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Junkyard ordinance debated at Jay Twp. meeting

September 17, 2011

The Jay Township Supervisors discuss a variety of items at their meeting Thursday evening. Photo by Colin Deppen.

At Thursday's meeting of the Jay Township Supervisors, in the "old business" section of the agenda, supervisors and residents delved into the topic of the township's junkyard ordinance. Disagreement centered on the proposed limitation of licenses for junkyards in the area to five.
Area resident Robert Coppolo of Weedville asked supervisors how they arrived at the number five in determining how many licenses the township would provide.
"We just tried to come up with a number so we wouldn't have 20 of them," said Supervisor Francis Gustafson.
"So it's just an arbitrary number, it's not based on studies. What's the basis in law that you can limit this to five?" asked Coppolo.
Gustafson said the supervisors had spoken with an attorney regarding the proposed limitation and that "he [the attorney] didn't seem to have a problem with it."
Coppolo also voiced his opinion that this decision would adversely affect "the little guy who wants to open a junkyard."
"The big guy with deep pockets, I think he's gonna beat you," Coppolo said.
In addition, Supervisor Jeremy Rippey questioned the pre-existing definition of junkyard in the township ordinance. The ordinance dictates that "two or more old, secondhand, abandoned, partially disassembled, dilapidated, or unlicensed vehicles on a property" constitutes a junkyard. Rippey expressed concern that the definition could be problematic or punitive in combination with the license allotment.
"Junkyards should be a salvage yard operating for business...You're going to limit this to five licenses in the township and anybody who cuts two cars, and is working on one and has the other, they're not going to have a junkyard license," he said.
Rippey also said that the issue of two unlicensed cars on a property is already covered in the nuisance law and that it was redundant to have it also addressed in the junkyard ordinance.
"It's already covered in the nuisance law and I don't know if it should pertain to this," he said.
Rippey added that section 308 of the township ordinance, prohibiting the transfer of junkyard licenses from one location to another, was excessive and unfair. He said that in conjunction with the restriction on junkyard licenses, there could be a negative effect on salvage yards already in business in the township.
"They should be able to take their license with them. If somebody's already in business and wants to move to another approved location, I don't know why they couldn't. When you're limited to five [licenses], the only way they could do that is if they let it [their license] expire and renew it," Rippey said.
Supervisors said they would revisit these issues at subsequent meetings and again confer with an attorney regarding the legality of the decision.

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