Old junkyard issues resurface in Fulton


By Patsy Nicosia

The Town of Fulton Planning Board's review of plans at Summit Shock have rekindled a longstanding dispute over junkyards there.
A public hearing on plans by Judith Mills and her son, Dean Hansen, to put a junk and recycling facility at the former Summit Shock will continue at 8pm Monday.
But no decision is expected till at least November, Planning Board Chairman Peter Shulman told Supervisor Phil Skowfoe and councilmen at Monday's town board meeting, because the Schoharie County Planning Commission has yet to take any action on it.
"They're calling our application incomplete until we finish the SEQRA," Mr. Shulman said, something the Planning Board plans to do Monday. "We'll see what happens after that."
Plans for the former prison have drawn concerns over traffic, noise, and potential spills.
But Imer Rivenburgh, who lives across the street from it, has done considerable research on New York State's junkyard law and said Fulton's law is in direct conflict with it.
"Everything I read, it's not being done properly," he said.
And when it comes to Mr. Skowfoe's junkyard, he said, neither law is being enforced.
"It's still there, whether you enforce it or not," Mr. Rivenburgh said of the state law. "Phil, your junk yard is not in compliance. A screen or fence means you can't see in...and a fence means children can't get in."
Mr. Skowfoe and councilmen went into executive session for "advice of counsel" regarding an undisclosed Planning Board issue before Mr. Rivenburgh made his comments, but returned after about five minutes reporting no action had been taken.
In regard to Mr. Rivenbugh's concerns, Mr. Skowfoe said he doesn't need a fence for his junkyard because there's a 30-foot cliff there.
Al Osterveil, a retired attorney from Summit who's been helping Mr. Rivenburgh, said municipalities can have their own junkyard laws as long as they're not inconsistent with the state's-and he said Fulton's is not.
"It doesn't make any sense," Mr. Osterveil argued. "It doesn't make sense that you could negate what the state sees as a problem."
Fulton's law is inconsistent with the state's, he said, on the number of vehicles permitted at a junkyard, which board should decide whether to grant the special use permit-state law says it's the town board, Fulton law says it's the Planning Board-"and a half-dozen other things..." that he didn't specify.
"It doesn't make sense that you could take the state statute and say you're brighter than they are," he said.
Neither Mr. Skowfoe or town board members spoke to Mr. Rivenburgh's or Mr. Osterveil's concerns, and Mr. Rivenburgh said after the meeting that he plans to take his concerns to the State Attorney General and Schoharie County District Attorney.