Demo derby cars a "nuisance"?Owner feeling singled out by ordinance
By: Anna Erickson, Wadena Pioneer Journal, Worthington Daily Globe
A Wadena man is concerned about being added to the public nuisance list year after year for having demolition derby vehicles that are parked and worked on at his business and at his residential property.
Keith VanOrsdel, owner of 10 Star Auto on U.S. Highway 10, attended the Aug. 12 Wadena City Council meeting to discuss his concerns.
VanOrsdel allows several young people to work on demolition derby cars during the summer at 10 Star Auto. But according to Wadena city ordinance, those vehicles are considered junk cars and a public nuisance.
“All junked, abandoned or unlicensed vehicles in any public place, or so situated or operated on private property as to attract or endanger the public” is listed in Wadena’s public nuisance ordinance.
Wadena Police Chief Bruce Uselman has talked to VanOrsdel about his property for the past several years.
“Our concerns are the demolition derby vehicles, car parts, vehicles sitting in the back row,” Uselman said.
VanOrsdel said he feels like he is being singled out.
“For the last six years, each year there was a little bit more, a little bit more, like you’re pin pointing,” he told the council.
Councilman Pete Phillips said he “likes things pretty” but VanOrsdel is helping kids stay out of trouble by working on the demo cars.
Uselman’s concern is that other people who park demo cars or junk cars behind residential garages are required to move them because of the ordinance.
“Keith’s in a different arena,” Uselman added. “He’s got a couple of boys there that are involved in demolition.”
The other concern is VanOrsdel’s residence, which also has cars parked.
VanOrsdel lives on 20 acres and some vehicles are parked a distance behind the home but it is still within the city limits.
“If you’re going to start an accumulation of junk cars, then it falls in the arena of a junk yard,” Uselman said. “... You live on the fringes. Who does it bother? Well, it keeps showing up on my list, so somebody’s pulling it down and pointing this out.”
Phillips said he agreed with Uselman about the residential property and others having to comply with the ordinance. However, he said, a car business will have vehicles.
VanOrsdel said the demo cars are gone from his business after the last derby of the season. Some of the cars that are still usable are taken to his residence after the demo season, he said.
The vehicles that are completely inoperable after derbies are hauled out, VanOrsdel said.
“If it’s a seasonal thing and we can all live with that, then that’s the direction we’ll go,” Uselman said.
Phillips said his opinion was to let the kids work on the vehicles at 10 Star Auto during the summer.
The council told Uselman to work with VanOrsdel through the end of the season. The council will make a decision about the vehicles at VanOrsdel’s residential property at a future council meeting.