County says VOC U-Haul trucks violate zoning

VILLAGE of OAK CREEK -- Having golden arches taking on a turquoise hue may be good for Sedona, but Yavapai County has said no to white-and-orange U-Haul trucks at the nearby Oak Creek Factory Outlets.

Nearby residents could see the trucks in the mall parking lot, sending numerous complaints to the county, said Yavapai County Development Services Director Steve Mauk.

"It'd be kind of like if they wanted to turn the parking lot in the mall partially into a used car lot," Mauk said. "They certainly could do that, but they'd have to go through a special hearing."

Violations included excess signage, lighting, outside storage and the outside use of the property for the U-Haul operation, he said.

"There's an order for them to remove the vehicles associated with the non-permitted use," Mauk said.

The mall faces a $10,000 fine if operations out of The Worm Book and Music Store do note cease by April. Michael and Christina Eich own the store, and he said they diversified to include truck rentals in order to bring in revenue that has been declining the past couple of years.

Eich said he hired a new employee and added hours for another since starting the U-Haul rentals in January. About 120 vehicles, trucks and trailers were rented out in February.

The rest of the business benefited from the increased foot traffic, Eich said, as customers wandered the store while U-Haul paperwork was filled out and signed. About 90 percent of his revenue comes from store sales, with the rest coming from rentals.

"It's definitely been a synergistic experience," he said.

Yavapai County administrative hearing officer Charles Hastings made the decision last week after a hearing where Eich defended his business.

"I took a photograph from the nearest house to the mall, and you can see the trucks," he said. "The only view they block is the back wall of the mall."

Follow the reporter on Twitter @ymgonzal and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews

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