Township, junkyard owner are in dispute

January 13, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO - For the second time in a year the Washington Township Supervisors are cracking down on a property owner for violating local zoning and nuisance laws.

The supervisors have requested a hearing before District Justice Larry Pentz to force Bruce I. Neibert Sr. and his son, Bruce I. Neibert Jr., to clean up their properties on both sides of Pa. 316 near the Washington Township-Washington County line.

Bruce Neibert Jr. said he doesn't know what's going on.

"It's awful," he said. "I've been trying to comply. I need to go down there and talk to them, to see what's going on," he said.


Pentz set a hearing date in the case for Jan. 28 at 1 p.m.

According to the complaint, the township in 1987 granted Bruce Neibert Jr. a permit to operate a junkyard on eight acres of his father's property on the east side of Pa. 316.

Jerry Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer for the township, said Neibert's venture is not a salvage yard in that it does not serve retail customers. Neibert uses the eight acres to store old appliances, vehicles and metal until they can be hauled out by a recycler for a profit, Zeigler sald.

The problem, Zeigler said, is that the junk has spread beyond the original eight acres.

In addition, junk and debris on Bruce Neibert Sr.'s property on the west side of Pa. 316 is in violation of zoning and nuisance laws, the complaint said.

Zeigler said repeated letters to and contacts with the Neiberts have failed to result in the cleanup of the properties. The Neiberts could face fines of up to $500 for each day the violations continue, Zeigler said.

The supervisors this week authorized John Lisko, the township's attorney, to seek a civil order in Franklin County Common Pleas Court that would give the municipality permission to hire contractors to clean up the Neiberts' properties at their expense.

Zeigler said it could take up to six months for such an order to be issued by the court.

"We want to be ready if we need to do that," he said.

Similar proceedings were taken against George Nicholas in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., Zeigler said.

In that case, the township hired a local contractor to haul hundreds of tons of old vehicles and heavy construction equipment off of Nicholas' property. What the contractor didn't get is being removed by township workers.

Nicholas has been fined more than $10,000 for his violations, Zeigler said.

He said the Neiberts are "good people."

"We tried to give them the benefit of the doubt but they've been dragging their feet, Nicholas said. "The township recognizes that junkyards are needed because it's a way to recycle things. It worked well for the Neiberts until they outgrew their eight acres."

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