Junk issue dead

PORT HENRY The Moriah Town Board will take no action on a citizens survey of junk cars in the community. The survey, conducted by David V. Bruce (who organized the towns Earth Day clean-up project last spring) showed that about 10 percent of Moriah residents are in violation of the towns junk yard ordinance. A Moriah town law defines a junk yard as a property with two or more unlicensed motor vehicles. The survey sparked debate in Moriah after Bruce presented it to the town board in August. Many people claim they keep cars for a purpose and theyre not junk. Others claim property rights and scoff at being told what they can keep on their land. Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said the issue created controversy in the community. One persons junk is another persons treasure, he said at the Sept. 11 town board meeting. Ive been in office 18 years and weve been debating this for 18 years. Bruce has recommended that a Blue Ribbon Committee be appointed with representatives from the various hamlets to study the issue. The board has taken no action, though, and none appears likely. Trustee Eugene Williams said he supports individual freedom and has no desire to tell people what to keep on their property. Trustees Paul Salerno, Tony Harvish and Richard Carpenter offered no comment, effectively killed any board action. Bruces survey, conducted in May and June, found that there were nearly 700 unlicensed vehicles in the town and 143 households or businesses with two or more junk vehicles. Bruce conducted the survey, checking windshield registration stickers, on every public and private road in the townexcept the village of Port Henry. He recorded the number of vehicles that were unlicensed, abandoned or junk and the specific 911 address. The survey was recommended by the Earth Day citizens program following the Earth Day clean up. The Moriah town law that defines a junk yard also sets requirements for them. The primary requirement is an eight-foot-tall fence with proper security. The goal of the law is to provide for public safety and a clean environment, Bruce noted. The current situation exists, Bruce believes, because the law has not been enforced and many people slipped into noncompliance.

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