Monday, December 3, 2012

Over the Border

Related to the issue of lack of enforcement or selective enforcement of Hudson's historic preservation law is this story, brought to Gossips' attention by a reader. 

The Town of Greenport, which surrounds Hudson on three sides, has the distinction of being the only municipality in Columbia County with no zoning laws. That does not mean, however, that it is a town without rules and regulations or a Planning Board and a building inspector tasked with making sure that standards are met. 

On Route 9G, near the border with Hudson and at a principal gateway to the city, there is an automobile junkyard, which is generally known to be owned and operated by the chair of the Greenport Planning Board. Curiously, the junkyard does not conform with the requirements for such a facility found in Chapter 48 of the Greenport Town Code. The code specifies that an automobile junkyard must be "completely surrounded with a fence at least eight feet in height which substantially screens and with a suitable gate which shall be closed and locked except during the working hours of such junkyard or when the applicant or his agent shall be within." The casual observer can see that, although there is a gate, there is no fence of any height around the facility. What the casual observer cannot know, however, is that, although junkyards in Greenport are required by the town code (Section 48-12) to have a license which must be renewed annually, a reliable source reports that no licenses have been issued for this junkyard or for the other four junkyards that exist in Greenport. 

The reader who brought this story to Gossips' attention also brought it to the attention of Greenport Supervisor John Porreca. Earlier today, the same reader reported to Gossips that he had been told the Town was in the process of sending letters to the owners of the junkyards notifying them of the code requirements for automobile junkyards.


  1. I thought that it was illegal in New york State to have an automotive junk yard near a wetlands. All automotive fluids are dangerous potential seepage.

  2. This is really more of a car dump than a junkyard. There is a big yard over in Catskill where you can buy used parts from the cars and they recycle the steel. All these cars should be taken over there and this placed cleaned up.

  3. There was a lawsuit regarding this property some time back, maybe in the 1980s, and the owner won.

  4. Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law §3-0301 and §24-1301

    Part 663, Freshwater Wetlands permit Requirements ...

    Part 663.4 .... Exempt Activities:

    The following activities either have been exempted from regulation by the Act or are not regulated because they will not substantially impair any of the functions and benefits of freshwater wetlands:

    1. Continuing lawfully existing uses and continuing all activities normally and directly associated with any such use, except for those activities covered by items 38, 39, 40 and 41, where such continuance does not involve expansion or significant alteration of the existing use and does not effect additional wetland area. ...

    - - -

    38. Introducing or storing any substance, including any chemical, petrochemical, solid waste, nuclear waste, toxic material, sewage effluent, or other pollutant, except as described in item 39, 40, and 41. Permit required. Incompatible, means that a regulated activity is incompatible with a wetland and its functions or benefits, although in some cases the proposed action may be insignificant enough to be compatible.

    39. Application of a pesticide conducted pursuant to a permit ...

    40. Application of a pesticide where no permit is required ...

    41. Application of a pesticide to the grounds of a private residence ...