A cargo container controversy breaking out across Kingman has put City Hall between two downtown business rivals who’ve been given different interpretations of the applicable ordinance.
The City, through city manager John Dougherty, has told Tim Schritter he can use the two conex boxes placed on the back of his Black Bridge Brewery business on Beale Street in downtown Kingman. Terry Thomson, co-owner of the Kingman Club LLC, has been told two conex boxes placed on his property about 100 yards away must be removed.
A relevant backdrop to this mix is that trial is pending in May as the City attempts to force former Kingman Council member Pat McBrayer to remove a cargo container placed on his property just south of the post office and west of Walgreen’s.
Attorney Bryan Whitney months ago said McBrayer’s defense would involve private property rights and an assertion that the city has engaged in selective enforcement against him. That is Thomson’s point as well.
Thomson recently placed two conex boxes just east of the House of Hops where he plans to construct Monkey Fist Brewing, a business that will offer beer brewed on-site, pizza and more.
Thomson argues he should be able to use two boxes on his property since Schritter has been authorized to use two boxes on his.
Schritter’s boxes have been converted into walk-in coolers from which beer is poured in the back patio area of his business. Thomson said his are being used in support of his business ventures as well.
Dougherty concedes he ended up in the middle of this “brew ha ha”.
The Schritter decision came first. Dougherty said he visited Schritter and addressed the boxes after viewing them on the rear of his property.
“He said ‘you know I put a lot of money into these conex boxes and now the Council has decided to ban them'”, Dougherty said. “I couldn’t even tell they were conex boxes until he pointed them out.”
Dougherty said he communicated with council members and the decision was that Schritter’s boxes could stay.
Thomson was aware of the Schritter scenario when he recently asked Dougherty for the same latitude.
“Terry came down wanting conex boxes and I told him put them behind your building behind a fence and I will talk to the council or put it on the council agenda and you can ask for a waiver of that ordinance. He said ‘well, no. I’m going to put them on Beale Street’ and I said ‘no, you’re not`”, Dougherty said. “And he said ‘yeah I am unless you make Schritter remove his. I said ‘well, there’s a big difference between the two. So if you put them on Beale St. they will be removed.”
Thomson had one box dropped on his lot March 25 and another on March 26. Dougherty directed police chief Bob Devries on March 28 to send a code enforcement officer to visit the Thomson property.
Thomson said officer Tomas Silva directed him to remove the boxes. Thomson said he refuses to do so, unless Schritter is directed to do the same.
“What is happening is he’s throwing a fit,” Dougherty said of Thomson. “This is a personal beef between him and Tim Schritter.”
Dougherty said visibility is the key distinction in the equation. He said Schritter’s boxes are mostly hidden to the rear of his property and that Thomson’s are in plain view of the general public.
Thomson charged that Dougherty has overstepped his authority by involving himself in enforcement minutia. Thomson said that Dougherty is essentially undermining and confusing staff by directing enforcement action against one business but not another.
Conceding a strained relationship between he and Thomson, Schritter defended Thomson’s right to use his boxes in support of his business venture, at least temporarily. Schritter said use of his boxes is key to his business success and he said Thomson is entitled to the same consideration.
Schritter said the conex box squabble is just one glimpse at a much bigger picture. He said there are hundreds of boxes that are used in all different manners all over town.
“You’ll be amazed how many you’ll see if you take a hard look,” Schritter said. “They are everywhere.”
Schritter and Thomson both said they believe the City needs to take a step back and review the cargo container and enforcement related controversies.