Town hopes state can help dispose of junkyard

Carroll officials ask governor to aid in buying, converting property

July 07, 1999|By John Murphy | John Murphy,SUN STAFF

When the banks of Double Pipe Creek overflow in the low-lying community of Detour, tires, oil, antifreeze, fuel, car parts and sometimes entire vehicles from a local junkyard are carried downstream or washed into the town's streets.

In their latest effort to offer Detour residents some relief, Carroll County officials are asking the state to help buy the 3-acre junkyard and put it to another use.

"I think it's a good thing for the county to do to eliminate the pollution of streams," said Commissioner Donald I. Dell, who has sought funds to buy the property the last three years.

In a June 22 letter to Governor Parris N. Glendening the county released yesterday, the commissioners called the junkyard "probably the worst environmental problem in Carroll County."

But it's unclear if any money will be available.

"We are just at the preliminary stage. I don't know if we will get any money or not," Dell said.

The governor's office could not be reached to comment yesterday.

Detour, on a flood plain at the Carroll-Frederick border, has a history of problems during periods of heavy rainfall. Residents have been evacuated during major floods, such as in hurricanes Agnes and Eloise in the 1970s and a flood in January 1996.

But the community has long blamed Ray's Auto Parts for making its problems worse. The junkyard sits upstream from the Route 77 bridge. Floating debris clogs the underpass of the bridge, causing water and junk to flood into town.

Despite the environmental concerns, the junkyard is allowed to operate because it predates zoning laws that would other- wise prohibit it.

Although efforts to purchase the property have been unsuccessful, the junkyard owner's recent death has prompted the county to try again.

Ray Fanning, who leased the property since 1979, died in April. Owners Thomas and June Caravello of Baltimore are planning to sell the land on the open market, which means it could be used again as a junkyard.

County officials hope to purchase the property before that happens.

"Our real concern is that another owner may continue to take advantage of the grandfather option and continue to operate a junkyard at that location," the commissioners wrote to Glendening.

June Caravello said she has been in negotiations with Dell, but they have not reached an agreement.

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