by Kurtis Workman
Press Staff Writer
Randy Moffit is practicing the old adage “Good fences make good neighbors.” Moffit recently approached the Power County Planning and Zoning commission to request a special use permit for his property on South Frontage Road near American Falls High School.
Moffit operates Eastern Idaho Recycling and Salvage LLC from the two adjacent properties he owns. Moffit said his company addresses needs many other local businesses have.
“We can only have so many businesses in this town that produce waste that cannot be thrown in the landfill before someone has to address the problem. These are things like old tires, dead car batteries and large quantities of metal. What we do is provide bins for these businesses to drop those types of items into and then we haul the stuff away, sort it and recycle it,” said Moffit.
He said there are many misconceptions about his company.
“Many people don’t know we do walk-in business here. We have scales and we buy scrap metal when people bring it here. We have kids ride their bikes out here with bags of aluminum cans. I hear a lot of people say they think we only bring old cars out here to strip them down. We do so much more than that,” said Moffit.
The Power County Planning and Zoning commission approved Moffit’s request for a special use permit unanimously, but not without conditions.
“Randy will have to install a privacy fence , take steps to prevent fluids from draining into the wellhead and maintain an access for Falls Irrigation to get to that wellhead,” said Power County Building Administrator Bob Steinlecht.
Moffit said requesting the permit was part of trying to be a good neighbor to those around him while still being able to operate his business.
“We have always had a goal to acquire enough property here to run our company efficiently away from the public view. We are providing a needed service to this community, but we want to be able to do that neatly,” Moffit said.
Even though the permit places added restrictions on how Moffit uses his property, he said it also allows him to address neighbors’ concerns in a timelier manner.
“This process is not without cost. There are fees that go along with getting a special use permit, but without that permit each thing we do would be more complicated. If I wanted or needed to put up a fence I would have to get a permit. If I then wanted to add a new gate to that fence I would have to get another permit. All of those things have separate costs and separate time delays. Now I can build a fence with gates in a reasonable amount of time,” he said.
American Falls Building Superintendent Jeff Nelson said issuing a special use permit to Moffit now is beneficial.
“This is a good permit with good provisions that follow city codes,” said Nelson.
Power County is the governmental body that issued the permit, but it used the American Falls City Code as a basis for the permit because Moffit’s property is located in the city impact zone which means the property is close enough to city limits to potentially affect city operations and the property may some day be absorbed into the city.
“The county used city code standards so that we will not have to revisit the issue if that area is annexed into the city,” said Nelson.
Even with the permit there are still logistical issues to resolve as Moffit installs fencing.
“The fencing will have to be on the property line and still give access to Falls Irrigation to their wellhead. We will have to work with all parties once the gates are installed to maintain that access,” said Steinlecht.
“I have been talking with the school district about the space between us and the high school to make sure we know where things like water lines are so we can take care of those parts of our properties,” Moffit said.
Nelson said Moffit started the work toward being a good neighbor before the permitting process began.
“He had already done a lot to address his neighbors’ concerns before the permit application was submitted. He has worked very hard to clean up the property,” said Nelson.
“He has done a remarkable job to resolve what complaints he has received,” Steinlecht said.
For Moffit there is one other key element to being a good neighbor.
“We are trying to be a good neighbor and we have tried to work with our neighbors, but our neighbors have been good enough to work with us and none of these solutions would be possible without their cooperation,” said Moffit.