Last Revised 3/20/01


If a municipality does not have its own junk yard law or zoning ordinance addressing the location of junk yards, it must apply the standards set forth in General Municipal Law 136 (exit this site) for automobile junk yards. This state law regulates the collection of junk automobiles, including the licensing of junk yards and regulation of certain aesthetic aspects. The law, however, is limited in its application to sites storing two or more unregistered motor vehicles.

A municipality may expand the state definition of "junk yard" to encompass other types of junk, such as old appliances, household waste, or uninhabitable mobile homes. Such an action helps to regulate aspects of junk not covered by state law and to ensure greater compatibility with surrounding land-uses.

By adopting a Zoning Ordinance a municipality can limit junk yards to specific areas of the community. If properly drafted, such zoning regulations may even phase out existing junk yards in inappropriate locations.

In addition to eliminating unsightly sites, a Junk Yard Ordinance or related provisions in the Zoning Ordinance also help to protect public health by preserving water resources. Abandoned vehicles and appliances might leak oil or other hazardous and toxic liquids into the soil. After first contaminating the soil, liquid waste will eventually reach the groundwater level and pollute local water resources.

Throughout the Cayuga Watershed region most municipalities have included junk yard provisions in their Zoning Ordinances, but only the Towns of Groton and Ledyard have adopted Junk Yard Ordinances.

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CLW IO 2004