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Ex-official loses storage trailer tussle with city

Despite his pleas, he's told:Either insure it for liability or move it elsewhere.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA, Times Correspondent
Published September 30, 2007


The familiar maxim "you can't fight city hall" proved this week that it is true, even for a former city official.

At issue during Tuesday's commission meeting was a storage trailer next to a duplex that is under construction at 14110 N Bayshore Drive.

The trailer belongs to Tom Saxon, who served a two-year term as a city commissioner in the late 1990s.

The problem is that the 28-foot trailer encroaches 3 feet onto the city right of way at the end of 141st Avenue.

"This is a risk management issue," said City Attorney Michael Connolly, as he warned the commission that they could be sued if anyone was injured in an accident involving the trailer.

He strongly recommended that the city require Saxon to carry commercial general liability insurance that would protect the city against any future claims.

Saxon argued that the trailer, which is used to store tools used by construction workers, has been on the site since 2004.

He also said he previously allowed the city to use his property to park equipment used in the construction of a nearby lift station.

He said he would be willing to sign a "hold harmless" agreement with the city but did not want to get insurance.

"The trailer is 40 feet away from the street," Saxon said. "This has become such a big deal. I am just looking for a solution."

City Manager Jill Silverboard said the right-of-way encroachment was discovered after neighbors complained about the trailer.

City codes prohibit trailers the size of Saxon's on a permanent basis but do allow temporary permits for trailers associated with construction projects.

Saxon offered to move the trailer to the front of his house but that would violate city setback rules, Silverboard said.

The commission told Saxon he would not be issued a temporary trailer parking permit unless he provides proof of liability insurance by Oct. 9.

If he does not, the city will force him to remove the trailer to another location.

"We have got to have insurance," Mayor Charles Parker told Saxon. "If I were you, I would want insurance. You are setting yourself up for all sorts of liabilities."

[Last modified September 30, 2007, 01:00:22]

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