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Selectboard hears complaint about vehicles on Melendy Hill Road

GUILFORD—The Selectboard recently received a letter of complaint from a resident regarding “a number of unregistered vehicles parked at a residence” at Barry Aleshnick and Martina Sczesny’s property on 215 Melendy Hill Rd.

At the May 11 board meeting, Selectboard Chair Anne Rider read excerpts from the letter, which warned of the vehicles’ “very precarious positions” over the road.

Aleshnick attended the board meeting to respond to the board. A neighbor, Marge Wocell, also attended to complain.

Rider said she conducted a brief site visit and “viewed eight or nine [cars]” at the residence. Although she said the town has no specific ordinance addressing the number of unregistered vehicles allowed on private property, the state statute requires a junkyard permit for “more than three.”

The Agency of Natural Resources has jurisdiction over these issues.

Selectboard member Sheila Morse said the vehicles are “too close to the road” and are “very unattractive on a very attractive road.”

Selectboard member Dick Clark said, “Sadly, we can’t be the judge of what looks good and doesn’t look good by the side of the road.”

Clark also suggested, “The neighborly thing would have been to have gone down to Barry and said, ‘You have a lot of vehicles. Maybe you can get rid of some of them.’”

Aleshnick apologized to the Selectboard and the attendees, and said, “I feel bad about the eyesore. I realize it’s not a neighborly thing to have had all those cars for all that time. I’ll get rid of them.”

He also said he had put up a privacy fence, but it “took a beating last winter.” Aleshnick recently purchased new privacy fencing and plans to install it soon, thus hiding the cars from the line-of-sight of passers-by on the road.

The Selectboard members, and Wocell, were unsatisfied with that response.

Wocell warned of the risk of cars “tumbling down the hill and damaging property and injuring people” and whether the town would be liable should that occur.

Aleshnick is unconvinced of that possibility, and said he will “move the cars a few feet away” from the precipice to “meet the concerns of neighbors.”

Additional conversation ensued about the state statutes regarding vehicles on private property, the difference between a “hobbyist” and a “salvage yard.”

Aleshnick argued that because he is not in the business of buying or selling automobiles, he does not believe he needs a permit. But if he is “not outside of the law,” he said, he will follow the statute and “address eyesore and safety concerns.”

Aleshnick declined to explain to the board why he has that many cars at his residence, citing personal reasons.

Rider said an agent from the Agency of Natural Resources is scheduled to visit soon to look at property in town, and she informed Aleshnick the board will request the agent also visit his property. Aleshnick asked for confirmation of the agent’s visit so he can also attend.

“I want to wait to see what the state says about the cars,” Aleshnick said.

“It would be very useful to hear what the state has to say,” agreed Morse.

Rider said the Selectboard will revisit the issue after the ANR agent sees the property and talks to Aleshnick.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #306 (Wednesday, May 20, 2015). This story appeared on page C1.

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