illegal building addition.
The year 2005 came and went, and Ron’s Custom Cabinets maintains its operations to this day, providing kitchen and bathroom remodeling services to residential and commercial customers throughout the area.
It likely would have continued unabated if not for a complaint filed in January by community activist Kelly Gallaher, who said the business is violating the 1992 order and has operated illegally for the past 12 years.
Gallaher does not live next to the business or the Primuths. She just didn't like what Juliet Primuth had to say.
But what inspired her to file a complaint, Gallaher said, was Primuth’s wife, Juliet, speaking to the Village Board in October. Primuth opposed delaying special assessments for residents on Highway V, who were facing charges for a controversial water and sewer project.
“It was kind of ironic. She and her husband had received an unprecedented deferment to run an illegal business, yet she felt the people on Highway V should have to pay those assessments,” Gallaher said.
The Primuths, though, feel they are being unfairly targeted for political reasons. They said the complaints have caused much angst for them and their four employees who may be forced out of jobs.
They have gathered a petition signed by more than 200 neighbors supporting the business, which the Primuths say has caused no problems for the neighborhood and can’t even be seen from the road.
“We just don’t understand where she is coming from,” said Juliet Primuth, who was known as Juliet Edmands when she served as Mount Pleasant town and village clerk. “We’ve never met her.”
In addition to shutting down the business, Gallaher wants the village to fine the Primuths $500,000.
It turns out that the zoning ruling may have been an error, and that the Primuth's business should have been grandfathered since it existed before the zoning law was created. We hope that the case works itself out rather than see a local small business go under for no good reason.
We find it pretty outrageous that a person cannot operate a small business from their home when it does not appear to be bothering anyone except a local Democratic activist with too much time on her hands. Perhaps she should go back to figuring out how to put smiley faces on signs banning guns.