I am writing this letter to explain my position on junkyards as a 40-year property owner, not in my official capacity on the town of Cavendish’s Selectboard. Furthermore, I want to make it clear that I am an advocate for property rights for all – not one faction or a special interest.
It is my belief that Cavendish is basically a town comprised of middle class citizens that most likely do not have substantial savings accounts, certificates of deposits, or other nest eggs. Like most Americans, they do not have enough disposal income to account for emergency spending. For the most part, their primary source of funds is in the equity they have invested in their house or property.
The equity in their house is often used on a planned or emergency basis for: end of life expenses, home repairs, post-high school educational tuition costs, medical expenses. The amount they can borrow against their mortgage to refinance is based on how much they have in equity and the appraised value of their house or property. The virus has resulted in employment losses, business closures, and may still present more economic impacts in the future. For many that are directly impacted by current and future impacts, the possibility of dipping into their home or property’s equity may be more real and of last resort.
What does this have to do with junkyards? In Cavendish, we have very modest regulations regarding junkyards that I do not think have been enforced. In speaking with area realtors, a neighboring junkyard can reduce the value of a property by as much as $5,000 to $50,000, or even making it unsaleable. In these uncertain times, as a town, do we think that it is acceptable to take away money from an adjacent property owner that might be used for: end of life expenses, home repairs, post-high school educational tuition costs, or critical medical expenses by allowing these properties to negatively impact the property rights of their neighbors?
Lastly, as evidenced in other communities, junkyards have a way of continually growing on a property and neighboring properties, creating an atmosphere of disinvestment lowering the overall value of properties in the town and its attractiveness for investing, working, living, and recreating in the community. The time has come to follow the rules, protect everyone’s property rights, act responsibly, and stop taking money out of the pockets of our friends and neighbors.