December 4, 2010 in City

Dealer redirects plows after snow complaint

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Spokane Valley car dealership said Friday that it will end a longstanding practice of dumping parking lot snow on nearby county park land.

A contract crew working for Appleway Chevrolet and Toyota was confronted by a sheriff’s deputy Thursday night after dumping more than 100 cubic yards of snow on the grounds of Camp Caro. The park, near the corner of Appleway Boulevard and Sargent Road, is the gateway to the Dishman Hills Natural Area.

“We didn’t think we were doing anything wrong,” said general manager Vann Jones. “Certainly, we didn’t want to do anything wrong.”

Jones said he has been with the dealership for 24 years, “and any time that we’ve had bad snow, we’ve always done that.”

The land in question is a capped landfill Spokane County inherited from the long-dissolved Dishman Township government. It was transferred to the Parks and Recreation Department several years ago, and previously was managed by the county Engineering Department.

“Certainly, if there is some sort of agreement out there, we would honor it,” Parks Director Doug Chase said.

However, county Engineer Bob Brueggeman said his office never gave Appleway permission to dump snow on the land, and Jones agreed there was no written permission.

The snow crew “drove right past a ‘no trespassing’ sign, and reports from eyewitnesses said they took care to turn off the headlights on the trucks when the snow was being dumped,” Chase said.

The crew moved several half-ton boulders to gain access.

“They were kind enough to put those back last night,” Chase said.

He said he was “disappointed” by the lack of “any sort of contact or request.”

Chase worried that heavy trucks could have damaged the landfill’s clay cap because temperatures had risen and the ground was soft.

The incident was under investigation Friday by parks ranger Bryant Robinson and a sheriff’s deputy. No citations had been issued.

Robinson said he got a call about 8:30 p.m. Thursday from a Camp Caro neighbor who saw the snow being dumped, and he passed the information to the sheriff’s office.

The neighbors “do a pretty good job of being eyes and ears for us, and we were able to get somebody there while it was still going on,” Robinson said.

Jones said Appleway would start putting its snow on a nearby vacant lot the dealership owns unless county commissioners grant permission to resume using the park land.

For the record, Robinson said, “It’s not OK to dump snow or anything else on our property without written consent.”

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