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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dandy’s Owner Says Health Board Tiff Forcing Closure

Sam Francis Staff writer

After getting a $165 penalty refund from the Spokane Regional Health Board, the owner of a Spokane Valley drive-in restaurant is calling it quits.

James Orvis, owner of Dandy’s Drive-In, 8024 E. Sprague Ave., will close his business Aug. 28 after a month-long battle with the Board of Health.

“This was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Orvis, 69. “I’m going to have to close the doors.”

The health board reversed the $165 penalty by a vote of 4-3 at their meeting Thursday.

Orvis was forced to close his business on July 29 after health department officials discovered he had been operating for seven months without a permit.

Officials told him to file for a permit, and pay a $165 application fee, plus a $165 penalty. Then they closed his doors.

Orvis complied, and reopened on July 30, after obtaining a permit and paying the penalty.

It is illegal to operate a restaurant in Spokane without a permit from the health department. Orvis says he didn’t know he needed one.

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” said board member Roberta Greene, who sits on the city council. “This is a case of not complying with the law.”

Others on the board agreed with Greene, but said health officials should have been more cordial in their interactions with Orvis.

Orvis says that officials purposely showed up during lunch hour on July 29 and forced him to close without a chance to talk.

“I agree that ignorance is no exception,” said board member Sharalyn Stearns. “But I agree that we could be a bit more considerate.”

Orvis bought the restaurant in December of 1996. The longtime Valley establishment has changed hands several times in the past three years.

He estimates that he’s lost $1,000 in business from his fight with the Board of Health.

Orvis started the business to help out his daughter, who worked at another Valley burger establishment. But his restaurant has been a money pit from the beginning.

He’s invested thousands of dollars on interior repairs, and has even tried selling the business, but no one’s nibbling.

, DataTimes

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