Ulster town officials have continued pushing for the closure of Buck’s junkyard on Route 213, issuing an order to remedy against the owner of an adjacent property to remove cars and automotive parts that have crossed the property line from the property owned by Don Mackenzie.
John Perrakis, a resident of Astoria, Queens, is listed as the owner of 1019 Route 213, adjacent to Buck’s at 1015 Route 213. According to town officials, Perrakis received the order of remedy on September 23.
“The structure immediately next to Buck’s junkyard has been sent an order to remedy because it’s becoming just as bad as Buck’s,” said town building inspector Kathy Moniz during a town board meeting October 20. “They’ve created a junkyard without a license or without a site plan, so we’re hoping to hear back from them on the notification .… If they don’t respond to an order of remedy, the next course of action is court.”
According to town supervisor James Quigley, Perrakis has owned his parcel since 1999, when he purchased it for a dollar from Buck’s Scrap Iron. This week, Quigley confirmed that the town was moving forward with court proceedings in relation to the order of remedy.
During the October 20 town board meeting, town attorney Jason Kovacs said his office would ask New York State Supreme Court judge Richard Mott to shut Buck’s down. “I’m asking the court for a permanent injunction terminating junkyard operations on the subject parcel,” Kovacs said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a decision, I would say, in December or so.”
The town originally commenced a Supreme Court action in June 2015, but Kovacs said Mackenzie had agreed through counsel to take several steps to bring his property up to compliance with the town code, clean up the property, and build or enlarge a fence on the property.
“He was given several months to complete these steps, and from my conversations with our building inspector it is my understanding that he has not fulfilled some, if not all, of these requirements,” reported Kovacs in September.
According to Quigley, the state Department of Environmental Conservation recently notified the town about an inspection that revealed two significant violations. “The two issues were that Mr. Mackenzie had not filed his reports with the DEC for the calendar year 2015,” Quigley said. “And the second thing was that he was maintaining inventories of regulated liquids in a non-conforming manner. He had open containers of gasoline in a storage container that were not properly marked, along with some other liquids that are regulated by the DEC.”
The town’s issues with Mackenzie and Buck’s go back to March 2010, when the DEC conducted an inspection of the site after a fire. The state agency found that tires and other debris were found in a wetland portion of the ten-acre property, and that junked vehicles had not been disposed of properly.
While the DEC had found surface oil contamination, Quigley said last year that there was no indication of serious in-ground contamination. Despite the issues, Mackenzie was granted conditional site-plan approval to continue operating his business. Issuance of a permit to continue operating the business had been denied by the town board in November 2012.
In August 2013, the town’s zoning board of appeals voted unanimously to uphold a determination from the building department that the junkyard was operating illegally because it did not have licensing or end-of-life breaking permits from the DMV. In December of that year, Mackenzie filed an Article 78 action to try and have the ZBA decision overturned. In July 2014, the state Supreme Court sided with the town.
As recently as this July, town officials said Mackenzie was given a deadline but hadn’t complied with town codes.
Quigley added in August that Mackenzie was three years behind on paying taxes on the property. This week, he confirmed that the matter was still outstanding. “I can tell you that according to information out of my town clerk’s office he did not pay, and we turned over to the county for collection last year’s taxes,” Quigley said.
According to the official school district website, Mackenzie also owes school taxes going back to the 2013 school year, with a total due for the 2016 school year of $2,784.48.