Logan Municipal Court on Monday upheld $2,000 in fines against recent Logan mayoral candidate Lowell Huber for property upkeep violations at the former Municipool building at 125 E. 1000 North.
Huber told the court he is in the process of selling the building, which would result in the removal of dozens of cars and trucks city regulators have deemed “refuse vehicles,” but Judge Lee Edwards did not deem this reason to deny a small claim against Huber by the city.
Edwards also rejected the argument that Logan code enforcement officers did not give adequate notice of violation to Huber since the documents were not delivered by certified mail.
“Do they have a postman here to say it was mailed to me?” Huber asked, saying he had “no idea” whether or not he ever received letters in the mail from the city. “Every other court in the law requires service by certified mail.”
Edwards responded that regular mail is sufficient for service of such notices under current law.
A small-claims court summons issued to Huber in May stated 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 told The Herald Journal at that time that Huber faced a similar round of enforcement action in 2020, which accounts for the additional $1,000 listed on the summons.
“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.
At the time of the summons, there were 24 vehicles in the lot in front of the building, 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.
A similar situation could be seen on the property this week.
Huber argued he is not in violation of obstruction of right of way, as charged by the city, “since I own the right of way.”
Additionally, Huber told the court he’d sought to license his business as a towing service, which would have made the cars on the property legal, but he complained that when he went to the city offices during the COVID pandemic to discuss this and the installation of a fence, they were closed.
Smith responded that since June of 2020, City Hall has been fully open for business.
The small-claims trial had been rescheduled to Monday from earlier in the summer after Huber requested an extension to get a lawyer, but the attorney Huber said he’d retained did not show up for the trial.
“Go ahead and find me guilty and I’ll just appeal it,” he told Edwards, but the judge pointed out that the case was a civil action to settle a small claim, not a criminal matter that would result in a guilty verdict.
However, Huber can appeal it, Edwards said.
The building just north of Mount Logan Middle School originally housed a city-run swimming pool. It later became the property of the Logan School District, and Huber purchased it from the district in 2006.
Huber operated a SCUBA diving school there for a time, but photos of the interior of the building displayed in recent online real estate ads show the pool empty.
After the $2,000 in fines were reported by The Herald Journal, Huber announced he was running for mayor of Logan. As a candidate, he criticized the city’s “crazy zoning,” among other things. He fell out of the mayoral race after losing in a primary to Holly Daines and Dee Jones.
Following Monday’s ruling, Huber engaged Smith in a conversation in the court lobby, arguing that the city had treated him unfairly.