NORTH OGDEN -- A war of words started at a recent council meeting, between Councilman Wade Bigler and a North Ogden resident who took the councilman to task for recently visiting the home-based auto repair shop of Tom Baguley.
The neighborhood remains divided about whether Baguley's auto repair shop should remain open.
On May 9, City Manager Ron Chandler sent an email to all council members requesting they not discuss the situation until a vote on the hearing, which was Tuesday.
Resident Charles Crippin, along with three others, had appealed an earlier decision by the planning commission to grant a conditional-use permit to Baguley.
In the email, Chandler told council members, "In light of the fact that Mr. Crippen has made his intent to appeal this decision known to the city, you should refrain from discussing this matter with anyone outside of the hearing. If asked by someone, just inform them of the hearing date."
Resident and appellant Michael Dufrene recently took issue with Bigler on the topic.
Dufrene said he saw and heard Bigler at Baguley's house on May 23.
"We were told this would not be discussed out of the council meeting ... you are carrying the flag for the Baguleys," Dufrene said.
He further accused Bigler of siding with the Baguleys when he sat behind them at the planning commission meeting and talked with them throughout the meeting. Dufrene told Bigler he checked the minutes of planning commission meetings and he knows Bigler doesn't often attend planning commission meetings.
Bigler became upset.
"That's not true," he said, stating he had been at the city offices that night and stopped in at the planning commission meeting.
"I took offense to what I saw that night. I was in shock mostly," Dufrene said.
When Dufrene further accused Bigler of making some sort of agreement with the Baguleys during that meeting, Bigler became more upset.
"I did go to the Baguleys home, but it wasn't to chum chum buddy buddy," Bigler said, adding that he went to see if Baguley was following the conditions on the conditional-use permit.
Dufrene said that wasn't all Bigler was there for, claiming he heard the two talking for quite some time.
At that, someone called out to Dufrene, calling him a "peeping Tom."
Dufrene said he didn't understand why Bigler visited the Baguleys when the email expressly stated he should not.
"I go by the rules," Dufrene said.
"This is junior high activity," said Councilman Brent Taylor. "We were given clear instruction not to meet with folks because of the appeal, so the city council cannot prejudice itself. This creates grounds for conspiracy theories."
Attorney Jon Call explained that the reason for asking the council to not visit either the Baguleys or the appellants is so one council member is not swayed or biased above another. They could all visit those involved together, but separately is not a good idea.
Taylor also asked Bigler if he could be included in the email conversation about the issues. "I just ask for the same respect and for you to not specifically exclude me," he said to Bigler.
"I'm happy to do that if every time I say something you do not become an attack dog," Bigler said.
In later emails, Bigler claimed he didn't see the May 9 email until May 25, after he has visited Baguley.
Chandler said he sent the email on May 9.
"Our city email system has been very unreliable. Many residents know this because the emails they've sent to council members have sometimes not gone through to us," Bigler has said.