Polk Township supervisors vote "No" to a junk ordinance
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Polk Township resident, Neal Murphy, left, addresses the Polk Township board of supervisors at a meeting this week at the Polk Township Vol. Fire Co. The purpose of the meeting was to hear opinions from residents in regard to a junk ordinance. Seated from left is, Gerald Zurat, township zoning/codes officer; James Fareri, solicitor; Ruthanne Toner, township clerical assistant; Supervisor Nancy May; and Chairman Brian Ahner.
No junk ordinance will be instituted in Polk Township at this time.
That was the unanimous decision made Tuesday by the Polk Township board of supervisors Brian Ahner, chairman; Michael Hurley, vice chairman and Nancy May, treasurer/secretary.
About 150 people attended the rescheduled meeting, which was held at the Polk Twp. Vol. Fire Co. to accommodate the expected crowd.
Ahner explained that the township was approached about looking into a junk ordinance.
"We wanted to hear both sides and thought this would give the people an opportunity to voice their opinions," he said.
Township solicitor, James Fareri, drafted the ordinance, but said it was not law. The supervisors would make that decision.
Township's zoning/codes officer Gerald Zurat, said that with a number of foreclosures in the township, people put furniture and excess stuff out by the road, and once they leave, they're difficult to locate.
Supervisor May read letters the township received from El Do Lake, Pleasant Valley Estates and Robin Hood Lake homeowners associations, with all three asking for the township to pass a junk ordinance.
When the floor was opened to the public for comments, the majority who spoke were concerned about the time constraints and hefty fine imposed by the ordinance, what the term "junk" entails and why should the public have another law inflicted on them.
Resident Paul Brennen said that there are different approaches to different problems and they should be looked at individually.
"Sometimes there is farm equipment that can no longer be used, but can be used for parts. A restaurant may have to replace a dishwasher, but might keep the old one for parts," Brennan pointed out.
"I ask the board to table this ordinance until further consideration of it can be given."
The audience responded to Brennan's comments by clapping enthusiastically.
The majority of speakers voiced the same concerns.
James Gilbert said he belongs to a homeowners' association and agreed to live by its conditions.
"It sounds like they (homeowners' associations) want the township to do what they don't have the guts to do. If you want to go after the foreclosure people, good luck. It's the banks you should go after. I don't see where you should be putting a burden on the rest of us," said Gilbert. "I don't think you need an ordinance. We got enough laws. I'm tired of the government telling us what to do."
Neal Murphy said that what was needed was common sense and pride.
Tim Hoffman suggested the township was missing out on an asset here.
"Put a posting out to the township residents saying you'll come collect old cars and you turn around and get the money for the junk," said Hoffman.
Supervisor Chairman Ahner asked for a show of hands who would not like to see a junk ordinance. About three-fourths of the room raised their hands.
"We'll just throw this ordinance out the window," said Ahner.
"No motion by the board has been made to pass the ordinance," solicitor Fareri said to end the meeting. "This is a dead issue."