Schenectady County

Man cited for junk asks for permit

Michael Marotta has always maintained he uses his property in Pattersonville to store functioning co

Michael Marotta has always maintained he uses his property in Pattersonville to store functioning construction vehicles for his business. Public officials disagreed, seeking fines and possible jail time for keeping a junkyard.

Now Marotta is applying to the town for a special use permit that would allow him to legally keep such equipment on the property. Marotta filed an application with the Rotterdam Planning Department this week, requesting permission to build a contractor shop and equipment storage yard on his 5 acres off Route 5S.

Supervisor Steve Tommasone said the town Planning Commission would review Marotta’s application as it would any other project. However, he said the landowner’s ongoing legal troubles with the town and persistent refusal to conform to its regulations is likely to work against him.

“The current administration takes a very dim view of those who would violate our zoning ordinances and code enforcement,” he said Friday.

The application comes as Schenectady County officials continue litigation against Marotta in an attempt to recoup more than $17,000 worth of cleanup costs and fines levied after he was found in violation of public health regulations last year. Marotta also faces court proceedings with the town after he was cited for violating Rotterdam’s ordinance governing the outside storage of junk and vehicles.

Marotta pleaded guilty in April and is expected to be sentenced in July. The violation carries a maximum fine of $250 and up to 15 days in jail.

Calls placed to Marotta’s attorney were not returned Friday afternoon.

For more than two years, the town and the county have wrangled with Marotta over the use and condition of his vacant property, located near the Route 160 intersection with Route 5S. Both the county Health Department and watershed board filed charges against Marotta, charging that the old machinery and vehicles stored on it could pose a threat to a sensitive recharge area of the Great Flats Aquifer.

County Attorney Chris Gardner said efforts to take control of Marotta’s property are continuing. County officials have requested a state Supreme Court judge allow them to assume control of Marotta’s land and then lease it to a third party until they could recover their money.

“Essentially, you have an individual who is a scofflaw,” he said Friday. “We’re trying to put as much pressure on him as legally possible.”

Gardner was aware of Marotta’s application to the town, but had not yet reviewed plans for his project. From the outset, he doubted the project would be a permissible use for the property.

“My initial reaction is there are so many problems with his compliance with any provisions of the law, giving him some sort of special permit would not be sound public policy,” he said.

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