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Lack of action on yard junk criticized

A situation involving a junk-filled yard that has been in Town of Hamburg Court for a decade has been adjourned again, and at this point the frustrated supervising building inspector says, what's another month?

Kurt Allen was sharply critical of the two town judges Wednesday for not taking a stronger stand against chronic hoarders of junk. "The judges are way too lenient," Allen said. "If the judges lived in the neighborhood, they might have a different opinion."

While it was Allen who suggested the latest adjournment in the case involving David Peters of Lake Shore Road, he said the situation should never have been allowed to linger.

He said Peters has "cleaned up the property a little bit" but unless significant progress is made by Oct. 25, he will seek a trial.

Peters did serve seven days in jail in August after being found guilty on four charges, but only after he failed to show up in court several times and Town Justice Gerald Gorman issued a warrant for his arrest, Allen said.

But the jail term "accomplished nothing" and Peters is back in court on new charges, Allen said.

"Perhaps I'm getting duped again by the defendant, but I'm willing to give it another month," Allen said.

He said he realizes every community seems to have its chronic junk collectors, and the cases are difficult because judges are reluctant to put someone in jail over relatively minor charges.

Perhaps mixing fines and additional jail terms would be effective, Allen suggested.

He said the current case is before the other town justice, Walter Rooth, and both judges have failed to come to grips with the problem.

"I am calling this to the public's attention because I am utterly frustrated," Allen said. "We are spending taxpayers' money [to repeatedly inspect property and bring cases to court] because of the court system's failure."

Rooth declined to comment Wednesday, and Gorman could not be reached to comment.

However, it was pointed out that the town could clean up the property and bill the property owner accordingly.

The town has several chronic violators, with Peters and Clarence Denzel of Old Lake Shore Road being the most prominent.

Peters could not be reached to comment Wednesday.


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