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Attorney General backs APA effort to remove illegal junkyard

The New York State Attorney General's Office has issued a civil complaint against the owners of an unauthorized junkyard in Paul Smiths.

The state is seeking a court order to force Alvin and Cathy Fuller to clean up a collection of abandoned vehicles, car parts, campers and other junk on their property in the Franklin County town of Brighton.

A civil complaint filed late last month in Franklin County State Supreme Court states that the Fullers have been operating a junkyard without a state Adirondack Park Agency permit on their 1-acre property located on state Route 86.

The APA began negotiations with the Fullers after it received complaints about the junkyard in 2009. The Fullers signed a settlement agreement with the APA in March 2010, agreeing to clean up the site by June 1, 2010.

That deadline was later extended to Aug. 1, but the site was never cleaned up.

In September of last year, the APA referred the case to the Attorney General for enforcement and notified the Fullers that they could be subject to a fine of $500 per day for the continuing violation.

APA spokesman Keith McKeever said the Fullers made no effort to clean up the mess, so the agency had no choice but to enter into litigation to enforce the APA Act.

McKeever said the APA sought to impose fines only after the Fuller's violated their settlement agreement, and that its main interest is to see that the Fullers clean up the junkyard as soon as possible.

"It's in the best interest of the town of Brighton, the community at large and the environment," he said.

McKeever said junkyards are allowed in the park, but they require an APA permit and conformance with local zoning.

The town of Brighton has an ordinance against the junkyard but has been unable to convince the Fuller's to clean it up. The junkyard is not far from the entrance to Paul Smith's College and town Supervisor John Quenell told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that the junkyard is "an embarrassment to the town."

Some of the environmental concerns include leaking antifreeze, gas, and other volatile or toxic liquids, according to McKeever.

Among other things, an APA permit would require that dangerous liquids be removed from vehicles before they are stored on the site. He also noted that some of the vehicles are located just a few feet from a state highway, causing a possible driving hazard.

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