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Future of Evans business threatened by loss of license

Posted: March 22, 2013 - 12:40pm  |  Updated: March 27, 2013 - 12:01am

A business operating for nearly seven years in Evans might have to shut down after its license was not renewed.

The Columbia County Planning Commission on Thursday rejected the appeal from Scott Aldrich, of Old School Tool Repair at 4567 Cox Road, who had been turned down for an occupational tax placard – sometimes referred to as a business license.

Aldrich’s building was used until 2006 by a cabinet-making facility, and after that business moved out, he continued to operate a cleaning service and a vacuum-cleaning repair shop, he told planning commissioners.

The business continued to evolve into one that now repairs tools and small-engine equipment, and he wanted to pass it to his stepson, Matt McFarland, to operate.

County planning officials rejected the renewal because the business across from Evans High School doesn’t conform to its professional zoning.

“I guess it’s been out of compliance since the building was built” in 1961, Aldrich said.

Planning board members turned down the appeal, and said Aldrich’s only alternative is to move the business or to bring the building into compliance with neighboring professional parcels and then apply for a special zoning to allow it to continue to operate.

But they made it clear such an effort would be expensive, with no guarantee that a rezoning would be approved.

Aldrich said he’s unsure of what he’ll do. “I guess we’ll punt,” he said. “This is a fledgling business.”

“This is what we were living off of,” McFarland said.

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Comments (12)


Way to go

So now we take viable businesses in Columbia County that "don't fit the mold" and not renew the business license. I'm assuming they pay property tax, state tax on income, and federal tax? They simply don't fit the model for a good Columbia County. The county must want the property for something else.


This is without a doubt one

This is without a doubt one of the dirtiest tactics I've seen by the CCBOC. This mans livelihood is being erased because the building is not "professional" enough? Are you kidding me? Someone's playing a game, not sure who or why, but it warrants some investigative journalism! Hint himt AC

Barry Paschal

No investigation needed

My.voice: No investigation needed. The business is in what is called a "non-conforming use," which means the use isn't allowed under the zoning. He's been able to fly under the radar, but this year the planning staff (finally) noticed the use had changed. The zoning is P-1 (Professional). His intended use is allowed under either general commercial or light industrial zonings, neither of which would be allowed on that site because it's surrounded by P-1. Personally, I think he should have been grandfathered in, but they're just following zoning laws.


Mr Paschal,If what you say

Mr Paschal,
If what you say is the case, then the look of the building would have no bearing in the matter. P1 zoning is based on ONLY activity, not building style.

My radar always goes up when these zoning issues occur close to a BOE campus.

Personally, for the "government" to take away a mans bread and butter is unacceptable.....and I feel zoning is a good thing, but a little common sense has to be mixed in or it doesn't always work. As far as the county 'just following zoning laws' we both know there are variances granted every day in instances just like this.

As I said, I'm a strong proponent of zoning, but I'm a bigger supporter of making a living.

Barry Paschal

Appearance issue

The appearance of the building came into play only under the scenario that he seek a rezoning. As long as the building is used for a business consistent with P1 zoning, he doesn't have to change anything.



Does the fact that he is passing the business on to his stepson have anything to do with the decision? If he was keeping ownership of the business and working there himself, would this have even been caught. If this is the case, I believe that if he was keeping ownership himself, he should be grandfathered in, but if he is passing ownership to the stepson, then a new license would be required and then the zoning comes into play. I drive down that road every day and frequently wonder how/why that business was placed there.

Rick Johnson

Having to shut down your

Having to shut down your business that's been operating for nearly seven years is a shock for any business owner. Fortunately, the company that deals with Big Boys Toy Storage doesn't have to worry about being shut down. After all, as long as you respect your deadlines and you renew your license, there's no need to worry.

Lisa Mercury

Without a license, they can't

Without a license, they can't continue to operate a business as successful as Evans. Of course, they weren't as prompt and efficient as this carpet cleaning company but they were offering their services in a good way. After all, being legal is the first step when you decide to start your own business.

Lisa Mercury

He did a stupid thing

He did a stupid thing operating a business without a license, now he might lose all his effort and money for nothing. While companies that operate a cleaning service such as the one you can see here: work in a legal way, Evans risked so much and now the business is threatened. This might be an example for future business owners and will encourage them to work in a legal way.

Lisa Mercury

When it comes to a business,

When it comes to a business, regarding of the area we're talking about, it's extremely important to have a license that allows you to continue working. That's why companies that provide their customers with commercial grade soy cleaning products have a license especially because it's eco products we're talking about. Anyway, thanks for the article, this is extremely useful.


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