Shop owner to defy stop-work order issued by building inspector
By Mark Esper
A local sled-making operation is on thin ice with town officials, with the Silverton building inspector issuing a stop-work order at its rented facility behind Smedley’s ice cream shop, and the building’s owner and the renter saying they will defy the order.
Silverton building inspector Dee Jaramillo said he ordered the shop behind Smedley’s shut down last Thursday, Oct. 1, claiming a “change in use” of the building that would require further scrutiny.
But Mountain Boy Sledworks owner Brice Hoskin, who is renting the space from Paul Zimmerman, Smedley’s owner, said his company has used the space at 1314 Greene since 2008 as a sled-making workshop, to paint sleds and as a warehouse for some time.
He said that when the company renewed the lease on Oct. 1, Jaramillo issued a stop-work order, stating Mountain Boy’s operations constituted a change in the use of the building.
Jaramillo said Tuesday that he saw activity at the building last week and asked what was going on.
He said he was told a wood-cutting shop and paint room were being installed at the site.
“I told them I thought they needed a building permit,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo said he also advised Hoskin and Zimmerman that the proposed wood-cutting shop and paint room constitute a change of use and they would have to have an architect review the project.
Jaramillo said he later received a letter from Hoskin stating “that they were going to commence work,” which Jaramillo said would be in violation of his stop-work order.
Jaramillo said that under state law, any commercial building has to be designed by a licensed architect and any substamtial alterations to a commercial building must also be reviewed by an architect.
Jaramillo said Sharon and Paul Zimmerman came to Town Hall and told them they were going to defy the stop-work order.
“They’re refusing to cooperate,” Jaramillo said. “They told me they were going to use the building.”
Paul Zimmerman confirmed Wednesday morning, Oct. 7 that he has no intention of complying with the stop-work order and indeed work inside the shop was being conducted that morning.
Zimmerman says the shop had been used as what he called a “heavy-duty” printing facility by Fritz Klinke and was also used for woodworking by Loren Lew as recently as 2003.
“I believe it falls under existing use,” Zimmerman said. “It’s what it was built for.”
Zimmerman said he has talked to an attorney about the issue and has decided to “push it.”
He said the minor work that was done to the shop last week involved putting up some framing and plastic for a dust-free area. He estimated it was less than $200 in materials and a couple hours work for two people. The town’s code says a building permit is needed for renovations valued at more than $500.
And Zimmerman said that while using part of the shop as a painting facility was discussed, that isn’t the plan at this time. The dust-free area will be used for glueing and other sled-assembly processes.
Mountain Boy’s kicksleds are a common sight on the streets of Silverton in the winter. Silverton-made sleds have been sold to celebrities including David Letterman, Neil Diamond, Diane Sawyer and Darryl Hannah.
Hoskin said that each winter, the company employs seven people to make and sell sleds.
“If we can’t make sleds this October and November, we won’t have any (of the Silverton-made kicksleds) to sell at Christmas, and we will have to lay people off,” Hoskin said. “This action really blindsided us.”
So at this point, Zimmerman, the building’s owner, is waiting to see if he will be cited for violating the stop-work order.
“I’ve talked to an attorney, I’ve tried to talk to Dee (Jaramillo), but it didn’t do much good,” Zimmerman said. “We’re gonna see what happens. “