The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

June 7, 2014

Citizens dump on mayor over junk

SANDY LAKE — Sandy Lake citizens accused Mayor Vernon Markwood of using his yard for junk for the past several years.

Dick Snyder presented a petition to city council on Wednesday, outlining the ordinance and code violations.

The petition also accused Police Chief and Code Enforcement Officer Donald Oakes of not issuing all fines and citations appropriate to the violations.

“If you can’t get this guy to conform to the living conditions that are required in this community, how do you expect anybody else to?” Snyder asked.

There are vehicle parts, including hoods and doors, scrap iron, six or seven vehicles and three trailers on the lot, the petition states.

“It’s an eye-sore,” Snyder said.

He said there can be up to 17 nuisance cars on the lot at a time.

It cited Sandy Lake’s Ordinance 260, adopted in 1996, and the International Property Maintenance Code, adopted in 2012, both of which deal with maintaining and storing nuisance vehicles.

Snyder said he has issued more than 16 complaints to Oakes in the past six years.

“I just absolutely refuse to live like this,” he said.

Oakes only filed one citation, according to Snyder. It was issued to Markwood in February.

The citation ordered Markwood to “commence with the removal of said vehicles and other salvage, junk vehicle parts” within 30 days of receipt. He was ordered to complete the work by April 15.

The citation was given to the district judge nearly a month after that deadline, on May 10, Snyder said.

Markwood said he is about half done with the work now.

“I’ve been working diligently,” he said.

If fines had been issued for the separate violations, Snyder said the borough could have collected thousands.

Snyder said that those who signed the petition are neighbors who regularly see Markwood’s yard.

“I went to the people who have to look at it every day,” he said.

Ten residents signed the petition, and two declined.

“It’ll come together,” Markwood said. “And (Snyder) still won’t be happy.”

The area would probably be cleaned up soon, he said.

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