OXFORD — Town officials are working with a local business owner to bring his unpermitted scrap metal junkyard into compliance with state regulations. 

At its meeting Nov. 21, the Oxford Board of Selectmen approved permits for three automobile graveyards or junkyards in town, Aynotte’s Used Car Parts, Oxford Auto Salvage Inc. and Varney Brothers. The permit fee is $50 and is valid until Oct. 31, 2014. Automobile recycling businesses are re-permitted every five years.

Town Manager Michael Chammings told selectmen a fourth junkyard, owned by David Witham and located on Fore Street, did not reapply for a permit this year. Witham also owns another piece of Fore Street property that is considered a junkyard but has never been permitted.

Responding to comments made by a Fore Street resident about another junkyard property on Fore Street owned by Witham, Chammings said the town was aware of the issue and Code Enforcement Office Rodney Smith was working with Witham to come into compliance.

The last time the town was forced to bring a junkyard owner into compliance it took three years to resolve the case, Chammings said. 

According to Chammings, state law places responsibility for enforcing junkyard regulations with state, county and local law enforcement, not municipal officers. Nevertheless, the town was working with Witham to clean up his property, he said.

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“We’ve addressed other ones, and we do have several that are unlicensed in town, some call attention to themselves than others,” he told the board. 

“I’ve seen that one and I agree: It’s not in compliance with state law. But I have to be patient because it takes a long time.”

Maine defines an automobile graveyard as any property that has three or more unregistered or uninspected motor vehicles, while a junkyard is defined as an open area to store or dismantle discarded scrap metal, lumber, or consumer and industrial equipment.

An automobile recycling business is one that buys and resells salvaged automobile and automobile parts.

In an interview last week, Chammings said one of Witham’s junkyards is licenced, although the owner has yet to reapply to certify it. Witham’s second property is probably now considered a junkyard but has never been permitted. 

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