Re: Changes to the law on salvage yards (formally known as “junk yards)”
This memo is written to notify [Municipality] residents about changes to the law on salvage yards. The new salvage yard law states that,
“A person shall not operate, establish, or maintain a salvage yard until he or she (1) holds a certificate of approval for the location (CAL) of the salvage yard and (2) holds a certificate of registration issued by the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to operate, establish, or maintain a salvage yard.”
Any salvage yard without these documents is currently operating in violation of state statute 24 V.S.A §2241-2283, Salvage Yard Registration law. First, it is important to note that salvage yards play an important role in the recycling of materials, but that poorly operated salvage yards have the potential to “significantly impact and contaminate the natural resources of Vermont.”
Definition of a salvage yard: The term “salvage yard” means any place of outdoor storage or deposit for storing, keeping, processing, buying, or selling junk or as a scrap metal processing facility.
The term “salvage yard” does not mean a garage where wrecked or disabled motor vehicles are stored for less than 90 days for inspection or repairs. *Facilities permitted by the ANR as solid waste facilities are exempt from municipal regulation as a salvage yard. (15)*
Salvage yard also means outdoor area used for operation of an automobile graveyard. “Automobile graveyard” means a yard, field, or other outdoor area on a property owned or controlled by a person and used or maintained for storing or depositing four or more junk motor vehicles.
“Junk motor vehicles” means a discarded, dismantled, wrecked, scrapped, or ruined motor vehicle or parts thereof, or a motor vehicle, other than an on-premise utility vehicle, which is allowed to remain unregistered or uninspected for a period of 90 days from the date of discovery.
“Automobile graveyard” does not include:
an area used by an automobile hobbyist to store, organize, restore, or display motor vehicles or parts of such vehicles, provided that the hobbyist’s activities comply with all applicable federal, state, and municipal law;
an area used for the storage of motor vehicles exempt from registration under chapter 7 of Title 23: wood splitters and pole dinkeys;
an area owned or used by a dealer registered under 23 V.S.A. § 453 for the storage of motor vehicles; or
an area used or maintained for the parking or storage of operational commercial motor vehicles, as that term is defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4103(4), that are temporarily out of service and unregistered but are expected to be used in the future by the vehicle operator or owner.
As a result of changes to the law, the Town of [Municipality] has acquired new rights and responsibilities in order to implement the law:
Mainly, the law gives municipalities the authority to regulate location of salvage yards. The law also gives the municipalities the right to inspect suspected and identified salvage yards to make sure they are in compliance with the law. As part of location approval, municipalities may impose screening requirements, appropriate location conditions, and appropriate environmental and public health conditions.
In addition, the law gives the municipalities more police power to see that compliance is maintained. Police power has been extended to include: assess penalties, the authority to obtain a temporary restraining order, and a preliminary injunction or permanent injunction against salvage yards which are violating terms of the statute or the CAL in Environmental Court.
The municipalities have these rights with, or without, having adopted a local salvage yard ordinance. Municipalities also, are not required by law to have zoning in place to be able to implement and enforce the new laws under 24 VSA §2241-2283.
A description of the process for those applying for a Certificate of Approved Location (CAL):
Contact the Town by writing a letter and asking for an application for a Certificate of Approved Location for a salvage yard (either where the salvage yard is located or where it is proposed to be located).
Once you receive the form, read it carefully to make sure you have all other permits required under state or federal environmental law before you turn in the application, (you must make copies of those permits and attach them to the application).
There is an application fee of twenty-five ($25.00) that must be made payable to the municipality when you turn in the form. A municipality may in its discretion assess an applicant with the costs of advertising the application as well as for other reasonable costs related to the hearing and may make the Certificate of Approved Location conditional upon payment of these assessed costs.
Once the Town gets your application, they will place a notification of Advance Public Notice for a hearing on the application in the local newspaper. A clipping of the newspaper article will be included in the application file.
A hearing on the application will be held before the approval is granted. There are specific requirements for municipalities to consider when reviewing the application for Certification of Approval for Location of a salvage yard. These required considerations include determining that the location is:
In compliance with local zoning laws and subdivision regulations (if the municipality has them)
Not within a protected area (e.g. near drinking water, or wetlands)
Enclosed behind a fence or screen, and all wrecking and storing is done behind that barrier.
Not near churches, schools, hospitals, residential areas, public buildings, or other places of public gatherings;
Does not illicit other concerns relating to public health, safety, the environment, protections from a nuisance condition and aesthetics.
If you have any questions, need assistance with filling-out the CAL application, or want to report a suspected illegal salvage yard please contact (local official name, contact info)