HAZEL HURST — As communities across McKean County continue to combat the all too common problem of blight, several people from Bloomster Hollow addressed the Hamlin Township Supervisors about a property on Bloomster Hollow Road which appears to have gotten out of hand.
Gail Riddell of Bloomster Hollow said a property on Bloomster Hollow Road, which has accumulated a considerable amount of junk, presents environmental, safety and health issues for township residents. Riddell wants the township to enforce their junkyard ordinance.
Hamlin Township Ordinance 21 addresses the regulation of junkyards, including scrap yards, automobile graveyards, and the abatement of nuisances and unlicensed junkyards. The ordinance details definitions of junkyards, licensing information, and fines for nuisance junk yards.
Riddell said there is currently no ordinance enforcement of the township junkyard ordinance.
Supervisor Ken Stroup offered to speak to the property owner to discuss the issue.
Supervisor Jim Myers noted the resident has been sent multiple notices about the junk, but to no avail. Myers said the township even considered hiring a code enforcement officer, and had three interviews for the position. However, the township found no takers.
Riddell's daughter, Lori Gideon, just wants to see if something, anything, can be done.
“It's a dump,” Gideon claims.
Carolyn Snead of Sergeant Township said if the property is not cleaned up soon, someone will get hurt. Snead understands this cleanup will be a process, and knows the township has been working on it. Snead said the owner of the property may not have the means to clean-up the junk. She asked Myers and Stroup if the township would provide a truck and some supervision to haul the junk away. Both men indicated they would be in favor of such a move.
Bill Belitskus of Lantz Corners said he has heard these promises made by township supervisors since he started attending the meetings in 1993. These promises are not always kept, Belitskus said. In this case, he said the supervisors have the authority to act and enforce the ordinance as the property has become a potential health and safety issue, but Belitskus remains skeptical that any action will be taken.
“What is the excuse for not enforcing ordinances this time?” Belitskus asked.
Stroup said he would like to enforce the ordinance but was not sure how to be effective in doing so. Belitskus asked if a part-time code enforcement officer could be hired. Myers suggested Belitskus be sent for the training, as he may be suitable for the position. Stroup wants something that will be effective, as code enforcement officers cannot arrest anyone, and levying fines has not seemed to be effective thus far.
Former supervisor Dave Okerlund said there is a process to follow, starting with a warning, then fines, and if the fines are not paid a lien is attached to the property. Okerlund said if it gets that far, it will likely wind up in the township's possession and it will be a burden on the township to clean up the mess.
Belitskus said if there is a process, then follow it. He said the City of Bradford is sticking to its plan and enforcing ordinances and things are beginning to get done.
In other news, the supervisors adopted several resolutions. The first resolution was to appoint a firm of certified public accountants to make an audit of the accounts in the 2015 fiscal year in the place of the elected auditors. The second resolution was to appoint an open records officer, who will be secretary-treasurer Kathy Sluga.
The supervisors then authorized vacancy board chairman Dale “Wally” Howard to petition the Court of Common Pleas to fill the vacancy of auditors. The supervisors then approved a sewer module on Brights Road, which was already approved by township sewage enforcement officer Todd Fantaskey.
The next supervisors meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 11.