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Lenox: Town in junk-removal business

The town of Lenox Board held a public hearing Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. to discuss violations to the state Property Maintenance Code and the local ordinance by two town residents.

The first property discussed is located at 8151 North Main Street and is owned by Bruce Hollenbeck. Hollenbeck has had numerous violations, including junk cars dating to April of 1999.

Town records indicate 36 court/and or codes enforcement officer appearances or citations on Hollenbeck for property maintenance. The town ordered Hollenbeck to remove the junk from his property by Dec. 19 and maintain it in accordance to the property maintenance law or they would do it for him, at his expense. If Hollenbeck refuses to abate the property, the town can contract the clean up or have the highway department do the work. Liens will be set against Hollenbeck's property for the cost of the work, plus10 percent for administrative fees.

"He's had every opportunity to clean up the property and never cleaned it up," said Rick Stagnitti, town codes enforcement officer.

Hollenbeck did not attend the public hearing.

Town Supervisor Rocco J. DiVeronica asked town Attorney Peter Finocchiaro what's the court's obligation?

"Jail, fines or show cause to the clean up of the property," Finocchiaro said.

"So the town is doing the job of the courts," DiVeronica said.

"We can't force the courts," Finocchiaro responded.

"The courts have been liberal," DiVeronica said.

"Does he understand [what's asked of him]?" asked Councilman Ernie Emmi.

"He understands," replied Finocchiaro.

"Now we have to clean it up," DiVeronica said. "The courts haven't had strong enough fines. We had to make an ordinance to get it done. It takes it off the courts. This is aggravating."

The town placed $10,000 in a property maintenance fund this year to help pay the initial costs of property clean ups.

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