City of Cortland, NY
Cortland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Cortland 4-1-1975 by L.L. No. 2-1975. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Licenses and licensing — See Ch. 176.
Storage of junk vehicles — See Ch. 220, Art. IV.
Zoning — See Ch. 300.

§ 164-1 Statutory authority.

As authorized by the provisions of the Municipal Home Rule Law, Article 2, § 10; General City Law, Article 2A, § 20; and General Municipal Law, Article 6, § 136, the Common Council enacts the following chapter regulating scrap metal processing facilities (hereinafter sometimes referred to as "facility" or "facilities") and junkyards in the City.

§ 164-2 Legislative intent.

A clean, wholesome, attractive environment is declared to be of importance to the health and safety of the inhabitants and the safeguarding of their material rights against unwarrantable invasion, and in addition, such an environment is deemed essential to the maintenance and continued development of the economy of the City and the general welfare of its residents. It is further declared that the unrestrained accumulation of scrap metal and junk of all types is a hazard to such health, safety and welfare of residents of the City necessitating the regulation, restraint and elimination thereof. At the same time, it is recognized that the maintenance of scrap metal processing facilities and junkyards as hereinafter defined, is a useful and necessary business and ought to be encouraged when not in conflict with the express purposes of this section.

§ 164-3 Definitions.

A. 
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SCRAP METAL PROCESSING FACILITIES and JUNKYARD
Any of the following or any combination of the following:
(1) 
Any place of storage or deposit, whether in connection with another business or not, where two or more unregistered old or secondhand motor vehicles no longer intended or in condition for legal use on the public highways are held, whether for the purpose of resale of used parts therefrom, for the purpose of reclaiming for use some or all of the materials therein, whether metal, glass, fabric or otherwise, or for the purpose of disposing of the same or for any other purpose; such term shall include any place of storage or deposit for any such purposes of used parts or waste materials from motor vehicles which taken together equal in bulk two or more such vehicles; or
(2) 
Any establishment having facilities for processing iron, steel or nonferrous scrap and whose principal product is scrap iron, steel or nonferrous scrap for sale or remelting purposes; or
(3) 
Any place of storage or deposit where scrap iron or old or used machinery or metals, rags, bottles, rope, newspaper and paper products are held and the principal purpose or business of said place is the reclaiming for use some or all of the materials therein, or the principal purpose or business of said place is for the resale or the disposing of the same. For the purposes of this subsection, a place of storage or deposit shall not include any establishment which as an incident to its principal business produces, uses or stores any of the aforesaid items as a consequence of, or in connection with, its principal business.
JUNK
Any item or combination of items described in Subsections (1) through (3) of the definition of "scrap metal processing facilities" and "junkyard."
MOTOR VEHICLE
All vehicles propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power originally intended for use on public highways.
PERSON
Includes a natural person or persons, corporations, partnerships, unincorporated associations or any other organization of two or more persons.
B. 
Nothing in the definition of "scrap metal processing facilities" and "junkyard" shall limit the prohibitions against the placing, throwing, depositing, discharging or accumulation of refuse and litter in whatever form upon real property in the City as provided in Chapters 181 and 241 of the Code of the City of Cortland.

§ 164-4 Requirement for operation and maintenance.

[Amended 1-6-1981 by L.L. No. 1-1981]
A. 
No person shall operate, establish or maintain a junkyard or facility until he has:
(1) 
Obtained a license to operate a scrap metal processing facility or a junkyard business; and
(2) 
Obtained a certificate of approval for the location of such facility or junkyard. A person shall be entitled to be licensed to operate a scrap metal processing facility if more than half his business includes activities described in Subsection A(2) of the definition of "scrap metal processing facilities" and "junkyard" above.
B. 
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any person who conducts all of his activities as defined in § 164-3 above within a permanent building which is completely enclosed on all sides with solid walls except for necessary doors, windows and like openings and which is completely covered by a roof.

§ 164-5 Application for license and certificate of approval.

Application for the license and certificate of approved location shall be made in writing to the Common Council, and the application shall be accompanied by a certificate from the Zoning Board of Appeals that the proposed location is not within an established zoning district restricted against such uses or otherwise contrary to the prohibitions of such Zoning Ordinances. The application shall contain a description of the land which is to comprise the junkyard or facility.

§ 164-6 Hearing; publication and notice.

A hearing on the application shall be held by the Common Council not less than two nor more than four weeks from the date of the receipt of the application by the Common Council. Notice of the hearing shall be given to the applicant by mall, postage prepaid, to the address given in the application and shall be published once in the official newspapers of the City, which publication shall be not less than seven days before the date of the hearing.

§ 164-7 License requirements.

At the time and place set for the hearing, the Common Council shall hear the applicant and all other persons wishing to be heard on the application for a license to operate, establish or maintain the junkyard or facility. In considering such application, the Common Council shall take into account the suitability of the applicant with reference to his ability to comply with the fencing requirements or other reasonable regulations concerning the proposed junkyard or facility, to any record of convictions for any type of larceny or receiving of stolen goods, and to any other matter within the purposes of this chapter.

§ 164-8 Location requirements.

At the time and place set for the hearing, the Common Council shall hear the applicant and all other persons wishing to be heard on the application for certificate of approval for the location of the facility or junkyard. In passing upon the application, the Common Council shall take into account, after proof of legal ownership or right to the use of the property for the license period by the applicant, the nature and development of surrounding property, such as the proximity of churches, schools, hospitals, public buildings or other places of public gatherings; and whether or not the proposed location can be reasonably protected from affecting the public health and safety by reason of offensive or unhealthy odors or smoke or other causes.

§ 164-9 Aesthetic considerations.

At the hearing regarding location of the facility or junkyard, the Common Council may also take into account the clean, wholesome and attractive environment which has been declared to be of vital importance to the continued general welfare of its citizens by considering whether or not the proposed location can be reasonably protected from having an unfavorable effect on the continued general welfare. In this connection, the Common Council may consider collectively the type of road servicing the facility or junkyard or from which the facility or junkyard may be seen, the natural or artificial barriers protecting the facility or junkyard from view, the proximity of the proposed junkyard to established residential and recreational areas or main access routes thereto, as well as the reasonable availability of other suitable sites for the facility or junkyard.

§ 164-10 Grant or denial of application; appeal.

After hearing, the Common Council shall within two weeks make a finding as to whether or not the application should be granted, giving notice of their finding to the applicant by mail, postage prepaid, to the address given on the application. If approved, the license, including the certificate of approved location, shall be forthwith issued to remain in effect until the following 31st day of December next succeeding the day on which it was granted. Approval shall be personal to the applicant and not assignable. Licenses shall be renewed thereafter upon payment of the fee without hearing, provided all provisions of this chapter are complied with during the license period, the facility or junkyard does not become a nuisance under the common law, and the applicant is not convicted of any type of larceny or the receiving of stolen goods. The determination of the Common Council may be reviewed under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 164-11 License fees.

The annual license fee shall be $25 to be paid at the time the application is made and annually thereafter in the event of renewal. In the event the application is not granted, the fee shall be returned to the applicant. The City, in addition to the license fee, may assess the applicant with the costs of advertising the application and such other reasonable costs incident to the hearing as are clearly attributable thereto and may make the license conditional upon payment of the same.

§ 164-12 Fencing.

A. 
Before use, a new facility or junkyard shall be completely surrounded with a permanent opaque 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 the facility or junkyard or when the applicant or his agent shall be within. The fence shall be erected not nearer than 50 feet from a public highway. All items defined in § 164-3 above shall be kept within the enclosure of the facility or junkyard except as removal shall be necessary for the transportation of same in the reasonable course of business. All wrecking and other work shall be accomplished within the enclosure. All items defined in § 164-3 above shall be placed in such a manner as not to exceed six feet in height within 50 feet of the inside of the enclosure of the facility or junkyard; and in any other part of the facility or junkyard, shall be placed in such a manner as not to exceed 16 feet in height.
B. 
Where the topography, natural growth of timber or other considerations accomplish the purposes of this section in whole or in part, the fencing requirements hereunder may be reduced by the legislative body upon granting the license; provided, however, that the natural barrier conforms with the purposes of this chapter.

§ 164-13 Established facilities and junkyards.

For the purposes of this chapter, the location of facilities or junkyards already established shall be considered approved by the Common Council and the person operating or maintaining a scrap metal processing facility or junkyard as defined in § 164-3 shall furnish the Common Council the information as to location which is required in an application together with the license fee, and the Common Council shall issue him a license valid until the following 31st day of December next succeeding the day on which it was granted, at which time the person may apply for renewal as herein provided. If more than half of the business activity of the facility includes activities described in § 164-3A(2) under the definition of "scrap metal processing facilities" and "junkyard" above, the person shall be entitled to a license to operate a scrap metal processing facility. The person shall comply with all other provisions of this chapter including the fencing and height requirements set forth in § 164-12 hereof.

§ 164-14 Prohibited locations.

Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this chapter, no facility or junkyard hereafter established shall be licensed to operate if the junkyard or any part thereof shall be within 500 feet of a church, school, hospital, public building or place of public assembly.

§ 164-15 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment for a definite term not to exceed 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day that a violation is carried on or continues shall constitute a separate violation.
[Amended 5-4-2010 by Res. No. 101-2010]
B. 
Conviction for any above-mentioned violation shall constitute and effect an immediate forfeiture of the license.
C. 
Any person violating this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty enforceable and collectible by the City in the amount of $500 for each such offense. Such penalty shall be collectible by and in the name of the City for each day that such violation shall continue.
[Amended 5-4-2010 by Res. No. 101-2010]
D. 
In addition to the above-provided penalties and punishment, the City may also maintain an action or proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or to restrain by injunction the violation of this chapter.