WEST WYOMING -- Cynthia Kennelly, Charles Umphred and Tom Ciampi each made impassioned pleas to council Monday to do something about what they say is a nuisance business in their once quiet neighborhood.
The Ferretti Drive residents say Joe Russell, who rents property on nearby Apollo Drive, where his business, Russell's Hauling, is located, has been running a junkyard without proper permits.
Russell has since applied for a special exception with the county zoning board to operate the yard. The county will render a decision at a zoning hearing on Nov. 5.
"This is a contentious situation," said Kenelly, who was visably shaken. "It is not my intention to put Mr. Russell out of business, but he is running an extremely noisy, unregulated junkyard."
Kennelly commended council for "turning the borough around," and suggested other ways to use underdeveloped land for the good of the borough, pointing to the Welles Street complex in Forty Fort as an example.
"There are many possibilities for that piece of land."
Umphred likened living next to the junkyard to the Wild West. "This is like the 1800's," he said. "You're on your own. I built a beautiful home, and put a lot of money and sweat into this place."
He recalled the struggles to protect his land and surrounding areas over the last few years.
"I had to battle for the wetlands, and I got through it. A couple of years later, I had to fight the compressor station. I spend a lot of money defending my town," he said.
"This is my town, and these are my people here. It's always a fight and this man is destroying our neighborhood. This isn't his town, it's where he comes to work," he went on. "He rents a place and smashes and trashes things--he doesn't care."
Code Enforcement Officer Tom Roccograndi said the police and officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection responded to complaints about the business, but found no violations.
"When the police went, no one was there," said Roccograndi, adding that he has also visited the site. "I can't write a citation if there's no violation when I'm there."
Council president Eileen Cipriani pointed out that Roccograndi is "very part-time", therefore his hours are limited.
Council urged the residents to call 911 if they witness open burning or any other violations, and state that the issue is a non-emergency.