Zoning Board vs Harley-Davidson Dealer
There must be something in my DNA that enjoys a good fight, or rather hates to see people being bullied.
I’ll fire off a Letter to the Editor in a heartbeat and more often as not, stick my nose in where it probably otherwise doesn’t belong. As I’ve aged, I’ve tried to tone it down a bit just to get along.
This is one of those times when I’m having trouble keeping my unsolicited opinion to myself.
Rocky Timms is the owner of a Harley-Davidson dealership in Anderson South Carolina. No, he doesn’t advertise, so I’m not taking his side for any other reason than he’s being unfairly targeted by a few small minded anti-motorcycle “zoning police” that live around his dealership.
Timms hosts a bike night in Anderson every Thursday, and has been since May. By all accounts, it’s fairly successful and attracts a decent sized crowd from 6-9 or 9:30.
By 9:45 the lot is mostly empty.
But, for Wayne Self, and his neighbors opposed to the bike night, those 3, to 3 and a half hours of “noise” were enough to complain to the zoning board and ask the county to shut the bike nights down.
I don’t know about you, but this sort of whining chaps my ass. Here you have an honest businessman, doing everything he can in this economy to make a profit and keep jobs for local citizens and a group of penny ninnys complain that their quiet neighborhood is disrupted for a few hours a week? During daylight hours no less?
I’d bet a dollar to a donut that not the first complainer has ever owned a business where he or she had to make payroll, or had the kind of investment that Timms has and stands to lose if the dealership folds.
The complainers said that the extra cars that come in create a parking problem and a hazard in the neighborhood. Timms told the cops to tow any vehicle that was creating a parking hazard. Apparently that wasn’t good enough.
The planning director for Anderson said Timms could apply to have his property rezoned to support outdoor commercial recreation.
That’s all well and good but if a few neighbors, and it’s only a few not a majority, can cause the city to shut down his bike night, even though the property is currently zoned commercial business, what kind of chance do you think he’ll have with a rezoning request.
I see this sort of attitude in the news almost everyday. Sometimes it’s legitimate and business owners go too far and deliberately break the rules and do not care how it affects their neighbors.
Then there are those people who let their 5th grade hall monitor appointment go to their head and still get a sense of importance by being the “zoning police” or “noise nanny” of the neighborhood.
These are the same people who call the police if they see someone parked in a “no parking zone” even though doesn’t affect them. They just don’t like to see someone else “breaking the rules” as they understand them.
They’re also the ones who generally dislike motorcyclists because they see us as being too “free spirited” and “rebellious.”
I’ll admit that 80 or 100 motorcycles, especially Harley-Davidson’s, will create a fair amount of noise as they come and go into a dealership. I won’t argue that it probably does cause somewhat of an inconvenience to some of Timms neighbors during the bike night hours.
But this is America and while you might not agree with it, or fully understand it, capitalism and our free market system is the engine that powers our economy. I have no doubt that Timms Harley-Davidson writes a large property tax check to the city and county every year and receives no more government services than do his neighbors. He shouldn’t be molested when it comes to making a legal profit. Customer events are an important part of a successful motorcycle dealership.
But that’s probably something his neighbors wouldn’t understand.
-Editor Scott Cochran