No Prosecution, at Present, for Zoning Violations
As written in the (Fort Pierce/Port St. Lucie, FL) News Tribune
St. Lucie County officials Wednesday agreed to hold in abeyance any prosecution against airport industrial park property owner J.M. "Hans" van Ovost for alleged zoning law violations until two other steps are taken.
Those steps include another conference among fire and zoning department members and Van Ovost within the next two days regarding legitimizing a present above-ground fuel storage tank at the earliest possible moment.
Also included is the due process procedure of Van Ovost applying to county commissioners, who serve as the five-member Fort Pierce Port and Airport Authority, to make the fuel tank modification. Van Ovost also is to apply for after-the-fact building permits - turned down in the past - for a tower atop his hanger building and for an overhang area toe county says he added to his building without permission.
In turn, Van Ovost's lawyer assured county officials he will seek clarification from the Federal Aviation Administration as to whether Van Ovost's activities are a threat to the county's share of FAA funds for airport improvements.
This tentative accord came after more than two hours of conference that included Van Ovost, attorney Edwin Marger, who represented Van Ovost, Gary Ament, area development coordinator for the county, Charles B. "Chuck" McDermott, who is a county building and zoning inspector; Fire Marshall Walter Wile and Lt. Murray "Lucky" Noyes, a fire prevention inspector, Assistant County Attorney Sarah B. Woods and County Attorney Dan Harrell.
Marger told the group Van Ovost would make the changes sought for safety precautions regarding the fuel storage tank which means Ament's department will have to approve the proposed moving and modification of the tank. The county commissioners, as the port authority, will have to approve the proposal before Van Ovist can act.
The same procedure will apply to the two other alleged building code violations for which Van Ovost was cited.
In turn, Marger agreed to request from the FAA a statement in writing to Harrell assuring the county that the FAA will not cut off future funding or require "a rebate" of past grants.
The dispute over the aviation fixed-base operator activities of Van Ovost and any other "through the fence" operations is frowned upon by the FAA, but not entirely forbidden in all cases, Marger told the group.
The Dispute has been aired at various times before the port authority members since 1977. At that time Van Ovost charged that the county was seeking to establish a monopoly in aviation services concerning two firms bought by Dan Darling, a former Michigan resident. Since that time, two additional airport services have been agreed to by the county, Stanford Aviation and Wings International, both reportedly limited to flight instruction.
Darling's business interests were bought by Red Aircraft, Inc., of Fort Lauderdale. McDermott observed Wednesday, however, before the formal meeting began, "I think Dan Darling's coming back on the scene."