Hinsdale man takes issue with junk law | Archives

HINSDALE ã Since last year Constable Robert Smith has issued about 35 to 40 tickets to Hinsdale residents for violating the townÞs junk law.

Supervisor Tom Hooper said the town board is trying to clean up the town. The law went into effect in 1990, but it was not enforced for several years. Supervisor Hooper said the board started enforcing it again because of the number of complaints board members received from people about junk in their neighborsÞ yards.

He said the constable issues tickets after he takes complaints and issues tickets to people when he sees junk in their yard when driving around. The constable issues a ticket for the violation stating the resident will be fined if the items are not cleared away.

ßIÞll go by and send them a 30-day notice for vehicles or a 15-day notice for trash,à Mr. Smith said.

He then checks the area at the end of the time period. If the area isn’t cleaned up he issues an appearance ticket and then takes pictures of the area to back up his ticket.

If people clean up the area before they in court the ticket is dismissed. Otherwise they were charged a $25 fine. Town Justice Jo Hooper said the fine has been raised to $100 based on advice from the town attorney. According to the town law, residents can be fined $100 a day until the items are removed. A few times, depending on why the people haven’t picked up their yard, Justice Hooper has waived the fine.

So far, Mr. Smith has issued tickets on the east side of Route 16. Currently, he is monitoring places in the Heddon Hollow Road area and will eventually start issuing any necessary tickets on the west side of Route 16. He said items left in yards can bring property values down for neighbors.

Not everyone in town is happy about the effort to clean up the town.

Jim Clark of 3110 Route 16 said he believes the town law is vague and everything in a yard could be considered junk.

Supervisor Hooper said the law has been looked at by a couple of lawyers and neither of them had a problem with the law.

Mr. Clark has appeared in court several times and has paid $50 in fines for his yard. A statement for the court submitted by Mr. Smith said there was junk and remnants of wood which serve no practical use in Mr. Clark’s back yard. Mr. Clark said he plans to use the wood to build a barn, but his plans have been delayed due to lack of money.

Mr. Clark was robbed in February. He said he lost $22,000 worth of belongings, including tools that would have been used in building the barn. He is still waiting for the insurance company to settle his claim. He said by the time he receives the money, he will have to wait for spring before he can start to build the barn.

He said when he went to court, Justice Hooper told him he would not have to pay the fine if he purchased a building permit for the barn. Mr. Clark does not want to buy a permit because he will not be able to build the barn before the permit expires and would have to pay to renew it. Justice Hooper said a building permit expires in a year.

In addition to not having the money to build the barn, he has had to take time off of work to appear in court to respond to the citations. Justice Hooper said she has given Mr. Clark extended time to clean up his yard. When he appeared and said he couldnÞt clean it up because of the snow, she said he could wait until the weather improved and waived the fine. She gave him another extension and waived the fine again, when he said he was off work for health reasons.

When Mr. Clark was in court in September, Justice Hooper said Mr. Clark told her he neatened up the wood. She said Mr. Smith will go up there to take more pictures of the area.

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