Neigh­bor­hood de­bate

Mil­ton res­i­dents ex­press their frus­tra­tion as they seek a so­lu­tion to scrap yard clamor

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Wendy Lib­er­a­tore Mil­ton

Mil­ton res­i­dents, noisy scrap yard at an im­passe.

Res­i­dents seek­ing a res­o­lu­tion from the house-vi­brat­ing noises em­a­nat­ing from Planit Sal­vage did not find any re­lief last week.

Build­ing In­spec­tor Wayne Howe said the scrap metal and sal­vage busi­ness, ringed by three neigh­bor­hoods, is not in vi­o­la­tion of any lo­cal laws. There­fore, owner An­thony Daw­son said, lit­tle can be done about what neigh­bors say is the racket and rat­tling caused by metal crunch­ing next door.

The topic came up at Mon­day night’s Town Board meet­ing.

“I thought we could come up with a com­pro­mise,” said Regine Brate, whose home backs up to Planit. “But I’m feel­ing dis­cour­aged at this mo­ment. The cards are stacked against the res­i­dents.”

Su­per­vi­sor Scott Os­tran­der said he would con­sider form­ing a com­mit­tee to con­sider how the scrap yard, opened in 2015, could be qui­eted. Coun­cil mem­ber John Frol­ish thought the noise, which res­i­dents say wakes them up at 7:30 a.m. six days a week, could be less­ened if the metal dropped into con­tain­ers were cush­ioned by other met­als first. There were also ideas on build­ing a gi­ant garage around its crane-size ma­te­rial han­dler and sug­ges­tions of build­ing a sound-proof bar­rier.

Daw­son noted that his busi­ness is grand­fa­thered in and not vi­o­lat­ing any lo­cal law. He also said he would be will­ing to share the cost with neigh­bors be­cause the home­own­ers are re­spon­si­ble for fenc­ing around the yard, not him.

Res­i­dent Shane Mc­clel­land thought Daw­son appeared un­com­pro­mis­ing be­cause he was “stick­ing hard to his rigid de­fense.”

“Peo­ple can’t af­ford a pro­fes­sional sound bar­rier fence,” Mc­clel­land said. “We don’t want our prop­erty val­ues to drop. We need to work to­gether.”

The meet­ing started with frus­trated res­i­dents sit­ting through a 10-minute video on the his­tory of scrap metal re­cy­cling. Af­ter­ward, Daw­son’s claims of not be­ing in vi­o­la­tion were re­peated, but Daw­son did say he wants to be a good neigh­bor.

“This is a foun­da­tion to come to­gether and speak as neigh­bors,” Daw­son said.

Stephanie Fer­radino, an at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the neigh­bors, said Daw­son is wrong and that vi­o­la­tions ex­ist hav­ing to do with noise, in­ad­e­quate screen­ing and vi­bra­tions that knock pic­tures of off walls. She said that Ed Loya’s junk­yard was there since 1957 and did not dis­turb the peace of the res­i­dents.

“Many have lived in the neigh­bor­hood when the prior own­ers op­er­ated Loyas,” Fer­radino said. “That busi­ness did not in­ter­fere with the qual­ity of life and peace­ful en­joy­ment of their homes. Planit is a very dif­fer­ent story. As Planit’s op­er­a­tions have ex­panded, so too have the im­pacts to the neigh­bors.”

She said a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Re­quest from the town only yielded nine pages of doc­u­men­ta­tion from 2015 to 2018, which in­cludes the busi­nesses is­sued li­censes and ap­pli­ca­tions which, she said, don’t meet the town stan­dards.

Missing from the pa­per­work, she said, was a SEQR ap­pli­ca­tion and de­ci­sion, a zon­ing com­pli­ance let­ter, a cer­tifi­cate of oc­cu­pancy, a site plan re­view and ap­proval, a de­scrip­tion of the busi­ness, meet­ing min­utes and doc­u­men­ta­tion on the scope of us­age.

She also said the since the scope has changed that “pre­vents Planit from the ben­e­fit of the non-con­form­ing use pro­vi­sions” that al­lowed Loya’s to op­er­ate.

“(The) town must en­sure the prop­erty comes into com­pli­ance with town re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing li­cens­ing stan­dards and com­pli­ance with the zon­ing,” she said. “Al­ter­na­tively, the scope of the use must con­form to the prior own­ers, with­out ex­pan­sion, or the busi­ness should be shut down.”

Some res­i­dents at the meet­ing say they don’t hear any noise com­ing from Planit. But oth­ers can say they hear it con­stantly. Ber­nadette Te­tle asked that the town do some­thing “so I don’t hate my house.”

“I’m un­happy as a re­sult (of Planit),” Te­tle said. “So am I to just suck it up? This is where I chose to live so this is what I’m forced to do?”

Brate said she doesn’t un­der­stand why the town is deny­ing that any­thing has changed since Planit moved into the old Loya site that sold used auto parts from junk cars.

“There is no com­par­i­son from Loya to what I’m hear­ing now,” Brate said. “They never had as much dis­tur­bance.”

Lori Van Buren / Times Union

Planit Sal­vage’s owner says his site is not vi­o­lat­ing lo­cal laws, but a lawyer for some neigh­bors says noise im­pacts are worse.

Lori Van Buren / times union

mil­ton res­i­dent Kim White points to­ward Planit Sal­vage. She and other neigh­bors are com­plain­ing about the noise of the op­er­a­tion.

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