Friday, July 25, 2014

Court to consider injunction against junkyard in West Wyoming

June 30. 2014 11:38PM

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WILKES-BARRE — A tree line and wetlands along Apollo Drive in West Wyoming act as a buffer separating an area zoned for residential and an area zoned for heavy industry.

But the trees and shrubs don’t stop the constant clanging of metal, crushing of vehicles and the revving of excavators from VP Auto Sales and Salvage on one side from breaking the peace and tranquility of homes on Ferretti Drive, said attorney George Michak.

Michak represents Charles Umphred and Cynthia Kennelly, of Ferretti Drive, who filed a second request for an injunction against the salvage yard and Joseph Russell, of Russell Hauling.

Russell leased the property on Apollo Drive from John Pisaneschi, owner of VP Auto Sales, to operate the junkyard that crushes vehicles and other metal.

Umphred and Kennelly were successful in their first request when Judge Michael T. Vough ordered Russell to cease and desist all operations in August 2013.

The junkyard Vough ordered shut down was at 12 Apollo Drive.

Russell moved across a gravel road to 45 Apollo Drive, closer to Ferretti Drive, and began crushing cars and large metal objects earlier this year.

The second injunction hearing began Monday before Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr.

“This is a nuisance action,” Michak said. “This is an illegal enterprise.”

Russell’s attorneys, Joseph F. Saporito Jr. and William J. Watt III, said their client has a right to operate an industrial business because the property is zoned for heavy industrial use. Saporito said the property had been used as a scrapyard from 1977 until 2013, when West Wyoming notified Pisaneschi that he needed a junkyard permit.

West Wyoming declined to issue the permit last year, which Pisaneschi appealed in county court, where it remains unresolved before Judge David W. Lupas.

“That type of zone (heavy industrial) permits this type of use,” Saporito said.

Saporito said Russell pays Pisaneschi $3,000 per month to lease the junkyard.

After Vough shuttered the junkyard at 12 Apollo Drive, it was believed Russell was going to relocate his business near his auto body garage on Shoemaker Street in Swoyersville, said Jason Slatcoff, officer-in-charge in West Wyoming.

But on April 29, when Slatcoff investigated a noise complaint at 45 Apollo Drive, he observed operations of a junkyard, including an excavator picking up and slamming to the ground a metal Dumpster.

Other noises, Slatcoff said, were either drowned out by other businesses or an airplane flying nearby.

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