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APA to rule on Keene junkyard violation

RAY BROOK - The Adirondack Park Agency's Enforcement Committee met last week to determine how to proceed with an illegal junkyard in the town of Keene.

The alleged violations by Stephen Smith were first reported to APA officials on Dec. 19, 2007. Agency staff said his property, located off Route 73 in the town of Keene, contains abandoned vehicles and other junk materials, and Smith had not acquired the necessary junkyard permits.

Enforcement Program Supervisor Paul Van Cott told the committee that Smith had not collected any additional materials on his property since first being notified of the violation.

"There's not an appreciable amount of stuff. He doesn't have, to our understanding, a lot coming in. It's just that what's there is slow going back out," Van Cott said. "We did have a settlement agreement with Mr. Smith whereby he agreed to clean it up."

Smith was first approached by Keene town officials and asked to clean up his property. In addition to not acquiring the necessary permits, Smith's property also allegedly violated visual impact regulations because it sits on an Adirondack Park travel corridor.

Van Cott said some environmental harm could have occurred due to automobile fluids, although those tests have not been performed.

Smith entered into an agreement with the APA on May 5, 2008 to remove all junk and other waste materials from his property. The deadline for that action was June 30, 2008.

"He has not fulfilled the settlement agreement," Van Cott said.

Smith did send a letter to the Enforcement Committee, notifying them he could not attend the June 11 meeting.

APA staff has not been allowed onto the property for an onsite evaluation, but did make recommendations to the Enforcement Committee.

"We are asking the property owner to cease the junkyard use of the subject property," Van Cott said. "And to remove and properly dispose of all abandoned vehicles and other junk materials located on the property."

In addition, staff has requested a $500 fine for every day since December 19, 2007 that the violation continued.

The committee's final decision on the case won't be known for 15 days, at which point APA spokesman Keith McKeever said the agency would issue a press release notifying the public of what action has been taken.

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