Wallingford revisits junk ordinance
By SANDI SWITZER
Correspondent | April 17,2013
WALLINGFORD — A junk complaint about a property on the east side of town has municipal officials reconsidering a local ordinance.
The Select Board reviewed a resident’s written complaint about property on Route 155 south. Images of the property were attached to the complaint.
Board members indicated the only junk depicted in the images were some windows, tires and scrap metal. They added that a number of properties in town were in considerably worse condition.
“Face it, we’ve got a lot of houses in Wallingford, East Wallingford and South Wallingford that would be in violation if they were complained about,” Selectman Nelson Tift said at the meeting Monday. “I’ve seen eight or nine properties worse than this.”
The town’s junk ordinance prohibits discarding junk or multiple junk vehicles in a location visible from the road or an abutting neighbor’s property. A violator may be fined $50 per day beginning 30 days after the town sends written notice of the violation
“I’ve always thought this ordinance was overprotective,” Tift said.
State law is not as restrictive as the local ordinance, he said.
Board members considered whether the complaint rose to a level requiring municipal action.
“Do we want to set a precedent every time someone has three windows and a few tires in the yard, we send them a letter, or do we wait for more grievous violations?” asked Select Board Chairman William Brooks.
Tift questioned whether the town could rescind the municipal junk ordinance and follow state law on complaints.
Selectman Mark Tessier suggested that the town send a copy of the junk ordinance to the landowner with a letter requesting the property be cleaned up within 30 days.
Board members agreed and directed town administrator Julie Sharon to draft the letter.
“That’ll buy us a little time to research state statutes to see if the ordinance can be changed,” Tessier said. “Unfortunately, this sounds like a neighborhood feud.”