[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Athens as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Motor Vehicle Junkyards
[Adopted 12-4-1962; amended in its entirety 9-25-2000 by L.L. No. 3-2000]
A clean, wholesome, attractive environment is declared to be important 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 Town and the general welfare of its citizens. It is further declared that the unrestrained accumulation of junk motor vehicles is a hazard to such health, safety and welfare of citizens of the Town necessitating the regulation, restraint and elimination thereof. At the same time, it is recognized that the maintenance of motor vehicle 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 article.
[Amended 12-15-2003 by L.L. No. 7-2003]
As used in the article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- All vehicles propelled or drawn by power, other than muscular power, originally intended for use on public highways.
- MOTOR VEHICLE JUNKYARD
- Any place of storage or deposit, whether in connection with another business or not, where: (1) two or more unregistered motor vehicles are held, or (2) two or more old or secondhand motor vehicles no longer intended or in condition for legal use on the public highways are held, whether (a) for the purpose of resale of used parts therefrom, or (b) for the purpose of reclaiming for use some or all of the materials therein, whether metal, glass, fabric, or otherwise, or (c) for any other purpose. Such term shall include, but is not limited to, any place of storage or deposit for any such purposes of used parts or waste materials from motor vehicles which, when taken together, equal in bulk two or more such vehicles; provided, however, that the term "motor vehicle junkyard" shall not be construed to mean an establishment having facilities for processing iron, steel or nonferrous scrap and whose principal produce is scrap iron, steel or nonferrous scrap for sale or remelting purposes only. In addition, the term "motor vehicle junkyard" shall not include auto restoration facilities when vehicles are entirely enclosed in a garage or other permanent storage facility for the purpose of restoration.
- Includes an individual, society, club, firm, partnership, proprietorship, corporation or association of persons, and the singular number shall include the plural number.
- The Town of Athens.
No person shall operate, establish or maintain a motor vehicle junkyard until he or she has obtained a license to operate a motor vehicle junkyard business and has obtained a certificate of approval for the location of such motor vehicle junkyard.
Each applicant for a license hereunder shall execute under oath an application therefor to be supplied to the applicant by the Town Clerk which shall contain the following information:
That the applicant is over 21 years of age, is a citizen of the United States, whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and such other facts or evidence as is deemed necessary to establish that the applicant is a person fit and capable of properly conducting the activity or business for which the license is sought;
A description of the exact type of business the applicant intends to conduct;
The nature of the materials the applicant intends to handle;
The number of employees the applicant intends to engage; and
The name and address of the owner or owners of the land and the nature of the right of occupancy of the applicant to the use of such land.
At the time of making the application, the applicant shall submit to and file with the Town Clerk a map or plan of the real property upon which the applicant intends to conduct the activity or business for which the applicant is making application for a license hereunder with:
The area of such real property which is proposed to be used for such purposes;
The location of the fence required hereunder indicated thereon, as well as the location of any buildings on such land;
The location of any streets or highways abutting or passing through such land; and
The location of any water, sewer or gas mains or laterals available thereto, as well as the general drainage pattern of such land.
In the application, the applicant shall agree that if granted the license applied for, the applicant will conduct the activity or business pursuant to the regulations set forth in this article and that upon failure to do so such license may be revoked.
The application shall be accompanied by a certificate from the Code Enforcement Officer that the proposed location is within the established zoning ordinance for such industry.
A hearing on the application shall be held within the Town not less than two nor more than six weeks from the date of the receipt of the application by the Town Board.
Notice of the hearing shall be given to the applicant by mail, postage prepaid, to the address given in the application and shall be published once in a newspaper having a circulation within the Town, which publication shall be not less than seven days before the date of the hearing.
At the time and place set for hearing, the Town Board shall hear the applicant and/or owner and all other persons wishing to be heard on the application for a license to operate, establish or maintain the motor vehicle junkyard.
At the time and place set for hearing the Town Board shall hear the applicant and all other persons wishing to be heard on the application for certificate of approval for the location of the motor vehicle junkyard. In passing upon the same, it shall take into account, after proof of legal ownership, the nature and development of surrounding property, such as the proximity of churches, schools, hospitals, public buildings or other places of public gathering, 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, smoke, noise, conditions affecting visibility or other causes.
At the hearing regarding location of the motor vehicle junkyard, 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 its citizens by considering whether or not the proposed location can be reasonably protected from having an unfavorable effect thereon. In this connection, the Town Board may consider collectively the type of road servicing the motor vehicle junkyard or from which the motor vehicle junkyard may be seen, the natural or artificial barriers protecting the motor vehicle junkyard from view and the proximity of the proposed motor vehicle junkyard to established residential and recreational areas or main access routes thereto, as well as the reasonable availability of other suitable sites for the motor vehicle junkyard.
After the hearing, the Town Board shall, within five weeks, make a finding as to whether or not the application should be granted, giving notice of its 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 January 1. Approval shall be personal to the applicant and not assignable. Licenses shall be renewed thereafter upon payment of the annual license fee without hearing, provided that all provisions of this article are complied with during the license period, the motor vehicle junkyard does not become a public nuisance under the common law and the applicant is not convicted of any type of misdemeanor or felony that reasonably affects the ability of the licensee to operate a motor vehicle junkyard. The determination of the Town Board may be reviewed under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
The annual license fee, which shall be nonrefundable, shall be paid at the time the application is made and annually thereafter in the event of renewal. The amount of the license fee will be set from time to time by the Town Board by resolution. The Town, in addition to the license fee, may assess the applicant with the costs of advertising such 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.
The licensee must personally manage or be responsible for the management of the activity or business for which the license is granted.
The licensee must maintain an office and a sufficient number of employees on the premises to assure the proper and safe conduct of such activity or business, to minimize the fire hazard therefrom and to prevent improper trespass thereon by children and others.
The licensee must erect and maintain an eight-foot wire fence of close mesh or one made of wood or of other material adequate to prohibit the entrance of children and others into the area of the activity or business and to contain within such fence the materials dealt in by the licensee. Such fence shall be 50 feet from any boundary line. All the materials dealt in by the licensee shall be kept within such fence, or where suitably screened under cover, at all times.
Inside and adjacent to and contiguous with such fence a strip of land at least 20 feet in width shall be kept free of all dry grass or other growth or other combustible material so as to provide a fire lane or line around the whole area where the activity or business of the licensee is being conducted.
There shall be maintained at each such place of activity or business for which a license is issued at least one fire extinguisher of approved design and capacity for each 40,000 square feet of area. Each fire extinguisher shall be hung or mounted in a conspicuous place, clearly marked and available.
When the area is not supervised by the licensee or his or her employees, the fence shall be locked at a secure gate in a secure manner.
Suitable sanitary facilities shall be available, connected to approved public sewers or septic tanks, for the use and convenience of the employees of the licensee.
The area of the licensee's activity or business shall not be used as a dump area nor as a place for the burning and disposal of junk or trash.
The local police, the Town Clerk or the Town Board or any of its representatives shall be granted access to the area of the activity or business of the licensee at all reasonable hours to inspect the same for compliance herewith.
Where the topography, natural growth of timber or other considerations accomplish the purposes of this article in whole or in part, the fencing requirements hereunder may be reduced by the Town Board, upon granting the license; provided, however, that such natural barrier conforms to the purposes of this article.
For the purposes of this article, the location of motor vehicle junkyards already established and licensed under the ordinance of 1962, Licensing and Regulating Dealers in Secondhand Junk and Auto Parts Activities and Businesses, shall be considered approved by the Town Board of the Town where located and the owner thereof deemed suitable for the issuance of a license. Within 60 days from the passage of this article, however, the owner shall furnish the Town Board the information as to location which is required in an application, together with the license fee, and the Town Board shall issue the owner a license valid until the next January 1, at which time such owner may apply for renewal as herein provided. Such owner shall comply with all other provisions of this article, including the fencing requirements set forth in § 116-11 of this article.
Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this article, no motor vehicle junkyard hereafter established shall be licensed to operate if such yard or any part thereof shall be within 500 feet of a church, school, hospital, public building or place of public assembly.
The owner or licensee of any such place of business who commits or permits any acts in violation of any of the provisions of this article shall be deemed to have committed an offense against such article and also shall be liable for any such violation or the penalty therefor. Each day such violation shall continue or be permitted to exist shall constitute a separate violation.
For every violation of any provision of this article the person violating the same shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Conviction for any above-mentioned violation shall constitute and effect an immediate forfeiture of this license.
In addition to the above-provided penalties and punishment, the Town Board may also maintain an action or proceeding in the name of the Town in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or to restrain by injunction the violations of such article.
The Town Board, or its designated representative, is hereby authorized and empowered to order, in writing, the remedying of all conditions found to exist in or on any premises in violation of this article.
[Amended 12-15-2003 by L.L. No. 7-2003]
After receiving a complaint or discovering what is believed to be a violation of this article, the Code Enforcement Officer may issue an appearance ticket to the property owner of record. Assistance may be requested from the Attorney that represents the Town of Athens in preparing the documentation that will be required by the Town Court.