Lowell Huber, the owner of the former Municipool building on 10th North in Logan, says the appearance of his property is nobody’s business but his.
The City of Logan doesn’t see it that way and is currently taking Huber to court to pay $2,000 in fines for alleged property upkeep violations at his highly visible building on 10th North next to Mt. Logan Middle School. Among other things, the city wants Huber to remove more than 20 cars and trucks from his parking lot that regulators deem “refuse” vehicles.
“It’s private property,” Huber said when contacted by The Herald Journal on Thursday. “It’s my property, it’s not the city’s property, it’s not the school’s property, it’s not The Herald Journal’s property. It’s my property, and those cars are licensed, registered and totally legal.”
A small-claims court summons issued to Huber this week states he was given a notice of violation on March 22 for “refuse/junk vehicles” and “unlawful obstruction.” After failure to comply with the notice and clean up the property as specified, he was fined $100 per day for the period between April 5 and 15, totaling the maximum allowed fine of $1,000.
Logan Neighborhood Improvement Director Aaron Smith said Huber faced a similar round of enforcement action in 2020, which apparently accounts for the additional $1,000 listed on the summons, though this is not clear on the document.
Huber characterized the city’s enforcement action as illegal, which he said “will come out in court.” He further claimed city representatives have illegally entered his property but declined to elaborate on the circumstances.
For some time after purchasing the building from the Logan School District in 2006, Huber operated a scuba diving school there, making use of the pool that previously served as a city recreation facility through an agreement between the city and the Logan School District. But photos accompanying an online ad listing the property for sale show the pool empty, and Smith said Huber does not currently have a business license.
“The law allows up to two refuse or unregistered vehicles on a property behind a screened fence, and so without an active business license permitting otherwise, that’s the law he’d be subject to,” Smith said.
On Thursday, there were 24 vehicles in the lot, only about half of which had rear license plates, and many of those lacked visible, current registration year decals. At least five of the vehicles had one or more flat tires.
Although Huber said all the vehicles are registered, he declined to discuss what they are doing on the property. And in response to a question about the status of the scuba business, he replied, “You need to take your nose out of my business. If I wanted it there, I’d call and let you know.”
A hearing on Huber’s notice of violation is scheduled July 7 in Logan Municipal Court. Smith said if the city receives a judgement in the case, it would likely place a lien on the Municipool property pending payment of the fines.
He added, “The city does have authority to abate a violation and go in and clean it up. All options remain on the table from an enforcement standpoint.”
Huber’s diving business, Blue Water Scuba, was at one time run out of a building on the northwest corner of 300 North and Main Street in Logan, where he also operated Cache Valley Alternators and Starters. That property was often criticized as an eyesore, and the city required he move unregistered vehicles off the lot as part of a complex 2006 deal in which Huber acquired the Municipool while giving Logan an option to buy the Main Street site, which the city eventually did.
The Municipool property is currently listed for sale on UtahRealEstate.com for $1.5 million, dropped from a previous price of $1.9 million.
“Amazing opportunity! This building is a blank canvas,” the online ad states. “So much love that used to be a scuba school and a neighborhood pool. Now the options are endless!”