At the Ely City Council meeting held last Thursday, more than 20 people came out to support Randy Weaver, who was part of the City Council’s agenda.
The agenda item was requested by the council members, City Attorney Charles Odgers and Building Official Brad Christiansen.
The item was for discussion for possible action for approval by the City Council to file a permanent injunction action pursuant to NRS 33.010 in the Seventh Judicial District Court against Randy Weaver for the ongoing construction of a commercial building located within the city limits at 690 N. McGill, Highway.
Weaver does not have a permit to build the building. He is building a commercial structure, which by law requires a contractor to build, he is also constructing a commercial building on property that is within a flood zone without addressing the flooding issue.
He is building this structure, which has not been designed by a licensed Engineer in the State of Nevada to meet any of the state’s requirements for life safety issues, including but not limited to fire suppression, and to see the removal of the unsafe building as part of the litigation.
Weaver spoke first by saying, “My structure does not pose a threat to the members of the public because it’s not open to the public. I’ve been trying to buy a building permit for 3 1/2 years and the answer I get is no…you want to counter sue me?
“Then I’ll counter sue and I’m pretty sure I’ll win. This doesn’t do anybody any good. I’m asking that you underride the building inspector’s selective enforcement of the building laws and if you do that, I’ll go finish my building. I’m willing to do with almost anything in reason to get this done, but I don’t think suing me is going to do any good for anybody.”
More than nine people in the community stood up and gave their input during public comment.
Jim Assuras, owner of JDL Construction, was first to speak by saying “I’m a general engineering contractor, with an A-14 steel erection license classification and in inspecting the building I’ve never seen a more structurally sound building, I’d be proud to have that there in Ely, there are a lot of boarded up businesses, he has a business that would produce revenue for Ely.”
Casey Jones, owner of JCR Development, said “ I have property out by Randy’s and when I bought my property we ended up hiring Basin Engineering to do a flood survey for the insurance requirement, it cost me a lot of money and truth be known, he had it out of the flood zone, and I’m much lower than Mr. Weaver.”
Slade Sanborn, Ely resident said, “Sounds like to me some of the issues he has addressed, he does have an engineer stamp on the building, I think he’s doing a good thing for WP, there are many other buildings throughout Ely that post a bigger fire hazard and I’d like to see you guys support Randy in this building.”
Steve Stork, a White Pine County Commissioner came to the meeting as a city resident, spoke as a business person.
Stork said, “I think there’s an opportunity here to look at this project. Randy has come up with a novel idea, ways to create a building without it being a permanent structure, he has a possibility of something that he can manufacture himself that we can get approval on. We can always find reasons to stop people from doing things, let’s try to do something to facilitate something that will be for the good of the public.
“I think there’s a way we can work around this. We can litigate this all day long, that doesn’t mean it’s right, we can go to court and find a judge that’s going to rule one way, we have a building here, that’s engineered, it’s a portable structure, and let’s maybe look at and think of ways to work around the law, or within the law, to make it a functional project. I think there’s better things the city can do right now than litigating something like this”
Once public comment was complete, Odgers addressed the city council by noting some of the public comments.
Odgers mentioned that many of the people that spoke were in support of the building but Weaver does not have a building permit.
Odgers said, “If you are going to build a commercial building then you have to comply with NRS Chapter 624, which says you cannot build a commercial building without having a licensed contractor, you have to have plans, those plans have to be approved by a State Fire Marshall, you have to have flood plans, there are ways to mitigate the flood plans, those plans were all discussed with Mr. Weaver, and Mr. Weaver thumbed his nose at the City Council and the state.”
Odgers also noted that Weaver has been cited twice to stop the building to comply with the building requirements.
Weaver’s comment to law enforcement the prior week was, “You can do whatever you want to do, I’m gonna keep building this building” according to Odgers.
Odgers continued, “The laws are there to protect the safety of the community. Love’s Truckstop had to spend a lot of money to obtain the permits to build their business, including several other business owners in this town. Many of the public comments included that they were in support of Weaver’s business, but Weaver does not currently even have a business license either.
“The Nevada State Contractor’s Board has also received a complaint on Weaver’s structure that is currently under investigation.
Councilwoman Jolene Gardner said, “You have had since April of last year, and you haven’t done it, and one minute you say it’s a business, and then you say it’s not.
Weaver quickly interrupted Gardner and said, “It is a business but it’s all my personal stuff, it’s all personal, every bit of it is mine.”
Councilman Sam Hanson said “I’m trying to compromise here but you haven’t left us with much room here, especially when we’ve given you 18 months to come up with these things.”
Hanson made a motion for the city attorney to enter into a consent agreement for Weaver to remain outside of the facility and not store anything in the structure until until such time he has complied with FEMA, the Fire Marshall, obtain a building permit and follow all guidelines required. Motion was approved unanimously.
The agreement has been set to be presented at the next Ely City Council meeting on Aug. 24.