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Junkyard ordinance revised

Junkyard ordinance revised Junkyard ordinance revised

A new amendment will have some property owners cleaning their yards. After getting complaints earlier in the year, a change has been made to Harrison County’s junkyard ordinance as a way to possibly address how some properties are viewed from the public.

According to county code, a junkyard is an area or structure where discarded used materials, waste or other organic matter is stored for salvage, reuse or resale. Junkyards can also include two or more unlicensed or inoperable vehicles.

Following the approval of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners in October, the junkyard ordinance now has an exemption for properties that store these items behind a property’s primary structure inside a fence. The area must be less than 600 square feet with a wood privacy fence that the public cannot see inside from the public roadway or neighboring properties.

The amendment applies to all properties that are not zoned as a junkyard.

“There are numerous properties throughout the county that have accumulated used items ranging from piles of 5-gallon buckets, old lawn mowers, aluminum cans, appliances, electronic devices, inoperable vehicles and garbage that are stored outdoors,” Eric Wise, Harrison County’s planner, said.

The Harrison County Plan Commission had a public hearing on the matter in early September. Wise said no one spoke during the public input, and the commission recommended the commissioners pass the amendment.

The commissioners approved the amendment, allowing properties that keep these items out of sight behind the home will no longer be deemed a junkyard or face possible citations and fines, during their second October meeting.

“Earlier this year, the a comment was made at a commissioners’ meeting that such sites are degrading the appearance of the county and, before the Plan Commission stepped up enforcement, it was considered appropriate to create a provision to allow a limited amount of such items to be stored in a manner that would create the least impact to surrounding properties and the community as a whole,” Wise said.

With the amendment in effect, Wise said warning letters could go out to offending properties during the next few months to give the property owners time to remove items or take the necessary steps to be exempt.

Properties that fail to meet the requirements of the exemption could face a $150 fine per day out of compliance.