Metal company is accused of illegal dumping on street

West Pratt area firm is given 45 days by city to clean up gated lot

April 18, 2001|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN STAFF

A Southwest Baltimore company was cited yesterday for allegedly expanding its metal stripping business onto a city street.

Inspectors from the Department of Public Works issued a citation for 27 sanitation enforcement and housing violations to Franklintown Metals and Cores, in the 100 block of McPhail St.

Debris from the business, including vehicles, trash and giant wooden cable spools were reportedly impeding traffic along the street. Someone also appeared to be doing auto body work on the property without proper permits, said Department of Public Works spokesman Kurt Kocher.

"The business has apparently gotten out of hand and taken over the street," Kocher said. "We can't have a public street being taken over by trash."

The citation carried fines ranging from $25 to $250 per violation, Kocher said. Franklintown Metals owner George Dykes declined to comment about the citations, but said officials had given him 45 days to clean up a gated lot at the southeastern end of his property.

Inside the gates, an overgrown lot was covered with more cable spools, lengths of metal coil, vehicles and industrial metal debris.

"It used to be spotless," said George Moniodis, trustee of Up To Date Laundry, which leases 20,000 square feet to Dykes. "The lease stipulates that he has to keep the property neat and clean. But he doesn't."

Neighbor complaints drew the Environmental Crimes Unit - which pairs police with Public Works employees on illegal dumping matters - to the West Pratt business district, where Franklintown Metals occupies most of a city block.

Officials also examined a gated lot across the street filled with hundreds of metal drums left behind when Lenmar Inc., a paint manufacturer, recently relocated to the 4700 block of O'Donnell St. in Canton.

Maryland Department of the Environment inspectors and Fire Department hazardous materials experts checked to see whether fluids were leaking from the barrels into the water system, Kocher said.

But Lenmar, which had manufactured paint varnish, adhesives and sealant on the site, was not cited for illegal dumping, an MDE spokesman said.

Yesterday's citations were the latest in a flurry by public works inspectors since the city's environmental crimes unit was launched three months ago.

Earlier, Kocher said he drove past the corner of 28th Street and Huntington Avenue, where a business owner was cited last week for having a mountain of tires stowed illegally on his property. The tires were nowhere to be found yesterday, Kocher said. "It was spotless. That's exactly what we want."

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