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Residents feel removal of junk cars stalled

 - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

HANSVILLE — More than four months ago, Hansville residents were ecstatic to see movement to clear a private residence with numerous cars, appliances and trailers parked on it. Property owner Robert Eyer made the decision, after his family recycling business had been going for more than six decades, to retire and cleanup his Little Boston Road property.

Tuesday evening at a Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council meeting, residents voiced concerns they haven’t seen progress at the site since June and are worried the work has been postponed indefinitely. Eyer said Wednesday he is continuing to make progress on the project, and removed two dumpster container boxes of scrap metal from the site in August alone.

“We reached the point where he said he didn’t agree with what we were asking him to do, but he wanted to get out of the business,” said Kitsap County senior code enforcement official Steve Mount during the meeting, giving background on the issue. “He did start cleaning up, I think he was tired of it... At some point he reached an on-again/off-again with the construction workers, and he’s been on-again/off-again with the county inspectors, too. We requested one last time he cleanup in August, and if he didn’t we’d pursue a nuisance abatement.”

A nuisance abatement warrant, which is granted by the court system, would allow county officials to cleanup the site on their own. It is difficult to attain one, and creates a mountain of work for both the county and prosecutor’s office in terms of adhering to property protection laws. Mount said he and his team are making progress, but there is a long list of other sites in the county also requiring attention. Once placed on the prosecutor’s desk, it will join a list of about 15 or so others that will proceed to the courts for an abatement warrant. In the meantime, Mount assures he and his staff are regularly checking in with Eyer and doing their best to work with him.

“It’s all been done exactly to what they wanted,” Eyer said. “Everything’s been done right up to code. Steve Mount’s been coming out every month or so to check up on the process.”

Eyer maintains he has posted “No Trespassing” signs and taken every precaution possible to prevent people from dumping junk on his land. Even so, he said, derelict vehicles continue to be left at the site.

Eyer said the county has been monitoring the process, and he has been following the Washington State Department of Ecology’s rules regarding oil and car fluids to prevent soil contamination.

“I don’t know what the people in Hansville are complaining about,” Eyer said. “They’re the ones bringing me the cars. It’s all local people. I’d think there’s about 50 or 60 cars left now.”

The car count has become another point of contention. Eyer is firm that there are less than 100 cars remaining, but Mount estimates there could be anywhere from 400 to 800 vehicles left on the property.

“I would like to make a motion to petition the county to make it a priority to make a warrant to clean up the Eyer property,” GHAAC member Gerry Porter said later in the meeting. He was among the most vocal in attendance to improve the condition of what many consider to be an eyesore. The motion was seconded, and passed unanimously, but it is unclear how effective it will be.

“It really hits home with me when everyone in this room pays some share for this cleanup,” said GHAAC member Allen Otto, speaking of taxes residents pay.

Eyer said Wednesday if given the chance, he would meet with the GHAAC to explain his side of the story and try to alleviate their concerns. The GHAAC meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at the Greater Hansville Community Center.

“Steve, are you aware absolutely nothing has been done since before July?” asked GHAAC chairwoman Judy Foritano.

“I believe that,” he responded. Later, he commented at least residents at the meeting only have to drive past the site. “Imagine if they had to live next door to it and deal with it all the time with no escape. There are people out there who have to come home to this.”

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