[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Copake 11-10-1988 by L.L. No. 5-1988. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, welfare and safety of the inhabitants of the Town of Copake and to minimize the detrimental effects upon the environment of the Town of Copake by regulating the operation, location and maintenance of motor vehicle junkyards and motor vehicle storage areas. It is declared by the Town Board that the unrestrained accumulation of wrecked, junked, damaged, abandoned and/or unregistered motor vehicles and the storage of such vehicles is a hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Town of Copake, which necessitates the regulation, restraint and/or elimination thereof. At the same time, it is recognized by the Town Board that the maintenance of motor vehicle junkyards and motor vehicle storage areas, as hereinafter defined, is a useful and necessary business when conducted in a manner which is not in conflict with the express purpose and provisions of this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
- An area of land, with or without buildings, which is used for the deposit, keeping, storage or holding of any old or wrecked or junked or discarded or abandoned or unregistered motor vehicles which are in a condition such that they cannot be legally operated on a public highway; whether such vehicles are kept or stored for the purpose of resale of used parts therefrom, the reclamation of some or all of the materials therefrom or for the purpose of disposing of the same or for any other reason.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- All vehicles propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power and originally intended for use on public highways.
- MOTOR VEHICLE STORAGE AREA
- An area of land, with or without buildings, where, in a residential
area more than one, and in a business district more than five, unregistered
or unused, or damaged, or abandoned motor vehicle or vehicles, which
are in such a condition that they cannot be legally operated on a
public highway, are parked or are held while awaiting repair or other
disposal.[Amended 2-12-2004 by L.L. No. 1-2004; 12-2-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
No person, partnership, corporation, association or other entity shall operate, establish or maintain a junkyard within the Town of Copake unless a license to operate such junkyard shall have been obtained from the Copake Town Board.
No person, partnership, corporation, association or other entity shall operate, establish or maintain a motor vehicle storage area within the Town of Copake unless a license for such motor vehicle storage area shall have been obtained from the Copake Town Board.
An application for a license to establish and operate a junkyard or a motor vehicle storage area shall be made, in writing, to the Copake Town Board on an approved form established by the Town Board and shall contain a detailed description of the land proposed to be included in the junkyard or motor vehicle storage area.
The Town Board shall conduct a public hearing on the application to establish and operate a junkyard or a motor vehicle storage area. A notice of the public hearing shall be published once in the official newspaper of the town not less than seven days before the date of said hearing, and written notice of said hearing shall be mailed to the applicant, at the address given on the application, not less than seven days before said hearing.
At the time and place set for the hearing, the Town Board shall hear the applicant and all other persons wishing to be heard on the application for the requested license. In considering the application, the Town Board shall take into account the suitability of the applicant with reference to his ability to comply with the fencing requirements and other reasonable regulations related to the use and operation of the proposed junkyard or motor vehicle storage area and any other matter falling within the purview of this chapter, Chapter 232, Zoning, and any other law or regulation applicable to the proposed use. The Town Board 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 the residents of the Town of Copake and whether the same can be reasonably protected from any unfavorable effect arising out of the proposed use and/or location of the proposed licensed premises. In this regard, the Town Board may consider collectively the type of road servicing the proposed junkyard or motor vehicle storage area or from which the proposed licensed area may be seen, the natural or artificial barriers protecting the area from view, the proximity of the proposed location to established residential and recreational areas and the main access routes thereto, as well as the reasonable availability of other suitable sites for the proposed licensed premises.
Within two weeks following the public hearing, the Town Board shall make a finding as to whether or not the application should be granted or denied and any reasonable conditions or contingencies upon which the license should be issued. Written notice of the determination of the Town Board shall be sent to the applicant by mail to the applicant's address as set forth on the license application. If the application is approved and upon completion by the applicant of any conditions or contingencies related to such approval, the license shall then forthwith be issued by the Town Clerk and shall remain in effect until the date December 31 of the year of the issuance of the license. Any license issued under this chapter shall be personal to the applicant and shall not be assignable. The license may be renewed thereafter upon the payment of the annual license fee, without hearing, provided that all of the provisions of this chapter have been complied with by the applicant during the previous license period; that the junkyard or motor vehicle storage area has not become a public nuisance under common law; and the applicant has not been convicted of any type of larceny or the crime of receiving stolen property.
The annual license fee shall be $25, to be paid at the time of the initial license application and to be paid annually thereafter in the month of January for all renewals of licenses. In the event that an application is not granted, the initial license fee shall be returned to the applicant, less the costs of the advertising of the notice of hearing on said application and such other reasonable costs incurred by the town incident to the conduct of said public hearing.
Prior to the commencement of the use of a new premises licensed as a junkyard or motor vehicle storage area, a fence which is at least eight feet in height and which substantially screens the licensed premises from view shall be installed on the side(s) of the junkyard or motor vehicle storage area which is/are adjacent to a public highway. The required fence shall be set back at least 50 feet from the right-of-way of any public highway and shall be equipped with a suitable gate which shall be kept closed and locked except during the working hours of such junkyard or motor vehicle storage area. The remainder of the junkyard or motor vehicle storage area shall be screened by a fence of at least eight feet in height, or by natural evergreens or trees (as determined and approved by the Town Board at the time of license application or renewal) set back a minimum of five feet from the boundaries of the property.
[Amended 12-2-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
Where the topography, natural growth of trees or other factors accomplish the screening requirements under this section, in whole or in part, the fencing requirement hereunder may be modified by the Town Board to allow for such natural screening.
[Added 12-2-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
Junkyards and motor vehicle storage areas may place vehicles for sale and registered vehicles being repaired in a single row outside of the fence. All other vehicles must be located behind the fence as required by § 156-8 of this chapter.
A motor vehicle storage area shall be allowed to park or store no more than 60 vehicles per business behind the fenced area on the initial piece of property or the first acre of land. Fifty vehicles per additional acre are allowed, not to exceed 200 cars per business, with a minimum spacing of four feet between each row of stored motor vehicles. Placement of more than the above specified number of vehicles behind the fenced area shall constitute a junkyard under this chapter and shall require the owner/operator to obtain a junkyard permit.
Notwithstanding the above. a motor vehicle storage permit shall not he required where no more than 50 vehicles are parked or stored in an enclosed building.
For the purposes of this chapter, the location of existing licensed junkyards and motor vehicle storage areas used in connection with another business, which have been established as of the effective date of this chapter, shall be considered approved by the Town Board where located, and the owner thereof shall be deemed suitable for the issuance of a license hereunder provided:
Within 60 days of the effective date of this chapter, the owner shall furnish to the Town Board the information as to the location of the junkyard and/or motor vehicle storage area as required on all license applications, together with the license fee and completed application form. Upon timely receipt of the foregoing, the Town Board shall direct the Town Clerk to issue a license which shall be valid until December 31 of the year of issuance.
Any unlicensed junkyards existing as of the effective date of this chapter and any motor vehicle storage areas which have been established on land not used in connection with another business as of the effective date of this chapter shall have 60 days from the effective date of this chapter to remove all unlicensed, unused, wrecked, damaged, abandoned or discarded motor vehicles that are in a condition such that they could not be legally operated on a public highway.
[Amended 7-12-2007 by L.L. No. 3-2007]
Any person, firm or corporation who is guilty of a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 15 days, or both. Each day after notice that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition, a civil penalty of $100 per day may be assessed for any such violation, which civil penalty shall be recovered by the Town of Copake in a civil action.
Except as provided otherwise by law, such a violation shall not be a crime, and the penalty or punishment imposed therefor shall not be deemed for any purpose a penal or criminal penalty or punishment and shall not impose any disability upon or affect or impair the credibility as a witness, or otherwise, of any person found guilty of such an offense.
Appropriate actions and proceedings may be taken at law or in equity to prevent or remedy unlawful violations or infractions of any portion of this chapter, and these remedies shall be in addition to penalties otherwise prescribed by law.
Neither the above penalties nor the prosecution of the violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to prevent the revocation of any license issued under this chapter, nor to prohibit any other legal action for the removal or abatement of the conditions prohibited by this chapter.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to limit, repeal, modify or waive any other existing provisions or requirements of law, and specifically Chapter 232, Zoning, and the requirements and provisions of this chapter shall be construed to be in addition to such other existing laws or regulations regulating the subject matter covered herein.